Tag Archives: Grip Training

My Nautilus Leverage Grip Machine

by Al Myers

The Dino Gym's Nautilus Leverage Grip Machine.

The other day I was inspecting  all the equipment in the Dino Gym for any possible use damage (which there wasn’t) and it dawned on me that I have made all of the equipment in the gym, except one piece.  This piece is very unique – and it is the  Nautilus Leverage Grip Machine.  Dino Gym member Scott Tully donated it to the gym several years ago. It had been in  long-term storage at a local college for many years, and was “found” when the college was cleaning out and discarding old items from the college’s old weight-room.  It is still is great shape and now gets lots of use by the Dino Gym members.  Before Scott brought this grip machine in, I had never seen one before – even though in my younger training days I spent time training in Nautilus Facilities.  In the 80’s Nautilus was VERY popular and most towns had a Nautilus Gym.  I always imagined that this grip machine probably never was a big seller, as Nautilus main sales pitch at the time seemed to be aimed at the businessman who wanted to get in a full body workout in 30 minutes.  Most fitness lifters are not too concerned about having a strong grip.

This Nautilus Gripper focuses on the development of the  forearm muscles.  As you squeeze using both hands, the leverage arm rises.  Plates can be added to the end of the leverage arm to increase the difficulty. It also helps with the grip strength that you develop from training grippers, as the squeezing motion is very similar.  I always wondered how old this Nautilus Gripper was, as it appears to be an “original”.  Recently I posed this question on the IronHistory Forum.  Robert Francis gave me the answer I was looking for. (THANKS ROBERT! )  He explained this leverage grip machine was first manufactured by a Nautilus plant in Mexia, Texas in 1985.  It was one of the original Leverage Nautilus Machines.  It filled a line of other Nautilus Leverage Machines that included items like the Leg Press Machine and the Pullover Nautilus Machine.  Robert went on to explain that these Leverage Machines were the seed product of Hammer Strength, the company that formed after Arthur Jones sold off this line in 1986 to Travis Ward.

I feel very fortunate to have this unique piece of Nautilus equipment in my gym.  It is in a gym that appreciates it’s worth – and has members who will use it for its intended purpose to build a strong grip.  If anyone else has equipment in their gyms that they would like to see “highlighted” here in the USAWA Daily News, please send me a story and pictures.  Lifters ALWAYS like to hear how other lifters train, and learn about equipment that builds strength.

Matt Graham – The USAWA’s Grip Sensation

by Al Myers

Matt Graham pinch gripping Two York 45's in one hand and lifting the Inch Dumbbell with the other.

Roger Davis inquired last week on the USAWA Discussion Forum about the Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Ciavattone Grip.  There has been some differences in “the name” of this lift between the USAWA and the IAWA(UK).  This has lead to some records that have been put in the IAWA Record List that probably shouldn’t be there. I am not going to go into detail here regarding that discussion (check out the USAWA Discussion Forum if you are interested in this).  But the discussion lead to the phenomenal lifting of Matt Graham, of Liberal, Kansas, and his great 540# Deadlift on the Fulton Bar, done with a overhand grip at the 2001 SuperGrip Challenge, hosted by Kevin Fulton.  This is a remarkable lift, and possibly could be the highest of All-Time done in this fashion.  Matt hasn’t competed recently in any USAWA meet, but I would like to take today to highlight some of his amazing grip feats.  Several of his grip lifts done in the USAWA are the tops in the USAWA Record List.  I had the opportunity to train with Matt a few times, and he competed in my Dino Gym Challenge several times.  Matt is trained by an USAWA lifting legend, and a great grip master himself, Bob Burtzloff.  I have witnessed Matt doing several grip feats that just left me shaking my head in disbelief!!  I have seen him “snatch” the 50# Blob with one hand, close the #3 COC gripper three times in a row, and pinch grip two 45# plates and lift them high enough to place them on top of a tall barrel.

Matt is built to be a great grip lifter.  He is 6’7″ and weighed around 325# at one time (now he’s a little lighter).   He has very long fingers, and an even larger thumb in proportion. His fingers are long enough that he can Hook Grip a 2″ bar!  Not many people can do that!  Several of his grip feats are well-documented.  He competed several years at Kevin Fulton’s SuperGrip Challenge in Litchfield, Nebraska and won many of them – and he was judged by a couple of very qualified officials – Kevin Fulton and Bill Clark.  Matt is indeed the “real deal” when it comes to grip power!!

Matt Graham’s USAWA Grip Records

600# – Deadlift – 3″ Bar
455# – Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Ciavattone Grip
540# – Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Overhand Grip (with Hook)
225# – Deadlift – No Thumb, Left Arm
344# – Deadlift – Two “Inch” Dumbbells
200# – Pinch Grip

Still not convinced that Matt is the USAWA’s Grip Sensation?
Then check out this video evidence.

YouTube Video – Matt doing a 600# Deadlift with 3″ bar.

YouTube Video – Matt doing a 540# Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Overhand Grip using a Hook Grip.

YouTube Video – Matt deadlifting two Inch Dumbbells at the same time.

YouTube Video – Matt taking the Inch Dumbbell overhead with only one hand using a knee kick, outside on a windy day.

YouTube Video – Matt doing a 192#  One Arm Clean and Jerk with the Fulton Bar.

Maybe I can convince Matt to make a “comeback” at this year’s USAWA’s Grip Challenge, hosted by Ben Edwards in February?

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