“A VERY HEAVY NEW YEAR 2015” WRITE UP
Just completed my 4th strongman comp and ended up placing second. This is the first time I’ve placed in a comp, and placing this high is just amazing. Everything really seemed to come together, and it looks like a lot of the lessons I’ve learned from previous competitions/comp experience really shined through. My training paid off as well, and that’s while training at home by myself with limited equipment first thing in the morning. While some things are still fresh in my head I want to get them down.
Implements for this event were a 225lb axle w/tires, 115lb circus dumbbell, 165lb keg and a “mystery object” that turned out to be a fire hydrant. The mystery object was originally supposed to be a sandbag. I took 2 weeks of vacation before the comp to visit my in-laws and didn’t want to pack a whole bunch of gear to train with, so I threw a 150lb sandbag in my car only to find out they were cutting it out of the comp. I was pissed at the time, but I think all the time I spent training with the sandbag just got me good at cleaning and pressing awkward objects anyway, so it was a net gain.
I came into this with a gameplan of hitting the axle first, then the dumbbell, then the keg, then the fire hydrant. Thought process was that the axle was the heaviest and required the most technique, the dumbbell required technique, the keg just required me to hulk the weight up and I had a chance to train with it before the comp and the fire hydrant was a crapshoot, so I would save it for last in case I couldn’t press it. That way, I would have at least a fast 3 implement time should I fail on the 4th.
When the event started, I was actually caught off guard by how easily I cleaned the axle. Cleaning is never my strong suit, and every person before me had to continental the weight up, but I just threw it up to my shoulders. In retrospect, my ghetto axle at home is harder to work with than the comp ones because it is thicker and has no knurling at all, so I think that’s what made this so much easier. However, it ended up slowing me down a little because I was anticipating more of fight. My leg drive also fell apart as a result, but I can still press 225 strict just fine. Lesson learned here: anticipate success rather than failure.
Moved on to the circus dumbbell and made a rookie mistake: I went back to powerlifter mode and waited for a press command. It was only a second, but it did throw off my rhythm and made it that my first attempt to press the weight went flat. Gathered up my reserves and hit the second attempt just fine, but this is where things got interesting.
I can only speculate what happened psychologically, and my thought is that I got really upset with myself over missing the press command and just sort of melted down, because once I got the dumbbell over head I flew into a rage. It’s still crazy for me sitting here the next morning to think about, but I was legitimately angry about something and I still can’t quite figure out what, but it manifested in me completely abandoning the gameplan on the spot and being absolutely furious at the fire hydrant. I did not give a shit about technique, and just wanted to show dominance over it, so I grabbed it, threw it up to my shoulders and pressed in the dumbest way I probably could have. By the grace of god, the judge gave me a down command the second I lost my grip on the fire hydrant, so I just let it slip through my fingers and went to the keg.
I was still in the same state of fugue when I reached the keg, but thankfully I was realistic about my lack of coordination and trained all my keg work to be about brute strength rather than technique. I did not lap and roll the keg up, but instead just ripped it off the floor to my chest and pressed it. I threw it to the floor and really had to calm myself down, because I was still pissed off over something I couldn’t figure out, but I ended up taking 3rd out of 7, which is a great showing for me. Upon reviewing the video and hearing the jeers of my fellow competitors, I used pretty much zero leg drive the whole time, which is pretty badass, but also means I’m losing time by strict pressing. I keep training leg drive in my training, but I imagine that when the chips hit the floor, I go back to what I’m good at. Still, was feeling good after this event.
LAST MAN STANDING TIRE DEADLIFT
This event took forever, as I was warned they usually do. We did 20lb jumps from 440-520, and 40lb jumps from there. If you know me, you know this is my event, so not a whole lot to write up. I did employ some psychological warfare, and made a conscious effort to remain as calm, collected and bored as possible every time I pulled. I wanted everyone else to know that their efforts were futile, and that they should just quit because I could do this all day. A little cocky, but whatever, if you got it flaunt it.
I DID ensure to strap in for every single set. No points for style here, and I wanted to save my grip for the contest as much as I could.
