It has been over a year since I wrote my Steel bending for beginners post.I tried to make it clear in that video that I was the rawest of newcomers to the steel bending world. In fact, I had received my Ironmind bag of nails either that day or the day before.
I more more of a beginner than I knew.
But over the next twelve months I made progress that I am very happy with. I am now able to bend grade 5 bolts cut to 5.5 inches. This is not world class by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s quite a ways from where I started.
The most interesting thing about nail bending has been that it is impossible to rush progress. Bending steel has forced me to acknowledge the limits of how quickly tissue can adapt. Bending has as much to do with pain tolerance as with strength, and pushing too hard, too soon can have disastrous consequences.
Luckily I have not experienced any of those disastrous consequences, but it’s easy to see how quickly things could go wrong if you weren’t smart with the steel.
There was a resource I bought when I started, and I’m still using it today. Then I’ll tell you about the one other addition I would make.
The Diesel Bending manual
Jedd Johnson put together a wonderful ebook about how to get started in bending. But I have also heard plenty of elite benders talk about how they still refer to it for inspiration and creativity, so it isn’t just for the grip newcomers.
Once you have the bending progressions fixed in mind, the primary value, in my opinion, of the Diesel Crew manual is in the variety of exercises to strengthen the wrists.
Also in the last year, one of my friends (and a crazy grip colleague of Napalm Jedd’s) produced a product that has also been a big help in my grip pursuits.
Grip and Rip 2.1
I wrote a thorough Grip and Rip review here. The reason I say that it is a complement to Jedd’s book is that it teaches you how to determine which exercises will benefit you the most at any given time. What is “good” or bad for us changes constantly.
When I saw the enormous array of exercises Jedd recommends, I had a hard time getting focused–I wanted to try them all. I kept taking steps forward, so I’m not complaining there.
But when I began to apply biofeedback testing to the grip exercises and bending styles that Jedd recommends, I made huge jumps. I can now figure out which movements (grip exercises) I need to focus on at any moment.
One quite note, however: I am bending far less frequently than ever before, because bending does not test well for me as often as I thought it would. But that’s okay. If it doesn’t test well for me, it usually means I should be doing something else first. So if you want to bend every single day, adding biofeedback testing might not allow you to do that, but I do believe that it can speed up anyone’s progress.
Adam Glass just hit the top 10 after the first round of the World’s Strongest Hands contest. When he talks about grip, I’m always interested. He attributes his rapid progress, even after years of advanced grip training, to the Gym Movement protocol taught in Grip and Rip. But find out for yourself–it is his product, after all.
It’s working. It really is. I’ll be bending the Ironmind Red Nail early next year. If you’re making great gains and don’t need anything new, keep doing what makes you happy.
If you’re getting into bending, I can’t recommend the Diesel Bending Manual highly enough.
If you’re curious, you might also consider throwing biofeedback into the mix. That’s what I’m doing, but I train for fun. I’m not breaking world records, but the combination of these two products has made my bending experience a lot more enjoyable, and my progress has been steadier than ever.
Get a grip!