The first interview from a lot which will follow hopefully weekly is with Tommy Jennings.
He is a really badass bender with trophys like a Grade 8 Bolt in BB wraps and he is the first one who conquered the Grade 8 at 6,5“. These two bends are from some years ago, but still one of the best out there.
Also he is an Inch lifter and certified Captain of Crush, so when it comes to hand and bending strength he is a guy you should know.
Back in the days he made a perfect video of „how to wrap“. It´s called the IMP 101 but you can use it for every wrapping. Here is the link: click!
He is also responsible that the steel bending world escalate a little bit again in early 2020 because he want to see some bends and offered a price money for them and this was a kick off for some benders to get in the game. This was a really good idea and one of the reasons that I also added prize money for the best bends here on horrido bending. Also Tommy is a supporter of this project and I am very gratefull for that. Hopefully we will see him soon on the cert list, but at the moment he is „unfortunately“ full in the powerlifting game.
Here is the Interview!
Tommy Jennings, Jr.
Year of birth:
USA - Springtown, Tx.
Tractor trailer mechanic
What does steel bending mean to you?
I hope i don’t come off cheesy on this one.. I feel that it illustrates ones will to fight something deemed unbeatable, or pointless by most. In its own unique way, bending a formidable piece of steel, or even attempting to with conviction, represents ones willingness to fight something that others would walk away from. Each bender is unique to his or her own fight, each time they bend. But each bender, if bending with conviction, possesses the same war within... the same fortitude. The same conviction. Its almost as if you’re witnessing another person acting on sheer principal alone. Making the decision to move forward with this seemingly pointless fight (to most). Which, imo, represents the utmost in heart. And the utmost in grit.
I find myself giving the proverbial “nod” to others across the world as I watch video of their bends. Almost as if giving respect to another person and welcoming them into the alumni of crazy folks who won’t give up in a fight. The harder they have to work, and the more they have to focus, the more they lock themselves into that alumni!
When and why did you start steel bending and what does or did your active time look like?
Started steel bending in 2012 the first time I met up with Eric Milfeld and Paul Knight. I showed up that day interested in training grip, and in short order Paul and Eric had me doing DO bends. I wasn’t sure if I liked it or not at the time, but they both encouraged that I stick with it.
What do you love about steel bending?
I love that even though it’s a small niche, literally most still can’t do it. Y’all know I’m an outgoing personality. And am not afraid to put a stranger on the spot and have them try stuff. That said, I’ve wrapped up steel and handed it to first timers MANY times. Obviously I do make a point to select strong looking folks! And so far I’ve yet to find any first timer that possesses the same tools us vetted benders possessed from day 1. As I elaborated on in question #1, it does take a certain type of person to be great at it.
What do you hate about steel bending?
I hate that most don’t understand it. And thus do not give it the respect it deserves. People don’t even understand what they are witnessing often times as they watch a monster bender melt a piece of formidable steel. It’s a shame, really.
How does your training for steel bending look like?
I currently am not bending. So no training at this time with regards to steel bending.
However, before when I bent heavily, I’d go pretty hard on near max effort bends up to 3 times a week.
How does your other training look like (strength or other)?
Right now I’ve got the powerlifting bug. (THANKS ERIC!)
Basically, I’m finally chasing core lift power. Only regret is that I wish I had started sooner!
What goals have you set for yourself?
Only 1 goal at this time. Bench 400lbs (181kg). Been chasing that one off and on for just over 2 years now. My 1rm on the bench at the time I took aim at 400 (181kg), was 255 (115kg). Current 1rm is 375 (170kg).
Also am more than likely going to take aim at a respectable 3 lift total soon after hitting the bench goal.
What was the most impressive bend you ever saw (live or on video)?
Alex’s imp gold nail bends, and grade 12.9 bolt bends are at the top rung. Hands down. That guy is a machine.
Rrapid stuff – choose one
Bolts or steel?
Unbraced or braced?
Unbraced Singles or doubles?
Chalk or not?
Beer or water?
Cordura or leather or both?
I’m a big fan of cordura. Particularly BB wraps.
Short bars or long bars?
Short (8.5” or less)
Horseshoes or flat bars?
Chips or chocolate?
The last words belong to you. What do you want the reader take away? Let us know your poems of steel!
I’ll leave off with a bit of advice to those chasing big bends. Aim big! When I got in my groove bending, I had a couple handfuls of bends I knew I wanted to accomplish. I went on to do all but 2. My problem was a lack of motivation after taking down most of the bends I was chasing. Right up until the day I just stopped, I was still getting stronger! I never did hit any plateaus. But what did happen was that I didn’t know what steel to bend to use as stepping stones to the last 2 bends I wanted. Which, in turn, led to disinterest.
The day of not knowing what steel to bend as stepping stones to your goal bends is gone now. A ton of info is available for free to anyone seeking. Take note of every progression bend you’ll need to conquer all the way to your goal bends.. and bend them!
And stay hungry!
Also, new benders, don’t be afraid to ask questions. I can’t think of a time, ever, that a vetted bender declined to give advice to anyone seeking it.