More Notes on the 2011 USAWA National Grip Championships

2011 USAWA National Grip Championships


My bodyweight goal for the contest was 220 pounds.  I actually thought I had missed that mark by 2 or 3 pounds on the day of the contest so I sulkily ate everything in sight Friday night – and then Saturday morning before driving to the contest.  Turns out that the contest scales were different than mine at home and I was 219 pounds even after all that badness. 


My back became fatigued very quickly during the contest.  That was cause for caution on my part.  I knew coming into the contest that I was going to take taken attempts on the last two events – the Double Overhand Axle Deadlift and the Deadlift with a 3″ Bar – to save my back from damage.  I did a lot of static and slow dynamic stretching during the rest between attempts and events.  Toe touching and slow waist twists were thrown in and seemed to help keep my back from cramping up. 

I was limited quite a bit by my back.  My 310 pound Middle Fingers Deadlift was about as hard on my back as it was my middle fingers.  The great news is that I was disciplined and did not re-injure my back during the contest. 


Choosing my warmups has never been a problem for me in a contest setting.  It seems to come naturally and it probably does to most competitors.  I don’t have any set routine.  I do a bit of static stretching.  Then some dynamic stretching of everything from my legs to my wrists. 

The first event was the 2″ Vertical Bar so I stretched my wrists and arms mostly.  As the contest wore on I did fewer and fewer warmups on the events before my 1st attempts.  On the 2″ vertical bar I did one pull at 152 pounds, 172 pounds, and then took my first attempt at 202 pounds. 


2011 USAWA National Grip Championships competitors – left to right: Mark Mitchell, Dave Glasgow, Ben Edwards, Al Myers, Denny Habecker, Mike Murdock, Rudy Bletscher, Felecia Simms



I always take a conservative 1st attempt in all of my contests.  But I’ve found that I’m usually too conservative on my 2nd and 3rd attempts also and I changed that up this time.  I didn’t miss any of my 1st attempts.  And for my 2nd attempts I picked numbers that were a little higher than what I originally thought – just because the contest adrenaline always carries me a bit higher than my standard strength.   


This contest went very quickly since there were only 8 competitors.  That’s a good thing.  And possibly a “bad” thing for anyone with stamina issues.  On the events I was strongest on, I followed myself and that always makes me rush my 2nd and 3rd attempts because I feel like I’m holding up the entire contest – even though everyone was very patient and kept encouraging me to take my time between attempts. 





About bencrush

42-year old multiple USAWA record holder who enjoys grip strength training, bending steel, and sharing my knowledge of training in both areas.
This entry was posted in 2" vbar, Al Myers, Grip Contest, Grip Strength, Middle Fingers Deadlift, Thick Bar, USAWA, USAWA contest and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to More Notes on the 2011 USAWA National Grip Championships

  1. Jason says:

    Good article Ben but I don’t think I’m getting the whole write up. I can’t see the results and such.


  2. Did you speak at all about our National Org we are working on? Maybe they’d be interested in trying out some of our comps?


    • bencrush says:

      I did talk about that a bit Jedd! Nobody there is what I would call a “serious grip trainer” so everyone was polite – but none expressed any real interest. That’s a shame because even without specialization, some of the USAWA lifters have great grips – support grip strength especially. You can bet I’ll keep working on them and a few others that I have contact with on a frequent basis.

      Been trying to get Travis Mickelberry interested in grip again and see if I can talk him into going to our KC Qualifier II this May – with the idea of driving out to the Nationals in July.


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