Monday, May 30, 2022

3 x 3 x 3

3 X 3 X 3 Excerpt
Geoff Nuepert 

The first "3" = Frequency. Three times a week. 

The second "3" = Exercises. Compounds:
Bench Press
Overhead Press
Hang Snatch Pull
Front Squat
Power Clean/Hang Clean
Push Press

The third "3" = Programming. 

The 3 P's of Programming - 

1) Pick 3 exercises

Pick a leg dominant exercise. 
Pick an upper body push. 
Pick an upper body pull. 
Do this for each workout.

So, Day 1 is: 
A) Deadlift
B) Bench Press
C) Chinup

From there you need to make sure you . . . 

2) Prioritize and Rotate Your Exercises

What does that mean? It means don't start with the same emphasis or focus each workout (unless you're trying to bring up a weakness). For example, you may start with lower body one day, an upper body pull he next, and an upper body push the third. By rotating your exercises you ensure you pay equal attention to the major areas of your body. 

Here's how you would set this up: 

Day 1 is - 
A) Deadlift (lower body)
B) Bench Press (upper body push)
C) Chinup (upper body pull)

Day 2 may look like this - 
A) Dip (upper body push)
B) Barbell Row (upper body pull)
C) Squat (lower body)

And do the same for Day 3 - 
A) Chinup (upper body pull) 
B) Hang Clean (lower body) 
C) Push Press (upper body push) 

3) Sets & Reps

On sets: When I was a young strength coach, I used to spend Saturdays with my weightlifting coach. He was trained by the Soviets when he lived in Cuba. One day I asked him what the absolute best method for strength and muscle gains was. (I can't believe I'm just giving this away -- it works so well it's crazy! It's so simple, so ho-hum and run of the mill most people will overlook its simplicity in favor of something more complicated, so I guess I'm fine.)

He ripped off the bottom of the gym sign-in log and wrote down the following equation: 

x/5, x+5/5, x+10/5

 - x is the weight
 - /5 is the number or reps (just a sample)
 - +5 means add 5 pounds to your original weight
 - +10 means add 10 pounds to your original weight

For the next workout, you'd do the following: 

x+5/5, x+10/5, x+15/5

And you'd keep adding 5 pounds to the top set for each and every workout. Simple. Elegant. And it works. And I've kept that burned in my memory for almost 15 years.

So that  means. ALL YOU NEED TO DO is 3 work sets of each exercise.

Yup just three. No need to do more. Sure, you can and should do warmup sets, but no need to get carried away. Two or three sets should be fine, especially on the upper body exercises. You may need to do more for things like squats and deadlifts that require your technique to  be dialed in.

Your first set is lighter, the second is medium, and your third set is the "top" set of the day, where you attempt to better your previous performance. 


Two reasons: 

1) Psychological: It's really hard to focus on more than one strong, heavy set. And doing so can lead to a diminished desire to train, which is the first onset sight of overtraining. 

2) Physiological: To put on muscle, you've got to assimilate protein turnover. This is done by making the muscle contract against resistance -- or lifting weights. Too many muscle contractions and you reach a point of diminishing returns -- a point where you deplete your body of the necessary anabolic hormones -- namely testosterone, and it has to work harder to repair itself. Training in this state can and will lead to injury and overtraining. 

On Reps: How many reps should you do? Well, I've always grown like a week off of heavy weights and low reps -- 3 sets of 3-6 reps. But that's just me. Some guys get really strong but don't grow muscle with such low volume. 

So what should you do? Conveniently, you have three primary muscle types -- fast twitch, fast twitch oxidative, and slow twitch. Each of these corresponds to  the different parts of your body's metabolism -- or how it uses energy. All the science behind this is saying if that because you have different fiber types, and you want to maximize all of your muscle growth, you should train in different rep ranges to stimulate the growth mechanisms in each muscle fiber type. 

Here's how that looks: 

Type 2b: 1-6 reps (although for muscle building it's best to stay in the 4-6 rep range. 

Type 2z: 6-15 reps.

