Results tagged “blob”

Globe and Blob Lifting - SttB Articles

A quick dose of grip work. Good stuff.

NB : We first looked at this one in the weekly Strength & Fitness Newsletter (part of the Strength Kit). If you'd like to have it sent to you automatically (free!) each week, just add your email here.

Ramstein Blob Challenge - SttB Articles

A fairly unusual approach to lifting the Blob. Good stuff.

NB : We first looked at this one in the weekly Strength & Fitness Newsletter (part of the Strength Kit). If you'd like to have it sent to you automatically (free!) each week, just add your email here.

GripWalking - SttB Articles

I think I've discovered a new word for Webster's Dictionary: GripWalking. My word processor doesn't like it. Well for a number of years carrying small (or large) weights for distance has been used by strength enthusiasts. The "Farmers Walk" is a familiar strongman (300+ lbs) exercise, although I have heard of carrying a "Fat Man" Blob (end of a 100 lb Roundhead 50+ lbs) about 91 feet. As hunter-gatherers 50,000 yrs ago we certainly carried spears and rocks as weapons, so we're made to do this.

That's a bit much for my term GripWalking. I'm talking about < 15 lbs in one hand at a time, switching hands, and walking a couple of miles. Small dumbbells <5 lbs have been used to walk with, although they are held in the usual fashion not requiring a persistent grip effort.

The most common form is to carry 1 or 2 lbs in each hand, not much for gripping. If you bump up the weight (5 to 10 lbs), use a round object that requires grip effort, now you're talking about GripWalking. I've started this after training with many grip tools: hand crushers up to 250#, Blobs, plates sideways, and balls 3" to 5". Various GripWalking objects are seen in this photo:

The steel ball bearings are what I use but are somewhat pricey. They are also used for massage of sore muscles. I started with a 3.5" ball bearing @ 6.4 lbs and have worked up to a 4" @ 9.5 lbs. I have a 5" @ 18.5 lbs, but can't hold it long enough, establishing my limits for GripWalking. Here's what I do normally:

  • Carry 4" ball bearing in one hand, switching as needed.
  • Carry a knapsack with water, towel, cell phone, etc.
  • If you get tired put the weight in the knapsack for a while.
  • I do this about 3 x per week although it varies.
  • Careful at first, it does more than you think for walking and grip.

Review : StrongerGrip Loadable Blob - SttB Articles

Straight to the Bar
Yes, I love the deadlift.
This site - Straight to the Bar - has been around for an incredible 7 years (the first post was on Jan 17th, 2004), and to say I'm grateful is a gross understatement.

Thank you.

There have been some superb articles in that time (my favourites are listed below), as well as training logs, product reviews, forum discussions and of course the twitterchats. It's really been (and continues to be) an incredible ride.

Before we dive in to the list itself, a quick word on the content : while it's quality stuff, there's a lot of it. Feel free to pick out your favourites, bookmark them, add them to Instapaper/Evernote/Pinboard; Stumble them and share them with your friends. Dive in.

In this week's twitterchat we're discussing the many forms of pinch grip training - the equipment, techniques and competitions.

The twitterchat will be an open forum, moderated by Straight to the Bar's Scott Bird (@scottbird) and Body by Long's Bill Long (@bill_long1); both of whom have been training grip for nearly as long as they can remember.

First up a quick definition. What is a pinch grip?

A pinch grip is where an object is held by the thumb pushing towards the fingers (think of carrying a book or newspaper by your side). As Alfred pointed out, it's the thumb that does a lot of the work.

The width of this grip is broken into narrow and wide pinching. All other things being equal, a wide pinch grip is more difficult for the majority of people.

A few examples of pinch gripping :

  • Blob work (video)
  • Plate pinching
  • Hub lifts (video)
  • Anvil lifting
  • Narrow pinching using a coin or steel washer
  • Finger walking with a sledge hammer (video)
  • Jumper cable pinching


Derek Poundstone
Derek Poundstone. Photo by Randall J. Strossen.
A great week here on Straight to the Bar. The highlights :
Blob50 and York Legacy Blobs
Blob50 and York Legacy Blobs.
Thanks to everyone who joined in today's twitterchat with Body by Long's Bill Long (@bill_long1). It really was a fascinating discussion on the many types of pinch training.

A few highlights :

  • 'some indirect methods include plate curls, anvil pinch lifts, plate pinch lifts, finger walking using a sledge hammer and many more'

  • 'pinch lifting will help you lift more weight in the long run'

  • 'how would someone who's just getting into grip strength start?'

  • 'I don't have a TTK but use some jumper cables with rubber bands on them for direct thumb work'

  • 'pinch lifting has carried over in my lifting by increasing my clean and press, deadlifts, bench an more to hold the bar tight.'

