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Arnold Classic Recap
Wade Gillingham - 03/09/2009 14:40
Where do I start with this? What a great weekend once again. The only negative thing I can say is the place just is not big enough to handle that saturday crowd. Once again I was fortunate enough to be in the GNC booth running the Grip Gauntlet. GNC was showcasing a new product line called AMP that really looks great and is backed by clinical research. GNC is the leader in the nutrition field and I can't wait to start taking some of these new products when they are offered next month.

I was able to watch bits and pieces of this. Poundstone won it in the last event but it was his mistakes in the farmers walk and stones that put him in that position. I felt bad for Misha Kokliav losing the contest on the last event. Misha is a special person and very deserving of this win. On Sunday after competing for two days in strongman, Misha became the first person to clean and jerk over 500 pounds on the exact same barbell set that Vasily Alexiev, the great Russian Weightlifter, used to do this lift 40 years ago in Columbus, Ohio. The historical significance of this lift was deep and Misha stepped up to the plate and hit a home run.

Despite Misha's greatness, I picked Derick to win even before big Zydrunis pulled out. If he can keep his body together for awhile I can see our first WSM winner and Arnold winner in the same year (if WSM happens again - right now there is no sponsor to hold the contest). Dave Ostlund hurt his bicep in the stones and had to pull out of the contest. As if competing on the Arnold stage isn't enough pressure, his wife was back home 2 weeks overdue. Dave flew home early sunday with a sore arm and went straight to the hospital - not for him but for his wife. Good luck with both the new addition and the arm Dave.

I was only able to watch the GNC IPF Deadlift Championship on the main stage. Because it was decided by bodyweight formula it was hard to tell what places the lifters were trying for with their final lifts. Some huge results from our Jackal's Gym lifters, Jon Krogman and Brad G. Jon pulled an incredible 771 at 253 pounds bodyweight and only 22 years old. He pulled this so fast that I would bet anything that 782 was there, 793 maybe, and an outside chance at 804. He had his brother Jordan boxing his ears and slapping him around, and Ed Coan grumbling something in his ear like I've seen before - when Ed Coan talks you better listen and if what he said had anything to do with making the lift or else...well that was probably enough to put Jon ever the top. I look for Jon to pull 804 next year in this event at even a lower bodyweight - he might even contend for the overall title. Big Pat McGettigan from Wisconsin, long time friend and distant relative of ours, finally put together his lifts and showed what he could do with a nice 804 pull for the 3rd highest pull of the meet and 5th overall by bodyweight. It's been awhile since Pat was able to put everything together on game day so this was fun to see. Nick Tylucki had a good day considering his training was off for this meet. He made 749 on his 2nd but missed his third. The beast Sean Culnan also looked good with a bit under 800 on his third and all the intensity and emotion one man could muster - great show by him and his coach EC. Brad won the highest lift of the meet with an insanely strong 400kg, the third highest lift ever in IPF competition. After watching the video I have to agree with him that he had more left in the tank and 900 is a possibility for next year. I think my mind was in double speed watching it live because it looked like slow motion. The video shows just how easy this lift was.

Brian Schoonveld
It was great to hang out with Schoony again. He hasn't been training real hard but still looks massive at 325 pounds and I swear he gets taller every time I see him. Schoony was all over the place at this expo again. On friday he pressed the 60kg kettlebell for 20 some reps on a whim. When somebody broke his number he got serious about it and went back Sunday to do 30 reps and win the kettlebell set for the second year in a row. Between Schoony's antics in the various strength challenge booths you could see him on the main stage helping move equipment for the weightlifters, coaching powerlifters, and part of the stage crew and coach for the strongman. When I left Sunday he was even performing with the Randy Ritchie and the Omega power team! Schoony is one dynamic cat.

Circus DB on stage
Once again Terry Todd used the 202lb, 3" handle Circus Dumbell as a filler between strongman events on the main stage. Anyone from the crowd could come up and try to lift it then some of the ringers would have a go. After the crowd was done big Tex Henderson was up first. Up the dumbell came. Next up the second of the Sorinex contingent, big Rich Williams. Again, up the dumbell came. Last was Brian Shaw. Not only did he lift the dumbell he held it will mugging for the crowd for at least 15 seconds or more. At the night show Brian also cleaned and pressed the 160lb Circus Dumbell in the back room.

