Results tagged “axle”

Derek Poundstone - SttB Articles

Derek Poundstone
Derek Poundstone. Photo by Randall J. Strossen.

Via IronMind : Derek and the Axle.

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

Another great clip from the guys at Animal Strength. Good stuff.

Grip Training Day - SttB Articles

Here's another glimpse of Adam's grip training - a superb mix. Especially the short axle. Love it.

Following last year's carnage, Mighty Joe has assembled a superb grip corner in his workout shed. Note the home-made 2" V-Bar and 2" axle. Excellent.

345 Axle Clean and Jerk - SttB Articles

Continental Clean & Jerk with a 345lb axle. Nice one.

Nick McKinless - SttB Articles

Nick McKinless. Photo by Steve Gardner.

Strongman Nick McKinless returning to the deadlift with a 250kg axle pull. Using 90kg plates, of course. Nice one.

This month's collaboration with Run to Win's Blaine Moore - Things which deserve more attention - continues with a look at one of my favourite areas of training, the forearms.

Whether you're after some extra mass, iron bar strength or the pumped, veiny look that Ronnie Coleman has been showing off for years; forearm training deserves to be taken seriously. This article looks at several ways to do just that.

The primary movements

The muscles of the forearms control several movements of the wrists and elbows, and the relevant exercises all move the hands or bend the arms in some way.

For the sake of simplicity, there are four primary movements to consider. Once you know what they are, it's a fairly simple matter to add weight and repeat the action. They are :

lift your hand straight back (bending at the wrist) : imagine performing push-ups, and think about the position your hands are in relative to your forearms.

press your hand directly forward (bending at the wrist) : the opposite of the above movement. Push-ups on the backs of your hands.

rotate your hands (with hands at 90deg to the wrists) : think of push-ups again, and point your fingers out to the sides; without moving your forearms. Now point them in towards each other (again without moving your forearms).

hammer : imagine hammering a nail, drinking a beer or shaking hands with someone. The arm bends at the elbow, and the hand (held vertically) bends at the wrist.


As I mentioned above, the exercises are really only repeating the actions; with an increased level of resistance. A few ideas :

Wrist curls : these can be supported (table-top or preacher bench) or unsupported (seated or standing), using a dumbbell, barbell weight plate or any other heavy object you can hold in one hand. To perform, turn your hand so it's on its back (palm to the sky), grab your chosen object and - bending only at the wrist - lift it skyward as far as you can. As you'll quickly see, the range of motion is a tiny one (a couple of inches or less).

For a reverse wrist curl, simply turn your hand over (palm toward the ground) and perform as above. Once again, the ROM is only a couple of inches or less.

Wrist roller : one of the simplest pieces of equipment you can make for your home or commercial gym is a wrist roller. This consists of nothing more complex than a section of pipe/baseball bat/length of turned wood (I use an axe handle - without the head, of course) and a chain or cord to hold something heavy. Attach a plate or two, hold the handle at arm's length (in your best zombie pose) and roll it up as if it were a newspaper.

Using one in a commercial gym :

Also worth a look : a DIY Axle-mounted wrist roller on IronOnline

Thor's Hammer
Thor's Hammer.
Thor's Hammer : once again, simplicity is the name of the game when it comes to forearm training. Take the collar and plates off one end of a dumbbell (leaving a couple on the other end). After making sure the other collar's on tight (long story), pick it up via the empty end and wave it around as if you're conducting an orchestra. Make sure you get a few side-to-side rotational movements in there.

Again this year, John Beatty out-did himself with the 2007 Backyard Bastard Bash Grip contest. John is the owner of Fat Bastard Barbell Company, and puts the contest on every year. John's facility is awesome for a Grip contest. Here's my run down.

Before the contest I made sure to check out the grippers, something I did not do last year. Most of the grippers that were used were Aaron Corcorran's RGC calibrated grippers, which was excellent. You could be confident that every thing lined up the right way and extra grippers were only thrown in a couple times for things under the 3's. Like I said, I pre-squeezed the grippers lefty and decided I would start at the elites. When Aaron and Chad started out at 3.5 and SE, I knew I was not going to place first in this event. They both murdered them. I decided to start out at the middle elite, which I set and closed so quick I could feel a hard close. I was very surprised. Next, I jumped up to the 3.5. I have been getting very close on mine and decided I better go for it, in case it was a bit easier than mine. The numbers Aaron provided didn't mean much to me as I have not calibrated any of my grippers with an RGC. John said I was about 1/8th inch away. I considered trying it again, but I stayed safe instead and dropped down for the hard elite that was right below the 3.5 and I got it with a fight. Not sure where that placed me.

