The World’s Strongest Grip? Tanner Merkle
In the words of one of Grip Sport’s legends, Eric Roussin, the relative newcomer of Tanner Merkle has seriously ruffled some feathers in the Arm Lifting World. Three years running International King Kong Champion and outright holder of the Captains of Crush Silver Bullet Record, his incredible grip strength showed immediately.
Unusually for an elite arm lifter, he was previously a top level US competition climber (2nd at US Boulder Nationals). Tanner transitioned away from high climbing to really explore his gift and passion for grip strength, which clearly set him apart in both climbing and grip sports.
Tom Randall sits down with Tanner to explore his early days in climbing, how he transitioned his training through the two sports and where he feels there’s transfer and knowledge to be applied across both of the disciplines. This episode is the first a number of interviews we’re doing with world famous grip strength athletes, diving into the methods, knowledge and strategies they’ve evolved over their own journeys to the top.
We talk (amongst other things) about:
- What exactly are Grip Sports and Arm Lifting.
- What is different about the tools used in this sport compared to climbing?
- How Tanner transitioned from climbing to Grip Sports.
- How to train for Arm Lifting vs pulling or hanging in climbing.
- His CoC Silver Bullet record.
- How he trained for specific records.
- His thoughts on Cross Training
- How he tackles training “the entire kinetic chain” in Arm Lifting
- Issues around weight, mass and how it relates to Grip Sports vs Climbing.
The beat is brought to you by Devin Dabney, music producer of the outdoor industry who also hosts the American Climbing Project.