One of the only people I know that can bend fry pans in half!
We had the pleasure of speaking with Rob McMurren from Waterloo, Ontario Canada.
Rob has won the Canadian Grip-Sport Heavyweight Championship 2 years in a row! Rob is a supervisor at the University of Waterloo and also coaches the football team there part time.
What got in you into Grip Strength Competitions and how long have you been training?
I have been training overall since I was 15. I started training grip seriously about 7 years ago. I liked the fact that in grip training you can tax your hands without too much load. I have some injury concerns from my days playing football and rugby that I am trying stay away from too much heavy weights. I started bending steel after watching an Adam Glass Youtube video. I bent steel weekly for 2 years. I have bent the red nail from Ironmind on several occasions. Bending led me to grip training and I gradually built up my own gym. I still bend steel but less frequently now. I entered my first contest in Detroit Michigan in 2014. Since then I have been to the Canadians twice, King Kong once and The North American championships once where I finished 10th overall. I also do other feats of strength like card, phonebook and license plate tearing.
What is your ideal training session for Grip Strength?
PRs all around. While I don’t lift heavy on the main lifts, I still feel they are important . With my work and kids sports, my weekday sessions (1-2 times per week) are quick with a main movement like squat, bench or dead and grip between sets. I do a lot of pinching, block weights, pinch block, blob. I will do singles and holds with these. Most of my grip training is not programmed, just go by feel. I think that the pinching exercises are what gives me the greatest bang for my buck with limited training time. If I am prepping for a contest I will start focusing on the actual events about 2 months out and train all the events in each training session. I try once a week to have a good blow out session on the weekend where I will work through several grip exercises while doing axle deads, log press and prowler
What Captains of Crush Gripper can you close and what one are you chasing?
I have closed a couple #3s right handed and the 2.5 left. I have not closed the 3 that I own. Most grippers will vary to due differences in steel. While I can close my friend’s #3, I still can’t close my own.
What is your favorite event / lift at the Comps?
My favorite event is the axle deadlift. I enjoy deadlifting and have an axle at my house so I can train for it. I do not have some of the implements that get contested at comps, so I end up guessing. I also really enjoy the medley portion of comps. Last year’s Canadian Championship there was 30 implements that had a 3 minute time limit.
How to you keep injuries away?
I don’t. I didn’t attend the North American championships this year due to an injured right elbow. It has been slow to recover. I had some pretty significant elbow injuries when I played football in university, so elbow problems are something I deal with. It seems that for the last 6-8 months I have had one elbow that is not well. The nice part with grip is that a lot of contests have single hand events so I have been training my left consistently since the injury to my right. The key thing with grip is to not over-do it too soon. I have slowly built volume into my training over the last 5-6 years. If something hurts, I don’t do that exercise. I also do lots of extensor work
What is your favorite thing to cook on the BBQ?
Ribs, anything with bacon
If you were to give some advice to anyone looking to get into Grip Strength Comps or Grip Strength Training what would it be?
Start in slow, like all training, if you go too fast there’s potential for injuries. There’s a forum called the Gripboard, sign up there and ask questions, there’s a lot of great training information on there and a lot of the strongest grip guys are on there. They also have comp listings, so if there’s one near you sign up and go, it’s a great learning experience. The guys at the comps want to grow the sport and will coach new guys through events. It’s a really good atmosphere.
Thank You Rob for your time and we look forward to seeing more great things from you in the Grip Sport World!