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Why Bending Steel Could Be the Best Thing that Ever Happened to Your Kettelbell Snatch or Deadlift

Guest post by Jedd Johnson

Hi, my name is Jedd Johnson, and I bend steel with my hands.

That’s right, I take steel bars, wrap them in suede to prevent a cut to my hands, and bend them into a U-shape.

“Why the hell would he want to do that?” you might ask…

I’ll tell you straight up…

Because it makes me feel like a friggin’ animal.

It makes me feel like I am a 800-lb rain forest gorilla that can destroy anything put in front of me.

And I like that feeling

Maybe that description is too wild, and you can’t identify with it, so let me describe it a little differently…

A PR Bend is like adding 50 lbs to your deadlift, and holding it there while you scream before dropping it back to the platform like a bomb from an airplane.

Completing a bend you never were able to do before is like hitting 100 snatches in 5 minutes for the first time ever, and letting out a warrior cry because it took so much hard work and determination to get there.

Much like the landmark feats described above, I love taking a perfectly good nail or bolt and making it completely useless.

Some people think this is ignorant, but they don’t realize that BENDING IS THE PERFECT COMPLIMENT to movements such as the kettlebell snatch and the deadlift

Now, you’re probably thinking: What!?!? How in the world could bending steel compliment my snatch and deadlift work?

The answer is the principle of Antagonistic Balance.

“Antagonistic” means opposite, against, contra-indicative.

Think of a Broadway Play. The agonist is the main character and the antagonist is the character that plays opposite him or her. Many times these two are enemies, or their views are somehow contra-indicative of one another – they are opposites; they disagree.

So what is Antagonsitic Balance, then?

Well, your body works the best, improves its performance, and is at its healthiest when the antagonistic muscle groups in the joints and opposing sides of the body are within a reasonable balance.

Think of the shoulder. If you do too much bench pressing and not enough rowing, pull-ups, retractions and other opposite movement patterns, you can really do harm to your shoulders, messing up the posture, pinching off nerves, and thus ruining progress on the bench.

You’ve heard of this before probably a hundred times and you are well aware of it in your training, right?

And you know, if you do too much pushing and not enough pulling, you could be setting yourself up for a serious fall down the line.

Now, where does this come into play with respect to the relationship between steel bending, the kettlebell snatch and the powerlifting deadlift…?

To fully understand this, let’s look at the movement patterns of these movements individually.


The Kettlebell Snatch is marked by Extension throughout the body.

The athlete starts in a flexed position with the knees, and hips bent. The bell is swung back through the legs, loading the hamstrings.

The momentum of the bell is reversed with controlled violence and then extension begins throughout the body. The hips and knees extend to give momentum to the bell. The spine is lengthened.

And finally, the arm punches itself into a straight, extended position.


The Deadlift is very similar.

The lifter starts out in a crouching position, grasping the bar as it sits on the floor.

From there, the lifter pulls the weight up along the body, extending the knees and the hips.

Once the bar is pulled to its highest point, the lifter further extends himself, pulling the shoulders back into a position of pride.


Upon analyzing both of these movements, the action that is repeated time and again is extension: extension in the knees, hips, shoulders and arms.

So, what is the natural antagonistic balancing action for the movement pattern of Extension?

There has to be some kind of contra-indicative movement pattern that essentially will negate these two big lifts, right?

The answer is Flexion.

To repeat, we are looking for an antagonistic, or opposite movement pattern, and we already said that KB work and Deadlifts involve a lot of force into extension, so the natural antagonistic movement pattern would be flexion.

BUT WAITI thought that, just like the ghost busters crossing the streams, having your “body in flexion” was bad!?!?

Sure, sitting at your desk all day in flexion is BAD. In can have a huge toll on your body over the years, so let’s try to avoid that…

How about Crunches?


There has to be some other exhilarating strength training practice that involves flexion, while also requiring the same level of dedication, the same level of discipline, and the same level of technical precision in order to succeed that the Kettlebell Snatch and the Deadlift require. But what is it???

The answer – STEEL BENDING.

Don’t believe me? Let’s look at steel bending, now, and the movement patterns involved.


The athlete starts out by grasping the nail high up under the chin with the spine, hips, and knees extended.

From there he takes a small step forward, initiates pressure into the steel and begins to lean forward into flexion.

As the steel heats up under the pressure, he feels it begin to move and puts on one last pulse of flexion as he “crushes the can,” compressing his abdomen down and further bending the nail.

Hit after hit on the nail, he does the same thing, flexing his body, until the ends of the nail are within two inches.


Being stuck in it at an office desk or behind the wheel of a car all the time is a bad thing. It makes you tight in the hip flexors, it can weaken the glutes and it can hurt your posture.

However, performing flexion in order to translate the power from your core and torso into your hands and to make the steel tap out to your strength is a good thing.

And not only does it help balance out all of the other training you do all the time, it makes you feel like you are a monster with green skin that can smash through concrete walls.

I’ll warn you right now, though…

As fun as it is, Nail Bending isn’t easy.

If it were easy, everybody would do it. The hard is what makes it great.