Type 1: 15-20+ reps.

Pretty simple. Here's how you'd plug that into your workouts. Take a look at Day 1: 

Deadlift, 3 x 6
Bench Press, 3 x 8-10
Pull Up, 3 x 15 

On rests: How long do you rest between sets to achieve maximum muscle growth? The real answer is as little as you have to while still being able to lift the load. But according to our science, we can actually enforce come pretty strict rest periods to maximize our growth. Here's what routinely works for my athletes, and me: 

Type 2b: 2-3 minutes (the heavier the load, the more rest)
Type 2a: 2 minutes
Type 1: 30-60 seconds

And here's how you might integrate that into your program:

Deadlift, 3 x 6, 3 minutes rest
Bench Press, 3 x 8-10, 90 seconds rest
Pullups, 3 x 12-15, 60 seconds rest

Now, you don't HAVE to do these reps and rest periods. I personally prefer heavier weights and longer rests. That's where I've always made the majority of my growth. However, sometimes I'll mix and match, but I've always found that lifting heavy, 3 x 6 with 2 minutes of rest is phenomenal way to pack on muscle. Now, that's because I'm what's called a fast twitch dominant individual. I tend to grow off heavy weight and lower reps. 

You may not be. I suggest you play around with several different cycles and see what works best for you. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I do exercises not listed in your Top Ten? 

Sure. Do any variation of the exercises listed. For example: 
Incline press instead of bench press.
RDL instead of deadlift.
Towel chins instead of pullups. You can also do some unilateral exercises like lunges too. 

Are you suggesting that I should do exercises like Hang Cleans and Hand Snatch Pulls for high reps? 

No. And yes. Let me explain. Using a bar, this would be a real stupid idea for most people. Your form would disintegrate and you'd most likely get hurt. (Although Peary Rader, founder of IronMan magazine swore by them for mass building). However, if you have a strong background in the Olympic lifts you could get away with it. However, you can use other implements like kettlebells and sandbags for the higher reps and you will pack on a fair amount of muscle. 

3) Can I just use the lower reps and longer rests like you do? 

Sure can. Just make sure you're seeing the results you're truly looking for and not just being lazy. 

4) What about dumbbells? You don't mention anything about dumbbells. Should I use them? 

Many bodybuilders swear that dumbbells are the best for growth. While it is true that dumbbells force your body to work "harder" because they move more freely in all three dimensions, opposed to a barbell that works in just two, I still prefer the barbell. 

And that's because you can move more total weight -- and do more mechanical work than you can with just about any other tool. 

5) What should I eat? 

The bottom line is this: if you want to grow a lot, you've got to eat a lot. Make sure you include the following: meat, eggs, potatoes, rice -- all good mass-gaining foods. Add fruits and veggies and again, it's just that simple. 

6) Do you recommend any supplements? 

Yeah, sleep. Seriously. Supplement your growth with an added 20-30 minute nap a day. It's free and it works. 

Enjoy Your Lifting! 


Back Training - Vic Richards (1989)


When I was 16, every day I'd pass a bunch of guys working out in a garage gym. They'd tease me about joining them for a workout. I really didn't know what bodybuilding was then. The only weight training I'd done was an occasionally workout with the football team. But I started dabbling at this garage gym anyway.

16 Years Old

My dabbling gradually became a regular habit, but at times I'd disappear from the gym for a month at a time. After I'd trained six months, my friends, telling me how much potential I had persuaded me to compete in my first show. It was the Teenage America Cup. I was 17 and ended up placing second to 19-year old Rich Gaspari.  

That was seven years ago. Training has become one of the most important things in my life. I need to train in order to be me. The challenge of perfecting my physique is not only a physical quest, but a mental and spiritual one as well. I've come to demand perfection, which by my definition means being satisfied with yourself. I'm still on my way. Like they say, "Drink no wine before its time." 

