Name: Theo Burggraaff
Height: 175 cm
Weight: 108 kg
Date of Feat: 12-01-05
Witness: Sybo Offenga
[ Q ] Could you tell us a little about your background in lifting?
I started lifting weights about 6 years ago, when I was 16. Before that I played tennis and judo. Grip had never occurred to me so far.
I was just lifting weights because it felt good and I easily got results. Throughout my regular training I also tried rugby for a while, but after two injuries in the ribs, I called it quits.
[ Q ] How did you get into grip training?
I got into grip training through Bodybuilding.com. I always read about mash monsters, and what they did. Did some searching around the web, came across the Gripboard and Ironmind, and was immediately hooked.
[ Q ] You are now a GripBoard Mash Monster, what would you recommend to those aspiring to close this gripper?
I would like to say: 'Just rumble and learn along the way.' Because that is how I did it. But it should probably be wiser to take it easy in the beginning, follow advice from more experienced grip trainers and things should go just fine.
[ 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?
About 5 months. I could close the #1 and #2 first try, but the #3 was a different story. When I first felt that gripper, it felt like a squeezing a brick.
[ Q ] What does your current grip routine look like?
I like to participate in contests, so I try to train my grip as overall as possible. Do 'event' training, like the V-bar, 2-hand pinch, grippers of course, and the occasional bending... Can't say I love bending. I mix things up, but most of the time my grip routine will be like a 2 days on 2 days off routine.
[ Q ] How has your grip routine changed since you first started training your grip?
Like many others may have done too, I went berserk on the grippers. This is not the best idea to do, because the grippers/grip training can injure you if you don't handle them carefully enough.
I wouldn't do anything different if I could start again, although I would have liked to start training my grip at an earlier age.
[ 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?
It's the glove that fits the hand. You learn through trial and error, really. So there is no real advice I can give, except that you should listen to your body and especially your hands. If they are sore, it's sometimes wiser to just give them a rest. You can also bite your way through it, but that's a different story...
[ Q ] What are your favorite grip exercises?
Apollon's Axle and grippers.
[ Q ] What kind of starting routine would you recommend for a trainee new to grip training?
Start out slow. Most of the beginners will start out with grippers, and learn their way through the other exercises, so as far as grippers goes, I'd say: Workout 3 times a week, do a warm-up with an easy gripper, and take a harder gripper you can rep.
|View The Video Of Theo
Closing The MMG
Aim for 5 sets of 5 reps, and when you can do this, try the next gripper up. Learn about other exercises, and add them to your program to build all around hand strength.
[ Q ] Who do you most admire in gripdom?
Any #4 closer.
[ Q ] If you were to start over again with your grip training, what would you do differently?
[ Q ] What do you believe is the most difficult grip exercise?
For me it's bending. Instead of it, I lever a lot to keep strong wrists. You are only as strong as your weakest link.
[ Q ] What are some of your personal bests in grip exercises?
When it comes to training, I am not impressed by myself that much that I feel I can impress others with it. I always want to do better even if I did good.
[ Q ] What do you believe is the most common mistake made by new grip trainees?
Trying to much and passing by their goals and eventually get discouraged and quit. Set a big goal for yourself, and try to reach it by setting smaller goals. Don't get distracted, tunnel vision, no other bla bla, and you will reach your goal.
[ Q ] What do you consider to be the greatest grip feats of all time?
Watching Joe Kinney close a #4 (on video).
[ Q ] Do you have any parting advice for readers?
It's never too late to learn about grip strength, and your hands are the most important asset your body has. Some would not agree but considering strength training they are.
Developing them to your potential and beyond, will help you achieve other goals along the line, and you'll be thankful you started training them at the Gripboard.