In the end, it came down to me and one other competitor. We both got up to 680, which he managed with probably the most magical and gravity defying hitch I have ever seen in my life. I am nothing but jealous about it. I pulled a pretty smooth 680, but psyched myself up for it pretty hard since it was down to the wire. When 720 came around, the other guy withdrew and I thought I had a decent shot at it. However, being expended from the previous effort, I went to pull, got the weight a few inches off the ground and felt the sensation of something separating in my mid-back. It wasn’t worth slipping a disk, so I settled with sharing first place. Not exactly how I wanted it to go, but still, I got some points, and at this point I was second overall in the standings.
Did no training for this, have nothing close to the implement. Gameplan was “be stronger than everyone else”. Amazingly, that worked, because even though it was only 550lbs, this Yoke just SUCKED. I don’t know what it was, but every second it was on my back I felt like I was being crucified. I felt like I had a ton of drops and was making no progress, but looking at the video I actually only dropped 3 or 4 times and got pretty far between drops. I think what helped me compared to other competitors was simply SOME implement experience (definitely saw a few first time yokes out there) and my willingness to endure more misery, as I would quickly get back under the bar every time it set down. I probably had the slowest time among those who completed the course, but since that was me and 2 other guys, I got 3rd again. This put me in second overall by 4.5 points, trailing first by 4 points, so pretty wide margins all around.
One thing I did take away from this is that I was very uncomfortable having weight on my neck, and I think this stems from the fact that I haven’t been hitting the safety squat bar as much as I used to. It’s a great piece of equipment and I credit the majority of my success with it, so I need to get it back into my routine. It should also help my dead climb back up.
No training on this one, came into it cocky thinking that my deadlift strength would payoff. Looking at the video though, I was moving slow. In the future, can’t be wasting time waiting for the tire to fall. Soon as I flip it, set up for the next one. Technique sucked too, need to be able to one shot it each time. I also dropped it at the end of the event, and had I been better with my technique I would’ve closed the gap on time. I took 5th on this, getting beaten out by a 10th of a second by 4th place. Was still in second here, now at 19.5 points with third at 16.
Used some new tacky on this, which seems like a dumb idea considering the last time I botched stones was because I used new equipment, but things actually worked out well. Prior to the contest I looked up what the weather was going to be like, noticed it was going to be cold, and picked up some Elite cold weather tacky. The rest of the internet seemed to dislike the stuff and prefer spider tack, but by the time stones rolled around, no one’s spider tack was working, while the elite (though incredible tough to work with) was plenty sticky. It definitely has my endorsement.
That aside, the event changed day of the contest, and instead 2 atlas stones and 2 natural stones, we were loading a 240lb atlas stone, 250lb natural stone, 275lb sandbag and 310lb atlas stone. Once again, all that time at my in-laws with a sandbag was going to pay off. Life works out funny sometimes.
First stone was no real issue. Lapped it this time instead of trying to one shot it. Natural stone I was dumb on, and tried to grab it like an atlas stone instead of considering the design of it. Grabbed it at the front instead of the back, and it fell backwards out of my hands. Regripped and one shotted it.
The sandbag had a few interesting factors. Second I was second overall, 5 other guys had a crack at it, so it was covered in tacky and actually stuck to the floor, so I had to break the grip of the tacky first. Secondly, one of the volunteer loaders was way in my space while I was trying to work with this, so I had to shove him out of the way with the sandbag to get myself some space to work with. After that though, it wasn’t as bad as I thought. Got it in my lap, inched up to the platform, used it to brace the bag, and loaded it.
The 310 stone was a disaster. When I went to pick it up, I noticed it was incredibly slipper and smooth. Then I looked at my forearms and realized that this stone was covered in dirt, and now, so were my forearms. So my tacky was pretty much worthless at this point, and I tried every way I could to get a grip on this stone. I tried getting my hands under it, my shins against it, bear hugging it, front squatting it, etc. If I could have hacky sacked it up, I would have. It just wasn’t happening. Sprained my right lat slightly toward the end and just about gave up, but figured f**k it and kept going until the whistle blew. No idea what my placing was on the event, but I did reasonable well, and enough for second overall.
I have another contest in Feb, but it has some very similar events. In all honesty, this contest was just supposed to be a tune up to get me ready for that one, but after this showing, I may just do the Feb one for fun. Either way, still a great experience.