If you want to learn how to bend nails the right way, I’ll show you.

Check out my killer DVD: Nail Bending: How to Melt Steel with Your Bare Hands. <= Click that link right away! All the best in your training, my friends. Now go get your SAVAGE on! AFFILIATE LINK: Nail Bending: How to Melt Steel with Your Bare Hands. <= Click that link right away! Jedd Jedd Johnson is a certified Red Nail Bender, a CSCS, RKC and Captain of Crush. He is a World Record Holder in the Two Hands Pinch, AND he likes to bend sh*t.

Five Reasons to Start Bending Nails

November 30, 2010 by  
Filed under Muscle Building, Recent Posts, Training

Guest post by Jedd Johnson

Hi, my name is Jedd Johnson. I am a CSCS through the NSCA, an RKC through Dragondoor, and am co-founder of Our website is dedicated to exploring the development of strength and conditioning for all athletes in all sports.

Over the years, my favorite facet of strength training has been Grip Strength and I compete in several competitions every year. Grip Competitions involve Crushing, Pinching, Support lifting and other forms of hand and lower arm strength.

One of the coolest parts of the sport of Grip is Nail Bending. Bending nails, spikes, bolts, steel stock, drill rod, and other things is one of the most exciting and obsessive types of strength training you can do.

Up until now, Nail Bending might be one of the last things you would ever think of doing in your program, but there are actually a ton of benefits that you can get from Bending. Check these out…

1. Forearm size

Nothing has built my forearms over the years like Bending
Nail Bending involves a great deal of tension in the hands, wrists and forearms which leads to major forearm muscle development. Often, forearm work at the gym involves movements like wrist curls and other simple variations.

While wrist curls and similar classic forearm exercises bring about results, they pale in comparison to the bulk build by bending. The sustained tension of nail bending causes growth in both the flexor side of the forearm and the extensor side of the forearm, creating an impressive look of balance and control.

In short, your forearms will probably BLOW UP!

2. Mental and Physical Toughness

Bending nails, bolts and other items involves taking a perfectly good nail and twisting it into a shape that makes it completely useless for any of its normal industrial applications. You’re doing something that was never meant to be done, and to do this requires you to focus all of your strength and your mental power into the bend. A lack of commitment from either end of the spectrum will end up in your inability to finish up the bend.

In order to Bend Big Nails, you have to work hard and be mentally strong

When you become proficient in harnessing your mind’s and your body’s power in nail bending, imagine the results you will see in your other lifts or in the sport you play. You’ll be unstoppable compared to everyone else who has never truly tested themselves in the ways you have after taking on the challenge of bending.

3. Make an Impression!

Take Note: Nail bending is NOT some form of trickery or slight of hand like magic is

However, it DOES bring about much the same reaction from a crowd.

Imagine talking about this new sort of strength training you are doing and when they ask you to show them, you bust out a nail, wrap it in a towel and bend it right before their eyes.

How awesome will that be?!?!

You could use this classic feat of strength of Bending to set yourself from everybody else at school, at the gym, or at your place of work. Instead of just blending in with the rest of the people, you will automatically be set apart from everybody else.

Instead of just somebody in the crowd, you’ll become the Strong Guy/Gal (Yes, ladies bend too!!!), or The Nail Bender.

Every time people see you, even if it’s only occasionally, you’ll be burned in their mind as somebody with a strong grip – nobody to mess with, that is for sure.

4. Get Your Name “Up in Lights”

Nail bending has been growing in popularity exponentially. In fact, you can now get certified for Serious Nail Bending.

The first widely known certification system for Bending was the IronMind Red Nail, a 7-inch long, 5/16-inch thick round piece of steel bar. This bar takes over 450-lbs of strength in order to bend.

Other sites have come on board with certifications of other pieces of steel stock, including Fat Bastard Barbell and Bender’s Battlefield. The numbers of people bending challenge bars steadily increases each day

5. Fun

Isn’t one of the reasons you train in the first place to have fun? Well, the best thing about nail bending is that it is good pure fun. You are able to test yourself and see improvement in your technique and strength while seeing increases in confidence and mental edge.

You can crank up the music and go for a new personal best.

Over the course of time, all of the nails, bolts, and stock you bend can be saved for posterity. You can see how you progressed over the years.

One day, you’ll be able to tell your grand kids about when you first dominated the 60-penny nail or the grade-5 bolt. And maybe you can even log them onto one of the certification sites and show them the certifications you were able to acquire.

In short, nail bending is one of the most exciting parts of the sport of Grip Strength. For me, the physical and the mental benefits I have seen from nail bending are outstanding, not to mention the friendships I have made with some of the top nail benders in the United States and around the world. I

In fact, I love the challenge of Nail Bending so much I recently put together a DVD showing you everything you need to know in order to get started. This DVD contains info on Bending Techniques, Strength Building, and Hand Health so you can continue to bend and enjoy it for years to come.

You can get the DVD here for yourself or as a Christmas present for someone:

Until then, all the best in your training, and get ready to bend some steel!!!

Jedd Johnson, CSCS, RKC
Red Nail Certified – 2007
The Diesel Crew