New Toys, 525 lb Squat (1RM), Hook Grip Thumb Damage and Stuff You Should Read

July 21, 2013 — Leave a comment

New toys, new squat PR, and a new injury!

New Toys

Risto Leather Wrist Wraps

Risto Leather Wrist Wraps

The velcro on my Titan RPM wrist wraps are wearing out, and my Schiek wrist wraps are falling apart so I figured I should get some leather wrist wraps and try them out. They seem more durable than the conventional wrist wraps and might even last longer. They're not legal in competitions as far as I'm aware, so I'm just going to use these during training, and then switch back to the regular wraps for pre-competition and competition training.

Rogue Cannon Balls

Rogue Cannon Balls

"My future's not gonna be determined by seven little white lotto balls. It's gonna be determined by two big black balls" - Darryl Philbin

These Rogue Cannonball Grips looked kinda interesting so I picked them up as well. The main reason is to develop grip strength while doing chin ups/pull ups.

Rogue Monster Bands

Rogue Monster Bands

I've wanted to try out some heavy partial training for a while (yes, partial squats and partial bench presses!), but I didn't like the idea of doing a partial rep and not knowing exactly how low to go. With the bench press, a lot of people do board presses, but this requires a training partner to hold some thick paddle board on your check while you bench. Also you need to buy a bunch of thick paddle boards.

For the squat, I've seen people do high box squats, but I don't want to get into box squatting (at least not at this point) because I don't want to buy a box for one exercise.

Also the problem with partial reps is that...well, it's a partial rep. I like to bury my squats and I don't think I've done partial bench presses since high school when I had no idea what I was doing even though I thought I did.

So the solution for heavy partials that made sense to me is using bands, and setting them up so they would help out at the bottom of the lift (ie. reverse bands). This way, I would still have to unrack a weight that's much higher than my 1RM, and for a fraction of the full range of motion the load would be higher than my 1RM as well. I would also be able to train with a full ROM, utilizing the bands to lower the weight at the bottom.

I picked up a couple of pair of Monster bands from Rogue to try this out.

The green bands supposedly have a resistance of 65 lb each, and the black bands are supposed to be 100 lb.

Paired up, the green bands should be 130 lb and the black bands 200 lb.

There wasn't any instructions or description in the package indicating how to achieve this level of resistance, but that's OK. I can figure it out!

At this point, I'm going to use these for reverse band squats and possibly reverse band (reverse grip) bench presses. I only want a little bit of assistance on at the bottom of the lift, and get the full load at the top.

Attaching one end of the bands at the top of my rack and the other end to the sleeves of the barbell, I discovered that the pair of green bands can't even hold up an empty bar.

For the black bands, I need to put ~35 lb of plates to the bar (so that's around 80 lb total) for the bands to stretch enough so that it just touches the safety pins in my power rack.

So the way I'm going to calculate this is that the green bands will take away roughly 45 lb at the bottom of the movement, and the black bands will take away 80 lb. For example, if I'm squatting 550 lb, and the black band takes off 80 lb when stretched, at the very least I would be squatting 470 lb. In other words, I would be squatting 550 lb at the top, and the weight would gradually lower to 470 lb in the hole.

It's not 100% accurate, but I think it's good enough. Makes sense, right?

525 lb Squat (1RM)

Got this on Friday, and 525 lb is a +5 lb PR. Felt strong during my warm up, and a 500 lb squat seemed to pop up faster than normal so I decided to try for a PR.

But not after testing out those bands first. I did a 530 lb reverse band squat (with the green bands), followed by a 550 lb reverse band squat (with the black bands). This made unracking 525 lb feel easy.

Looking back at the video, I didn't even make a squat face, so I'm pretty sure I could have done a little bit more.

Thumb Damage From Hook Grip

hook grip thumb damage

Did some hook grip mat pulls on Saturday. The pressure of the 600 lb on my thumbs combined with pressing into my thumbnail with my index finger ended up cutting the skin just below my thumbnails.

Still completed the rep, and finished off with 500 lb x 5 (with straps).

Anyway, check this out:

Stuff You Should Read

  1. Patience And Time Lead To Long Term Strength Gains, An Older Lifter's Perspective by Craig Hirota
  2. Deadlifting With T-Rex Arms by Greg Nuckols

John Phung

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Ever since I started taking strength training seriously, I was bitten by the Iron Bug. Then it burrowed under my skin and laid eggs in my heart. Now those eggs are hatching and I... the feeling is indescribable.

Quick Stats
Height: 5'4" on non-squat days
Weight: 200 lb 210 lb ~220 lb (FOREVER BULK BRAH)


  • Texas Method: March 4, 2011 - April 28, 2013
  • Smolov Jr for Bench Press: June 4 - 22, 2012
  • Starting Strength: Nov 29, 2010 - March 4, 2011