Next event was bending. My best beforehand was a 7-inch Edgin at Michigan, so I started out with that. I knew I couldn't be too cautious with the way Klein and Corcorran were bending. Chad also had said that he was working his ass off on grippers for the last month, but I didn't know exactly what that meant. I got the Edgin in about 19 seconds. I have really found a good wrap thickness now. My next was a 6-inch Edgin, trying to match Aaron. I should have had it but it was far too off center for me to crush down. I'll post a picture - pretty severe. I was quite pissed when I didn't finish it, because I know I could have had it. For my last bend I cut down a 6.5-inch Edgin and got that puppy, so I tied for second with 3 others on that one.

7-inch Edgin

6-inch Edgin Attempt

Next was the medley. Lots of guys had trouble with the 45-pound York. It was very slick and dusty, but i got it on the first try. I also got the baby inch with no problem. I had a pace going where I was hitting one left and then one right, which worked out good until the 172 inch. I was synced in to lift it righty and it slipped out of my hand twice. I heard doc call 10 something seconds when I set down the baby inch. I missed the 172 righty twice and then got it on the box lefty on the first try. So in hindsight I should have hit the inch lefty off the bat. Not sure I could have taken the extra step to my right to get my left hand positioned on it, grip and lift the inch and place it in time to beat Chad though. His time of 12 seconds was sickening. Unbelievable athlete he is.


Next was the 2-inch Vertical Bar. In training, my best lift was in the 230-240 range. My bar just won't take any chalk. The one at the contest took it well, and I was successful on my first attempt. Then I think I missed my next two, if I remember correctly - everything gets a little fuzzy at that point. I think I got 235 and missed 255 twice. Took a chance and it didn't pay off, I know that for sure.

Next was the axle. In training, I thought I was lifting about 335 for my best. I did not think that the axle is actually heavier than the normal bar though, so I must have miss judged it. I will eventually weigh my axle, but right now I have no scale here at my house. I took lots of good warm ups to see what I could lift quick to my knee and figured I would start in with my first pull at 375. I got that no problem and then missed 395 twice. I skipped 285 because I knew it wasn't going to do any good to lift it and thought maybe if I got 395 I could slip in between Chad and Ryan if one of them made a mistake. The strategy did me no good though, as both of them out lifted me. Ryan nearly got 450 pounds on that sucker. That is just ridiculous.

Axle Event - Miscellaneous Athletes

Finally, we did the Hercules hold. At this point I was tied for 2nd with Aaron Corcorran. I may have been tied with others as well, as I heard that later on, but I knew I was definitely tied with Aaron. Aaron pulled number one in the blond drawing at the beginning of the show, so his mark of 1:02 or so was my goal. I am confident my right hand had it for sure, but my left choked on my and the handle ripped out of my hand at the 52 second mark. I really liked the Hercules hold. Smitty and I have talked about doing that in GGC for years but we don't have a good set up for it. Maybe next year.

Hercules Hold

As always the feats following the contest were amazing. We began with flips with the 50kg Kettlebell. I got some forward flips, some back flips and some side forward flips. I tried the patented double forward flip but it was a no go. I pulled my groin on the last one so I let it go after that.

John Eaton broke out his hard scale weights and I finally figured out what I have been doing wrong on that feat. I was placing my thumb on the thumb handle last all this time, trying to pinch the two together. Finally I dug my thumb in first, wrapped my fingers last and was able to better support it and cleaned it.

Feats of Strength

I love John Beatty's contest. I plan on going every single year. Keep your eye on and for upcoming specials for the holiday season between Diesel Crew and John's company!

Caber TossA hectic week here on Straight to the Bar, with the following appearing amidst the home renovation work :

New Jersey Strongman Rob Orlando enjoying a few record-breaking axle presses. Thanks Jedd.

DIY Equipment Ideas - SttB Articles

Home-made Dumbbell rack by Clay JohnsonIf you'd like to enter the DIY Equipment Competition but are lacking inspiration, here are a few ideas that just may get things rolling :

A harness for towing a car

Thinking of the car as an enormous, heavy sled; how would you hold onto the straps to tow it? Especially if you're facing away from it.

A harness would spread the load over a lot more of the body than simply looping the straps around your waist.

