Wednesday, 31 August 2022
Grip Training
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Here are 2 Examples of what I'm talking about 

When the scrum laws changed in rugby New Zealand All 

Blacks props Ben & Owen Franks asked me to find a way to train his fingers to have a stronger grasp the opposing props jersey.  We trained the fingers, wrists, forearms AND biceps because all of that is necessary for them when they scrimmage and lift in the line out. 

Once the coaches noticed the improvements that were made (because improvements made in training must show up in the sport) those “grip games” as I called them became required by Scrum Coach/Guru Mike ‘Crono’ Cron. Many of those grip workouts are still going strong with the New Zealand All Blacks Forward Pack. 

Back in the late 80’s very early 90’s   Mike Piazza and Alex Karros came to workout at the gym where I was training, before they were with the Dodgers they were with the San Antonio Missions MiLB.  Anyways they saw me doing grip/forearm work and came over to talk to me asking a million questions and writing stuff down, they  invited me out to a game which I of course accepted. 

They wanted me to come early so I could watch batting practice and had given me seats by the on deck circle. They and others kept coming by the screen to tell me how they were loving the work I talked to them about.  Next thing the manager comes over to talk to me then the general manager comes over to talk to me and a month later and I’m being flown out to Los Angeles to speak to the Dodgers players and training staff at the invitation of Tommy Lasorda!! 

There was a guy sitting next me and he’d been listening in and he started talking to me and was extremely interested in the grip/forearm training ideas I had.  He says, well if Tommy wants to talk to you then I damn sure I want you to come out and talk to our boys and he hands me his card, he was the Minor League Scouting Director for the San Francisco Giants!!

Those are just 2 of the many personal examples I can share…. I’ve got many, many more from my athletic and coaching career in Scottish Heavy Athletics, Football, Aussie Rules, Basketball, Wrestling, Softball, Volleyball, Hockey, Judo, Lacrosse, Bobsled (driver), Fencing, and even Badminton. By the way these are sports that I have worked in at all levels including professional and the Olympics.

PLAY HARD... TRAIN HARDER... NO EXCUSES

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Posted on 08/31/2022 11:33 AM by Ed Cosner
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Friday, 19 August 2022
The Beginning of my lifelong Journey in the Iron Game
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Like many ‘Old Strong Guys’ I got Terry Todd’s book Inside Powerlifting in 1978. 

In 1983 I travel 8 hours from Ft Polk Louisiana to Austin Texas where the USA Powerlifting National Championships were being held. I went hopeful to get a chance to ask Terry about getting into the sport of powerlifting and for him to sign my copy of Inside Powerlifting. I got a chance to talk to him for a few minutes and he told me about his cousin Rick Gaugler who lived in Corpus Christi Texas and suggested that I travel there to learn from Rick.  Maybe he thought I was from the Austin area but then I told him that I traveled some 8+ hours from Ft Polk LA that I was currently Active Duty Army … but hell I drove all the way to Austin JUST to watch the lifting and meet Terry so why the fuck not drive to Corpus Christi so a couple of weeks later armed with what Terry had told me I jumped on my motorcycle and headed the 8 hours or so to Corpus Christi Texas.   

Now, I had absolutely no idea how I was gonna find this Rick guy or even where I was gonna stay but I had earned a 5 day pass from passing an IG Inspection so why not spend it near the beach and find a gym and this Rick Gaugler guy!!!  Now remember this is in 1983 so there ain’t no ‘Google Search’ so you actually gotta work for the information you’re seeking.  I found a great gym called America Health owned by Rex Kelly and his brother Tom and asked them if they knew Rick and of course they did and told me to go to Bradshaw’s Gym and asked Phil Bradshaw about how to find Rick and to tell Phil that they had sent me over there. Phil was awesome and said of course he knew Rick and would introduce me to him.  I spent the next few days lifting and hanging out at the beach wondering when i was gonna meet Rick. 

Since I was getting close to getting out of the Army so I was assigned to CQ Duty which had me working Monday 6am - 6pm; off on Tuesday; then Wednesday and Thursday from 6pm to 6am so I decided that every other Friday I’d drive the 8+ hours to train at Bradshaw’s and hope that ‘this would be the weekend’ that I’d meet Rick.  I’d return return to base just in time to clean up and report for duty riding my Honda 750 all night long through the swampland otherwise known as Louisiana!! 

Finally I met a couple guys, Rodney and Dan that were powerlifters being trained by Rick and they agreed to introduced me to Rick at the club they all bounced at!!!  This happened at a good time because 3 weeks late I got out of the Army. I decided that I wanted to move to Corpus Christi instead of going home to Detroit, yeah honestly it was not a hard decision!!

Now I really didn’t know anyone nor did I have a job na just had the money in my pocket I’d been saving.  Hell I didn’t even have a place to live or any idea how to get an apartment so for a couple of months I slept in a park on Ocean Drive. I joined Bradshaw’s and landed the typical meathead job…. Bouncer!!  I started training with Rodney and Dan, so one Saturday they invited me to ‘the garage’ to spot Rick on heavy squat day but first I had to meet all of them at Luby’s Cafeteria where Rick ate every day but we all ate there together at 11 on Saturday then Rodney, Dan and myself went to Bradshaw’s to squat and after we were finished we headed to the garage where Rick trained.  

