I received the following e-mail from Heidi, one of the owners of Amarillo Strength and Conditioning (aka CrossFit Amarillo);
I just had to write you to report what has transpired at our gym in the few days following your 70s Big Workshop. Despite the fact that only a fraction of our athletes were in attendance, word spread like wildfire concerning the importance of strength training. Even though we preach this message to our athletes on a daily basis, I think it took someone else to walk in and bring some credibility to our rant. Anyhow, in the last two days we have had some deep discussion about strength training on our blog. Damn near every person at our gym (except for a handful) has decided to begin Starting Strength or your old WFAC CrossFit Program (we dub "S&C" – we always give you credit). Males and Females alike are finally starting to get it! I just wanted to let you know that your workshop was quite effective at informing folks about the importance of strength work, as well as, dispelling the myths associated with strength work. We would recommend that any gym would benefit from hosting a 70's Big Workshop.
Amarillo Strength and Conditioning
If you live in the Amarillo area, I’d check out this gym. The members are all pals and the place had a great atmosphere. Quite a few of the coaches have also attended Mark Rippetoe’s Starting Strength Seminar, and that means they are quite learn-ed in this kind of stuff.
My buddy Mike has been training for years by himself, whether it be when he was deployed to Afghanistan or when he was stationed in England. One thing is for sure; he did a lot of Kroc rows. He wanted to add to the grip discussion since he has pretty decent grips attached to his monkey arms. Bur first, here’s a little vid on what Kroc rows are all about:
We mentioned Kroc rows the other day, but I think they’re worth mentioning again. I always found the most benefit from doing one set to failure with straps. If you look at what Kroc does on his heaviest set, he is using straps, and going all out until there is nothing left. Is there a sufficient amount of body English? Yes. However the point here is to train until failure and increase the number of reps and/or weight every time you do them. Some might say the straps are counterproductive, and to them I pose this question; is being able to do a set of Kroc rows with 100 for a strict set of 8 sans straps more impressive and beneficial to your grip, or is a set of 125 for 15 reps? I guarantee that you won’t achieve the same amount of fatigue in your grip or forearms as you would doing the higher weight and reps.
I would say that Kroc rows would need to be programmed into your training at the end of your session when you aren’t pulling during the following 48 hours and it is preferable to have a few days of rest afterwards. A high intensity set of Kroc rows will be draining, but they are very beneficial to a stronger grip.
I also like to use the Captains of Crush grippers — I recently let Brent borrow these, and I am also interested to see how they help his predicament. First of all, using these grippers is not like sitting on your couch using the “grip tools” you find laying around most “fitness facilities.” These are the real deal. Don’t believe me? There are RECORD BOOKS for the two highest grippers. Using these grippers will definitely develop brutal crushing strength, and certainly assist in your ability to hang onto the bar during heavy pulls. When I started, I could close the trainer and the number 1. The number 2 was so hard for me initially I scoffed at it and focused on increasing my reps on the number 1. However, I eventually was able to close the number 2, and I could rep it out a few times. I believe these also took my grip strength to another level. Before using them I recall rack pulling in the low 500’s and having some grip issues after a couple reps. After using them for a few months I had no problem in the low 500’s, up until about 550-560. I was also told that my hand shake felt a lot more powerful. I think it would be generally agreed upon that someone who is 70’s Big undoubtedly should have an overpowering handshake.