Jim Schmitz on the Lifts

Rolling Thunder®

Pull-up rules and world records

IronMind Rolling Thunder-newThe Rolling Thunder deadlift is a marquee event in the grip strength world, but what about combining its grip challenges with a universal test of upper body strength? Meet Rolling Thunder pull-ups. And for those who walk on the wild side, how about one-arm pull-ups using a Rolling Thunder? Want one more to demonstrate total lower arm supremacy? How about a 1RM Rolling Thunder pull-up (weight of the competitor plus the added weight, highest total weight wins).


Rules follow. Comments, questions, suggestions? Want to hold a contest or submit potential records for review and evaluation? Please contact sales@ironmind.com

Rolling Thunder Pull-Up 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 Rolling Thunder must be wiped clean before each attempt.

2.   The athlete grabs the Rolling Thunder handle at approximately its center and pulls with the handle remaining approximately parallel to the ground. The lifter's hand should not touch the non-revolving part of the handle, and a thumbless grip is not permitted. Pull-ups may be done with one arm or two.
3.  The athlete must not touch the ground at any time during the pull-up attempt.
rolling-thunder-pull-up4.  The athlete must start from a deadhang position, and not swing or kip at any time during the attempt. The athlete's chin must go higher than the top edge of the Rolling Thunder® handle, and then he or she can return to the deadhang position with a controlled descent. The athlete does as many repetitions as he or she can—there is no time limit.
5.   For maximum weight attempts, both the athlete and the weights must be weighed on a demonstrably accurate scale.
6.   Videos must include a) demonstration that the Rolling Thunder handle(s) are legal and (b) footage of the athlete's complete performance.
7.   Ordinary chalk (magnesium carbonate) may be used on the lifter’s hand, but nothing else is permitted (liquid chalk, for example, is specifically disallowed). No chalk may be applied directly to the Rolling Thunder.
Also see 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 IronMind.                                             Peter Mortensen, a rock climber from Denmark, does a one-arm pull-up on                                                                                                                                                                                                                         a Rolling Thunder® Revolving Deadlift Handle: “There seems to be a strong Please contact sales@ironmind.com if you have any questions.                                                                     correlation between strength on revolving handles or dumbbells                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          (especially thick handles) and climbing hand strength . . .,” Peter told us.                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Reprinted from the 2009 IronMind® catalog - Volume Eighteen, with                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     permission. IronMind® | Photo courtesy of Peter Mortensen.    
Rolling Thunder World Records

Men's One-Arm World Record - Reps

  Date Reps
 Fitsz Dubova September 11, 2016  1

Men's Two-Arm World Record - Max Weight

  Date BW + Attached Weight
 Alexey Tyukalov  January 27, 2019  161.5 kg
 Alexey Tyukalov  January 27, 2019  156.5 kg
Alexey Tyukalov  January 7, 2018 155.5 kg 
Thomas Larsen June 4, 2016 154.25 kg
Eirik Bruun Ingebretsen June 4, 2016 150.90 kg

Men's Two-Arm World Record - Reps

  Date Reps
Evan Raftopoulos October 29, 2016 27
Fitsz Dubova September 11, 2016 18

Teenage Men's Two-Arm World Record - Reps

  Date Reps
World Standard* July 11, 2018 15*

*the world standard must be exceeded by at least 1 rep to set the inaugural world record

Women's Two-Arm World Record - Max Weight

  Date BW + Attached Weight
 World Standard*  March 22, 2017  94 kg

*the world standard must be exceeded by at least 1 kg to set the inaugural world record

Women's Two-Arm World Record - Reps

  Date Reps
Julia Williams January 6, 2018 9
Christiane Schmidt November 11, 2017 8
Christiane Schmidt July 29, 2017 7

Teenage Women's Two-Arm World Record - Reps

  Date Reps
World Standard* July 11, 2018 5*

*the world standard must be exceeded by at least 1 rep to set the inaugural world record


Alexey Tyukalov Rolling Thunder Pullup 161.5 kg Alexey “Tank” Tyukalov hits a 161.5-kg world record (maximum weight) Rolling Thunder pull-up in the IronMind booth at 2019 Los Angeles FitExpo. IronMind® | ©Randall J. Strossen photo
julia williams rolling thunder pullups After banging out 9 Rolling Thunder pull-ups, Julia Williams was ready to do the whole thing again. IronMind® | ©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.

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
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