My Back Workout

I train by instinct. Every one of my workouts is guided by how I feel at a given time in the gym. I don't usually count reps, but instead go by how the muscle feels. I believe in using heavy weights with proper form. The workout I describe below is typical, but I don't always follow this pattern. Sometimes I'll go into the gym and do the same exercise for two hours if it feels good to me. I go into a workout with a general idea, but once I'm in the gym I let my body tell me the rest. You have to become your own expert. 

Pulldowns Behind Neck

I often begin my back workout with pulldowns behind the neck for 10-15 sets. I increase the weight each set until I feel that I'm about half or three-quarters of the way done, and then decrease the weight for the remaining sets. I treat each set separately; and do anywhere from 6-15 repetitions. I also like to move the weight at different speeds, sometimes very slowly and sometimes very explosively, because it gives me a different feel. Getting a good stretch at the top and a full contraction at the bottom is important. I try to keep my back slightly arched and pull the weight down with my lats. I call my traps and rear deltoids into play near the bottom position.

Pulldowns to the Front

The pulldown to the front is one of my favorite back exercises. This exercise allows me the flexibility to vary my grip from wide to narrow, using a V-type handle and a standard pulldown bar. This lets me pull either to my navel or to my chest, which works different areas of my back. I do 10-12 sets, mixing grip positions and repetitions, once again in the 6-15 range. Don't lean back or rock too much because that will take the stress off the lats, even if you use a heavier weight. 

Seated Cable Rows

The most important thing to remember about any type of rowing is to use proper form and avoid putting too much stress on your lower back. Concentration is the key to preventing injury. That means no bouncing and having complete control of the weight at all times. Sure you should use a complete range of motion and use a weight that forces you to contract the muscle very hard, but never let your workouts be overinfluenced by ego. As you pull the weight up think about arching your low back and bringing your chest out. I vary my sets, but they can go as high as 10-15 once I start varying grip positions. 

One Arm Dumbbell Rows

I like the one arm dumbbell row because it allows me to use heavy weights with less chance of back injury. Even so, proper lifting technique must prevail. This exercise works the lower lats as well as the traps and rear deltoids, depending on where you pull the dumbbell up to. About 6 hard sets here do the job, with the usual wide variety of repetitions and speed of movement. On a rare occasion I'll substitute (or add) T-bar rows, but I do them sparingly because generally I like to avoid anything that could cause injury.     


My eating habits are based on the same basic principle that I apply to my training -- instinct. In a nutshell, my diet is high in complex carbohydrates, moderate in protein and low in fats. I don't anything for at least two hours before I train. 

I generally eat five or six times a day, but sometimes I'll eat as often as 10 times or as little as one or two depending on how I feel. After my morning workout I'll prepare a a large pot of rice (about two pounds) with about 25 egg whites. I'll eat my fill at about 10 a.m. and then have another portion at about 2 or so. I may eat some fruit or something very light after that, but generally I'll wait to eat more until  after my afternoon training. In the evening, after training I'll usually eat fish and more rice or a yam, followed by some fruit and oatmeal later in the evening. I don't eat junk food or sweets because I don't like them. In fact, even orange juice is too sweet for my taste. 

Vic Richards Back Workout

Pulldown Behind the Neck, 10-15 x 6-15 reps
Pulldown to the Front, 10-12 x 6-15
Seated Cable Row, 10-12 x 6-15
One Arm DB Row, 6 x 6-15
T-Bar Row, 6 x 6-15

Enjoy Your Lifting! 



Bench Press Warmup -- Nicholas Gallo


Can You Do 10 Pushups?

The bench press is a very advanced exercise that you should not rush into with poor form. There is one test that I recommend to people and that is, can you perform 10 pushups maintaining optimal form? 

If you can perform 10 bodyweight pushups while maintaining great form, then yes, you have a good base to begin bench pressing. 

I do, however, want you to try this, and I will go over the correct pushup form even if you believe you can already do it. Learning this is beneficial because when you do a pushup with optimal form, you are learning the optimal form for bench pressing. 

First off, when you go into a pushup position, you want your hands to be at shoulder width, or preferably a little wider. Your hands should be directly under your shoulders. Most people do those two steps correctly. 

