Adam Glass and the Inch Dumbbell

by Al Myers

Adam Glass lifting the Inch Dumbbell with cans balancing on each globe!

The weekend of the Minnesota All Round Meet I met one of the strongest GRIP GUYS I have ever met.  Possibly the strongest.  I have seen his FB pictures and YouTube Videos of some of his grip feats beforehand, and was impressed, but nothing is like seeing it firsthand.  In fact, I even kidded Adam that I didn’t really believe his UNBELIEVABLE grip lifts until now (and I was just kiddin).  Also, I am a hard one to impress with grip feats of strength because I have seen some of the best in action in the Dino Gym before - guys like Andrew Durniat, Ben Edwards, Matt Graham, to name a few. I have an IronMind Inch Dumbbell Replica in the Dino Gym that has been lifted by 5 guys (Matt Graham, John Conners, Matt Vincent, Dave Brown, and Andrew Durniat) so it’s not like I haven’t seen this done before. But the things Adam Glass did with the Inch Dumbbell are things I have NEVER seen before, and I would question if there are very many people in the World who could even replicate these feats of his.

Picking up an Inch Dumbbell in each hand and going for a walk was easy for Adam!

I’ll leave the history and description of the Thomas Inch Dumbbell for another story.  I want this story to be about the things I witnessed Adam perform with the Inch Dumbbell.  First of all, I want to tell a little bit about him before I start with “the meat” of the story.  When I got to The Movement early Saturday morning for the competition he was the only one in the gym at the time. He was tidying things up for the days meet.  Very friendly first impression.  He didn’t seem built like some of the monster ”grip guys” I have meant in the past – taller than me, but not a huge frame like guys like Mark Felix.  But I did notice his very long fingers and hands when I shook his hand.  Also, he didn’t try to “bad ass” me with his handshake (cause he could if he wanted – he has closed the #3COC gripper!).  Just a firm shake and friendly welcome.  

The first thing he did was lift the Inch with two cans balanced on top of the globes.  I didn’t think there would be a chance that the cans would stay on – but they did!  Anyone who has tried to pick up the Inch (which I have over a 100 times with no success) will know that the rotation of the db is the first thing that will get ya. It’s not that the Inch DB is that heavy (It only weighs 172#), but with the thick handle it immediately starts to roll out of your hand.  The act of balancing cans on top and STAY tells me that Adam didn’t allow ANY ROTATION.  Plus another difficulty with this feat is that you can’t tip the dumbbell to any degree (which does aid in lifting it quite a bit).  He lifted it straight up perfectly parallel to the floor, and even held it while I took a picture!!!  Lets just say I was impressed with that, but things got even better later on.

Another thing he did is carry two Inch Dumbbells at the same time.  I have seen this done before a couple of times, but not after a day of lifting and lifting the Inch numerous times beforehand.  He carried the Dumbbells over 30 feet easily – we never measured anything so that is just an estimate. But regardless, I’m sure if he did this “fresh” he could have went much farther.

The last stunt he did with the Inch DB is the one that impressed me the most. He picked up the Inch with his right hand and then let it go and CAUGHT it with his left hand while the dumbbell was in the air!!  That may be the most impressive feat I have ever heard of with the Inch DB!  I would like to know if anyone else in the World can do that.  I didn’t get a picture of that because it happened so fast, but Adam does have YouTube Videos online so you can watch him doing it.  I checked the Inch DB he was using and this is the real deal. Not like how old Thomas Inch would pull a “switch a roo” in his exhibitions by having lighter Inch Dumbbells of the same size secretly substituted in and portraying them as the heavy one!  

One last thing I want to say about Adam Glass.  He is the “total package” when it comes to grip strength.  I have seen grip guys who have specialities in which they excel, but Adam is strong at all grip stuff.  He a certified Red Nail Bender, as well as an exceptional pinch gripper and round stock lifter (I should mention that he broke Andrew Durniat’s and Ben Edward’s record in the 2″ VB lift).  He doesn’t appear to have any weak links in his grip game to me.  I am glad to see someone of his caliber become a member of the USAWA!!!

