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An Interview With Mash Monster Jedd Johnson!

Find all about who the newest Gripboard Mash Monster, Jedd Johnson, is and view videos of his incredible feats of grip strength!

Mash Monster Number 11: Jedd Johnson!

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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 eleventh certified GripBoard Mash Monster, Jedd Johnson.

Jedd Johnson 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 trained with weights in high school and college for sports, but I was unmotivated. I pitched for the Mansfield Univerity Baseball at the Division II level but pulled a groin and hurt my shoulder and elbow so I bowed out. The summer of 1999, I began weight training with Smitty (Jim Smith) and he showed me the ropes.

    Soon we began pushing one another in our endurance-bodybuilding slash strength workouts. We gradually kept adding more and more styles of the iron game to our routines and we have developed a well-rounded conditioning system.

[ Q ] How did you get into grip training?

    One day, this really motivated guy was talking about working with these grippers on the forum. I thought he must have been crazy for the taking the time to train his hands. "Who needs hand strength?" I thought. Smitty got a #1 Gripper from Ironmind, and I was hooked. The really motivated guy was Rick Walker.

[ Q ] You are now a GripBoard Mash Monster, what would you recommend to those aspiring to close this gripper?

    You have to find out what works for you. I would suggest researching the many different techniques and programs that are out there. Forums have archive search features, and the internet is an endless source. Everyone must find out their own individual difference and taylor the program to their needs.

[ 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 found out about grip training in November of 2002. I first closed my gripper in April or May of 2003. But with the training schedule and work getting in the way, I never got certified until December of 2003.

[ Q ] What does your current grip routine look like?

    Mainly it's a 4 or 5 day per week spread. Usually, I work on grippers Saturday and Sunday heavy. Any other training day, I might give them a few squeezes, just depending on how I feel. Lately, my main goal has been to lift the Thomas Inch Replica Dumbbell, which I have recently accomplished.

    It is hard to lay out exactly what my grip routine is, because I never write anything down, and mainly just train what I feel like training every training day. I must say that block weights and/or thick plate pinching is/are a mainstay in my routines.

    I train high volume, usually including some gripper closes or Inch attempts during my main workout to get warm, and then turn it up at the end of the routine for a half hour to 45 minutes of strictly grip training.

[ Q ] How has your grip routine changed since you first started training your grip?

    My routine changes based upon my main goal. Generally, I set up a lift or two to train for my main goal, but then by the end of the workout, I usually end up breaking out the grippers, blocks, or Rolling Thunder.

    Since I train for all-around strength, I don't really set aside days for only one element of strength.

View The Video Of Jedd Closing The MMG

Windows Media Player (700 KB)

[ 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?

    When I started, I did a 6-day-per-week split. However, now that I am doing a lot of support gripping for the powerlifts and strongman, I have had to narrow it down to only 4 or 5. I find that with a lot of gripping during the week, I begin to react very negatively to the knurling on bars.

    Really creates quite discomfort. Again, I think people HAVE to experiment in order to find out what works for them. There is no carbon copy program, in my opinion, for all-around grip strength.

[ Q ] What are your favorite grip exercises?

    I love thick bar and block weights. Grippers are cool and all, but I get bored of them sometimes. I just happen to be on a good run lately with the grippers since bringing my forearm back from some pretty bad tendonitis.

    Bending is awesome, too, although I take a long time to recover from a heavy session and I don't want to sacrifice the rest of my workouts because I love to train so much.

[ Q ] What kind of starting routine would you recommend for a trainee new to grip training?

    For starting trainees, I would recommend at least a month of 3 or 4 days per week of forearm hypertrophy training, or bodybuilding. I think this sets up a strong foundation for strength gains down the line. This is something I did without knowing it. I was kind of on a forearm-size kick just before reading the rants of Rick Walker back in '02.

[ Q ] Who do you most admire in gripdom?

    I admire Wade G because he has demonstrated stuff that leaves me in awe; The Vigeants because they have dominated me in two separate contests; Steve McGranahan because he has continually gotten stronger since I've known of him; Austin Slater because I think he is a sleeper and has a much better crush than he lets on and never brags; Rick W because he laid it on the line for BFGS, and John Brookfield for writing his books on Grip; Pat Povilaitis because he is undescribable. That's how I want to be.

[ Q ] If you were to start over again with your grip training, what would you do differently?

    I would have upped my gripper frequency. It was not until I did multiple workouts per week with the grippers that I realized I could handle the volume. Also, I would have implemented more extensor work and pronation/supination to maintain lower arm health.

    That bit me hard recently when I developed tennis elbow-like conditions. There's nothing more demoralizing than being too hurt to train. Also, I would have taped the handles on the grippers earlier.

    Taping the handles makes them less rough, and thus I can squeeze them many more times before my skin gets ripped and sensitive. Since doing that, my gains have come faster. Maybe, that's a part of why I can train the grippers more often.

[ Q ] What do you believe is the most difficult grip exercise?

    Wide pinch with small hands. Rob "Midget" Vigeant has small hands and has a tough time with the blob, even though he finishes ahead of me in every contest.

[ Q ] What are some of your personal bests in grip exercises?

    No comment.

[ Q ] What do you believe is the most common mistake made by new grip trainees?

    I would have to say that people do not experiment enough. Experiment with volume, hand positioning, rest periods, recovery time. Every detail and variable must be tweeked constantly to trigger new gains. Don't get "stuck" in a routine.

[ Q ] What do you consider to be the greatest grip feats of all time?

    I consider the greatest grip feats the ones that I have seen in person or seen on video. Wade's pinching displays are ridiculous. Rob "Monkey Hands" Vigeant's thick handle lifting at BFGS was scary. Pat P. destroying red after red just shocks me. David Horne's plate curls.

[ Q ] Do you have any parting advice for readers?

    Take wild claims with a grain of salt. Get creative.

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