The impact of that the invitation to the garage gym had on me was HUGE and although I’d been lifting and competing in weightlifting and throwing since I was 14, it was in the Army where I had gotten bitten by the STRENGTH bug and being around and spotting Rick who weighed all of 175 pounds was squatting well over 600 pounds for reps that day that really started me on this journey, this absolutely wonderful journey in the Iron Game.

 

Play Hard... Train Harder... NO EXCUSES

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Posted on 08/19/2022 12:38 PM by Ed Cosner
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Tuesday, 2 August 2022
Comeback?
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Really thought that I wanted to make a comeback in the Highland Games but …. Nope!!! 

Now let me explain myself because I had such an amazing career since first competing at the Salado Highland Games in 1997 before an injury forced me into ‘retirement’… well the asshole doctor that screwed up my surgery and caused the infections but that’s a story for another day. 

I do have so many wonderful memories of the men that I was blessed to share the competition field and meals with and even a beer or two around not just the USA but all over the World and with that I even managed to win some championships and even set some records.  

It always make me laugh when I look back over my athletic career and think that I seemed to have had a much more competitive career as a Master than I ever did as an Open competitor and I damn sure have had a hell of a lot more fun as a Master!!!  

I am very proud of my career and hope that I always carried myself with honor and respect for the history of the Scottish Highland Games and all those who competed with me and those that came before me. It is the history that’s intrigued me so much and partially what drew me to the Highland Games but after competing this past November I just didn’t have the same concentration and focus with the training or even while competing and I doubt that I ever will again.  I will not of course leave Scottish Heavy Athletics nor will I ever forget it even if I wanted to but I doubt that I will ever again return to it as I once had nor will it ever possess me as it once did.  The sport provided me some of the happiest times of my life.  I’m always asked how and why push myself in a sport where there was no monetary gain and very little publicity but I’m telling you that those were the happiest times for me throwing the weights and stones, picking a a monstrous caber and giving it a little nudge with my shoulder and taking off running then the elation after turning it.  

Even more personally gratifying was the training; explosively lifting heavy weights , throwing medicine balls and jumping then you can add in hundreds and hundreds of drills that not only had to be done but had to be done correctly….each and every rep done to perfection.  Let’s not forget the hours spent alone in a field throwing or the long early morning drives to different games and of course stopping for breakfast at Cracker Barrel to fuel up!!  

So with all of this in mind (and a little more that I haven’t shared yet) I have concluded that it’s time to move onto something different in “The Wide World of (Masters) Strength Sports” and this next challenge is something that I have talked about and dreamt about since the early 90’s when I got a book from IronMind called “Of Stones and Strength” by Peter Martin. 

There’s a feeling inside of me that I just can’t describe (trust me I’ve tried) when I look at a stone laying there in the tall grass thinking about the men that came before me and knowing that it’s telling me to move on, I’m not here for you to lift but if you want to try you better be prepared for the challenge.   

There’s a short writing that I read many years ago from Steve Jeck that sums up my feels closer than I can so I’ll share that writing with you so maybe you can understand that feeling when passing by a stone and wondering how far you can throw it or if you can lift it!!!

 

                                                   The Choice by Steve Jeck 

“There’s something about a stone; something intrinsically alluring.  I’ve never been able to walk past a stone without trying to lift it or see how far I could throw it (our at least silently ponder such efforts if actually attempting them would seriously jeopardize others’ perception of my stability).  I do, by the way, realize that the more sound members of society have little difficulty driving past or transversing such challenges. . . . pity. 

I see the stone as a challenge, obvious enough, yet I view it in a different light than even the barbell.  The barbell is designed to be lifted.  The diameter of the bar, the knurled grip, the aerodynamic design of the plates - all of these features lend themselves to one ultimate purpose: to be lifted.  Certainly, when one throws enough 25-kilo plates on a bar all this design crap flies right out of the window.  And still I feel as if I’ve accomplished something just deadlifting the type of poundage Taranenko rams overhead.  No, I’m not saying that lifting barbells is easy.  The distinction I’d make is that barbells are heavy while stones are defiant. 

To the prospective lifter, a stone seems to say,  ‘I’m not here to be lifted.  You have gyms and such to satisfy that need.  Now, if you still care to proceed, then be ready to pay.’  What’s more, should you be blessed enough triumph over the stone, the only adulation you’re likely to receive will come from the local squirrels and millipedes,  for most big stones are still resting obscurely in nature right where God put them. 

Ultimately, a man is challenged and bettered by facing any task that exceeds his current abilities.  Some choose big stones.  Others drive or transverse past such challenges. . . . pity.” 

 

Play Hard… Train Harder… NO EXCUSES

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Posted on 08/02/2022 9:24 AM by Ed Cosner
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