As you are reading this I am on my way to compete in the Mid-Atlantic Strongman Challenge at the Charlotte Convention Center in beautiful Charlotte, North Carolina. This event is absolutely MASSIVE with roughly 130-150 competitors spread over 9 divisions. This will be live streamed on FloElite (http://www.floelite.com/event/255071-2017-mid-atlantic-strongman-challenge) so you should click that link and sign up to watch it.
What is so special about this contest?
For those of you that are not aware, my guess in 99.9% of you reading this, the sport of Strongman is split up into different levels of competition. Level 1 shows, level 2 shows and Platinum Plus shows. Level 1 and 2 vary based on how heavy the weights are, what percentage of the winners get the bid to nationals, the types of competitors that attend etc. Likewise, Platinum Plus shows are at a whole other level. They are the shows that bring out the best of the best because the winner of the Platinum Plus show gets their Pro Card. In the world of strongman, the illustrious Pro Card is almost every serious competitors biggest goal in the sport.
So you are going for your Pro Card?!? (also what division will you be competing?)
I guess technically? The winner of the division that I am competing in (Under 231 Lbs) will be going winning their Pro Card...I am going to be competing for different reasons. This contest is full of events that I am TERRIBLE at ( Look below for Event Descriptions). I will be utilizing this contest to not only test myself and see where I am, give myself the opportunity to breaking personal records, but learn as much as I can from the other competitors and the Pro’s that will be battling it out. I am competing against myself and am excited to see where I am. Sometimes, the best outcomes for these contests are coming back with a new fire to train, or a tip or piece of information that can turn one of your weakest events into one of your strongest.
What are the events going to be for this contest?
Event 1: Max Circus Dumbbell (Photo courtesy of MB Powercenter)
Ahh yes...the Circus Dumbbell. This is the first event of this contest and has been the bane of my existence since my introduction into strongman. This bad boy is roughly 140 Lbs empty, is plate loadable, and is a whopping 30 inches long. Now if it was just heavy and long it would be a pain in the ass, but that is not the only thing this thing has going for it. The handle on this devil spawn is between two and two and a half inches in diameter...So you can imagine how much fun it is to attempt to get this bad boy off the ground, let alone over your head and locked out with one arm. In most contests, the circus dumbbell is focused around how many reps you can perform ( from the ground to locked out overhead with one arm. See the Event in Action Here!) in a 60 second period, or it is paired with other overhead events (log press, axle, Keg Press) in a medley fashion. The Mid-Atlantic Strongman Challenge is a max weight event. So the person who has the strongest Dumbbell Press for a single Rep will take home the win for this event. Do not be shocked if you see the heavier competitors hitting upwards of 300+ lbs for this event.
Event 2: Progressive Yoke Carry
The progressive yoke carry is the second event of the day for the Mid-Atlantic Strongman Challenge. The Yoke is a classic test of full body strength. It is simply putting a weight on your back and shoulders, and walking it from point A to point B. This event is normally on a 40-60 foot linear course, where competitors are attempting to complete in the shortest amount of time. The weight of the yoke varies based on the weight class of the competitor as well as the level of the competition. What makes the Progressive Yoke Carry at this event so interesting is that you will need to complete 3 yoke walks to complete the event. The yokes must be carried 25 feet, and in order. Each yoke gets substantially heavier. The weights for my weight class are 610, 760, then 890 Lbs respectively. Yoke 1 and 2 should not be a problem, but the 890 is going to be very interesting. Never did a yoke that heavy in my life so your guess is as good as mine on if I will be completing this particular event. Like I said, breaking records and a massive learning opportunity for this particular event.
Event 3: Max 18” Axle Hummer Tire Deadlift
If you read that event title and got confused, do not have feel bad. There are a lot of things going on at once. Let me break it down for you though. This event is another Max event, meaning that the person who can move the most weight for one repetition will win. This event is an elevated deadlift event with the bar at 18 inches from the ground. This is a little bit under my knee cap (I am a massive 5 foot 11 inches tall for reference). We also will be utilizing an axle for this event. Axles are roughly 2 inches in diameter which makes the bar sit farther out in front, as well as making it much much harder to grip the bar. You will be seeing everyone utilizing straps for this particular event. My deadlift is not my strongest event so I will be looking to merely break my own personal best for this event and move on with my day. I expect to see people in my weight class be able to hit 800 Lbs plus for this event. There are a TON of very strong dead lifters competing and it will be an amazing opportunity to see them pull some serious weight!
Event 4: Power Stairs
The Power Stairs are the event that I have the LEAST amount of time with. It is an event that I have only competed in one time before at a Lightning Fitness Strongman Contest last year. Essentially what power stairs are is who can pick up 3 sets of heavy weights up 4 18 inch high, giant stairs the fastest. The weight is essentially a giant cylinder with a handle at the top. It it up to the competitors to race up the 4 stairs with the weight. A short writeup and pictures for reference are at this link if you are interested in seeing what they look like. I unfortunately do not have any footage or pictures of me training or competing with the implements. That is because I have never consistently trained them...ever...So no matter what I do at this particular show, is a Personal Record for me! Below are the weights being used. Again, I am in the <231 Class. If you are reading the weights are saying to yourself “Wow, that seems really heavy!” You would be correct. My lower back will be angry with me for a little while. That being said, I will be giving this event my all and really want to complete it, no matter how long the damn thing takes me. I have 60 seconds and I sure as hell plan to utilize every single one...or die trying. Ok, well not die, more like “get really close to puking” trying.
Event 5: Max Keg Over Bar
If you are noticing a trend of “Max” events you would not be wrong. This is ANOTHER max weight event on the docket for this contest. I sure know how to pick them… This event is EXACTLY what you are thinking. We strongmen and strongwomen will be trying to determine who can pick up the heaviest keg. No beer is going to be involved unfortunately, unless you count the 12 pack that I will need to not feel sore after this particular contest. Again, no real footage of me doing this event because it will be a competition first for me. The heaviest Keg I have loaded was 350 to about 55 inches. It was ugly and my technique was awful, but it happened. 54 inches is really tall. Especially when it comes to me being only about 17 inches taller than the damn bar. I essentially have to load the keg to my forehead to get it over the bar. This should be entertaining to say the least. My goal is to hit the 380 Keg for an all time personal record. God speed to anyone looking to do more than that. I will be cheering you on with a drink in my had at that point of the day. Cheers boys.
So that is essentially what I am doing as you read this, or will have done if you are reading this at a later date. I think this is the contest I am looking the most forward to in recent memory. There is a certain confidence and happiness I have knowing that I have nothing to lose and everything from the Mid Atlantic Strongman Challenge. I get the opportunity to compete against the best of the best in the sport of strongman, I get to get my hands on the BEST equipment on the market, and I get to watch how the Professionals compete utilizing the same equipment, the exact same events, but just a little bit heavier. It is essentially the best way for me to learn how I can be better and get better and better at this crazy sport. Another thing is that this is an amazingly heavy contest and I am looking forward to seeing how I stack up, competing up a weight class, with some real strong competitors. I am lucky to be in the position I am and know that I will walk away from this contest having gained experience, knowledge, and personal pride in how hard I have been working and a rekindling of the fire I have for my training and long term goals for competing. Win, lose, or draw it does not matter. I look forward to sharing my experiences with you all. So log onto the link at the beginning of this article, pay the few bucks to watch the event, share it with your friends and social media, and help support me and the sport that has taught me more about life than anything else.
Live your Damn Life.