By Joe Weir
What is a York Blob?
A York Blob or just blob is a mass of steel or concrete (hence the name blob), typically weighing 10-50 lbs or more. The name York comes from the fact that the original 50-pound blobs were simply one end of a 100 lbs York dumbbell. The rough dimensions of a 50 lb blob are 5-1/2” (thickness) by 7-1/2” (diameter). The video below should be enough to make you realize why they don’t get much heavier than 50 lbs, unless you’re Wade Gillingham, in that case, you can lift an 81.5 lb blob.
Using a blob
The basic exercise a blob is used for is a deadlift type exercise, basically lifting the blob off the ground with one hand. Blobs are used to develop pinching grip, but unlike pinch grip deadlifts, the blob is a more open-handed pinching grip exercise. Used in conjunction with pinch grip deadlifts you cover both closed and open hand. Either can also be used for maximal or endurance training.
50lbs (from 100lbs) York Dumbbell Blob Lift Video
Homemade York Blob
One of the easiest ways to make something similar to a blob is by taping 4 or 5-10 lb plates together (it is just easier to keep them together if they’re taped), provided you already have the plates for other reasons. If you don’t have any plates it is cost effective to buy standard ones (smaller hole in the middle) because they are much cheaper than Olympic plates.
Another method of making a blob is to simply buy a dumbbell and cut the bell from the handle (just make sure that any stamping on the bell does not improve your grip). Most new dumbbells today have a hexagonal shape. When using a hexagonal shaped dumbbell, a blob has also been referred to as a Block Weight (mainly due to the lack of a rounded face). This is probably the cheapest and easiest method that I know of.
You can cut it off using a number of different tools. A reciprocating saw (sawsall) with a metal blade or an electric grinder with a metal cut-off wheel are probably the quickest and easiest ways to do it. There is also the low-tech option of using a plain old hacksaw, which has the added benefit of being a workout in itself.