New Triangle Handle


This is the great triangle handle that my buddy Jason made for me a few weeks ago. Attached to a homemade HWFD.

Putting that handle on this cruddy stack of plates is like putting a Ferrari steering wheel on a Yugo.

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Throwing the “Dum-Dums”


My wife took one look at these homemade Highland Games training hammers and called them “the dum-dums.” The name stuck in my head. The bright duct tape was wishful thinking on my part. Thought I might throw them far enough in the in-laws’ field (that they are graciously letting me use at their new house) to have a hard time finding them in the tall grass.

The small one is 8lbs.  The larger one is 23lbs.  Both have a PVC handle.  The heavier one has a handle that is 1.5″ shorter than what is standard for HG hammers though. 

The 23lb hammer survived 5 throws.  Then the PVC snapped completely in two right above the top of the plates. 

The 8lb hammer is still going strong. 

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More Chess…


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Homemade Highland Games Implement: 28lb Braemar “Glob”

If you are looking for plans on how to create a pretty “stone” for Highland Games training, this is not the place for you. Run away!

But if you’re not very handy or creative, but have lots of loose small weight plates and rolls of duct tape burning a hole in your garage, then this is the place for you!

I used four 5lb standard (1″ hole for the bar) plates for the “core” of my 28lb Glob. This isn’t rocket science folks. Duct taped them together very tightly.

I used miscellaneous pieces of bent steel and even threw in a brass door hinge, because I wasn’t using it and it had been sitting in my garage for years. I used pieces of cut foam to attempt to mold it into some semblance of a round shape.

I used enough duct tape to lift a ’57 Chevy to “tie” it all together. It has taken the pounding of being thrown pretty well. It is on the slick side when it gets slightly damp though.


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Great News All Around!

My wife’s parents just bought a house with a hyoooooooge yard that is less than 15 minutes drive from our house.  I am excited and happy for them! This means several very good things for us. 

  • Josephine will get to see her grandparents much more often.  And we will get to see them.  Because we quite like them.  This isn’t the ubiquitous “hate my mother-in-law” post that has become so popular on the Internet. 
  • I will get to throw the Highland Games implements again.  This is good timing, because I’ve been casually Braemar throwing some stones in the yard this past month.  But without a lot more space, it would be impossible to throw the Light or Heavy Hammer without crashing through someone’s car or garage.
Light Hammer About To Go Into Low-Earth Orbit

Light Hammer About To Go Into Low-Earth Orbit

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39 Years Old Now

May 27th was my birthday.  I’m now a year away from the big 4 – 0.  And I actually look forward to that milestone birthday.  Most people dread it for some reason. 

I worked a 12-hour shift, but when I got home I did a half dozen braemar throws with my 15lb stone in the yard.  None of the throws were particularly good.  But it did feel good to get a bit of throwing in anyway. 

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Medicinal Chess



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My Gripday Party Write-Up: Part 2 – TWO HAND PINCH

Thanks to Scott Harris for riding up to the contest with me and then being nice enough to take pictures for me.  This photo was taken by Scott.

2HP from the Gripday Party

2HP from the Gripday Party

Well, it’s been far longer than I thought it would be before I put up Part 2 of my contest write-up.  But here it is.  2 Hand Pinch.  My worst event.  It didn’t let me down.

2HP: 161lbs – 6th Place

First, the competitors were asked to choose their preferred pinching width.  I jokingly remarked that all of the widths felt the same to me – terrible.  I ended up just going with the 48mm width.  I think it was the narrowest width.  It absolutely felt as bad as 52mm and 56mm and, well, you get the point.  2HP will never be my “deal.”

I don’t remember my exact “warmup weights.”  I took somewhere around 100lbs and then I think it was about 135lbs where I began my official 1st attempt.  Pulled it easily to the crossbar.

For my 2nd attempt I chose 153lbs.  Or thereabouts.  It went up super easy too.

I called for 160lbs on my 3rd attempt and it turned out to be 161lbs.  Got it, but just barely.  Also tore my left thumb web pretty deep.  And spent the rest of the contest trying to pack it with enough chalk to keep it from bleeding and hurting.  I super glued the patch of skin back onto my thumb web and that held for a few events.  Then it tore open on the 5-gallon water jug farmer’s walk.  But that’s another story.

