Name: Sam Solomi
Weight: 240 lbs
Date of Feat: 08/26/08
Witness: Steve Gardener
How Long Grip Training: 3 years
Current Grip Training Program: I focus mainly on grippers, and generally train these at least every other day. I focus on multiple singles or attempts and use high volume. I also pinch once a week using the Euro pinch and throw in some thick bar work now and again.
Other Training Info: I focus on the big movements like squats, deadlifts and presses. Sticking to the basics - as opposed to long winded routines - has always given me the best gains in size and strength.
[ 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 lifting at 14 because, like any kid that age, I just wanted to get 'big guns', ha-ha. I trained for a year or 2 without having much of a clue what I was doing and just used to do various curls and chest exercises and not a lot else.
I met a local 105kg strongman competitor when I was 16 and he helped me with forming a better routine including all the big exercises like squats and deadlifts and I started training with strength in mind instead. I still do strongman stuff these days from time to time and have done a few local contests.
[ Q ] How did you get into grip training?
I bought the Ironmind grippers after reading up on how to get a better grip for farmers walks and other similar events that are grip dependant. It started there really... getting hooked wasn't hard! Grippers are especially addictive because there is always a harder one to close and therefore there is always a goal you can aim towards.
[ Q ] You are now a GripBoard Mash Monster, what would you recommend to those aspiring to close this gripper?
Focus on training with grippers. You aren't going to gain much gripper wise without paying attention to them. In my opinion if you want to get stronger at something do it. Play around with positioning the gripper in the hand, find out what feels right. Mix up your training routine so it doesn't get stale.
Do lots of singles with a gripper you can close all the time to 'grease the groove'. Practice setting grippers powerfully so it becomes second nature. Squeeze as hard as you can every time, even on warm-ups, and try and crush the handles like you are trying to crush through them on every attempt, don't just stop when they touch! Don't neglect total body training either! And squat often!
[ 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 6 months. I closed the #2 as soon as I learned how to set a gripper properly and the #3 a few months later. I am not yet a certified captain of crush.
[ Q ] What does your current grip routine look like?
I focus mainly on grippers, and generally train these at least every other day. I focus on multiple singles or attempts and vary the volume.
For example one day I may do 3-4 singles on the elite then a few days later 10-12 singles or sometime triples with a #3. And then a couple days later or when I feel I have fully recovered I may do 2 or 3 attempts at a BBSE or #4. I also do lots of rep work with the #3.
I train pinch once a week using the Euro pinch and throw in some thick bar work now and again. I do a lot of heavy extensor work. This is very very important for recovery.
[ Q ] How has your grip routine changed since you first started training your grip?
Quite a lot! I am a fan of mixing up routines. Don't stick to the same training idea for too long, hands get used to it really quickly. Shock them and they respond by getting stronger.
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?
Yes. Personally I get on best with higher volume. In the past I have trained grippers every day. I closed the #3.5 for the first time with a deep set while I was training every day. I gain very little off low volume. Everyone is different though.
[ Q ] What are your favorite grip exercises?
Grippers, Euro pinch.
[ Q ] What kind of starting routine would you recommend for a trainee new to grip training?
Practice the grip exercises -do loads of lighter singles and reps. Don't always go for big PR closes or lifts. Don't go head first into negatives with a #3 when you are trying to close a #2, build a solid base first. And as I touched on above, make sure you train total body exercises as well, especially the big compound exercises.
[ Q ] Who do you most admire in gripdom?
[ Q ] If you were to start over again with your grip training, what would you do differently?
Higher volume, and crushed like my life depended on it every time I picked up a gripper.
[ Q ] What do you believe is the most difficult grip exercise?
Anything thick bar as well as blob lifting. These have always been hard work for me, but all the more reason to work at them twice as hard!!
| What Are Blobs?
Blobs are typically one head cut from a 100 pound dumbbell used for curling.
The name was created by gripping specialist Richard Sorin.
[ Q ] What are some of your personal bests in grip exercises?
10 parallel reps with MM2 replica, 13 parallel reps on a #3, closing a 3.54 rated elite with each hand at the European Grip Championships, TNS close MM2 replica, TNS close #2 with 2 fingers.
[ Q ] What do you believe is the most common mistake made by new grip trainees?
[ Q ] What do you consider to be the greatest grip feats of all time?
Joe Kinney's #4 close. Any lift of the millennium dumbbell. Jedd Johnson's blob curl by the face.
[ Q ] Do you have any parting advice for readers?
Think of something that motivates you before you train. Save any aggression for training and use it. If you have a bad day at work, or something goes wrong, take it out on the grippers! And, don't forget to visit the #1 site for grip strength, The GripBoard (www.gripboard.com).