It's interesting, with my own injured forearm that I wrote about yesterday - really starting to hurt like a SOB now, hehe, but then again, its not going to stop me from going about my daily work! - and us grip maniacs - well, we're used to it - the REAL grip trainees, not the idiots sitting on the bench at the gym posing with heavy weights in hand (dont get me wrong, there is a right way to train at the gym, but preening with the "third peak" of the bicep popping up "under the bros shirt" isnt the way to go about it) ...
I wrote about that HERE.
But, I wrote about something far more inspiring, a story from one of my best and greatest customers John Walker in the UK - where he quite literally did a Cliffhanger to save his nephew's (and likely his own too) life out on the cliffs (in the UK John? I dont know, I never asked him - but I'm sure it must be out in the country there in Wales somewhere? John , if you are reading this, write back and let us know!).
That was written HERE.
But if you've seen the Sly flick Cliffhanger, you know what happens at the beginning.
Three (or was it four?) people are climbing dizzying heights somewhere in the US - was it Montana??
And Sly of course is being Sly, "hanging out" under cliffs where he's not seen, and when his girl asks him where he is, thats his response.
Anyway, his friend and his girl are there too.
And while Sly, the friend, and Sly's woman are all experienced climbers, the other girl isn't.
And disaster strikes, when her harness comes aloose (they were traversing the space BETWEEN cliffs, which looking down below, hell, I wasn't comfortable myself seeing it on screen - never been one for heights, though it's gotten better as I've grown older - so I can understand why in the movie SHE was nervous - with her not being an experienced climber) - and Sly shows up, of course, on the line, and catches the girl just as she is about to DROP.
Trouble is, he catches the glove, which slips off, and then so does, unfortunately the girl.
Thats how Cliffhanger starts.
No such unfortuante occurences in John's case - he literally ... well, let me paste his story again, like I said last night, it's just too inspiring not to keep sharing.
Truly an unsung hero, a "real man" that trains hard and heavy - the right way - and well... here goeth again!
(his story was in response to something my old friend Charles was bitching about in terms of "how dare Rahul make it sound like grip strength is more important than breathing")
Oh yes, I get the picture, it’s the same stupid logic the idiots use when they tell you they’re using lifting straps because their backs are so much stronger than their grip, well done geniuses, you’re now lifting something with your “inbuilt” safety mechanism overridden (you shouldn’t be able to lift what you can’t hold on to) and you’re only making the disparity between the two even greater, now that sounds like a devastating spinal injury waiting to happen to me.
An example of why grip training is as important as breathing (to me anyway) is because it can save not only your own life but also someone else’s.
I was climbing a 100ft cliff without any safety equipment because I know the cliff well I’ve climbed it many times before and I know the safe route up the cliff, however my teenaged nephew had never climbed the cliff before so I warned him not to try and follow me as it was too dangerous, nearing the top of the cliff I’d thought he’d listened until he was suddenly beside me with a huge grin on his face but that grin did not last long because as he passed me he grabbed hold of a large chunk of rock which immediately dislodged and he was hurtling down the cliff, in the split second that it took for him fall I managed to grab his left wrist with my right hand, so I had his whole bodyweight in my right hand whilst I was holding on for dear life with my left, I managed to stabilise myself by pressing my body flat against the cliff face, with every ounce of strength I could muster I curled my nephew with my right arm which allowed him to reach for the top of the cliff with his right hand, once he’d established a firm enough grip with his right hand I was able to let go of his left wrist so he could grab a hold of the top of the cliff with both hands, now that he was holding on with both hands I was able to place my right hand under his butt and I was able to push him up to the top of the cliff where he managed to scramble to safety and I (at last) was able continue up to safety as well.
I tell you this not to make myself look like some kind of hero (I’m not) but to illustrate why I believe grip training is so important, if my grip had not been “rock solid” that day (no pun intended) I believe the sudden jolt of my nephew’s bodyweight hitting my right hand grip, would have been too much for me to hold on to, I also believe it would have also jerked my left hand grip away from the cliff face and we both would have gone hurtling down the cliff to the rocks below.
People who neglect their grip are not only risking their own survival but also of those that they love and care for.
Buying the cart before you buy the horse would be one way of looking at the problem, another way of looking at it would be, if you’ve put the “cart before the horse” i.e. in front of the horse you’ve got things back-to-front, “horses pull not push” so neither the cart or the horse are going anywhere with that setup if you catch my drift.
Now, that my friend is a story and a half - and a true one at that!
When I read it, I couldn't believe my "eyes".
But, he did it!
John Walker keeps telling me he is not a hero, I keep telling him he is - an unsung hero - one of many!
Much like the story of Sig Klein who saved the day (mentioned in Gorilla Grip (Advanced)) and countless other UNSUNG heroes – you – ARE a hero!
Yes, as for the Bozos that claim “we’re big and not fat” and all that, well, enough said – I’ve said plenty in that regard, and so have you.
I gotta share this with the fellas NOW – this is truly, truly inspirational!
Now, unsung heros...
I've always been very effusive in my praise of cops, firefighters, first responders, and other people that DO - i.e. the day to day work we all take for granted, services we need - but never think about in terms of who is providing them ...
