The sport of strongman is still burgeoning, yet delivers a host of great athletes, amazing live and televised events, and great fitness tips for anyone wanting to be bigger and stronger.
This sport does not mess around; no pomp, no BS. Either you can lift it or you can’t. Plus, the things that these athletes are doing are superhuman, and needless to say, historic achievements.
Most of you know Hafthor Bjornson, the current World’s Strongest Man, as Gregor Clegane in HBO’s Game of Thrones. No surprise they had to go to the strongman sport to find “The Mountain.”
It’s true Hafthor is big at 6 feet 9 inches and 440 pounds, but so is Brian Shaw, the four-time World’s Strongest Man from the U.S. at 6 feet 8 and the same weight.
Or what about the 2017 champion from the UK, Eddie Hall, who at 6 feet 3 inches and 410 lbs is a bit lighter, but still no lightweight. (Check out the Netflix documentary Eddie – Strongman when you get a chance.)
To give you some perspective, the heaviest player at any NFL Combine was 1999’s Aaron Gibson at 6 feet 6 inches and 386 pounds. Strongmen ARE the largest athletes in the world.
It’s not just about being big. In strongman, you have to be strong and fit. The world record deadlift of 1102.3 pounds (so, that’s a little more than a grand piano) is held by Eddie Hall set in July 2016.
In March 2018 at the Arnold Classic Fitness Expo in Columbus Ohio, I witnessed “The Mountain” deadlift an amazing 1041 pounds, a feat no man has ever accomplished at the Arnold Classic.
Perhaps more amazing is the fact that lifts like these are becoming routine among elite strongmen. Consequently, the competition organizers come up with things that will challenge the athletes, like lifting 400 pound stones to their shoulder or performing military presses with train axels!
Every year, the athletes do more than they did last year and it’s more amazing to watch. What’s more is that their strength has to be combined with agility to be champions.
Events like the “Loading Race” where athletes have to shuttle loads over 300 pounds (like a beer keg, tire, bag o’ heavy stuff, etc.) over a 50’ course for time require speed and power. In recent times, these agility events have been the tie-breaker, eliminating the less agile athletes from the final rankings.
As you can imagine, these guys have a pretty intense and no nonsense, almost utilitarian approach to being the best at what they are. They are also very gracious with their knowledge.
Brian Shaw, for example, has several videos working with elite powerlifters like Mark Bell and champion CrossFitters like Ben Smith. The cross-domain aspect of this sport is evident, but strongman also epitomizes simplicity, because ultimately it’s about being able to lift and/or carry heavy things.
The athletes tend to lift heavy using a variety of movements, train to specific events (like keg tossing for example), and apply active recovery. Oh, and let’s not forget the eating.
For those of you challenging yourself with epic 10,000 calorie cheat days, you’ve basically eaten less than what a strongman like Brian Shaw eats every day — that’s 12,000 plus calories to, as he puts it, be “as strong as I possibly can.”
The macro count for this guy is 705g protein, 399g of fat and 1402g of carbohydrates daily. Every workout a max and every diet day a cheat day.
Hell of a sport.
You can check out all of the latest upcoming strongman events near you here. And remember — “It’s only heavy if you think it is.” – Bill Kazmier, World’s Strongest Man.
If you’d like to learn more about the sport of strongman, Born Strong follows the 4 strongest men on the planet as they compete for the crown.