Andrew Durniat & the Inch Dumbbell

by Al Myers

Andrew Durniat lifts the Dino Gym's Inch Dumbbell Replica at the 2010 Dino Gym Grip Challenge.

USAWA member Andrew Durniat did something at the York Barbell Festival that not very many lifters have done – he walked with a pair of Inch Dumbbells!  I was busy with the USAWA Heavy Lift Nationals at the time he did it, and unfortunately missed this feat.  I really wish I could have seen it!  He walked at least 50 feet, and then after he dropped the dumbbells, he picked them up again and walked back to the starting line.   I am just glad Jedd Johnson, of Diesel Crew,  caught this unbelievable Inch DB walk  on video and uploaded it on YouTube (YouTube Video of Andrew’s Inch Dumbbell Walk).  Without this proof, I might even have a hard time believing it! 

I have an Inch Dumbbell Replica in the Dino Gym.  Most of the time it is nothing more than a heavy doorstop – as most of the gym members can’t even budge it an inch off the floor.  The interesting thing about it is that it LOOKS liftable, but only after repeated failures and shaking your head in defeat, do you realize what a grip challenge it really is.  The Dino Gym’s Inch Dumbbell Replica has only been lifted by FIVE people, all of which are great grip lifters.  Let me give you a list of these guys, because they deserve the recognition -  Matt Graham (the first one), John Conner, Dave Brown, Matt Vincent, and now Andrew Durniat.  Andrew lifted it with ease at my 2010 Dino Gym Grip Challenge which was promoted by Dino Gym member Ben Edwards.  It seemed like he could hold it forever when I took his picture of him doing it.  At the York Festival I compared my hand size with that of Andrews.  It was humbling to say the least.  His fingers are at least an inch longer than mine, which is a very important part of most gripping feats. In the future,  Andrew Durniat is a name you will be hearing alot of in the world of strength!

Stop The Rotation To Jumpstart Gains


by Ben Edwards


A lot has been written about training with thick-handled dumbbells and there are many methods to help you reach your strength goals.
Your training will usually consist of attempts to either increase your max lift for a single deadlift, or occasionally doing reps to increase the amount of time that you’re holding onto the dumbbell.  Occasionally it’s a good idea to switch your training up and focus on a different training method for a while to see if you can get break through a training rut or plateau.
A technique that has helped me drastically increase my Inch loadable dumbbell max over the past month is to stop the rotation of the dumbbell while performing a deadlift.  This is not something new and I’ve read about it being used by several guys who are training to lift the Inch Replica.
There are several ways to stop the rotation of a dumbbell

  • Press a finger against the plates with your non-lifting hand and apply inward pressure so that the rotation of the plates is arrested.  I used this technique after a grip contest about 5 years ago and lifted an Inch Replica to a full deadlift.  At that time I was about 40lbs away from a legitimate lift of an Inch Replica, so it’s a remarkable training tool.

  • Loosen the plates (applies to a loadable only) until they rattle when lifted and that will significantly reduce the rotation of the dumbbell.  I usually get about 10lbs more when I do this.

  • If you have an Al Myers Inch (loadable) Trainer -Use a hollow tube to slide over one of the “horns” on the screw-on collar.  Hold onto the tube with your non-lifting hand and that will prevent the dumbbell from rotating when you lift it.  This will add anywhere from 5 to 20lbs to your best unassisted lift.  The following pictures show this technique in action.

This is the starting position. The dumbbell hasn't left the ground yet. The left hand is already stabilizing the hollow tube, which prevents the dumbbell handle from rotating in your hand during the lift.