The very people that are always talked about, blamed (often for things that aren;t their fault) - yet when we need help, who do we call?
These very people.
Doing a fine, fine, job out there on the streets - usually UNNOTICED and UNHEARD.
Dont get me wrong, there are some bad apples everywhere, this applies to the above category too, but for the most part - outstanding and fine people!
And Charles Mitchell, another one of my great customers responded back to the email about "Cliffhanger" with this.
(he's an ex cop from NYC, as y'all are aware)
Impressive story! What's also impressive is that John was able to curl his nephew's bodyweight with one arm! You're not going to be able to do that if your grip strength is not at the top of its game. Good job John!
Here is part of what I replied with -
Yes, not easy curling that sort of "moving" weight with one arm - not to mention the situation, which even though he was an experienced climber with a head for heights and everything else, that sort of life or death situation - requires not just rock solid grip strength - but superb OVERALL body strength to "pull-jerk" the person up - and most of all, a rock solid nerve!
John keeps saying he's not a hero - to me, thats one of the most (albeit) unsung hero stories I've heard of till date, and thats saying a lot - so I keep sharing it!
As an ex cop, you probably have some stories like this too - even if it's in "the city" as it were - feel free to share, and I'll share 'em with the world!
Now, think about this for a minute, my friend.
First off all, the SITUATION.
Even if that situation didnt require grip, or any strength, and was simply a mental game (which it ultimately all boils down to mental - dont get me wrong - the tools are necessary, but the MIND is what controls all) ... think about the REFLEXES John employed.
Think about the "way" in which he did it - much like a leopard jumping on to it's prey - he did the same - in a split second - holding on to his nephew for "dear life" while trying to save his own - in that situation!
That doesnt just require rock solid NERVE - it also requires years of training - the right way - which develops your instinct - KILLER INSTINCT - and survival instinct - and GRIP AND CORE STRENGTH - real strength - and most of all, that SPEED with which he moved.
Think about it, friend.
A split second literally was the difference between life and death - and it wasn't over even then.
Think about pulling up a "live, moving" weight like that - Ive no idea how much his nephew weighed, but I'd bet it wasn't anything pithy! - with ONE arm - suspended off a cliff (while HE Is hanging on for dear life) - think about the grip - but also the CORE and trap strength required for something like that.
Or, try and do it at the gym - I dont know what they call the gym equivalent, the real equivalent - was it the "bent press"? (not the bench, hehe).
Arthur Saxon would know!
But just try and do something like that WITHOUT The duress for one, WITH safety and such, and so forth ...
John - you indeed are an unsung hero, I've said it before, I'll say it again!
And as I keep saying, grip strength, my friend is maybe not "as important as breathing", but damn near as !
And training wise, grip, core and legs - the MOST important. Train those areas right, you cannot go wrong overall.
Anyway, as an aside, I remember an instance in the Indian Himalayas once where an army man gripped my hand to shake it.
He wasn't necessarily a big guy, or even overly strong or anything, but he had that grip, the same "pull" to the grip that my buddy from the Marines says I do.
That "unnatural pull to your grip" which people pooh pooh as being "not required".
But THAT,and your mind, my friend, will save you in life and death situations, or any situation for that matter, be it a fight in real life - or a street fight ... or, I dont know, ANY situation that requires some real strength,coordination and/or RESILIENCE.
REAL MAN STRENGTH.
When the going gets tough, the tough give it the BOOT .
Anyway, to Charles ... if you have such stories, and you probably do - share 'em with the world! I, and many of our readers, most I'd say - hold the "men in blue" in very high regard - and I'm sure you have stories you can share as well!
OK, this has been a LONG one. Hehe.
And dont forget the tips.
Last, but not least, and this is something we do EVERY year - we'll soon have an annoucement where I'll be re-directing ya'll to a link which has other fitness authors, people into bodybuilding and such on the page.
I am NOT affiliated with or make any money off any of the products mentioned there in any way - but it's a "share" (quid pro quo) thing we ALL do every year to build our lists, and to share the word about other stuff to our lists - so I'll be doing it again this year.
Starts on the 11th - Paul Becker, thank you - you're a great, great guy!
Much like the famous Boris Becker who I much admired, even when he climbed up to the referre's chair to "get in his face" about a tennis ball being called out or something, hehe. I believe that was the French Open I remember!
PS - If you're talking GRIP?
Tennis will build it!
But, those guys often have unbalanced development - especially the ones that hit the backhand and forehand one handed. I've always hit both with two hands, despite being told it was "girly" to do the backhand with two hands.
I dont get it, why not?
I mean, the more strength you put into the shot, the better it is!
Anyway ... I was once called "Michael Chang" on a tennis court. More on that later, but remember the tale of the tennis player that gripped my once injured right hand and I literally screamed with pain?
That, and many other instances growing up are what caused me to have the grip I do TODAY - and teach things the way I do TODAY.
Trust me, the courses above just work - they flat out WORK.
Just read what John for one has to say about them if you "be doubting".
And last, but not least - please leave reviews!