Bar thickeners

Using a thick bar can be great fun, for just about any exercise. The problem comes when you go to fatten up an existing bar - usually the entire length of the bar is thickened. All that's needed, though, is for the bar to be thicker in the sections you're holding; not the bar's full length.

A pair of clamps would be great, each a little more than the width of your hand, to lock around a standard or Olympic bar and fatten it up to a more respectable 2.5" - 3". These could then be taken from bar to bar.

Board for step-ups (in rack), rows and back rest for shoulder work

This is a fairly simple one - a piece of wood about the size of an ironing board, smooth (you're going to be lying on it) and strong (you're going to be stepping up onto it with weight). Near each end would be a groove designed to fit around both the pins (for rows and step-ups) and the main vertical bars of the rack (for seated overhead presses, to act as a back support).

Lat pulldown attachment for rack

As much as I love performing chin-ups, the occasional use of a lat pulldown is great. A simple attachment for the rack would be a beautiful thing.

Cable attachment for rack

I tend to use bands for many traditional cable exercises, but of course this alters the strength curve quite a bit. A simple cable setup for the rack would be superb.


These come in handy for a range of exercises, including rows, deadlifts and chin-ups. The ability to add straps, ropes or chains is a bonus.


For throwing kettlebells, dumbbells or anything else that would make a nice dent in your lawn.


There are many cool things that can be made by simply filling unused toys with sand (such as the medicine ball Jim made a while ago), and clubs are no exception. For starters, grab a plastic baseball bat and a bag of sand.

Sliding bench

Despite the advertising, the Total Gym (particularly the basic models) is a wonderful device. I tend to use it for warm-ups, but it's also great for rehab and endurance training workouts.

A similar setup would be a great addition to many a home gym. All you really need is a sliding platform on angled runners, and two cables with which to pull yourself along. Similar to a rowing machine.

Pullup bar from CelticKane
Pullup bar from CelticKane.
A couple of new links on the Fightraining blog, as well as a few recent discoveries, have prompted me to create a second list of DIY gym equipment (original list). Building it is half the fun.
IronOnline From Dave Draper's excellent site : several terrific ideas, incuding an axle-mounted wrist wroller, a poor man's Reverse Hyper bench and a home-made weight vest.

Want a pull-up bar but don't want to drill any holes? CelticKane has a great solution.

From the forums
The RossTraining Forum is always filled with great ideas, including : a home-made sled that rivals commercial offerings (Jason Kirby has a brilliantly simple alternative) and Make Your Own Gear. Superb.

The Crossfit Forums are similarly active, with great ideas such as this : attaching a climbing rope.

XXX Powerlifting
Can't afford your own monolift? The guys at XXX Powerlifting have the next best thing.

Anvil or Hammer
Anvil or Hammer recently held a kettlebell painting contest, in conjunction with the Art of Strength. Even if you missed the contest, Mike has some great tips on kettlebell painting. One of the best ways to customise your home gym.

Pull Like A Strongman - SttB Articles

Mariusz Pudzianowski
Mariusz Pudzianowski.
"There is no point in being alive if you can't do deadlift."
-- Jón Páll Sigmarsson

Most people who are at least somewhat familiar with strength training and physical culture know that the deadlift is one of the three lifts tested at modern-day powerlifting meets and also, as far back as the beginning of recorded history, we know that men lifted heavy objects from the ground as a test of strength or manhood. The strongman deadlift is like those tests of strength from days long gone because of the many different varieties of the lift and the awkward nature of some of those varieties.

How and What Does a Strongman Pull?
There are three main types of strongman implements that are used for the deadlift at strongman contests:

  1. axle (usually a 2" thickbar),
  2. olympic barbell, or
  3. two side handles, such as a vehicle deadlift and/or farmer's deadlift (picture a farmer's walk without the walk).

Although lifting and loading atlas stones and other awkward objects is an event unto itself and will not be covered in this article, the "lapping" of the stone is still considered to have similarities to the deadlift because it's like a stiff-leg deadlift.

There are also varying heights from which competitors pull the bar(s) : besides the normal start position of the deadlift, a standard height of 18" (at or near the knees) is usually used for partial deadlifts with an olympic barbell. When there is a deadlift event with side handles (e.g. car deadlift) instead of a bar, the range of motion decreases, like an 18" deadlift.

Lastly, the three types of deadlift events in strongman are a

  1. maximum effort lift (one repetition),
  2. maximum repetitions in 60 seconds (or a similar amount of time), and
  3. the deadlift medley - a series of different implements and/or objects which must be lifted within a given time.


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