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Get a Grip (aka The Toils of Grafter)

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  • Get a Grip (aka The Toils of Grafter)

    About Me:

    I'm a dude in my early 30s, living in the midwest. I discovered the Primal Blueprint and MDA back in the spring of 2010 and have been lurking for a while. A few months ago, I was convinced to finally create an account and generate content instead of just consume it.

    I'm aiming for being 80% or so, but usually fall a bit short. Usually what gets me is diet soda, not so primal friendly options when eating out (which happens a lot due to my job) and baked cookies. I've definitely gotten better since finding everything, but still think that I have a lot to go.

    I intent to use the journal to mainly keep track of my training and will probably add some random thoughts from time to time.
    turquoisepassion - I MUST KNOW ALL THE THINGS

  • #2
    Current Goals:

    Deadlifting 300lbs (roughly 2x bw) - Currently I can do over 210 for a handful of reps, but have wicked doms or back pain the next day. So, I'm maybe doing this lift once every week or so. Even then, I'll usually start with a set or two of 135 and then work up to lower reps.

    Shrugging 300 lbs - The biggest challenge here is that I'm lifting in my basement without a cage, so if I can't deadlift it, I can't get into position to shrug it.

    Closing a Captains of Crush #2 with either hand - Currently, I can do the CoC #1 for reps with my right hand and just the Trainer with my left. Recently got a Vulcan adjustable gripper, which I've been trying to work with a bit, but I definitely need to pick up some chalk (since it slipping is the limiting factor when setting it).

    Pinch Gripping 135lbs - Can do about 80lbs for reps, so just need to keep on working on my thumb strength and need to build a pinch grip bar (since I'm way too cheap to buy one and DIY equipment making is fun).
    turquoisepassion - I MUST KNOW ALL THE THINGS


    • #3
      On the name of the journal:

      My purpose in the name of this journal is two fold. First, I'm very interested in grip strength and outside of deadlifts and shrugs (sort of going for a Jason Stratham look), grip exercises are the only 'weighted' exercises I do. For everything else, I do some body weight work. There is something appealing about having a strong grip and that it will help in everyday life and pretty much every other exercise I do, doesn't hurt either.

      The other main purpose is to try to keep a positive outlook on things. I mean, I do have other journals and such, where I talk about other things, including my job (which is in a capacity as a professional, and having to deal with both bosses and customers that don't know $%^& is insanely frustrating at time). So, there may be some venting from time to time, but I want to have a log of my progress and be able to point at impressive lifts when I am feeling down (because that is a matter of when, not if it happens).
      turquoisepassion - I MUST KNOW ALL THE THINGS


      • #4
        8/26/11 Recap

        Had a Protein shake and a handful of blueberries for breakfast. Lunch was a bit of a cheat, since I got to hang out with a former co-worker (and yes, it did turn into a bitchfest about life, which was stress relieving), at a Mexican restaurant. For dinner, I had my first ever Cobb salad, which was pretty rocking.

        Currently, I'm looking through the newspaper ads from the most recent Sunday's paper (I know, a bit behind) and am planning my Menards shopping list for the current round of DIY equipment. I know I need some chain and at least 2 carabiners, for a rolling thunder knock off. Though, I could also use the chain for a loading pin, but would need to find something for the base, or to hang an inside pull up bar (currently, all of my pull ups are done on tree branches or playground equipment in parks). Choices, choices.
        turquoisepassion - I MUST KNOW ALL THE THINGS


        • #5
          Went out to Menards today and picked up 20' of 1/4" chain, two 3/8" carabiners and a locking chain loop for less than $20. So far, I've created a thick handle grip, by taking a piece of 2" solid core pvc pipe, cutting off 5" of it, and then cutting about 15" of the chain, running the chain through the pipe and connecting it with a carabiner. I'll probably do a loading pin next, but still need to get something for the base plate.

          Thick bar training is definitely humbling. I'm able to do 135lb single hand dead lifts (with a 7' bar), but pulling 90lbs was challenging with the thick handle (I put a plate and my two kettlebells on the chain; though I was sure not to have the carabiner be in direct contact with any of the weights). On the flip side, it was a great supporting grip exercise. Now, I should probably go down and attempt some more pinching grip work. I'm aiming for as many as I can of the following exercises:

          2 hand pinching of 2 35lb plates (did 15x50lbs; 10x70lbs)
          1 hand pinching of a 5lb and a 25lb plate (10R/10L x 27.5lbs; 10R/8L x 30lbs)

          Going until excess tension or my breathing changes.
          Last edited by Grafter; 08-28-2011, 07:19 PM.
          turquoisepassion - I MUST KNOW ALL THE THINGS


          • #6
            Pinching was testing well today, so I did some more of that:

            2 hand plate pinches: 25x50lbs (literally got bored, so I stopped at 25); 13x70lbs; 2x90lb (a first)
            1 hand 2" pipe deadlifts: 10R/10L x 90lbs; 3R/2L x 115lbs
            Add in a miscellaneous 15 rep set of dips, about 4-5 reps of handstand push ups, and 18 reps of swinging a 50# kettlebell and that was it for the night.

