There are certainly plenty of great Strongman competitors in this part of the world.
Here's one of the many on the 'one to watch' list - 'Western Australia's Strongest Man', Daniel Macri. And yes, he's only 23.
Over to you. Who's currently on your own 'one to watch' list?
The ab crunch machine is where it all started, from that point on I was bitten by the fitness bug. Although I was a little different, I was more interested in looking bigger and stronger compared to looking like a lean fitness model. So in the summer of 1997 at the young age of 12 I remember starting my fitness regime, I would run or cycle twice a week to keep up my fitness and to get stronger I did body weight exercises, such as pullups, press ups, sit ups etc. Doing this worked well, even at such a young age, but I quickly progressed and needed to take the next step - lifting weights.
So, for my 14th birthday my parents bought me something I had wanted since I started my fitness regime, a set of dumbbells. I was ecstatic, I had a set of dumbbells totalling 50lbs, I was finally ready to start lifting weights. For the next couple of weeks I read books on the many different exercises you can do with dumbbells, I must have tried 50 or more exercises, most of which I can't even remember. My favorite of all exercises was the dumbbell biceps curl, which I'm sure is a favorite for many young guys. I distinctly remember doing dumbbell curls twice a week in my bedroom, I remember curling 10lbs each arm for 2 minutes, resting for 30 seconds then starting again for another 2 minutes, I did this for a total of 30 minutes!
This past weekend I was lucky enough to travel to Belfast to watch the Ultimate Masters World Strongest Man competition. This took place at the same venue as the Ultimate UK Strongest Man - organised by The Daddy Glen Ross, the World famous Irish strongman.
I work for Strength Shop UK and we were one of the main sponsors of the competition - supplying circus dumbbells which were used in the Junior Strongman event , and the massive 110kg log which was used by the Masters. Travelling over on Sunday , we had a ringside seat to watch Ken Nowicki from Scotland be crowned as Junior UK Strongest man after also competing in the Open event and finishing second.
The Masters event had a fantastic line up -
The head referee was none other than former Worlds Strongest man Magnus Samulesson, winner in 1998.
I have never been to a Strongman competition before and being in the presence of so many huge men was a bit of an eye opener - Im a tall guy but I felt like a little kid beside these guys.
The day had 6 events with 3 head to head events. They were -
12 Tonne Truck Pull, 20 metres, old style harness only, 90 secs x 2 competitors
Flag Hoist, 5 flags, timed, 2 x competitors
Strength Shop Timber Log Lift for maximum weight , x1 competitors
Squat 320kg for reps, 90 secs timed, x 1 competitors
Human Wheelbarrow, 20 metres, 90 secs timed, 1 competitor
Stones of Strength, 5 stones, 100kg - 160kg, 90 sec timed, x 2 competitors
The Masters started with the truck pull - a head to head competition with two massive men pulling to massive trucks
Photo - Davie Easton
Having never seen the flag hoist before, I was intrigued to see how this event worked. It was similar to the Fingals Finger but in reverse, instead of pushing the pole up it had to be pulled up.
Photo - Denise Hunt
I think I've discovered a new word for Webster's Dictionary: GripWalking. My word processor doesn't like it. Well for a number of years carrying small (or large) weights for distance has been used by strength enthusiasts. The "Farmers Walk" is a familiar strongman (300+ lbs) exercise, although I have heard of carrying a "Fat Man" Blob (end of a 100 lb Roundhead 50+ lbs) about 91 feet. As hunter-gatherers 50,000 yrs ago we certainly carried spears and rocks as weapons, so we're made to do this.
That's a bit much for my term GripWalking. I'm talking about < 15 lbs in one hand at a time, switching hands, and walking a couple of miles. Small dumbbells <5 lbs have been used to walk with, although they are held in the usual fashion not requiring a persistent grip effort.