Let's focus on head positioning for a second. A lot of times I see that a person's head will come forwards and put a lot of strain on the neck. it's important to make sure that your head remains in line with your shoulders, if you were to look at yourself from the side. Now, I will say that depending on who you talk to, they prefer that you look forward as you do pushups. From an injury prevention standpoint and for the sake of perfecting this motion to bench press correctly, I would not recommend that here.

Now let's look at your shoulder position. Are you shrugging your shoulders up towards your head, or are they down? You want to make sure that your shoulders stay down; a popular cue I like to use is, "Tuck your shoulder blades into your back pockets." If you keep your shoulders shrugged upwards, you are putting yourself at rick for a shoulder injury. 

As you descend and go towards the ground, your elbows will bend and go out from the side of your body. A big mistake I see often is that as a person is doing pushups, their elbows will really flare out from the sides, which puts tremendous strain on the shoulders. A good rule of thumb to aim for is, as you descend to the ground, try to maintain a 45-degree angle from your elbows to your body. 

As you move further down the body, common mistakes that I see are that people allow their hips to sag and their back to arch. In order to prevent this, i give people a cue to engage their core. I commonly tell them, "Try to pull your bellybutton toward your spine." Doing this engages a muscle known as the Transversus Abdominis and creates a rigid spring. Another key thing to do is to engage your glutes. "Try to squeeze your butt cheeks together," is a cue I give for this.

If you have the ideal setup and are following all of these directions i have given above, it's time to try 10 pushups. I see a lot of people that rush through these, which is good if you are going for speed, but it is often at the expense of optimal form. Maintaining optimal form, I like to descend towards the ground at a count of "One Mississippi," and raise up at the same count. This is a good amount of time that shows that you have control.

Bench Press Warmup 

You can do 10 pushups with optimal form and are almost ready to do the bench press. One thing I see commonly is that people are not warming up properly. What many people don't realize is that the bench press can be very risky for your shoulders if they are not warmed up/strengthened properly. 

The area of the shoulder that can be injured during this exercise is commonly known as the Rotator Cuff. It's a group of four small muscles: Teres Minor, Infraspinatus, Supraspinatus, and Subscapularis. These muscles all have individual actions, but their main function is to work as a unit to stabilize the shoulder. If you have weak stabilization at the shoulder joint, then you are not only limited in the amount of weight you are able to lift, but you are also putting yourself at a HUGE risk for injury.

There is another area that I like to include in the warmup: the Scapula, also known as the Shoulder Blade. A lot of the movement at the shoulder depends on scapular motion; therefore, some of these exercises also include scapular motion. The scapula is extremely important, especially when dealing with posture. Kim et al. determined in a study that, "These finding suggest that the elastic band exercise program used in the study is effective for lengthening the pectoralis major and correcting rounded shoulders and forward head posture." This means that with the regular use of elastic bands in their study, people were able to correct their posture with simple band exercises. Since ideal posture helps prevent injury in the bench press, this warmup routine will target that. 

To begin with, do 10 minutes of cardiovascular training just to get the blood flowing. I personally jog on a treadmill or do some type of jump roping. Anything to get things moving and to feel more limber. Next, what I like to do and what I recommend for people is to grab a resistance band. All resistance bands are different and their color scheme refers to different resistances, so I recommend that you choose a very easy one to begin with.

Band Pull Aparts - Palms Down

The first exercise that I like to begin with is known as the Band Pull Apart with the palms down. I really like this exercise because it focuses mainly on the scapular motion I was referring to earlier and strengthens the upper back, which most people are deficient in. It is also providing some activation for areas in the back of the should3er, which is often overlooked in weight lifting. 

1) To begin, grasp a resistance band straight in front of you with your palms facing downward at approximately shoulder width. Allow your shoulders to round slightly. You want your elbows completely straight in this position, with no bend in your arms. 

2) Now, as the name suggests, you want to pull the band apart by moving your hands out laterally to your sides while maintaining straight elbows.

