Monday, May 18, 2015

Back to the Basics strongman meet write-up

I competed on Saturday in my second strongman show. Before I get to any of that, though, you better believe I'm blogging about my breakfast. I started the day at Brookfield's again right next to the hotel, which is the only reason I choose this Super 8 over somewhere nicer. I got the same order as last time, only covered with feta cheese so it's a PR.

Got to the gym at around 9:20 and felt like a beached whale from the food while warming up. In no time at all we started the events

200 lb log clean and press

I had never used a log before but did the best I could in training just practicing barbell clean and presses. The log was easier to clean but harder to press, which surprised me given the shorter range of movement. Turned out that was mostly countered by how much harder it is to simply bear the thing on you. I got 5 reps, which is about what I can usually get in training when doing cleans with any type of press. I was told my log clean was screwy and that the implement should be closer to my body, not out on my knees. After the first two reps I got the hang of bouncing it off the tires, a tip I heard from Jared.

Car deadlift

I was wondering about even getting this once, but we were lifting the car from the back and I drastically overestimated the difficulty anyway. I banged out 20 reps. On the 21st, I couldn't quite lock my hips out, despite breaking it off the ground easily. I stood there for several seconds looking at the judge until he told me I need to lock my hips. This really flummoxed me. I dropped down and lifted it again, but my hips just felt stuck at the top. In retrospect, I should have narrowed my stance at this point to get more leg drive so I wasn't trying to finish the last bit with just my pelvis after my legs were mostly extended. My quads weren't tired or anything and I had more in me.

550 lb super duper yoke 

I see "super" attached to seemingly typical strongman events sometimes and wanted in. I'd had experience with a 610 lb yoke before, one of the most excruciating training things I've ever done. Being stronger than then and the yoke being lighter made this feel good. There were a few drops and my footwork was terrible by the middle of it. The transition from one direction to back again was quick, though, which makes me satisfied that I don't tend to stall for a break.

225 lb farmers' walk + frame carry

After the yoke, this was another ridiculously fun event that I built up in my head as some dreadful suckage waiting to happen when it actually wasn't bad at all. My grip on the farmers' held up great. Biggest issue was trying to get my feet to move faster, but it wasn't slothlike by any means. I made it down without any drops and then leaped into the center of the frame. I dropped it after a second because my grip wasn't centered, recouped, and went down a ways before I dropped. Again, no stalls except to set my grip. I had it in my mind to get moving ASAP as soon as I dropped it. Near the end my left hand gave out and I stumbled in the opposite direction, but with mere seconds left I gritted down and moved the thing past the line with no time to spare. I got applause and congratulations from people, which was very cool.

Atlas stones

Last comp I couldn't clear a 270 stone once. 240 didn't feel bad at all. I probably applied too much tacky to my biceps because they were sticking to the thing more than anything else and it actually made it hard to roll the stone over the bar. You can see in the video on one rep I throw my arms back to get them off the stone. I cleared the height 4 times. On the 5th I couldn't quite get it high enough and struggled. Kalle remarked something to the effect of getting under it and pushing, but it slipped when I tried this. Out of sheer habit of moving down with a dropped barbell to break the fall I followed the stone as it dropped, only to have it bounce up and clobber me in the jaw. I was stunned for second and fell back, then sprang forward again to have another go before I heard people protesting me to stop. I thought the time was up so I stood and asked if that was the case. Someone told me I was bleeding, which surprised me, and as they guided me inside I realized my shirt had ripped off, which kicked ass.

I was told the gash was deep and protein-rich meat was mushrooming out so I would need stitches. I wanted to be there until it was over so I hung around for about another hour as my very being leaked out onto their facility. Once it was over I drove to an urgent care center who recommended me to an emergency room 20 minutes away once they saw my shit insurance. Let me tell you: sitting in an emergency room wait room for several hours is usually inconvenient enough, but doing it covered in tacky is...well, more inconvenient, I guess. I can't exaggerate it when there were people in mortal condition within proximity. I got 8 stitches and a scan on my jaw, which wasn't broken. Ended up getting home at 2 am pretty exhausted. Loud music helped on the 2-hour drive back.

All in all, I had a great day and learned not to stop moving boulders with my face. The competition went far quicker than last time with simultaneous events happening.

 I'm going to procure some missing essentials (farmers' handles, yoke, axle) and really amp up my strongman training. It's time to chase place numbers and be a reckonable force. 



  1. Excellent write up! The growth between these two contests you exhibited was remarkable. That frame carry was really dramatic, as I thought you ripped a callous when one hand dropped while the other stayed on. And I overheard a few folks admiring your spirit for wanting to keep going with the stones after taking that fall. Definitely got some warrior spirit going on there. You were also among the folks there that actually looked like they lifted weights, haha.

    I think getting those implements and vectoring your training will pay off huge. You've got a great athletic and strength oriented background, the skills will get picked up quickly.

  2. That was all awesome commendation to read, thanks man. I felt really hungry and tenacious this competition after feeling for months like I could have done more at my first one, so I had it in mind before the meet that no matter what I wanted to keep attacking.

    I'm glad that my stupid long training sessions to fit in accessory exercises has apparently paid off enough to be noticeable, haha. I need a back-up plan if strongman doesn't ever work out and I turn to the Olympia.

    1. I know exactly what you mean. I honestly think that mentality is the key to victory in this sport. You see a lot of folks just give up when they have time still on the clock, and it's almost disgusting to see. You gotta be psychotic; keep raining down blows until the ref has to slide tackle you off the opponent, and then try to put the ref in a guillotine choke before you realize that the event is over.

      I guess I kind of blending MMA and strongman there, but you get the point, haha.