The most common form is to carry 1 or 2 lbs in each hand, not much for gripping. If you bump up the weight (5 to 10 lbs), use a round object that requires grip effort, now you're talking about GripWalking. I've started this after training with many grip tools: hand crushers up to 250#, Blobs, plates sideways, and balls 3" to 5". Various GripWalking objects are seen in this photo:
The steel ball bearings are what I use but are somewhat pricey. They are also used for massage of sore muscles. I started with a 3.5" ball bearing @ 6.4 lbs and have worked up to a 4" @ 9.5 lbs. I have a 5" @ 18.5 lbs, but can't hold it long enough, establishing my limits for GripWalking. Here's what I do normally:
On Saturday 16th July, I took an 8 hour drive to compete in the UK Strength and Power Series meet in Cardiff, Wales. This is a grassroots strongman competition that I first competed in last year when the competition was set up slightly differently - a one day competition with 7 events. This year sees the competition consist of 3 heats, 3 weight categories and the top 2 from each category going through to the final in October.
I had entered the South West meet as it was being hosted by my good friend Andy McKenzie from Ironmac Fitness. Andy is a tremendous strength and conditioning coach who won the lightweight category last year and had kindly agreed to programme for me leading up to this competition.
Also heading down with me was my friend and sometime training partner Louise Mather from the band Any Color Black and her sister Gillian. Louise was competiting in the competition too in the ladies middle weight category.
The drive down was long but filled with chat, laughter, no music ( stereo was broken ), eggs, dark chocolate and traffic jams.
After arriving in Cardiff to drop the girls off, heading back to Newport to stay and Andys, I eventually got to sleep.
Nervousness and a body clock set for early mornings due to my year old baby meant that I woke up at the crack of dawn. I got showered, fed and prepped with coffee and eggs. We set off for the short drive to Dragon CrossFit, venue for the fun and games ahead. This is a tremendous strength and conditioning facility that is located in a large industrial area.
After weighing in, and meeting a few faces that I remembered from last years competition and a few faces I wasnt expecting (my buddy form back home had travelled down with his girlfriend to cheer me on and hadnt told me they were coming), the main organiser of the event , Chet Morjaria, gave us the welcome speech and gave us a run down on the first two events of the day.
Event 1 would be circus dumbbell form ground to over head for as many reps in 75secs. Heavyweight men would be using the 53kg dumb bell
Event 2 would be the Conans Wheel, with 120kg on it for us big lads.
Due to company I work for, Strength Shop UK supplying some of the equipment for the competition, I was probably only one of a few people who had used one of these huge dumb bells on a regular basis as part of my training so I was feeling great going into this event. In training I had managed 15 reps so I was looking to get there or maybe a couple of more reps.
I managed to crank 15 reps again, which I was happy about but unfortunatley this was only good enough for 3rd place as 2 guys managed 17 reps.
The second event was something I dont think anyone had done before. As I had finished 3rd in the first event, I was 3rd last to go in this so it gave me a chance to see how some of the others attacked his piece of equipment. When my turn came around I picked up the arm and set off on what would end up puting me in 2nd place. This I was very happy about, but that really, really hurt!
After this event, we had an hour for lunch so I tried to eat and drink to fuel up for the afternoon. After lunch, Chet announced what the next two events would be.
That's all I could hear in my head "Its only 110kg per hand. Christ, that's more than I weigh!". The voice had started, but I knew I could shut him up.
I just took a breath, gripped the handles, picked them up and walked the 10m.
Now, that isn't a lot to do on farmers walks. Hell, we have a guy in our crew that did 150kg per hand. But for me that was a huge weight. And I did it!
My road to strong has been a long one that is only now starting to take me towards my goal - be strong. The road began 12 years ago when my wife joined a local gym and asked me a long to keep her company. I was overweight, had just stopped smoking, liked a drink and could eat junk food for Scotland. But I went along, and fell in love with exercising.