3) As you are moving your arms to your sides, you want to be sure that you are pinching your shoulder blades. I commonly say, "As if you are trying to hold a pencil between them," as a cue. 

4) Pull the band apart until it touches your mid-chest and then allow the band to come back to the starting position under control.

When you round the shoulders during this exercise, it allows your shoulder blades to perform a motion known as protraction. As you pull the band apart, you want to squeeze your shoulder blades together. Squeezing the shoulder blades together allows your scapula to perform a motion known as retraction. Just like the pushup form, you want to make sure you are not shrugging your shoulders toward your head while you perform the exercise. Another common mistake people make is that they are doing these too fast and not controlling the band. It is recommended to do 10-15 repetitions of this exercise.

Band Pull Apart - Palms Up

The next exercise is nearly the same as the previous one, except your palms are now facing the ceiling. 

1) To begin, grip the resistance band straight out in front of you with your palms facing upward at approximately shoulder width. Allow your shoulders to round slightly. You want your elbows completely straight in this position, with no bend in your arms. 

2) Like the prior exercise, pull the band apart by moving your hands out laterally to your sides and maintaining straight elbows.

3) Be sure to pinch the shoulder blades as you are moving your arms out to the sides.

4) Pull the band apart until it touches your mid chest and then allow the band to come back to the starting position under control.

When you perform this variation, you are allowing your shoulders to do a common motion known as external rotation, which is a function of the Teres Minor and Infraspinatus of the Rotator Cuff. Therefore, with this exercise you are not only warming up your scapulae, but you are also providing some grat rotator cuff strengthening. It is recommended to do 10-15 repetitions of this exercise. 

Band Pull Aparts - Overhead

Another band pull apart exercise I like to do is virtually the same as the top two except, instead of starting with the band straight out in front of you, it is now overhead and slightly forward. 

1) To begin, grip the resistance band with your palms facing upward or approximately shoulder width. You want your elbows completely straight in this position with no bend in your arms. 

2) Now, as I mentioned before, you want the starting position of the band to be overhead and slightly forward. 

3) Next, you will move your arms to your sides as in the prior two exercises. 

4) Be sure to be pinching your two shoulder blades together as in the prior two exercises. 

5) Pull the band apart until it touches your upper chest and then allow the band to come back to the starting position under control.     

This exercise works on a motion known as scapular depression when you are lowering the band, and scapular elevation when you are allowing it to return to the starting position. When you pull the band towards your body, you are activating a muscle known as the lower trapezius, which is often overlooked in training. This muscle being deficient can cause the scapula to move abnormally and lead to problems. Like before, it is recommended to do 10-15 repetitions of this exercise. 

No Money - Palms Up

This next exercise is known commonly as the "No Money" exercise. It focuses on a shoulder motion known as external rotation that most people are weak with.

1) To begin, bend your arms so that they are both making a 90-degree angle. 

2) Now grab the resistance band with your palms facing up.

3) Rotate your hands outward, away from each other, while you pinch your shoulder blades together and down. Be sure to maintain contact with your elbows to your body.

4) Then allow the band to come back to the starting position under control. 

If you are doing this exercise correctly, you will feel tiny muscles burning in the back of your shoulders and shoulder blades. A common mistake is that as a person fatigues, their elbows are not against their body. Be sure to keep them in contact with your sides for maximum activation of the proper muscles. It is recommended to do 10-15 repetitions of this exercise. 

Shoulder External Rotation with Band

This is an isolation exercise that targets the same area that was being worked in the previous exercise; however, instead of both arms working at once, you will work one at a time. 

1) To start, anchor a resistance band by either closing it in a door or by tying it to something stable. 

2) To strengthen the right arm. your left side will be facing the end of the band anchored. You will be gripping the band in your right hand. 

3) For the starting position, your right arm should be across your body.

4) Next, you will move your right arm out to the side like you did in the prior exercise, maintaining your right elbow touching your side.

5) Then allow the band to come back to the starting position under control.

6) After you complete 10-15 repetitions, switch the band to the other hand and complete the same steps. 

