Here is Mash Monster #34, Teemu T. Ilvesniemi.
Name: Teemu T. Ilvesniemi
Height: 173 cm
Weight: 85 kg
Date of Feat: 11th of October 2006
How Long Grip Training: 2 years seriously, about 10 years all together
Current Grip Training Program: Grip three times a week; that includes grippers twice a week, block weights once a week and wrist training once a week
Other Training Info: I'm into functional strength training
[ Q ] Could you tell us a little about your background in lifting?
I'm 25 years old and have 10 years of weight training experience. I first started out to build some strength for ice hockey, finger and wrist strength as well as total body strength. Later I got into bodybuilding type of training, got a few injuries and decided to alter my training to build functional strength instead of muscle.
Nowadays I use free weights, kettlebells, sandbags, gymnastic rings and bodyweight exercises in my training, but my biggest ambition these days is building up my grip strength. I've been training my grip seriously for two years now (and actually I have never neglected it) and I'm really focused on getting better at it.
[ Q ] How did you get into grip training?
I first got interested in grip training as a teenager and that was largely the influence of my late father, who had a pretty strong grip having done really hard manual labor all his life. He taught me a few basic things as I wanted to have a better grip for ice hockey. That was about ten years ago, grip training has been a part of my weight training since then.
[ Q ] You are now a GripBoard Mash Monster, what would you recommend to those aspiring to close this gripper?
Believe that you will get there and you will!
[ Q ] You are also a Certified Captain of Crush®. How long did it take you from when you first started working on the grippers to closing the #3?
I'm not certified COC, yet, but I have closed #3. It took me 4 months from the day that I got my first heavy duty gripper, that was #2.
[ Q ] What does your current grip routine look like?
Three grip workouts per week that includes two sessions with grippers, one with block weights, one for the wrists. I do mostly singles.
[ Q ] How has your grip routine changed since you first started training your grip?
I'm trying to do less exercises per workout and keep the volume quite low, but to make each and every single count.
[ Q ] There seems to be a significant variation in the frequency of grip workouts among trainees even with the common goal of ultimate grip strength. Have you experimented with workout frequency and it's affect on your training?
Yes, I have. I believe you have to vary the frequency, but most of the time I stick to training three times a week. But I do believe that sometimes you have to push it and purposefully overtrain and back off at the right time for the best results.
[ Q ] What are your favorite grip exercises?
Grippers... no doubt about it!
[ Q ] What kind of starting routine would you recommend for a trainee new to grip training?
Balanced program that covers all the aspects evenly, wrists, crushing grip, pinch grip, supporting grip and extensor work. Don't neglect your thumbs.
[ Q ] Who do you most admire in gripdom?
My late father who got me interested in developing grip strength, he had a frightening grip and I feel I'm nowhere near his level. John Brookfield for his strength, and even more so due to his great work he has done to share the information about grip training.
[ Q ] If you were to start over again with your grip training, what would you do differently?
Nothing, I've had a pretty good foundation from my earlier years of weight training for ice hockey. Grip training for that included the basics like wrist rolling, wrist curls, plate curls etc. so I had no problem hitting grippers hard right from the start as I found out about them.
[ Q ] What do you believe is the most difficult grip exercise?
For me, block weights and levering.
[ Q ] What are some of your personal bests in grip exercises?
Closing my Beef Builder Elite with parallel set, official Finnish record on the Rolling Thunder (79 kg)
[ Q ] What do you believe is the most common mistake made by new grip trainees?
Training focused too much on grippers at first.
[ Q ] What do you consider to be the greatest grip feats of all time?
Joe Kinney's #4 close, John Brookfield tearing 3 decks of cards at once, David Horne's two handed pinch of 107, 2 kg to name few... there are more but that would be a long list.
[ Q ] Do you have any parting advice for readers?
There's nothing that can stop a man with iron will and determination to succeed. If you want to learn about grip strength, visit the GripBoard.