Interview with Jedd Johnson

by Chris on March 14, 2010

I was recently lucky enough to interview Jedd Johnson from the Diesel Crew. Jedd is an outstanding strength coach and athlete. Not too long ago he broke the world record in the two-hands pinch lift. It’s an honor to be able to feature him here.


For those who may not know you, can you give us a little about your background in health and fitness?

Chris, thanks for contacting me about the interview, man!

Iím Jedd Johnson, co-founder of Diesel Crew. Weíve been on-line helping others with training since 2002 or something like that. Iíve competed in Strongman competitions as
well as Grip Strength contests since 2003. Iíve traveled all over the country to compete in various contests and recently set a new world record in the Two Hands Pinch.

How did you first get involved in training?

I first started exercising with the intent of building muscle when I was a kid watching wrestling. I never got involved in lifting weights until High School. I trained to be
better at my two sports basketball and baseball. I played baseball in college for two years and really took a liking to lifting weights during that time. After two years
of playing (very little) I decided to bow out and turned my interests to body building. Once I started training with my buddy, Jim Smith, we began learning new techniques and
taking on new challenges. Soon we were including Powerlifting, Olympic Lifts, Strongman, Grip, Nail Bending, Card Tearing, and Kettlebells, and other feats of strength into our training and we
have continued to expand from there.

Is there anyone in particular who has had a significant influence on your training?

Lots of people. Louie Simmons, Dave Tate, Jimmy Wendler, CJ Murphy, Rick Walker, Pavel Tsatsouline, and Smitty. Mainly these guys have been innovators that I have followed
over the years. Theyíve challenged paradigms and refused to go with the flow.

Can you give a brief description of your method of training? What does a typical workout cycle look like?

I like to include multi-joint movements in my training. Although I don’t compete in Strongman anymore, I still enjoy working with the implements, especially tires, atlas stones and
logs. I generally start off with a thorough warm-up, followed by a multi-joint movement (squat, deadlift, overhead lift, bench), then follow that up with related movements.
I like to include dips, pull-ups, RDLs, Glute-Ham, Curls and Rows each week. I usually take an hour for all of that work and then follow it up with an hour or more with Grip.
Sometimes I just do Grip.

You’re well known for your knowledge in grip training. How did you get started training for grip?

I found out about Grip through Rick Walker on the Dr Squat forum. At first I never understood why anyone would bother spending time training such a small proportion of their
body. I wanted to try it out just long enough to find out how to tear a deck of cards and then I was going to stop, but then I found out about gripper certifications, and then
grip contests, and before I knew it I was hooked.

Do you have any advice for anyone interested in incorporating serious grip training into their program?

Start off slow and work up from there. Once I took an interest, I dove in head first. This led to over-use injuries that were hard for me to heal from. I suggest ramping up slowly for everyone that gets involved these days. Sure, eventually you will be able to handle a ton of volume, but take some time to condition.

Also, make sure to train everything not just crush, or not just pinch, or whatever it is you might be doing too much of. Make sure to include wrist work as well as extensor
work so you maintain some level of antagonistic balance. This will also keep your strength gains coming.

Another great way to include Grip training is by using integration. In other words, do a full body movement, but make the Grip component magnified. Easy examples are rope pull-ups, wrapping towels around kettlebells, and training with sandbags.

What do you think are the most common mistakes people make in their exercise programming?

A lot of trainees don’t understand how important it is to warm-up, stretch post-workout, maintain mobility, and just be kind to their body. I know this was my problem for a
very long time and I pay for it sometimes with back pain. Others might feel it in their neck, knees, and hips. It’s very important to do a thorough warm-up, both general and
specific prior to hitting it hard in the main workout.

You’ve accomplished so much, both as a trainer and an athlete. Are there any particular goals you are aiming for at the moment?

Right now, I am training for the first ever Grip contest on the Arnold Classic stage, called Mighty Mitts. It is going to be the toughest contest I ever did because it is all
thick bar and that is my weakest event. That is pretty much all I am working on in my Grip training right now.

While we’re on that, if any of your readers are planning to go to the Arnold and want to check out the Mighty Mitts competition, I will be honored to get as many of their cheers I
can. The group of athletes in the competition is WORLD CLASS and I need all the help I can get.

You mentioned that you’ve used a lot of different training methods over the years. I think many people out there get overwhelmed by the variety of training methods and
information out there. Do you have any advice for those people?

It is very important that people really look into how to do these training methods correctly. For instance, with kettlebells there’s a lot of technique involved. If you don’t do that stuff right, you’re going hurt yourself. Whether it’s your back, your shoulder, or the forearms kettlebell technique flaws will result in pain and injuries.

Another one is strongman training. You shouldn’t do strongman to get in shape. You NEED to be in shape first, in order to do that kind of training. If you’re not already
conditioned to that kind of stimulus, then you are really at a risk for an injury.

Again, go about it the right way. Get informed. At our site,, we feature a ton of information on all kinds of different types of training for you
to get started in the right direction from the beginning.

I also just launched a new site called The Grip Authority where I do a monthly grip lesson, like how to do feats of strength and how to get bigger grip numbers, so check it out – I’ll help you accomplish all your grip goals!

Jedd Johnson


Kira March 14, 2010 at 2:42 am

Another great interview dude!

Good job :)

Csmith March 14, 2010 at 6:58 pm

Thanks bro glad you liked it!

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