Shoulder Internal Rotation with Band

This is another great isolation exercise; however, you are doing the opposite motion of the prior exericse.

1) To start, anchor a resistance band by either closing it in a door or by tying it to something stable. 

2) To strengthen the right arm, your right side will be facing the end of the band anchored. You will be gripping the band in your right hand with it. 

3) For the starting position, your right hand should be directly in front of you, gripping the band.

4) Next, you will move your right arm toward the inside of your torso with the arm across your body.

5) Then allow the band to come back to the starting position under control. 

6) After you complete a set of 10-15 repetitions, switch the band to the other hand and complete the same steps. 

Internal rotation is another action completed by the rotator cuff muscle Subscapularis; therefore, I like this exercise to get that muscle engaged and warmed up.

Serratus Pushups 

The final exercise that I recommend for people to warm up with is known as a Serratus Pushup. This exercise is done by maintaining the same optimal pushup form I went over earlier, but there is a slight variation to include the Serratus Anterior, which is often an overlooked muscle. its primary function is to help the scapula maintain an optimal position during movement. If this muscle is not properly included in your training regimen, it can lead to a condition known as scapular winging. 

1) To begin, go into the correct pushup position as before.

2) While you descend to the ground, pinch your shoulder blades together. 

3) As you press to the top of the pushup, allow your shoulder blades to separate and allow your shoulders to round forward. 

4) Complete this for 10 repetitions. 

This exercise does not only warm up your serratus anterior muscles, but it also allows your chest and other bench press muscles to warm up. If this exercise becomes too difficult when you include the movements  for the serratus anterior, you can start by performing this exercise on your elbows. If you do this on your elbows, be sure to still follow the correct pushup setup. 

Enjoy Your Lifting! 


Sunday, May 29, 2022

Grip! (1992)


Gary Stitch  

The mark of a strongman is his grip, so it's no accident that some of the most memorable stories in strength history involve feats of hand strength. While discussions of grip strength naturally lead to tales of old-timers, there are some modern day strongmen who bear watching. Let's meet four of them. 

One of the most visible of the modern grip men is Gary "The Gripper" Stitch, who specializes on the standard grip machine and is the world's best performer in this event. At 5' 9.5" tall and about 200 pounds, Gary holds the current right and left handed world records on the grip machine, with 310 and 260 pounds respectively -- a far cry from the 50 or so pounds you're likely to see loaded on one of these machines in your local gym. Be forewarned, though, that the grip machine can be a relatively poor test of pure hand strength because a skilled practitioner can essentially perform a seated one-hand shrug that passes for a feat of strength. 

Even though Gary is best known for his grip machine world record, he performs another exhibition of grip strength that actually seems more impressive to his fellow grip men: Holding an IRONMAN Super Gripper in front of his chest, he can close it in its toughest position using only his two thumbs. Rumor has it that the Stitch household doesn't need a bottle opener.  

While not strictly a grip man, Steve Sadicario, a.k.a. the Mighty Stefan, is a professional strongman in the old time tradition who must also be counted among those who have unusual strength from the elbow to the fingertips. The compactly built, 5'6", 190 pound Mighty Stefan performs a variety of classic strongman feats in the tradition of the Mighty Atom and Slim the Hammerman. The Mighty Atom originally inspired Steve to become a professional strongman, and Slim the Hammerman personally instructed Steve when he was first starting out.

A good number of Sadicario's feats primarily involve the hands and wrists. For example, bending 60-penny nails and tearing a deck of cards in half are staples in his routine, and his most impressive feat is breaking a piece of No. 8 jack chain in his bare hands. Lest you dismiss these accomplishments, however, remember that on one in any of the Mighty Stefan's audiences has been able to perform them.

Another professional strongman who excels in a variety of feats of strength, with an emphasis on hand and wrist power, is 6'1" John Brookfield. The mild mannered Brookfield is a man to consider betting heavily on if there were ever a decathlon of hand and wrist strength movements -- especially if endurance, as well as pure strength, were factors. And beyond his impressively versatile skills John has performed a feat of hand strength that strength historian David P. Willoughby considered to be outright extraordinary: Brookfield can tear a chunk the size of a quarter out of the center of a full deck of cards! 

