Name: Steve Reagan
Height: 6' 1"
Date of Feat: 11-06-05
Witness: John Hicks
[ 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 have been lifting off and on since I was a child, probably around the age of 6 I started playing around with an old water filled plastic weight set. I have always had the desire to be big and strong. Maybe I watched too many episodes of The Incredible Hulk as a child... I'm not sure exactly.
I took a serious interest in lifting around age 15. I trained hard for two years and then work took over my life. I finally came back to lifting 7 years later. I've always had to fight to gain weight, so 7 years of not lifting, working too many hours, and skipping meals had my stats at 6' 1" weighing a massive 155 pounds! I was a skeleton.
I was 22 at the time and I decided I couldn't stand being that skinny any more. I weighed more my freshman year of high school than I did at the age of 22! To add insult, I was two inches taller by the time I was 22. I needed to gain some weight and so I started eating right (clean meals and more frequently) and lifting again.
I always tried to lift heavy, but I made a lot of mistakes following the popular bodybuilding routines. I was lifting 6 days a week. My volume was that of a drugged lifter, but I did not know the difference in the beginning. I made good progress the first year despite my lack of knowledge. I went from 155 pounds to 205 pounds, a 50 pound increase in bodyweight.
I managed to get up to 210 a few times and then I would be right back down to 200-205 in a matter of days. I followed that path for a number of years and then found the "Super Squats" book from Ironmind. I actually found the book when I went to buy my grippers! When I started the program, I weighed around 195 and in about 3 months, I was hitting the scales at about 228.
People could not believe I was not on something. I have since come back down to around 220 because my training has been infrequent for the last 6 months. I am planning to make another run on the breathing squats in the near future in hopes of getting up to around 235-240.
The key to gaining size, I'm convinced, is squatting PAST the point where your brain is pleading with your body to stop, and drinking as much milk as you can stomach. Let your heart and guts decide when you've squatted enough, not your brain. The brain will always take the path of least resistance, until you've trained it otherwise.
My workouts now, when I'm lifting, are centered around the squat, bench press, and deadlift, with assistance work for each lift. On occasion, I will do some odd object lifting with a homemade stone and sandbag.
[ Q ] How did you get into grip training?
My brother-in-law, a powerlifter, introduced me to the Ironmind grippers. He was working on closing them, but his primary emphasis was and still is powerlifting. I bought the trainer and #1. I was able to close both on the first day, although the #1 took several attempts before I could close it.
I immediately ordered the #2 and #3. I made good progress that first year and had finally closed the #2. I was following the advice Joe Kinney had written by doing heavy negatives with the #3 to close the #2. It worked. Then I began working on the #3, but I had not stuck to the same advice and had not gotten the next gripper up.
I got the #3 close, about 1/4 of an inch away, but not closed. I had been grip training for about two years when I stumbled on the Gripboard web site. I got the KTA program and in about two weeks I had the #3 closed. For the next month or so, I worked on closing the #3 under the new Ironmind ATM/credit card rule. I certified about two months later in front of Randy Strossen, Magnus Ver Magnusson, and Bryan Neese at the GNC Show of Strength in Atlanta, Georgia.
[ Q ] You are now a GripBoard Mash Monster, what would you recommend to those aspiring to close this gripper?
If you have found that doing heavy negatives on grippers helped your crush strength, then purchase the KTA program. It is worth the price just for the education about the grippers.
[ 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 think it was a little over 2 years. I wasted a lot of time though. I think I could have done it in a year if I'd known what I was doing from the get go.
|View The Video Of Steve
Closing The MMG
[ Q ] What does your current grip routine look like?
I use a KTA inspired program for training grippers, consisting of: Negatives, overcrushes, strap holds, and sometimes filed grippers. I have just made a thick barbell that's about the diameter of the rolling thunder implement. I'm looking forward to incorporating thick bar work into my routine now, since I've never had access to one.
I do some bending, card tearing, rolling thunder, plate pinching. I do a little of everything, but I find I have to concentrate on one thing when I'm trying to reach a specific grip goal.
