April 10, 2011

The Strongest Hands in the World: Nine years ago, "Big Rich" Williams was an offensive lineman projected to be a third round NFL pick with an earning potential of millions. He quit the draft and instead pursued the low-dollar, low-attention strongman sport of grip and may have the strongest hand strength of all time. "Using one hand, the men must hoist a 163-pound anvil by the horn and walk. The first few contestants can't even loosen the weight from the ground, their palms slipping uselessly as if they were tugging at a tree root," reports ESPN the Magazine. "Now it is Williams' turn. He approaches the anvil, bends, wraps his right hand around the tip and lifts. He waddles the length of the stage, turns and waddles back. He does not rush. He carries the anvil like a lunch pail. He lets it slip at 60 feet, eight inches. That nearly doubles the world record -- the one he set last year."

posted by rcade to general at 01:56 PM - 6 comments

odd career choice, but I wouldn't want to shake his hand, I might never recover.

posted by dviking at 03:21 PM on April 10, 2011

Great read. Thanks rcade.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 09:34 PM on April 10, 2011

First thing I did was check the date of the article. I thought there was a good chance it was from April Fools. But it wasn't. Although surprising, I understand him not playing football because he hated it. This article was somewhat similar to the one on Jake Plummer. "People don't realize, he explains, how hard these guys train (15 to 20 hours a week) or how little they earn (less than $6,000 annually)."

posted by Aardhart at 11:55 PM on April 10, 2011

He also competes in other strength sports, and I assume he has a real job, so calling the Mighty Mitts/grip competitions his career is not entirely accurate.

The link doesn't work but I assume the contest they describe was at this year's Arnold. The grip contest was little more than a poorly-commentated sideshow for the Pro Strongmen, which was kind of a shame because grip is part of strongman (usually they'll throw one grip test in per contest) and these guys are better than any of the pros who followed them.

The most impressive part of it to me was Andrew Durniat, who is just a regular sized guy. He was able to pick up the anvil and the giant circus dumbell (each of which I tried and failed, though I did get a 115lb anvil off the ground) with one hand. Having a name like Big Rich means you have some built in advantages, namely giant hands, so it's the other folks that impress me more.

Oh, found the article. Good read. It's a shame that some of that story wasn't passed along to the idiot announcer, who instead made canned football jokes like "you look like you were probably a wide receiver, right?" (Williams didn't humor him... kind of scowled and just said "offensive tackle.")

posted by Bernreuther at 03:47 PM on April 11, 2011

The link doesn't work ...

Fixed. When I find stuff on Reddit I sometimes forget to update the link.

Williams showed a lot by quitting football despite all the monetary and personal pressure to pursue the sport. I wonder how many of the players drafted each year hate the sport by that point and are solely in it for the money.

His decision undoubtedly cost him some money, but what shape would his body be in at this point if he went into the NFL? Lineman are the biggest wrecks in the game when they leave it.

posted by rcade at 03:54 PM on April 11, 2011

Hey Bernreuther I know all the mighty mitts competitors and being that you are not a specialist in grip. Hand size has very little to do with it. Actually Rich Williams hands were the exact same size as Andrews and smaller that two other competitors. Rich Williams hands are actually not that big. Rich pulled the monster bell 12 times more than all the competitors combined. He walked the anvil 60ft more than all the competitors combined. Carried the inch dumbbell 202 ft while pausing to say hello to the crowd. And displayed quick feet in the sled drag moving faster than a guy (Andrew) close to half his size. To me Rich did not have any competition. Rich actually stated he just trains grip 8 weeks out the year. RICH IS MORE IMPRESSIVE HANDS DOWN. Grip is not even his most gifted strength. GRIP HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH SIZE none of the strongmen could lift the monster bell.

posted by rilwil77 at 10:05 AM on April 22, 2011

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