Grip strength is an important component of your overall health and fitness—and an old-timer just showed up a gym full of lifters, handling over 200 pounds. The 69-year-old Odd Haugen has such burly forearms and fingers that he claims to have trademarked the nickname “Vice Grip Viking.” More like “Nice Grip Viking,” am I right?
Odd’s display was caught on camera by YouTubers Juji & Tom, a.k.a. content creator Tom Boyden and athlete Jon Call, who performed a series of weightlifting tricks and stunts during his stint on Season 11 of America’s Got Talent. In a video posted earlier this year, they claimed to have captured current World’s Strongest Man champ Martins Licis setting the world record for grip strength, at 205 pounds… but it looks like the V.G.V. just smashed that, lifting 208.
The video also includes a different challenge in the form of the “loser’s grip,” a tool which is much more difficult to handle due to its pyramid shape. Everybody in the gym struggles to lift this one except Odd, of course, who beats the others with his vice-like grip and lifts the 28-pound weight. That man must have one hell of a handshake.
But grip strength is more than just a cool stunt. Grip strength is important for your overall lifting prowess, since you’ll only be able to handle heavier loads if you can physically hold them off the ground, it’s and also a predictor for health and mortality. If you’re working on your lifting game, here are some tips for building your grip strength:
- Whenever you pick up a weight, squeeze it as absolutely tightly as you can.
- Mix in extra thick barbells and dumbbells when lifting; this will force you to squeeze harder, so even relatively light weights will feel heavier.
- Mix up the way you hold those implements: wrap a towel around your barbell to change up the grip.
Looking to get hands of iron? These climbing experts can show you how. And check out these six moves for building strength in your forearms that you can incorporate into your workout.