Jim Schmitz on the Lifts

Rolling Thunder® Revolving Deadlift Handle

One-hand deadlifts have long been a preferred means of testing and building one's grip strength, and to put an edge on the challenge, a thick-handled bar was employed—this was the proving ground of many a grip strength legend. IronMind® developed the Rolling Thunder Revolving Deadlift Handle in 1993 and since then, it's become known by strong men and women worldwide.  

IronMind Rolling Thunder
Included in backyard meets and major fitness competitons around the world, the Rolling Thunder soon became a staple of the grip strength world, and the first Rolling Thunder World Championships was held in 2000 in conjunction with Odd Haugen's Beauty and the Beast strongman contest—a contest that included three World's Strongest Man winners. 
 
There's little technique to the Rolling Thunder, so it just comes down to how strong you are.  Our feeling at IronMind is that if you can't pull at least 250 lb. or so on the Rolling Thunder and you think you've got a world-class grip, you must be swimming in the wrong pool.
 
 
Odd Haugen Odd Haugen has probably pulled more world class lifts on the Rolling Thunder under official conditions than anyone else on the planet. Here’s Haugen lifting at the premiere IronMind Rolling Thunder World Championships—then, merely half a century strong, Haugen pulled an excellent 246.5 lb. ©Randall J. Strossen photo
The Rolling Thunder is available from the IronMind store, which has a complete selection of grip strength and hand health tools.
Rolling Thunder Contest Rules
If you're interested in training for or holding a Rolling Thunder® contest, here are the rules: 


 
1.   An authentic current-model IronMind® Rolling Thunder® handle must be used, it cannot have been modified in any way, and it must be inspected to ensure that it revolves freely:  holding the handle, lift the triangular metal frame and rotate it until it is horizontal (parallel to the ground).  Release the metal frame to demonstrate that it rotates back to its original vertical position (pointing toward the ground) under its own weight.  The lift starts with the weight in between the lifter’s feet. In the world championships (and the U.S. nationals), the 15" loading pin and large carabiner that IronMind® sells are used (this standardizes the lifting height). Any other loading pin and carabiner with the same dimensions can be used.
 
2.   The lifter grabs the Rolling Thunder handle in approximately its center and lifts with the handle remaining approximately parallel to the ground. A thumbless grip is not permitted.
 
3.   Any contact between the lifter's hand and the non-revolving portion of the handle disqualifies the lift; and other than incidental contact, the hand or Rolling Thunder handle must not touch the body before the lift is completed—dragging the hand or handle up the leg is cause for an immediate "No lift."
 
4.   The lifter must fully straighten up (back erect, legs and hips locked out); once standing straight, the lifter must maintain control of the lift for 1 second before getting a down signal from the referee, and must then return the weight to the ground. Contact must be maintained between the lifter's hand and the handle until the weight is resting on the floor. The referee then indicates whether the lift was passed or not. 


 
5.   In contest situations, we give the lifter 1 minute to complete the lift after his/her name is called; during that minute, there is no limit to how many times the lifter may try to complete the lift.
 


6.   Ordinary chalk (magnesium carbonate) may be used on the lifter's hand, but nothing else is permitted (tacky, for example, is specifically disallowed).
 
See also IronMind's grip contest rules for extra attempts.
 
Print out a copy of the Rules and Referee Form and take it with you to your official attempt.  The referee will complete the form and return it to us.
 

Please contact sales@ironmind.com if you have any questions.

Men's World Record
Alexey Tyukalov July 27, 2013 150.5 kg (331.8 lb.)
Mark Felix May 5, 2012 146.75 kg (323.53 lb.)
Mark Felix January 18, 2008 136.53 kg (301 lb.)
Laine Snook August 1, 2006 124.38 kg (274.2 lb.)
Andrus Murumets June 16, 2003 121.11 kg (267 lb.)
Magnus Samuelsson June 3, 2003 118.84 kg (262 lb.)
Jan Bartl June 1, 2001 117.25 kg (258.5 lb.)
Woman's World Record
Ludmilla Gaiduchenko September 22, 2012 77.2 kg (170.2 lb.)
Jaana Tanner May 26, 2012 69.25 kg (152.67 lb.)
Jaana Tanner January 28, 2012 66.75 kg (147.16 lb.)
Elizabeth Horne April 7, 2007 65.51 kg (144.43 lb.)
Teenage* Men's World Record
Alexander Filiminov** May 14, 2016 90 kg (198.4 lb.)
*Determined by the athlete’s age on the day of competition: driver’s license, passport or national ID (with photograph) are acceptable proof of identity and age
**World standard must be exceeded by a minimum of 1 kg to establish the inagural world  record
Teenage* Women's World Record

 

*Determined by the athlete’s age on the day of competition: driver’s license, passport or national ID (with photograph) are acceptable proof of identity and age

For more information on Olympic-style weightlifting, weight training, lifter profiles, and competition reports, visit our Weightlifting Resource Pages.

Jim Schmitz’s gold-medal articles on weightlifting and weight training are regularly featured in MILO: A Journal for Serious Strength Athletes.

Take advantage of what Jim Schmitz, absolutely one of the best American coaches in the sport, can teach you in his
Olympic-style Weightlifting for the Beginner & Intermediate Weightlifters Manual and DVD.