[ Q ] How has your grip routine changed since you first started training your grip?
I have a better idea of what works for me now. I think the keys to progress are finding out what works for you. There are some generalities in strength training, but you have to learn what works for you in the way of recovery, nutrition, intensity, volume, etc.
[ 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?
As far as training frequency for max gripper attempts, here is my recipe: I do a KTA style workout for 1 week, followed by 1 to 2 days of rest. After these recovery days, I will do another run of KTA and stop all grip training 4 days out from my max gripper attempt.
I think I took 5 days off before I certified on the #3, but I don't think that much time was needed. If you are not training for a specific max effort event, I would stick to training each aspect of grip 1 day a week. Bending, grippers, pinch, thick bar / wrist, etc. Again, these are things that require experimentation.
[ Q ] What are your favorite grip exercises?
I love bending but I need to work on it more. I think thick bar is going to be a lot of fun. Honestly, I think I'm an equal opportunity grip trainee and I love it all.
[ Q ] What kind of starting routine would you recommend for a trainee new to grip training?
I would not recommend going full intensity from the get go. You need to ease into this kind of thing. It is easy to get carried away and go nutty with the volume and frequency, but you have to take it slow unless you want to put yourself on the disabled list. I've learned some mistakes in this area, especially in respect to pinch work and short steel bending.
You can train all aspects of grip a couple of times a week, or you can train each aspect of grip on different days. It just comes down to preference. Once you have built up the intensity slowly and gotten adjusted to grip training, then you can start pushing yourself harder.
Don't max out every workout. You should train grip similar to training any other body part. You should not max out on bench press every week just as you should not go for max attempts on grip exercises every week. The hands can take some abuse, but you have to learn when it's time to back off. Again, getting to know what works for you.
[ Q ] Who do you most admire in gripdom?
The legends of gripdom like Sorin and Brookfield, first come to mind. I have a tremendous amount of respect for the guys that are at the top of this game. People like Tommy Heslep,
Dave Morton, Steve McGrannahan, Pat Povialitis, and Wade Gillingham to name a few. There seems to be a growing pool of those that are on top of the grip game these days. People are learning from each other and constantly taking things to the next level. There really are too many to mention.
[ Q ] If you were to start over again with your grip training, what would you do differently?
I would train more consistently. I get side-tracked on other things (life, work, etc) and my training falls to the wayside. I would have started KTA as soon as I could close the #2 gripper.
[ Q ] What do you believe is the most difficult grip exercise?
Bending and pinch lifts because those are two areas I've yet to excel at.
[ Q ] What are some of your personal bests in grip exercises?
I still consider myself a greenhorn so there are not many I feel are worth mentioning. Closing the #3 under the new Ironmind rules, closing the MM1, ripping a deck of cards, and hub-lifting a 55lb Marcy bumper plate the first time I tried hub lifting (I'm not sure how that plate compares to other deep hub plates though).
Closing The MMG.
[ Q ] What do you believe is the most common mistake made by new grip trainees?
Too much too fast. You have to give yourself time to adjust to volume and/or intensity to prevent injuries.
[ Q ] What do you consider to be the greatest grip feats of all time?
Lifting the inch dumbbell replica, lifting and passing the 50lb blob around the back, pinching 6 10's, closing the #4, bending the Ironmind red nail, pinching two 45 pound plates, and the 45 pound plate hub lift are all very impressive to me.
[ Q ] Do you have any parting advice for readers?
There is a tremendous amount of strength and wisdom that can be acquired by knowing God and studying his word. He has always been there for me when I've called on him, through thick and thin. I encourage you to get to know the Father and the Son, that they may bring peace, strength, and purpose to your life.
When it comes to any aspect of life, you have not failed until you've given up. Keep working at your goals and adjusting them so that they are attainable. Small incremental victories add up to big victories down the road. Moving forward, no matter how small of a step, is always better than moving backwards. Some days you crawl towards the finish line, some days you sprint towards it, but most days YOU make the decision to crawl or sprint. Good luck.