            I know that it looks pretty haphazard, but I usually aim for training one of the aspects of grip strength until I get a major pump going or start to feel tired and then maybe throw some body weight exercises on top of it. So, overall, my training isn't as focused as it could be, but the flexibility keeps me pretty strong and I don't get bored of it (and am more likely to continue it to keep on getting PRs).

            Now back to reading. Currently, I'm about 2/3 through A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard(picked it up for gf, and started it on a whim and found that I just can't put it down) and about 2/3 through Makers by Cory Doctorow (love the ideas and tech, but dislike the story).
            turquoisepassion - I MUST KNOW ALL THE THINGS


            • #7
              Found another good deal on craigslist. $40 for 180 of weights and a plate tree. The exercise today was moving it all from the back of my car to my basement, in about 2.5' wide of a space (I have a ton of things in my garage).

              Other than that, not doing so hot with the diet, since I've been working outside of the office this week, which means going to lunch everyday. I try to keep it clean for breakfast (usually a protein shake and maybe a stick of jerky) and dinner (anything goes, but I've been defaulting to eggs, since they are easy and don't take long). I'm hoping to be better over the long weekend, but we shall see.
              turquoisepassion - I MUST KNOW ALL THE THINGS


              • #8
                Breakfast - Protein Shake
                Lunch - Bad, part of the 20% (work related)
                Dinner - 4 eggs scrambled, a piece of dark chocolate with almonds, a handful of TJ's banana chips

                Did more than 20 pull ups in two sets. The first set was 13 with good form (i.e., minimal bouncing at the bottom), which is a PR. Then did about 50 dips while watching tv and a movie (it helps that I have a dip bar in the family room, so can just wander over during commercials and slow bits of Big Bang Theory).
                turquoisepassion - I MUST KNOW ALL THE THINGS


                • #9
                  Well listening to Alestorm a bit, after seeing the video one of the members posted. Anyways, workout today:

                  2 handed plate pinches: 25x50#, 13x70#, 4x 90#
                  1 handed plate pinches: 15L/15Rx27.5#, 13L/13Rx30#, 8L/10Rx35#, 0L/0Rx50# (attempted but couldn't break the plates off the ground)
                  1 handed plate pinch rows: 3Rx35#, 2Rx35#
                  10 tree branch pull ups
                  15 dips
                  COC Trainer gripper - 20+R/7L
                  COC #1 gripper - 10R/0L

                  The biggest hold up on the COC training is getting the gripper to set right in my left hand. It's easy enough to do so in my right hand, since that is my dominate side. Though, I think the left hand has a bit less grip strength overall as well. Maybe something I should work on..

                  I'm also pretty sure that the previous owner of the new plates repainted them, since they have a bumpy texture, which does make them a bit easier to grip. Also, he must have weighted them, since there are numbers in white on the back, which I'm guessing are the actual weights of the plates (.5-2.5# heavier); but for the sake of tracking poundages, I'm just going to use the default amounts.

                  Made a run out to the local Trader Joes a few days ago. I didn't find any non-flour tortillas (like the rice flour ones Chocotaco posted about; which looked like they would be great for fish tacos or shoving scrambled eggs and hot sauce into), but did pick up some almond milk and canned oysters and clams (in either olive oil or water), all of which is new to me. Here is to hoping that they taste decent.
                  turquoisepassion - I MUST KNOW ALL THE THINGS


                  • #10
                    Woke up sort of late and had a late-ish protein shake for breakfast. Dinner was a 1/2# sirloin steak with a pound of homemade sweet potato steak fries (which didn't turn out that crispy, but were very yummy and I could have probably eaten another pound). Of course, dinner was after the workout:

                    20 odd dips
                    One hands shrugs 10R/10Lx75#
                    10x40# goblet squats to warm up the legs and then onto supersets of:
                    Deadlifts - 10x135#, 8x155#, 6x185, 2x205#, 1 x185#
                    Shrugs - 10x135#, 10x185#, 6x205#, 10x185#

                    As far as post workout, besides eating the large, somewhat carby meal, I also did a lot of hip thrusts and a few stretches for my lower back. I'm hoping that these two items will really limit the lower back DOMS and tinges along my spine over the next 2-3 days (which is what normally happens). I'm all for being pain free, or at least doing things that hurt myself. I know that I should probably talk to the doc about it and plan on doing so in the near future, since I also need to get my vitamin D levels rechecked after getting the low score back in May.
                    turquoisepassion - I MUST KNOW ALL THE THINGS


                    • #11
                      I figured it was time to get back on the horse. Though, not a lot has changed over the past few days. Haven't done anything more than some pull ups and some light gripper training, since my back and shoulder griddle have been pretty sore after pulling all of the volume on Sunday. Though, I haven't had any of the spine pain, which is a good thing. So, focusing on form has shown some dividends, at least with the first run, more experimenting is required before I form a full opinion about it.

