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Grip Strength Athlete Tommy Heslep

Tommy Heslep

Tommy Heslep Pinching 45s - Click for Tommy's Interview with Grip World Magazine

When I first began getting into grip strength training, I did what most people do when they’re looking for information (yes, even librarians, whether they’ll admit it or not)–I went to the good old Internet and started surfing. I wanted to research some grip athletes. That’s how I ran into Tommy Heslep.

I’ve said it before, but I think it’s worth repeating: there’s no way to tell just how strong somebody’s grip is without seeing it, which is one of the reasons I think it is so fun. If some massive, musclebound monster with shoulders the size of your head walks into the room you could plausibly predict that he is a relatively strong presser.

You can’t do that with hands. You can’t look at Tommy Heslep’s hands and think “Wow, I bet that guy could crush a potato.” Probably because most of us wouldn’t even suspect that anyone might try such stunts, but you get the idea, right?

He has also had a bend named after him. I’m referring to steel bending, the manly art of bending nails, bolts, and other pieces of metal just because. “Heslep style” is so difficult that I don’t even try it anymore, or pretend that I’m going to get good at it.

He has also closed the #4 Captain of Crush Gripper from Ironmind, he can pinch two 45 lb plates using only two fingers and a thumb, he can explode through a deck of cards like nobody I’ve ever seen, and best of all…he’s not a big guy.

Tommy is under six feet tall and weighs less than 200 lbs. I like this because it reinforces the point that anyone can develop crazy grip strength, where not everyone might be built for a 1000 lb deadlift like Andy Bolton, for instance. When you see another official #4 closer like Magnus Samuelsson, you might look at his size and think “Well of course he can do it!” although that’s incorrect thinking when it comes to grippers.

I was not surprised to see that one of Tommy’s first inspirations was strongman Dennis Rogers, a master of grip feats with a similar build.

Grip training is something that everyone can do, and it is a lot of fun. If you’re looking for ways to get started, I highly recommend John Brookfield’s Mastery of Hand Strength and Adam T. Glass’ Industrial Strength Grip DVD.

All respect to Mr. Heslep. I’m a huge fan and would love to meet him one day.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • daiomik August 14, 2011, 1:59 am

    Nice, very good!

  • Tommy Heslep August 20, 2011, 8:15 pm

    I just found this.Its purdy good,thankx.

  • Davey-Boy Smith August 30, 2011, 7:59 pm

    Nice to see Tommy Heslep get more mentions. I’d say his build is even less imposing than Dennis Rogers. With his clothes on, Heslep looks like a rake, but his hand closing is more like another garden tool.