IronMind® Red Nail™ and Gold Nail™: How to Certify

Follow These Steps


You’ve mastered this benchmark short bend (Red/Gold Nail) according to our Rules for Bending and you want to be certified. What do you do? Use the checklist below to help guide you through the steps:

  • Review the Rules for Bending to confirm you are bending the Red/Gold Nail according to the rules.
    Wait until you have mastered the Red Nail or Gold Nail, so that when you attempt to bend the nail under official conditions, all will go smoothly. 

  • Contact IronMind Enterprises, Inc. and let us know that you are ready to be certified.
  • This will initiate the process and from here, IronMind will guide you through the required steps. Once you have contacted IronMind, we will send you a pre-certification questionnaire and ask for a video showing that you can bend the Red/Gold Nail according to the rules.
  • After evaluating this material, IronMind will either point out concerns or proceed with your official attempt.

IronMind began piloting video-based official attempts during the height of the COVID pandemic and will be continuing with this format. On your video, you must show the unopened package from IronMind, along with opening it and then bending the Red/Gold Nail according to the rules, just as you would in front of a live referee. Please keep yourself and the nail in the frame at all times as any break would constitute a No-lift.


  • Submit final materials to IronMind
    Complete the 1) Rules for Bending and Referee Form, and submit it plus 2) a photo of yourself (waist up is preferred), 3) a brief bio (work, family, hobbies, training—whatever you would like to mention) 4) along with a link to your video or simply attach the video file. We expect this material within 72 hours of your receiving the package from IronMind, barring any unusal circumstances.  

Upon receiving all required materials, IronMind will promptly begin its review, rendering an official decision in short order and will notify you directly with the decision. If certified, you will receive a certificate, a commemorative T-shirt and have your name added to the Red or Gold Nail Roster—not to mention now having major bragging rights in the steel-bending world.


Rules for Bending a Red Nail or a Gold Nail

Bending nails is a fun, effective way to increase and demonstrate your wrist, hand, and upper body strength. Please use caution when bending nails, and always train with safety and good sense first and foremost in mind; your hand health should always be your primary consideration.

There are multiple ways to legitimately bend an IronMind Red Nail or a Gold Nail for certification, but all are unbraced, and the hands should stay roughly between waist and collarbone height.

Additional points:

  1. Only an authentic IronMind Red Nail™ or Gold Nail™ can be used and it cannot have been modified in any way.
  2. Only genuine IronMind Hand Pads can be used, they cannot have been modified in any way, and no mechanical devices (clamps, rubber bands, etc.) can be used for any part of the attempt (from wrapping the nail to performing the bend). Using pads that are not readily recognizable as blue IronMind bending pads will automatically result in the attempt being turned down.
  3. Ordinary chalk (magnesium carbonate) may be used on the bender's hands and also on the pads, but nothing else is permitted (liquid chalk, rosin, etc. are specifically disallowed).
  4. This is an unbraced bend—incidental contact between the bender's arms or hands (or the nail itself) and the bender's body is permitted.
  5. The bend is considered completed when the inside spread of the ends of the nail is no more than 2 inches (5 cm). There is a 2-minute time limit from when the nail or the pads are first touched.
  6. The bender is not allowed to use any wraps, tape or any other supporting material on his body.
  7.  Nails may be wrapped in any of these three ways:
    • fold each pad in half up to 4 times, with one pad in the palm of each hand—the ends of the nail should be in roughly in the center of each pad
    • roll the nail in one of the pads and then fold the ends of the pad back toward the center of the nail.
    • fold each pad into thirds, roll each on the ends of the nail, butting the ends against each other in the middle of the Red Nail or with a 1-1/2" (38 mm) gap (centered) on the Gold Nail
As John Brookfield has noted more than once, bending (or any other grip exercise or feat of strength) can be dangerous if proper technique is not used, and accidents are always possible. In the case of bending nails, for example, directly pressing the points or ends of the nails into the palm of the hand can cause severe nerve damage to the soft tissue, which may be irreversible, and you might puncture your hand. Be sensible in whichever bending style you use and always follow the generally accepted principles of safe training. If you have any questions about what you are doing, seek the advice of someone with the appropriate expertise.
You'll find IronMind's Bag of Nails and extra challenge Level 5 Red Nails and Level G Gold Nails in our on-line store.