A client told me the other day that she was poking around my website and had finally read all of my bio. She asked about my “I bent a bolt” comment. “A bolt, like a real bolt that you’d buy at the hardware store?” Yup!
“Why?” is always the question that comes up when I have the bolt bending conversation. Why not? Because I wanted to see if I could? Because I can? I found it to be a fun and different way to test my strength, both general strength and grip strength. I’m not into experimenting with all of the major feats of grip strength like tearing cards or bending frying pans ala Iron Tamer David Whitley and I haven’t attempted a bolt bend since before I was a kettlebell trainer.
But this conversation made me wonder if any of my clients might like to try bending a bolt in class. Others might find it fun like I did and we can use it as a different type of benchmark for progress, as opposed to just tracking our PR’s with kettlebell exercises. The conversation also made me wonder where I would fall now on the scale of bolt bending. My kettelbell training has progressed quite a bit since then, and I know I’m stronger in many lifts.
Often people don’t realize that kettlebell training builds your grip strength along with your general, overall strength or your strength in a particular movement. Think about how you’d hold the kettlebell handle in exercises like the Turkish Get Up, Goblet Squat, Press and Swing for example. People usually feel the challenges on their grip when doing higher rep swings or heavy swings, but we don’t always think about how this can translate to having a strong grip and how that can apply to other things in our daily life. Not that bending bolts is necessarily an activity of daily life (it is for some, though) but picking up something heavy that doesn’t quite fit in your hands is!
Aside from having a fun and different way to test your strength, it’s quite empowering too! For a while, I was the only female to have bent a bolt at the studio where I used to train. I’m not one for tooting my own horn, but when you feel a sense of pride and empowerment, sometimes you have to just share it.
So please enjoy my original bolt bending video while I go to the hardware store!