Name: Luke Martin
Weight: 200 lbs
Date Of Feat: July 7th, 2008
Witness: Matt Cannon
How Long Grip Training: 8 months
Current Grip Training Program: 3 times a week rotating between grippers, hub lifts, and plate/blob pinching.
Other Training Info: I weightlift 4 times a week. I started doing squats last fall, and that alone greatly improved my grip strength and overall body strength.
Acknowledgements: The Gripboard (www.gripboard.com), especially Matt Cannon for all his training tips, and my wife Melissa. Philippians 4:13: "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me."
[ Q ] Could you tell us a little about your background in lifting (age, when started lifting, why you started, what you do now as far as lifts)?
I started weight lifting with my dad when I was 14. A premium membership to Bally Total Fitness is what he got me that year. The first thing he taught me is that good form is everything. Even if a tiny person is next to you and lifting more, lower the weight if your form suffers.
[ Q ] How did you get into grip training?
What peaked my interest was the
wrestler Dan Hodge and his ability to easily squash apples. Even now in his late 70's it doesn't look like he even has to try. That and stories of him snapping the handles off pliers.
I was also reaching a point in the gym where the weight was too much for my grip instead of the muscles I was trying to target. Things like heavy shrugs were causing my grip to fail without working my traps. I saw guys using straps to help them hold on, but I only saw that as an area that was neglected.
[ Q ] You are now a GripBoard Mash Monster, what would you recommend to those aspiring to close this gripper?
Do negatives with a gripper that you can only get down to about 1/4" width. Also, when you can close a gripper for 2-3 reps, file it down and make that one your new
goal. Going beyond the normal range makes the normal range a lot easier. If you do that, you'll notice that when you think you have about 1/8" left to close it, it's already closed!
[ Q ] What does your current grip routine look like?
I train my grip 2 or 3 times a week. I rotate between grippers, plate/blob pinching, and hub lifts. Plate and blob pinching seems to carry over to grippers well.
During a workout with grippers, I do 2 warm up sets of 10 reps each with an easy gripper. After the warm up, I do 3-5 attempts on a goal gripper. Even if the attempt fails I close the gripper with the help of the other hand. After that I'll do around 5 heavy negatives each hand with a gripper that's even harder than my current goal gripper. I end the workout by targeting my pinky and ring fingers with a lighter gripper inverted.
During a plate pinching or hub lifting workout, I'll finish with grippers but this time it's with the spring inverted to target the index and middle finger. I normally do 3 sets of 6-8 reps with the hardest gripper I can close.
[ Q ] How has your grip routine changed since you first started training your grip?
Everything has changed! Like most beginners I wasn't aware of negatives, over-crushes, strap holds, coin holds, BTR work, plate pinching, hub lifts, etc.
There seems to be a significant variation in the frequency of grip workouts among trainees even with the common goal of ultimate grip strength.
[ Q ] Have you experimented with workout frequency and it's affect on your training?
Everybody is different, and because of that you need to find what works best for you. At first I trained my grip once a week like anything else in weight lifting. I then found out it's something you can work much more frequently. I then tried 3 days a week, 4 days a week, and even 5 days a week. I found that 3 days a week presented the best results for me so I stick with it.
[ Q ] What are your favorite grip exercises?
Grippers! Next in line is hub lifts.
[ Q ] What kind of starting routine would you recommend for a trainee new to grip training?
Before you try a lot of heavy singles on a goal gripper, get your set down to a science and use
chalk! Also, if you miss an attempt, have the patience to wait a couple of minutes before you try again. I see a lot of new guys miss and immediately try again without rest. When they do this they, of course, never get it closed.
[ Q ] Who do you most admire in gripdom?
Dan Hodge, Mark Felix, Magnus Samuelsson, and
[ Q ] If you were to start over again with your grip training, what would you do differently?
I would have started plate pinching earlier.
[ Q ] What do you believe is the most difficult grip exercise?
Rolling Thunder is so much harder than it looks!
[ Q ] What are some of your personal bests in grip exercises?
60 lb hub lift (45 lb Hampton plate plus three 5's), IM #3 that calibrated to 168 lbs (3.3), 3 reps on a HG350, and I can now get the Blob50 off the ground... briefly!
[ Q ] What do you believe is the most common mistake made by new grip trainees?
Not training frequently enough.
[ Q ] What do you consider to be the greatest grip feats of all time?
Mark Felix lifting 301 lbs on the Rolling Thunder, and any #4 close.
[ Q ] Do you have any parting advice for readers?
Train hard and consistently! If you are not tearing up your hands EVERY workout you're not trying hard enough. Don't be afraid to ask questions, and any question you have can be answered at