  • 'you can make a blockweight if you don't have a blob for the same type of movements'

Overall it was a great discussion. As there were a number of questions we didn't get to, the discussion will be continued in a few weeks (date to be confirmed).

In the meantime, here's a bit more information (and video) on the many things we discussed :

Next week we'll be continuing the discussion on shoulder injuries and rehab with The Rotater's Chris Melton. See you there.

An Introduction to Blobs - SttB Articles

Blob50 and York Legacy Blobs
Blob50 and York Legacy Blobs.
A Blockweight or 'Blob' as it is commonly known, is a single cut head from a dumbbell. A Blob can come in any size, weight or shape depending on which style of dumbbell it has been cut from. The most common are 'hex' head and the aspirin-shaped cast heads. The original 'Blob' and the idea for a training tool, belongs to Richard Sorin and it is this shape, cut from an old 100lb York cast dumbell, which is used in the GNC Grip Gauntlet.
Training with Blobs can build tremendous total hand and grip strength, with particular emphasis on the often underdeveloped thumb and 'pinch grip'. The idea is simple: Pick the Blob off the floor with one hand.

For my own training, which forms the basis of this article, I use heads from York Legacy Dumbbells, although nearly all of the methods can be applied with most other shapes. These are cast iron and have one fairly flat side and a flared side. I have 5 of these ranging from 12.5kg up to 22.5kg in 2.5kg increments, and before getting them had never touched, or even seen a Blob.

My training

To begin with I trained a brief session almost every day, with a combination of single lifts, timed holds and passing it from hand to hand, or around my body. This daily training soon proved excessive so I eased off to 2 or 3 sessions per week. During this time I was doing little or no gripper work, with is my other main grip interest.

It felt most natural for me to place my 4 fingers on the flared side of the Blob and my thumb on the flat side. I soon realised this was in fact the 'easy' way of lifting them and it was more difficult and thus productive, to attempt all the lifts with my thumb on the flared side. Obviously at first it meant backing down to the smaller weights and building the strength back up and then my goal was always lifting the next weight up in this manner.

Note: Your Pinch strength is ultimately determined by your thumb strength.

Blob50 and York Legacy Blobs
Blob50 and York Legacy Blobs.
A great week here on Straight to the Bar. The highlights :

Via Feats of Strength and Power : Jedd making a double blob farmers walk look almost easy. Good stuff.

Blob50 and York Legacy Blobs
Blob50 and York Legacy Blobs.

A Blob50 and a York Legacy head (from a 45kg bell) side-by-side. Photo courtesy grip aficionado Alfie Page.

A great week here on Straight to the Bar. The highlights :

Double Blob Farmer's Walk - SttB Articles

2 x 50lb Blobs, 91'11. Love it.

Nice work Wade.

The Real Thing - SttB Articles

Adam gets his hand on the real thing. Nice one.

Freshly made block weight
Notice how close you must cut from the handle to the head of the bell.
Block weight lifting is a form of pinch grip lifting. It is also a cheap version of the "Blob". A Blob is the end or head of a York dumbbell that has been cut off the handle. The only difference between the Blob and Block weights is the block weight is cut off of a hex dumbbell instead of a York dumbbell. Since there are several forms of block weights and blobs out there, I will only be talking about the hex dumbbell version.

Since you may not want to cut up your good dumbbells, you can go to a garage sale and pick up someone's old rusted or banged up weights. To make a block weight, simply use a hacksaw to cut off the end of your chosen dumbbell. Make sure to place the hacksaw blade as close to the head of the weight as you can. Ensuring the proper blade placement will prevent excess grinding of any possible raw ends. Be patient because it will take you awhile to get through the handle. At least this will give you a good workout!

New block weight
The new Block weight.
Once you finally get through the handle, check the raw edge to see if there are any burrs sticking out. If there are burrs, simply grind them down with a file or bench grinder.

When training with the block weight, you will be using one hand at a time. Your thumb will be the main support while lifting the weight. Your index and middle finger will be the opposing force. Even though your ring finger and pinky can wrap around the weight, they will provide little force for the pinch on this type of weight. Still you will need to use them while you lift the weight. To help prevent slippage, put some chalk on the sides and top of the weight. Remember to chalk your hands up good too. Bend down and pinch the weight, putting the weight deep into the crook of your thumb and index finger. Wrap the rest of your fingers on the other side of the weight and pinch down hard. Stand erect with the weight once you are upright set the weight back down.

Block Weights - SttB Articles

Via Body By Long : Block Weights (Blobs).

A great week here on Straight to the Bar. The highlights :
Single-leg Squat
Nice and deep.
A brilliant week here on Straight to the Bar. The highlights :
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