Not that this is all John can do with cards. He also tears an entire deck in the box easier than some people can open their mail, and he has torn two full decks in half at once.

Brookfield got started in the hand strength arena because, while his weight training had allowed him to develop good all around strength, he felt his grip was lagging. Not only did John set out to correct this situation, be he was determined to develop the world's strongest grip. That was several years ago. Since then he has moved relentlessly toward his goal.

John's feats include bending forty 60-penny nails in less than a minute and bending 378 of them in half in less than two hours -- both of which are world record performances. John has also bent two 60-penny nails at once, another bending feat that might well be the best in the world. If the sight of 60-penny nails -- six inches long and 1/4 inch in diameter -- doesn't impress you, take a look at the 10-by-3/8-inch 100-penny nails John can bend in half anytime. Since he can also bend and break horseshoes at will, you probably won't be surprised to learn that he can wrist curl more than 300 pounds for reps even though he doesn't specialize in them. If we had to pick the t op all around performed in feats of hand and wrist strength, John Brookfield would get our nod. 

Without a doubt, crushing strength is the most popular and dramatic method for testing grip men, and to recognize the ultimate performers in this category IronMind Enterprises 

has created The Captains of Crush, an honor roll for ultimate grip men. 

Let's meet the first man named to this elite group, the man who most likely has the strongest grip in the world today -- Richard Sorin. 


From going at it in a competitive handshake to comparing performances on a dynamometer, a man's crushing power is usually taken as the measure of his grip; and while Richard Sorin excels in many feats of hand strength, it's his crushing ability that truly puts the 6'5.5", 270 pounder in a class by himself. 

For more than 25 years the standard measure of crushing grip has been the mega-duty handgrippers made by Warren Tetting, first for Peary Rader and now for IronMind Enterprises. The No. 1 (heavy duty) stops nearly everyone who tries it, even men like Gary Stitch and Mighty Stefan can only do about 10 reps with it. Closing the No. 2 (extra heavy) is in an entirely different leagure and requires the grip of someone at the level of John Brookfield. And the No. 3 (super) -- to the best of our knowledge at the time of this writing -- can only be closed by Richard Sorin. Since the average strength athlete will barely budge the No. 3 gripper, it might be easier to appreciate Richard's crushing strength is you know that he can do 34 complete, consecutive repetitions with the No. 2 gripper, which he can also close using just two fingers. 

Those of you who are toiling to close the IRONMAN Super Gripper with its two springs in the toughest position might get a kick out of knowing that Richard can do that with two fingers. The other day he set up one with four springs in the toughest position and closed it like it was nothing. As John Brookfield said, "I believe you could search the world over and not find anybody to match Richard's crushing strength.

Even so, crushing is not all Richard can do with his hands. He can, in fact, perform a wide range of feats, but let's concentrate on a certain impossible pinch gripping feat he can do.

The classic mark of an authentic strongman's pinch grip is to pinch grip two York 35 pound plates together, smooth sides out. Almost nobody can co this, but Richard Sorin first performed the feat when he was a mere 12 years old. Two giant steps more difficult -- and a feat that in all likelihood you will never see anyone do -- is the same pinch grip but with two of the narrow York 45-pound plates that were introduced in 192. Yet another two giant steps more difficult is an impossible feat of pinch gripping: pinch gripping a pair of the old style, pre-1972 York 45's. Not only are these plates much wider, but they have very thin rims so that they must be squeezed together than much hared or they will come crashing down. Richard can do a full deadlift with these old 45's and swing his arm back and forth while pinching them. Now, that's incredible. 

Feats of hand strength tie the iron game to its colorful past, and they know little bounds in terms of size, shape, gender or age of their practitioners. So start squeezing, and maybe you'll be the next to join the Captains of Crush. 

Enjoy Your Lifting!  

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