Pic above: Bob practises what he preaches.
No problem Steve! Appreciate the honor. I'm 32 years old, and I have lived in Michigan my whole life. I've been in Traverse City for the last 6 years or so. I'm married with a 2 year old son. After going to school for several years, I finally settled on becoming a nurse, which I have been doing for the last 5 years.
Q: Pretty much everyone who involves themselves over and above being a competitor and some of them too, has been on the lifting platform or in the arena at some point. Have you lifted in any other strength sport and if so to what level?
Besides many of the usual highschool sports, I have competed in bench press competitions for the last 10 years. I have done reasonably well, making the USA top 100 in three weight classes. I figured this isn't too bad since I have been steroid free and many others on the list ahead of me aren't.
Q: As Grip World Magazine is aimed at all things grip - what does grip mean to you? What’s its place in training and so on?
I started grip training because of a back injury. For some reason, I thought I had a strong grip so I ordered a few of the Ironmind grippers. That's where it started, and as I struggled off and on to rehabilitate my back, grip would come and go from my training. About 6 years ago or so, I decided that my back wouldn't ever be good enough to deadlift in competition, so I started much more seriously on the grip stuff. Now I take it as seriously as the rest of my training, and it only fades into the background the last month or so before a bench competition.
For most guys, they don't need to take it as seriously, but I believe most any strength athlete could get alot of benefits with maybe a half hour twice a week of serious grip training. Not only will it help pulls, but strong forearms make pressing feel much more stable also.
Q: Of all of the feats, guys and gals doing them and so on what stands out in your mind. Feel free to name names or lifts and records.
I can say the first feat that stuck out in my mind was Dave Thorton doing a blob medley at a Michigan contest- Everyone else was struggling, then Dave went through the lineup and did a high pull on each weight with ease. Jedd with the medley at the Michigan contest this year was pretty good too- I put together a medley I thought would stump everybody, then Jedd starts out high pulling the inch. Ryan Klein setting the last 1" vbar record was also pretty cool.
Chad Woodall and David Horne stand out as well, just so many records and wins between them. The British guys in general, (you included!) have a level of competitiveness that I still think the guys in the states could learn from. I think Nick McKinless is the most unheralded guy in the grip game. He is a great all arounder and could likely beat anyone in the world on a given day, but you don't see him mentioned much.
Finally, I love the bending videos of Don Larkin, with a 60d nail and 80d spike. Given when those feats were performed, I think it would be hard to find a man in the world at that time who could do what he did. Also, the intensity is just unreal.
Steve: that's very kind. I also think the comments about the Brits is true. Hermann Korte described both Sam and myself as 'intense' and I know David Horne is. Jim Wylie, a few years back, was as bad/good. Nick? Nick on a good day is world class.
It started with Rick Walker's grip competition a few years back. He held one, then I think the GGC was announced. I figured what the heck, I could probably do it too. Then Brian Carlton contacted me, and we made our best run at getting all the grip stuff organized. It didn't work then, but I figured if I kept up a records list, a list of contest results, and kept the upcoming contest section current, someday it might be of use. It looks like we are getting there now. Part of what keeps me going is that I really love this grip stuff, and if I stay active it would let me have a say in how the sport develops. I don't want it to be a mess like powerlifting is today.
Q: Where would you like to see what we all do go in the next 5 and 10 years?
I would like to see a consistent national championship in the US, and with some luck, a consistent world championship. One unified organization,with a sustainable sets of rules so that this thing can keep going after all of us are gone.
Whenever I have a big goal, I try to set a series of accomplishable goals. Right now, I am reaching out to prospective promoters and trying to help with rules and such so that the sport is active all over the country. The biggest and most important thing to me in the very near future is too keep interest in the National Championships high, and help create a viable qualification process. I want this to be a sport where it is a competition and the winner is important. Right now, powerlifting is the counterexample- Many of the most recognizable names in powerlifting aren't championship winners, but someone who sets an "all time world record" in a local meet. The big championships have lost alot of recognition, and getting a big lift in a tiny local venue, with often suspect judging and unreasonably favorable conditions is more important.
Q: Before we sign of have your say – if there’s anything you’d like to add be it a message to the guys or what-have-you here’s your chance!
For the guys that are competing and promoting, keep up the good work! If you want to compete but haven't, do it- You won't regret it. The motivation and learning experience is worth it. Thanks for the interview Steve!
A pleasure Bob. Now who will we have lined up next? :D