This post is an update of my progress and observations since attending the second Grip N Rip workshop. If you are impressed with the results I have achieved, consider this post as a testimonial. I think this stuff is fun, so my only goal here is to provide snapshots of my experience. If that sounds good when you finish the post, the link at the top and bottom of this page will allow you to purchase the product if you’re interested. I’ll make a commission on each sale, just so we’re clear. I’ve done my best to write an objective review, but by the end, it’s going to be obvious that I’m pretty proud to be involved in the promotion.
Back in February I went to a strength training workshop in Minneapolis. It was going to be taught by an expert kettlebell instructor, Brad Nelson, and professional strongman Adam T. Glass. I knew Brad by reputation and was actually pretty good friends with Adam at that point.
We were good enough friends that when he told me I needed to give him $500 so I could come out and learn a lot more about the Gym Movement protocol from him and Brad, I said, “No, that’s too expensive.” This was hypocritical and reflexive of me. When someone tells me I should spend money, the first words out of my mouth are always protests.
It was hypocritical because a couple of months earlier I had spent about $500 to go to Minot to spend some time lifting weights with Adam. It was money well spent and part of me knew that spending more to go to Minneapolis to work on my deadlifting, kettlebells skills, and refine my knowledge of biofeedback training would not be a bad thing.
But still, I protested for a moment before paying the fee and booking my ticket. Here is what I was promised, in my most non-salesy rendering (if you want the actual ad copy, continue to the end of the post).
I’m going to do my best to address the claims in the ad copy that were most relevant for me, then report on my experience with each of them in the months since. Also, there are plenty of the types of testimonials you’d expect to see on the sales page on the other side of the links, so if that’s what you’re looking for, feel free to skip ahead. Personally, I ignore testimonials and think they can be annoying.
When I answer the questions about my results later on, I am writing from the stance that I also could have gained the vast majority of the benefits from the DVD if I had not attended.
What I was promised
If I attended Grip and Rip (which would be filmed, released, then re-released later as Grip and Rip 2.1, or Grip n Rip for the typo-prone or abbreviation lovers), I would:
- Increase my deadlift by knowing which stance is best for me
- Learn the benefits of the one arm deadlift
- Learn how to write my own strength training programs
- Learn a whole lot about Gym Movement and Biofeedback training
- 2-3 xs the results I was currently getting
- Get better at whatever physical pursuits I wanted to
- Build lots of muscle (easily)
- Set a PR (or personal record) every single time I hit the gym
- Why I should never, ever train to failure
- The 6 exercises that every person (meaning me) should do to make positive changes to their physique
- learn how to treat my own aches and pains, leading to fewer layoffs from training
- How to set up my own fat loss program
- Learn how to increase my overhead pressing strength (this was one of my goals, so I was especially interested in this–also, how I could fix shoulder pain by pressing)
- Learn a whole bunch about grip and grippers training from Adam, including secrets he apparently wasn’t teaching to anyone (read, teaching to anyone for free)
Good grief they wrote a long ad…so I’ll stop there for now and get into what I actually learned. So, here’s the “did they or didn’t they deliver?” part:
Did I really learn anything about the deadlift?
Yes. Nearly everything I say here will tie into the biodfeedback testing somehow, including the deadlift. If you have never deadlifted under scrutiny, it’s kind of weird. I really hadn’t. At the time of Grip and rip I was deadlifting over 500 lbs, but I felt every pound of it. I definitely had to strain.
Having another set of eyes on you can be very helpful, but not for the reason than many people think. This wasn’t really about someone checking to make sure I had perfect form, but rather, seeing how the bar moved. Was I doing it efficiently or not?
Turns out I was not. I was doing it the best way my body could handle. I would soon learn how to do some tests that would help me improve my deadlift over time. So my answer is yes, my deadlift improved and I learned how to fiddle around and figure out whether I would, at any given time, benefit most from a sumo stance, conventional stance, and some different grip variations.
As far as the benefits of the one arm deadlift, I was already sold on that. I had gotten addicted to my stupid Ironmind Rolling Thunder Handle and was already doing plenty of that nonsense.
I am currently deadlifting 540 very easily. I think I will be at 600 in early 2011, but my timelines usually surprise me these days.
Did I learn how to write my own strength training programs?
Yes and no. By yes, I mean I can now train myself. I will never rely on another program, trainer, or product ever again. By no, I mean that I don’t follow programs, and there is not a program I could write for myself that would work at all times.
But I know how to test. I know how to do what will help me make the best progress each time I train. I never know exactly what my workouts are going to look like, or even which exercises I’ll be performing. This is part of the fun for me, but I know that it causes people who enjoy routine some unease.
Did I learn a lot about Gym Movement and the Bioefeedback stuff?
A lot? Yes. Everything? No.
When I visited Adam in September of 2009, he gave me the broadest pieces, which allowed me to start running my own little lifting experiments. I did not understand the larger implications yet.
The workshop helped me take the next steps and fill in some gaps. A couple of months after that I attended a formal Gym Movement course and learned even more. But the Grip and Rip DVD is, in my opinion, the clearest, most affordable example of the GM protocol. I learned what I needed to move on fairly quickly, and it is pretty hard to misunderstand anything on the DVD.
Double or triple the results?
I did not leave Minneapolis deadlifting 1500, or even 1000 pounds, no. But in the months following the workshop, I did double or even triple my results in many other lifts, and in the mindset I use to gauge progress.