There is no excuse for my pitiful pinching, besides just being crappy and weak at it.  I actually thought the 2HP implement (Jedd Johnson’s excellent 2HP apparatus) felt grippy.  That never makes much of a difference on my pinch at a contest, or anywhere else.  But I’m throwing it out there because I can’t even use the complaint of it felt slick as snot.  When I think about it, 161lbs is my contest PR on a Euro-type adjustable pinch apparatus in a contest.  I have pinched more weight on just normal 35lb weight plates sandwiched together.

My training fell through the last month, so I didn’t even know if 150lbs was going to be a deal breaker at the contest.  I lost a ton of points, as I always do, on this event.

Part 3 will be posted here…eventually…





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My Gripday Party Write-Up: Part 1 – GRIPPERS

The Gripday Party on Saturday was a blast!  Of all the contests (grip and other strength contests included) I’ve been to over the last 12 years, this is top 3 in terms of how well put together the entire contest experience was.

The competitors were treated like royalty.  The gym owner was fantastic and the hosts – Colt Anstine and Luke Wicks – were equally great.

I have to wake up early, and I got started late on this entry.  So it won’t be super detailed and probably won’t cover all the events on the first part of this write-up.

20mm GRIPPERS: 158lb #3 – 1st Place

I lost a good 4 weeks of training due to being sick the last month.  Yeah, I got two or three gripper workouts on the books in the last four weeks, but they were pretty mediocre.  So I was more than okay with my performance in the first event.

There was a Color Run in Springfield the morning of the contest.

What does this have to do with the gripper event, you’re asking yourself.  Well, Scott Harris (my armwrestler buddy who rode up with me to the contest) and I were about a half mile from the contest location about 45 minutes before the weigh-in cutoff time of 10:00 a.m.  The problem was that the run participants were so numerous (not complaining about them) that a large area surrounding the Strong Gym was cut off from traffic to allow the runners to get through the course.  Not a problem normally.  But it did mean that we barely got to the contest on time to allow me to get weighed in for the first event.

My bodyweight was 230lbs.  And I had absolutely no time to get warmed up on grippers.  Not the fault of anyone but myself for getting there that late.  Unfortunately, my name was picked to go first in the lineup of events.  So that meant I had to walk up to the gripper table and choose an opening attempt.

Without thinking, I chose a 150lb #3 from the vast lineup of grippers.  Put the set block in my mouth and BARELY got a close on my first attempt.  Looking back on this, I’m impressed with myself for getting it closed with no warmup.  It usually takes me a number of easy warmup closes to get even close to my max strength on grippers.  Guess I kind of pulled that strength out of my butt.

As soon as the attempt was judged good, I walked over to my duffel bag and pulled out a Trainer.  Did a bunch of back-and-forth no set singles (left and right hand) and waited until I was a few minutes from going back for my 2nd attempt before stopping the easy gripper warmup.

The singles with the Trainer did the trick and my 2nd attempt was a lot more solid than my first.  It was a small jump to a 152lb #3.

I didn’t do any more warmups after that.  Just patiently waited until it was my turn again and then got another successful attempt on the books – a 156lb #3.  Pretty solid close.  If it was two years ago, closing a 156lb #3 would’ve depressed me – since I was closing my 179lb Elite back then – but it’s not two years ago.  I’m getting better about not comparing myself with when I was at my strongest (grip-wise), but it’s hard not to do sometimes.

For my 4th attempt I chose a tactical jump to a 158lb #3.  Turns out it was a wise choice since the next gripper above that – a 161lb Elite – seemed much harder than its rating (I tried it after my 4th attempt).  Barely got the 158lb #3 shut with the block set.

I actually didn’t realize it until about 15 minutes after the gripper event was finished, but I had won the gripper event with my 158lb #3 close.

Next write-up will be on the 2 Hand Pinch event.




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2 Weeks Until The Gripday Party

Grippers are tasty.

Grippers are tasty.

Two weeks until the Gripday Party. 

I should be training hard for the contest.

But instead I’ve been fighting a myriad of sicknesses for the past few weeks.  It has run through my house a few times.  Wife and baby have both been sick.  We have managed to just continuously pass it back and forth. 

Even with the possibility of not getting any more training in the next two weeks before the contest, I’m still looking forward to meeting the guys I only know from the board – and seeing old friends that I haven’t seen for a while. 

The organizers of the Gripday Party have a great location and excellent sponsorship.  Should be a good turnout too.

My bodyweight is about 20lbs higher than I had as a goal for the contest.  Being sick has made me not care about dropping weight.  Plus, I had laryngitis (and the flu, an excellent combo) and have been eating ice cream like it’s going out of style, because it feels good on my throat. 

Don’t judge me.  Or do.

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