The GNC Grip Gauntlet
We were once again swamped with people trying the Grip Gauntlet. This year we wanted to make it heavy to see how far people have come in the past few years. Before the doors opened Friday me and Karl went up to 212 on the new Rolling Thunder to see how it felt. This was a fairly easy lift for both of us using our left hands. Chris Mathison was there and we had him try it and it wouldn't budge so we figured it might be a little heavy. So unless the Rolling Thunder changes significantly from what we were using at the Arnold, the new Grip Gauntlet weights are going to be 187, 197, 207, for the light, medium, and heavy formats. Grippers will remain 2, 2.5, and 3 Captains of Crush. The 50lb Blob will be used for all formats. I would really like to enforce a credit card set on the gripper but it just breaks up the flow too much with the regular folks who don't set deep anyway. I can see us going up another 10 or so pounds and using the 3.5 gripper or a 3 with a credit card set for a super heavy format sometime down the road.

We had a lot of activity on day one before noon. The Sorinex crew rolled in full force with Richard, Bert, House, Cyborg, Tex, Rich, and others I didn't catch the name of or were hidden behind the rest. Tex Henderson and Rich Williams ripped through the challenge very easily. Taking it all in was Andrew Durniat who then came up and followed suit. So just like that the heavy grip gauntlet was conquered by 3 men. In a flurry of black Sorinex shirts off to the side soon big things were being done. Tex and Rich were shutting my 3.5, cameras were rolling, shouts of encouragement were flying, and what came out of it finally was a focused Rich Williams wanting to certify on the #3. So after a couple fumbled credit card swipes on the set, Rich finally got it right and mashed it down, repped it out, held it up, etc., etc.. After more buzz in the Sorinex camp about what destruction to rain down next, it was decided that Rich would try a big Rolling Thunder lift instead of certifying on the #3.5. So we loaded up 240 and Rich easily ripped this up left and right. Apparently some time after this Rich cleaned the 140 pound thick handled dumbell in the Strength Pro booth and pressed it for 20 reps. This guy is very, very strong.

Other highlights on day one was Jedd Johnson doing 2 of 3, not managing the RT. He came back later in the day with Rex Hubbard and Paul Knight and did some good blob lifts on stage. Clean L&R, and clean by the face right. Jedd's blob strength is very good right now. Paul closed my 3.5 at least once if not more. He wanted to wait to try to certify on the 3.5 until Saturday but I think he should have tried friday night because when he showed up Saturday he had a hole in his hand so I knew he had been bending and gripping the night before. Also I should mention that Karl Gillingham also did all 3 challenges to join the heavy grip gauntlet list: me, Monte Brown, Tex Henderson, John Connor, Karl Gillingham, Rich Williams, Andrew Durniat, and Brian Shaw.

Saturday again saw the Sorinex crew come in ready for a rumble. Rich wanted to certify on the 3.5 so here we go again. After two failed attempts and some coaching on the side from Tex about gripper positioning, Rich mashed the 3.5 down with authority to become the 2nd in the history to certify on this gripper. No sooner than I had got done telling Karl that Rich Williams probably has the strongest grip in the world right now in walks Brian Shaw, who I had given this title to a month before after seeing him at the FitExpo. Jeff Peterson had just seen Brian walk the MHP inch dumbell around the MHP booth only a few minutes before coming to the booth. With very little effort Brian walked through the challenge including a Right and Left RT lift and an effortless Right and Left Blob clean. I asked Brian if he wanted to certify on the 3.5, and he casually said, "yeah, sure". After 4 attempts the big man couldn't quite bring it home. His 4th attempt was so close that I wanted to say good but wasn't completely sure. Luckily Karl had chalked the inside handle so we could inspect whether or not it touched and it appeared that it didn't. This one was really, really close. Watching this all transpire was Paul Knight. After Brian finished up Paul had a go at it. His closest was a millimeter or less, very close but not quite. I'm sure Paul can do this if he would just take a couple days off.

Other highlights of the GNC booth were having a good talk with Chris Rice, Doc, and Jedd about the future of the sport of grip strength. Watching Stew Rosendahl try over and over at the blob and almost making it. That's big time for a smaller guy with smallish sized hands. Also certifying on the #3 was Brad Ardrey.

We probably had 1500-2000 people come through again - a nice turnout.


Add a New Comment

Wade, Thanks for letting me up to give the RT a quick shot on Sunday. Keep up the blog and good training.
     Mathison - 03/10/2009 17:29 ( -

Hey as always you guys are great to be around. I was honored to help Brad out and smack him around. 903 is a must for next year. I'm gonna try to make it up soon. Need some more motivation.
     Schoonie - 03/10/2009 12:20 ( -

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