About a month ago I dusted off my Al Myers Inch Trainer and worked up to a max (contest-legal) lift of 139lbs.  I struggle with the rotation of thick-handled dumbbells.  I’ve trained it about 6 times since that test day and I did a contest-legal deadlift with 152lbs this morning.  That’s an increase of 13lbs in a month.  Some of that was just being a bit “rusty” with my thick-handled dumbbell technique.  But a good portion of that increase I attribute mainly to my rotation-stopping training.  Only on the first day did I actually do an unassisted dumbbell lift (without the rotation-stopping tube) during training.  The 6 workouts since that test day have consisted primarily of a few warmup 2-handed pulls and 1-handed negatives with 140lbs, and then 3 to 5 attempts – utilizing the rotation-stopping bar – with 150 to 170lbs.
I hope anyone training to lift an Inch Replica will put these suggestions to use and achieve their goal quickly and efficiently.  I’ve got a long way to go before I’m strong enough to lift an Inch Replica.  But at least now I’m closer than I’ve ever been.

This is the finished position of the dumbbell deadlift. The left hand is still holding on to the hollow tube. At this point in the lift, you could either continue to use the rotation-stopping effect of the hollow tube while you lower the dumbbell to the ground under control, or you could pull the hollow tube off the "horn" of the collar and try to control the dumbbell on the way to the ground without the rotation-stopping benefit of the hollow tube.

About a month ago I dusted off my Al Myers Inch Trainer and worked up to a max (contest-legal) lift of 139lbs.  I struggle with the rotation of thick-handled dumbbells.  I’ve trained it about 6 times since that test day and I did a contest-legal deadlift with 152lbs this morning.  That’s an increase of 13lbs in a month.  Some of that was just being a bit “rusty” with my thick-handled dumbbell technique.  But a good portion of that increase I attribute mainly to my rotation-stopping training.  Only on the first day did I actually do an unassisted dumbbell lift (without the rotation-stopping tube) during training.  The 6 workouts since that test day have consisted primarily of a few warmup 2-handed pulls and 1-handed negatives with 140lbs, and then 3 to 5 attempts – utilizing the rotation-stopping bar – with 150 to 170lbs.
I hope anyone training to lift an Inch Replica will put these suggestions to use and achieve their goal quickly and efficiently.  I’ve got a long way to go before I’m strong enough to lift an Inch Replica.  But at least now I’m closer than I’ve ever been.




Dave Brown

by Al Myers

Dave Brown becomes ONLY the fourth person to ever pick up the Dino Gym's Inch Dumbbell Replica.

This past week the Dino Gym had a surprise visitor for our Tuesday night workout. It was my old friend Dave Brown, who was on vacation and decided to “stop by” and pay me a visit. He picked a good day – because Tuesday is our BIG NIGHT in the gym. This a big DEAL for the Dino Gym – having a STRENGTH CELEBRITY join us for a workout. It has been a few years since I have seen Dave – but he is still as big and strong as he used to be. Dave stands 6′3″ and weighs a little over 350 pounds – but carries his weight very well. His build reminds me of Paul Anderson when Paul was in his younger days. Dave has been a top level professional Highland Game athlete for 15 years. Before this, he was a record setting amateur athlete with the 28# and 56# weights for distance. Dave now resides in Redding, California and works as an engineer for a timber company. He is married to Shauna, and they have two children, a son Taylor (10 years old) and a daughter Arabella (2 years old).

Dave currently holds the WORLD RECORD in the 56# weight for height with a toss of 20′1″, which he set in 2006. I remember when I started throwing in the Highland Games (over 20 years ago) and athletes would “talk about 20 feet” in the WOB with anticipation that maybe someday someone would top that mark. Much like Olympic Lifters talking about a 600 pound Clean and Jerk. It seemed like an impossibility at the time, but the hope was always there that a SUPERMAN would come along and make the impossible happen. Well, that SUPERMAN is Dave Brown. Yet, Dave is as modest as they come. I have known him for close to 20 years and he is the same guy now as when he first started throwing. I remember many years ago when Dave was a 19 year old kid living in Tulsa, Oklahoma and was just starting in the games. Dan DeWelt commissioned me to “come down to Tulsa” to put on a Highland Games Clinic for new throwers, as I was the only Highland Games Pro around in the Midwest in those days. That was the first time I met Dave, and when we got to the weight over bar and he was matching me throw for throw – I knew he was going to be something special someday in the Highland Games. For a couple of years Dave would drive to my place so we could train together. He started going to more games. It wasn’t long before Dave turned professional and we were seeing and competing with each other several weekends a summer. And then it wasn’t long before Dave was far surpassing ALL of my throwing distances!!

