The Grip Strength Journey of Jim Stoppani Sr.
If you have been to the Mr. Olympia Expo in Las Vegas over the past ten years, then you have seen “that guy” at the Con-Cret Booth pinch gripping and lifting various items, specifically the IronMind Hub, that no one else can lift. We have been attending the Olympia for many years now and that man, Jim Stoppani Sr., has become a staple of the expo. We wanted to highlight him because he is a legitimate grip strength beast and because his story is cool. This is his story in his words.
Grip Strength Feats by Jim Stoppani Sr.
My name is Jim Stoppani. Many of you know me from my past ten years working my Feats of Strength at the ProMera (Con-Cret) booth at Fitness Expos. But many do not know how I got to do my Feats of Strength.
When I was 66 years old, 10 years ago, my journey began when I stopped at the Con-Cret booth at the LA Fit expo. The challenge was to lift a 20 lb ball which I barely lifted. The booth manager gave me a sample jar of Creatine and told me to come back when I got stronger. Taking Creatine, I started lifting weights with my fingers, basically plates with no bar and just squeezing two or three ten-pound weights.
A year later, I went back and picked up the 20 lb ball and the 30 lb ball. When they heard I was 67 they hired me to do the Feats of Strength. The next Expo I brought weights and a loading pin with a 3” IronMind hub. This way our challenge now could be done by all ages, boys, girls, men and women.
After meeting Steve Slater, I asked him if he could make me a 45 lb concrete Stone like the Strong Men use. Mounting this stone with an IronMind 3” Hub, I wanted a challenge that would attract experienced lifters. The Slater Stone added that “wow” effect. Slater has made dozens of stones for us, 45 lbs all the way up to 71 lbs. We basically had the only challenge at the expos where everyone could try our lifts.
I had an average grip; not super crushing. But I train grip strength three days a week and I lift three days a week. My highest lift was 73 lbs which took me about five years of Hub training to achieve.
The important technique is finger placement on the hub. The thumb has to be in line with the middle finger. Middle finger at 12 o’clock and thumb at 6 o’clock.
My first Grip Tip is to rip up all your mail, as small as you can. After you rip one piece, you put two pieces together and rip. Then put four pieces and rip and continue. Also rip up your coffee cartons and your pizza boxes.
Best way to start.
Now get Gripping!