                      Diet has been so-so, since family is in town. Though, I've been trying to eat the steaks and more primal friend fare when we go out. Tonight, I ended up making hard boiled eggs for the first time ever, which were easy, but the peeling was a pain. This was due to working outside of the office tomorrow and the the coworker not wanting to drive anywhere for lunch, since she was going to bring her lunch. So, I decided that I probably should bring mine as well (since the other opinions aren't good), which lead to a bunch of shopping and slicing my thumb while cutting up greens for a big @$$ salad.

                      Since I'm going out with family tomorrow night as well, I doubt that I'm going to work out then, but may be up for a light work out depending on when I get back.
                      turquoisepassion - I MUST KNOW ALL THE THINGS


                      • #12
                        Diet was good today. Had the last of the protein powder mixed in coconut milk for breakfast, a snack of miniature carrots and hard boiled eggs and then a huge stab of steak for dinner. Though, I think the steak was too much, just like last night's meal, which makes it two dinners in a row that I have over eaten (and paid the price for).

                        Due to the sliced thumb, I haven't been able to do much exercising, but here is what I did:

                        25 dips
                        15R/15L x 75# shrugs
                        10R/8L x 40# dumb bell snatches
                        2R x level 3 on the Vulcan gripper
                        4R x Vulcan level 4
                        1R, 7R x Vulcan level 5
                        No dice on lvl 6

                        So, tonight was the first time that I've closed anything other than the level 3 on the Vulcan and I didn't even use the chalk (which arrived last night). Looking forward to getting about 10# of protein powder on Monday.
                        Last edited by Grafter; 09-09-2011, 09:47 PM.
                        turquoisepassion - I MUST KNOW ALL THE THINGS


                        • #13
                          It definitely seems like there has been an increase in activity around here, due to the 30 day challenge. Speaking of, I'm definitely going to try to submit a few things, especially for the Stronger Grip gc that will be offered (at least, that is what I've heard from the owner of More protein powder arrived in the mail. It's NSI'w Whey blend and it seems to mix pretty well, but the taste was sort of weak compared to the previous powder (Pure Protein's whey blend), but then, since I didn't have a scoop when I was mixing, I just had to eyeball it.

                          Workout of the evening:
                          10 pullups
                          15-20 dips throughout food making
                          10R x Vulcan lvl 3
                          2 handed pinch:
                          25x50#, 14x70#, 4x 4x 90#
                          50# swing (did both side to side swinging and up and down like a kettlebell)
                          1 handed pinch:
                          13R/15Lx27.5#, 13Rx9Lx30#, 12R/8Lx35#

                          This was my first time using chalk and it definitely seemed to make things easier, but my hands really do feel dry now, even after washing it off (though I think some got embedded in a callus). So, I think some lotion is in my future. Also, I'm not really sure that doing all of the pinch work was a good thing, since the cut on my thumb is still healing.
                          turquoisepassion - I MUST KNOW ALL THE THINGS


                          • #14
                            Today was pretty heavy volume:

                            The ever present 10 pull ups
                            CoC Trainer 30R/15L
                            CoC #1 5R/0L
                            Vulcan lvl 3 5R/0L
                            CoC Trainer 25R/6L, 16r/5l, 17r/9l
                            Two handed pinch: 17x50#, 5x70#, 6x90# (PR), 4x92.5# (PR), 5x90#
                            Bent over plate rows - 11x90#
                            Deadlift - 7x135#

                            Finally quit when I started to run out of stream. Pinch lifting just kept on testing well (as seen by multiple PRs set), but I did have to move on to other things, since I was starting to get tears in my thumb webbing.

                            To be honest, while I like working out when I'm doing it, I'm not wild about psyching myself up enough to do it. As well as my hands don't have epic endurance, so most workouts are kept pretty short, anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes. But, on the flip side, I do almost no resting between sets. Part of that is due to not training to failure and the other part is that the short break is just spent doing range of motion testing to decide what exercise to do next.
                            turquoisepassion - I MUST KNOW ALL THE THINGS


                            • #15
                              Tonight was my first workout in a few days. I'll post the numbers later (since I left the notepad downstairs). Though, I did work up to one (very bad) rep of a deadlift at 235# (a PR). Other than that, a lot of thumb and wrist work.

                              I have a few observations about my progress recently:

                              1) It is a lot easier to pinch the standard plates that I have, since the cap brand plates are so smooth. Though I was able to maintain a 2 hand pinch of 90# for reps on the cap plates, so there is a fair bit of carryover.
                              2) This may be bad, but I'm consuming protein powder daily, if not multiple times a day. It's tasty and very convenient. Not really great reasons, but still.
                              *edit* Numbers:

                              COC Trainer 30R/15L, 25R/28L
                              Two hand pinches: 50# 16R/17L, 15R/13L; 75# 4R/4L; 50# 13R/12L
                              One handed hub lifts: 10# 25R/20L
                              Deadlifts 135#x12; 185#x5,5; 205#x2; 225#x1; 235#x1 (PR)
                              One handed hub: 10# 6R/7L
                              Last edited by Grafter; 09-26-2011, 06:36 PM.
                              turquoisepassion - I MUST KNOW ALL THE THINGS