Before, when I had a goal, I would get tunnel vision and work so freaking hard on that goal, to the exclusion of most other movements and exercises.
I had been taught to work on one, maybe two things at a time. I would say that I am now well beyond 2-3 Xs in progress. This is because I am working on many goals simultaneously. I progress in them all, every week, including my deadlift and other giant movements like the squat.
Did I learn to improve at whatever physical pursuits interested me?
I think so, although my interests are deadlifting, kettlebells, and grip training. I have definitely learned how to chase these things more effectively.
In one potentially interesting sidenote: I have never been a runner. On a whim, I have been doing some running–always testing it first–I am almost as fast at age 32.7 years and 250+ lbs than I was during High School Cross Country, 15 years and 100 lbs ago. I can run a mile almost as quickly now as I could then (currently stuck at 5:45).
I do think I could apply the testing to anything I wanted to improve at. But I already know what I want to chase, so I may not branch out too much. I’m having a good time and am not bored.
I have simply continued doing what I was already doing–building volume, testing all of my movements, etc–but with some refinements in the testing process, I am currently at the heaviest bodyweight with the lowest Bodyfat percentage of my life. (252 this morning, 10% BF).
I was doing pretty well already, but I have now greatly improved the quality of the 30 lbs of muscle I put on between September 2009 and March 2010. Good stuff.
Can I really hit a PR every time I train?
Yes. There are many critics out there howling about how what we are doing are not “real” prs. Boo hoo. Do I add weight to my deadlift every time I train? Of course not. Do I lift more weight in a given lift over the course of my training session every single time? You better believe it.
Anyone crying foul over our perceived semantic and sinister twists on the concept of progress needs to settle down. If I do more sets today than I did yesterday, that’s a PR. If I do more reps today than I did yesterday, that’s a PR. If I feel better today than I did yesterday, that’s a PR. If I can do a movement without pain suddenly, that’s a PR.
I heard someone say “What you’re calling PR every day is simply progress every day.” That might be true, but the person who said it doesn’t make progress or PR every day. I do, and it makes me happy, so I will continue to do so.
It’s not true because I say it is, just as it isn’t untrue because they say so. Find out for yourself, or not. Do what makes you happy. I will listen patiently while you tell me it doesn’t work for you. I will also fall asleep out of boredom when you try to tell me it doesn’t work for me.
Training to failure and why you shouldn’t do it
This was nothing new for me. Pavel has this one exactly right, in my opinion. I didn’t believe in “no pain no gain” before the workshop and I don’t believe in it now.
The Six exercises most crucial for physique change
Yes, this is a wonderful section. More importantly for me than the physique change bit, the six movements have helped me zero in on my own pain issues a lot more effectively. With the six patterns, a near infinite-variety of testing options opens up.
And about that pain…
I can usually fix all of my performance related pains in seconds. This is tied into the testing. I still have the occasional pinch or pull due to my Tourette’s symptoms, but when I get discomforts from lifting, I always know exactly how to get rid of them. Priceless.
Fat loss tips
My least favorite section of the workshop. Mainly because I was eating everything in sight and didn’t want to hear that I should do anything different. There was nothing in this segment I did not know, aside from the actual caloric content of certain alcoholic beverages.
But Brad is an expert and I got to see about 50 of his clients. You’d think they were all fat loss experts themselves.
Increasing overhead pressing strength
I have gone from shaky presses with the 40 kilo kettlebell to bottoms up pressing The Beast (aka the 106 lb kettlebell from Dragon Door). My axle press is way up, as is my ability to jerk barbells and kettlebells.
My currently intensity PR that I’m happiest about is a 52 kilo stacked press. The best part of this is that my shoulders have remained injury free and I’m never in discomfort. Not everyone who presses as often as I do (4-5 times each week) can say this.
Did I learn anything about grip?
Well, duh. How often do you get to hear a grip lesson from someone with a pair of the strongest hands in the world? Loved, loved, loved the grip and grippers portion. I’m currently working on the Captains of Crush 2.5.
Wrappin’ it up
The only reason the numbers I’m hitting impress me is because I know how hard I used to work for much poorer results. I’m not going to set any world records, but I’m healthier, stronger, in less pain, and have better quality of life than I ever have, and yes, it’s all thanks to this insignificant-sounding little workshop.
None of my numbers should blow your mind. You have better things to think about. The only people really complaining about what we’re doing are the ones with a financial stake in another fitness system. That’s fine, it would be bad business for them to do anything else.
Honestly, unless you’re a friend or family member, you shouldn’t care about my training at all–the only people who really care are the ones who know how happy my progress and training makes me.
That is all you should want for yourself. If you are happy with your training, you don’t need to buy any product. If you are getting the results you want, I’m thrilled for you. If you never hit plateaus, don’t let yourself think you’re doing anything wrong.
But if you wonder how all of the Gym Movement people are getting so strong, so fast, with so little effort, I recommend that you check out Grip and Rip.
If I can ever do anything to help you, I hope you’ll ask. If I can, I will.
Lift heavy, be happy. Enjoy the journey.
PS: There is way more in the Grip and Rip DVD than I have the patience to write about. Trust me, but I’m all typed out and the kettlebells are a-callin’.
PPS: Shortly after I got back from the workshop, this was my brief Grip and Rip review while I was gathering my thoughts.