So this past weekend, April 5, I competed in my second Strongman show. Nick Engels at Hudson Valley Strength put together an awesome show and despite having 140 competitors (the largest NAS show ever by far) was able to run it at smoothly as I’ve ever seen getting everything going and over with in just over 6 hours. PA’s strongest man (with only 89 competitors) took almost 10, although the venue and events didn’t allow for much play in setup.
Coming into the show I was feeling confident with how training was going. I was the strongest I’ve ever been at that weight and was expecting a win at Novice LW (under 200). Despite a hiccup with my programming being off a week, I still felt prepared.
Getting the the venue was a bit stressful as we timed out the ride wrong and ended up showing up a bit later than usual. On the way there I had 3 hardboiled eggs and two pieces of whole grain bread as I don’t typically like to eat much before/during competitions but I knew I needed something in me.
Thinking the weight class spanned from 175-231, I didn’t do much to limit my weight as I typically sit around 200. I stepped on the scale day off with my clothes, shoes, phone, wallet etc. all still on and weighed in at 204 again thinking the cutoff for Novice HW was 231.
While warming up I heard someone talking about how they changed the cutoff to 200. I guess there wasn’t many competitors above 231 in the Novice division to warrant that split. After hearing that I checked with the table if I could weigh in again the make the cut. She had remembered that I weighed in with everything on and gave me the 200 just before the first event started.
Event 1: Press Medley
-axle (180), log (180), Circus Db (80) for time
While we were told we could press the implements in any order (I had been doing Db, axle then log) we now had to go axle, log then DB in that order to makes things run smoother. No problem as I had been using all the competition weights for speed work in training.
After watching the first 3/4 of the competitors go, I was up. I felt pretty confident as many of the competitors fumbled with the implements or couldn’t finish. Only a handful really owned the event.
At the “ready go” I took my grip on the axle and planned on straight cleaning it with no rest in the rack. Unfortunately, I clipped my belt on the way up so I dropped the bar reset and hit the rep cleanly. I was flustered by hitting my belt but the log came up quickly.
They made a big deal about dropping the weights so I made sure to lower the implements under control as much as possible. This and my slow setups cost me some time, I think.
Moving on to the DB, trying to rush at this point, I cleaned the bell easily and went straight for the press. I didn’t get my hand off the DB before I pressed it easily so I didn’t know if they would give me the rep. Fortunately they did but they were being pretty lenient on down calls, dropping etc. so although that mistake was extremely embarrassing it didn’t cost me any time. I was pretty upset with a 23 second effort.
Event 2: Husafell Carry
-170# for max distance (no time limit)
Going into the competition everyone was under the impression the carry would be 100ft for time with a turn at 50ft. They made the call on the spot to go max distance instead (to keep things easier I guess but I’m not sure how that made things easier). It wouldn’t be Strongman if they didn’t switch things up the day off though, I guess. After some confusion with the order and watching many competitors go, I knew I could do pretty well.
I took an interlocking grip with the stone high on my chest and planned to keep it at a steady pace because I knew I’d have to carry it over 600ft for a good effort. Carry felt good, besides the thin stone smacking me in the cheek with every step through the first 100ft. Since we only went 100ft at varying weights/speeds in training I really started to feel the lack of conditioning around this point.
Nevertheless, I continued with the same grip and pace. Since the stone was above my face I had a hard time seeing where I was going. Apparently I had zig zagged all over the place, despite the judge trying to guide me, probably traveling further sideways than I had to. Being that we were carrying on grass, it had rained, it was freezing and I had decided to where my vibrams, my feet were also frozen so I couldn’t exactly feel where I was stepping. The numbness may have helped me though.
After losing my grip around the 400ft mark I dropped the stone down lower and continued another 147 ft to end with 547ft total. A pretty good effort even though one competitor had an 800ft effort. If only I knew we could place our hands under the stone instead of around it…
Event 3: Yoke carry/power stairs
-470 yoke 50ft and 170# implement to a step x4
Again the event changed slightly. Instead of two different implements to two stairs they decided it more time efficient to have a single implement lifted from the ground, touching the top of the stair and back down.
Many competitors didn’t set their yoke heights correctly and all but slid the yoke the whole length. Others dropped and actually slid but no matter. I felt confident going in that I could have a top time.
Before my setup I confirmed what the start call would be so I could time my breath and pick. Even so, I got a very fast “ready go” call so I wasn’t able to time the pick as well as I could have. Probably cost me a second at most. In one breath I sprinted through the yoke and rushed to the stair. The implement was light so speed wasn’t an issue. I finished in just over 16 seconds.
Event 4: “Car” deadlift
-tire (probably around 1000#+ on a car deadlift frame for reps (60s time limit)
My deadlift has never been very good and after blanking on the car deadlift in my first show I was only hoping not to blank here. I watched 3/4 of the field go, some struggling to get a few reps, others timing the bounce rather well for a tire and getting over 10.
While I was in the hole, the tire had shifted to one side of the frame so they had to reposition it as quickly as possible. Upon doing so they ended up moving the tire about a foot closer to the handles than the previous competitors had. Again, wouldn’t be strongman…nevertheless I strapped up, took my grip and went.
I was going to decide if I could time the bounce as other did after the first rep. It felt like around 550# at the handles (which is 100# over my best straight bar deadlift) and the setup didn’t allow for much bounce as a car would so I reset each rep. After 10 solid reps and two failed attempts at another time was called. Not a bad effort considering.
Event 5: Stone over bar
-220ish stone over 48″ bar for reps (60s time limit)
Finally, my favorite event! During training, we were expecting a 4 stone series increasing in weight to 48″ platforms. For efficiency, they change it to stone over bar a few weeks out.
I have been training stones shirtless for the last month so although it was freezing I competed shirtless here as well. We also never train with tack so it was nice to be able to tape and tack up for the stones. It’s funny to see how many people take too much tacky and end up completely covered in it and not able to open their fingers. Note to self: keep the tacky warm or it comes out like laffy taffy.
Going into my turn 10 was the mark to beat. I knew I had a solid chance. On “go” I took my grip, lapped it and got the first rep easy. Someone had warned me not to throw the stone too far as it had been slingshotting off the landing pads when other went. Sure enough, the first rep hit the edge of the pad and almost took out my leg. I’m not sure if it would have provided me enough time for another rep otherwise.
Besides that tiny mishap, I didn’t fumble with the stone or miss any attempts. I purposely left the stone lower on my chest because the bar was so low. My only regret is not trying to go no lap as some other competitors did. This surely would have gotten me 2-3 more reps. With time expiring I had hit a solid 9 reps. Again, a pretty solid showing.
With all the confusion with the weight classes I’m not sure where I placed. I’m pretty sure there was some competitors well over 200# competing in my weight class but the official results haven’t come out yet. As of now, I think I placed 7th out of 20+ competitors. Not exactly what I wanted but I am not sure I could have done much better besides the few mishaps. All in all I had a great time at my second Strongman show ever. Can’t wait for the next one!