At the beginning, I took part in every kind of fitness class that the gym had to offer - aerobics, spin, circuits etc. I loved it. My weight started to go down, my fitness started to go up and my interest in working in the fitness industry took hold. Our local college was my first port of call to do a basic course in health and fitness followed by a more in depth course after this first one was completed. This then led to a couple of recognised qualifications and my first job as a fitness instructor.
All through my time at college and at the gym I would do the usual kind of weight training that most people begin with - split routine, 2 body parts, lots of exercises, some cardio. Then around the end of 2004 I found Crossfit and became hooked. I would try and get people to come and train with me but no one was interested - so I had to travel to train with friends I had made on forums, travelling from Glasgow down to London, Manchester and Newcastle. I was a CrossFit junkie, I travelled to California to do the level 1 cert in the days before they offered it in the UK. I was the first in the UK to open up a dedicated CrossFit box and ran it for 2 years. I was following the main page workouts from www.crossfit.com and getting very, very fit but not very strong.
This addiciton to CrossFit lasted 'til around 3 years ago when I changed my training and got more into strength training by following the CrossFit Strength Bias system then Jim Wendler's 5/3/1. These systems helped me to get stronger but I didn't have anything to focus my training on. I don't play any sports so I just train because I enjoy it.
At the beginning of last year I decided to enter a CrossFit/ Strongman competition at CrossFit Reading, UK which was organised by my good friend Chet Morjaria and his functional fitness website www.funckey.co.uk . My plan was to enter the over 90kg weight category and I did this with ease on a diet of cheesecake and Guinness, weighing in on the day at a whopping 106kg with a lovely power belly.
To build this sled, you will need to a few items that you may even have lying around your garage or hanging out in your basement under some laundry!
You will need:
This is all you need to make this functional piece of equipment!
While they're meant to give you that razor's edge of strength, if you don't have a barbell then they are still a fantastic overall strength building tool that you can train with. It's much better to lift only odd objects and still get pretty damn strong than to do nothing.
Using these monsters will work the hell out of your body's stabilizing muscles, the ones you never knew you even had. You're working them much harder in completely different ways from how a barbell ever could because it's so perfectly balanced, and they don't work the all-important stabilizers.
Your stabilizers do just that, they stabilize. They contract isometrically to support your body under a load. This is why manual laborers can be so strong, because they work the heck out of their muscles and stabilizers the way barbells can't. An opposing lineman in the sport of football isn't going to push against you in a perfectly balanced fashion like a barbell will; they're going to be fighting you in all different directions. Lifting odd objects will give you advantage over any Joe who only lifts barbells, no matter who you are.
To round out your training, in addition to barbells you must train with odd objects, such as rocks, sandbags and kegs. These are very awkward objects to train with, so your body will adapt as so. Use of them will also help to improve your grip strength tremendously.
Lifting a barbell isn't nearly the same thing as trying to shoulder a 200lb sandbag or pressing a beer keg that's half filled with water. They're unbalanced objects that shift around, fighting you every step of the way. Almost as if it were alive. You have to do so by sheer power and control, because there isn't any comfortable way of balancing with each object, because you have to do that yourself. They'll keep shifting around, making themselves nearly impossible to control. If you can't clean and press that sandbag, then you can't do it. There is no bouncing or cheating, just pure grit and determination. Odd objects are a terrific solution on how one can go about building farm boy, pig wrastlin' strength that allows you to move damn near anything you want.
Via IronMind : Derek and the Axle.
Training for the Dinnie Stones. Nice one.
All-round athlete Donald Dinnie.
Another DIY project joins the queue - this time it'll be a pair of handles like this. Good stuff.
This is a brilliant idea - using a pair of Rolling Thunders for Farmer's Walks. Love it.
Dan Rice - former strongman, and The Most Famous Man You've Never Heard Of.
The guys at Riot Training demonstrate some of the many ways to use a Viking Press machine. Nice one.
Powerlifter and Strongman Don Reinhoudt finding an usual way to squat a ton.