I introduced Dave to an All-Round lift I knew he would excel with - the One Arm Barbell Snatch. In his first workout ever he snatched an unbelievable 170 pounds!!

Dave is a “student of the game”, and when mixed with his amazing genetic ability and work ethic, has accomplished things that others just dream of. I really believe if Dave had decided on focusing on another sport besides the

Dave has tremendous squatting ability. Here he breaks a Dino Gym record in the Zercher Harness Squat to a 15" box with a lift of 515 pounds.

Highland Games he would have been just as successful. In 1998, he tried Strongman Competition and with minimal implement training won the NAS Heavyweight Championships! And this was against seasoned Strongmen. I wonder what his Strongman career could have been if THAT was his focus? Dave also has a WORLD CLASS grip without working on it much. Many years ago at a Pro Highland Games in Arlington, Texas I will never forget him closing the #3 COC grippers with ease. This was in the days when that was a BIG DEAL! Carl Braun brought along a #3 gripper to “Challenge” Dave over our noon lunch break. I don’t even know if Dave had ever seen one before – but while he was sitting there with a sandwich in one hand and the gripper in the other he SMASHED it shut! Then he switched hands with the sandwich and #3 gripper – and did it again with his other hand! I’ll never forget how nonchalantly he did this! It just wasn’t that big of deal to him at the time. World renowned Strength Historian Dale Harder has been measuring athletes grips with a Baseline Dynamometer to get a very accurate reading of gripping strength. He has done this for over ten years now and has tested 1000’s of athletes. To date, Dave has the HIGHEST Dynamometer reading of ALL-TIME with a squeeze of 122 kilograms. Now THAT’S a firm handshake! It’s a shame Dave never gave football a try. With his size and agility I’m sure he would have had a lucrative pro career as an Offensive Guard in the NFL.

I only wish Dave would have planned his vacation so he could have made it to today’s Dino Grip Challenge. He would have been a MAJOR FORCE in the gifted lineup of grip-masters that are entered in this meet. Hopefully, the USAWA will see more of Dave Brown in the future.

The Deadlift – 2 Inch Dumbbells

by Al Myers

Matt Graham performing a deadlift with an Inch Dumbbell Replica in EACH HAND at the 2005 Dino Gym Challenge. Will this be matched at the Grip Challenge this coming weekend?

The name of this lift is slightly misleading.  At first glance, one might think that “2 Inch” refers  to one dumbbell with a 2″ diameter handle.  But what it really refers to is TWO dumbbells that have handle diameters the same as the famous Thomas Inch Dumbbell. This lift was introduced to the USAWA at the 2005 Dino Gym Challenge.  Several years ago IronMind Enterprises sold an Inch Dumbbell Replica. This replica dumbbell had a handle diameter of 2.47″ and weighed 172 pounds, with spherical iron heads.  The handle is smooth (no knurling).   Anyone who can pick up the Inch Dumbbell with only one hand has WORLD CLASS grip.  The Dino Gym has one of these replicas, so come prepared to “Give it a Try”.  I will have the camera ready if anyone actually gets it picked up.

The Rules for the Deadlift – 2 Inch Dumbbells

“The rules of the Deadlift – 2 Dumbbells apply except the dumbbells used must have handles of 2 1/2” in diameter. No knurling is allowed on the handles.  The plates must be firmly attached by collars so no rotation of the plates will occur during the lift. The maximum diameter of the plates used is 11 inches.”