In a previous article, I introduced you to the the first GripBoard Mash Monster Elite, Heath Saxton. This time I would like to introduce to you the eighth certified GripBoard Mash Monster, Clay Edgin.
Clay Edgin Profile
[ 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'm 23 years old and started lifting on December 27, 2002. I received Dinosaur Training for Christmas in 2002 because it looked interesting and decided to start training. For what, exactly, I didn't know! I also needed to drop some fat.
Right now my best lifts are 300 bench (rarely train it), 250 overhead press, 425 squat, and 555 deadlift. While I was lifting, I was also doing a low-carb diet and went from a bodyweight of 370 with 44% body fat to 278 with 17% body fat. But I fell off the wagon recently and am back over 300.
[ Q ] How did you get into grip training?
There are a couple chapters in Dinosaur Training that deal with grip stuff, and after reading the stuff on the Captains of Crush grippers, I knew I had to buy them. Plus, I really liked the idea of thick bar training and some of my first pieces of grip equipment are thick handled pieces of bars for dumbbells and barbells.
Never be satisfied with a #3 certification. Unless you certified on a very hard 3 and you didn't progress any farther than it, this MM gripper will knock you down. Train real hard, and squeeze even harder.
[ Q ] You are also a Certified Captain of CrushÂ® How long did it take you from when you first started working on the grippers to closing the #3?
I received the Trainer on Valentine's Day 2003 and shut it, then in April I received the #2 and shut it in my right hand first try. Took a few weeks to get it with my left hand though. Then I got the #3 and #4 in May and shut the #3 after about a dozen squeezes on my first day.
It took a few weeks to get consistent and I got certified in June. On 2/15, a year and a day after touching a gripper for the first time, I shut the #4 in training for the first time.
[ Q ] What does your current grip routine look like?
A warmup consisting of 10-12 reps with a store bought gripper to get the blood flowing, then some increasingly heavier singles. Then I do 5-10 attempts at my goal gripper, depending on how strong I feel.
After that, I will sometimes do some braced attempts and braced attempts with a choker on. Then I'll knock out a dozen or so reps on that easy gripper to cool down. If my training partner comes around, then we'll work on lifting the Inch bell too.
[ Q ] How has your grip routine changed since you first started training your grip?
It has come full circle. I used to train with high volume, working on my goal gripper, and really punishing my hands. That was too much for me to bear in the beginning, so I started training 2x to 4x a week depending on how I felt and slowly kept on building up the volume and intensity.
Now I have turned up the intensity, turned up the volume, and my strength has skyrocketed. The only pain I feel now is the raw skin from the knurling tearing up my hands.
|View The Video Of Clay Closing The MMG
Windows Media Player (1.2 MB)
[ 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?
Yup. I always go back to 4-7 workouts per week though. Actually, unless my hands really ache, I will work them just about every night.
[ Q ] What are your favorite grip exercises?
Thickbar deadlifts, grippers, one hand deadlifts (with thick handles and Olympic bars), bending. I suck at bending, but I enjoy it anyways. Go figure.
[ Q ] What kind of starting routine would you recommend for a trainee new to grip training?
Over the course of 4-5 weeks, steadily increase the number of squeezes and frequency of workouts so you condition yourself mentally and physically to train nearly every night.
[ Q ] Who do you most admire in gripdom?
Geez, there's a million people! The usuals come to mind - The Sorin's, John Brookfield, the Gillingham's, Dave Erives, definitely Dave Horne and Big Steve McGranahan for their all around ability to mangle stuff with their hands.
Heath Sexton, Dave Morton, Tommy Heslep too. Too many folks to list! Basically, anybody who trains seriously and doesn't make excuses. Old timers like Mighty Atom and Slim Farman too. Apollon, Saxon, all those guys.
Listen to my body more. Over the course of the year, I have dealt with two strained tendons, 3 stress fractures in the back of my hand, and severely bruised knuckles that gave me so much pain that I couldn't even close a stapler.
[ Q ] What do you believe is the most difficult grip exercise?
Pinching. I have midget thumbs, so this is my hardest exercise. The Blob really kicks my butt. I'm fighting the Inch bell on a regular basis and lately I've been winning some ground.
[ Q ] What are some of your personal bests in grip exercises?
407lbs on a 2.5" non revolving handle in the one hand Deadlift, 515lbs deadlift on 2" thick barbell, closing the #4, bending a Grade 5 bolt unbraced, Farmer's walk with 300lbs per hand on 2" thick handles, full deadlift of Inch dumbbell.
[ Q ] What do you believe is the most common mistake made by new grip trainees?
There's a lot of misinformation out there. Also, don't be afraid to actually try new things. Don't overanalyze things at first. And most importantly, listen to your body to avoid injuries. Know the difference between pain and injury - you can work through pain, but injury will set you back, so train smart.
[ Q ] What do you consider to be the greatest grip feats of all time?
Pretty much anything done by the Mighty Atom. Unbraced No. 5 horseshoes, 1/2" thick x 9" long square stock bent into a full "U", bending spikes with amazing ease. Tearing a car tire from a rim - try that one sometime! But I think David Horne is poised to become a legend just like Mighty Atom, so I'd watch out for him!
[ Q ] Do you have any parting advice for readers?
Grip is equally mental and physical. Take the time to develop your mental strength and watch your numbers soar. The strongest men in the world have a very scary and private place inside their heads where they have reached a higher level of understanding than 99% of the population. That's why they're the best. Don't let things like numbers intimidate you.
Weights are a physical burden, and the numbers on the side of the weights are a mental burden. Don't get too hung up on that stuff. You should enter each workout with the idea that you're going to hit a PR, or progress somehow in your workout. Conquer the mental and the physical is easy.
One of the important things I had to learn was that I should view my goals not as a finish line but as a stepping stone. I was stuck with an overhead press of 195 for nearly two months last year and my year end goal was 200lbs. I kept wondering why I couldn't get that weight to come up even though I had been training real hard; I even did 6 singles with 195, but 200 would not go.
One night I got fed up with my progress, loaded the bar to 205 and popped it up. The number 200 was f-ing with my head, so I took it out of the equation by going to 205. The same can be carried over to grippers. If you set your sights one level above your goal and two levels above where you are now, you can reach both goals if you work hard.
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