2015 GLADIATOR STRONGMAN COMPETITION WRITE UP
This is my 7th strongman competition, having started competing in Sep of 2013, so now almost 2 full years. As always, I’ll detail my background/training for the competition along with the competition itself.
The last competition I did was in the 231 class since there was no 200lb class. I weighed in at 203 in clothes while eating a donut on the scale, but ultimately was pretty unhappy with how fat I had allowed myself to become in a contest where weight wasn’t an issue. Once that contest was over, I vowed to clean up my diet a bit and try to lose a little weight, so that, when I weighed in for this contest as a 200lber, I’d have plenty of wiggle room and zero need to cut the day before. About 1 week out from the contest I was regularly waking up at 194lbs and much leaner than before while still seeing all of my competition lifts improving in training. My bench took a hit, but I wasn’t too concerned. Additionally, I injured my hamstring about 2 months out of the competition, but was able to force it to heal pretty quickly, and it had no impact on my performance from what I could tell. I also pulled a muscle in my lat/oblique the week before on some speed yoke work, which didn’t’ seem to heal properly. Only experienced pain when I twisted, and it was still pretty minor, so I wasn’t too worried about it.
I didn’t take this contest too seriously since it was an unsanctioned competition. The main draw was that it was in my hometown of San Diego, so it meant my family and friends could watch in person. Additionally, the events were pretty much all static strength events, so it suited me well. Here I’ll detail how I trained for the specific events.
PRESS MEDLEY (100lb keg, 180lb log, 100lb Circus DB for reps)
I got a new keg and filled it up to 100lbs to train for this, but honestly did very little practice once it was built. I found out I could one motion it from the floor, almost like a snatch, and figured that would be my strategy. For the log, I actually trained with a 235lb log press, in the off chance that there wouldn’t be anyone in the 200lb class and I’d have to play with the big boy weights. It would’ve been smarter to get better at the viper press to cut down transition time, but I planned for the worst rather than the best. For the circus dumbbell, I built my own bell using Home Depot buckets, and it worked AMAZINGLY well for how cheap of a product it was. I trained with 112.5lbs, since that’s what 2 25lb plates per side ended up being.
I never actually trained this medley specifically like I had for past ones. I trained the lifts individually on different press days during the week, and never trained to clean the DB on each rep simply due to fear of mechanical failure with my equipment. I still felt pretty confident, as the weights were incredibly light, and I knew that was going to be a rep fest.
Also, point of fact, I scored an amazing craigslist bundle that included an ironmind squat/dip/chin station that I set up as a dip station in my garage. I made it a habit to hit one set of max reps everyday I returned from work to get some more upperbody pressing volume in. We’ll see if that affected anything.
No idea if this was going to be a light car like my last contest or a heavy one, but I figured I’d do what I did last time since it paid off. I ended up getting some 100lb plates and some thinner 45s, and was able to work up to 8 plates per side for 5 reps by the end of my training cycle leading up to this. Conditioning and strength were on point, and THIS time I wasn’t going to quit until the whistle blew.
75’ 550LB YOKE WALK/650LB TIRE FLIP
Actually pretty proud of my training for this: I cycled my yoke for 3 weeks (week 1: 410lbs, week 2: 500lbs, week 3: 550lbs) for the competition distance. I then would have a 205lb sandbag at the starting point, that I would have to pick up, carry, and then bag over bar with the yoke. The intent here was to train both the yoke AND the explosiveness necessary to hit a heavy tire flip at the end of the long yoke walk. Was finally starting to see some speed on the yoke this cycle, and this circuit was decent for my conditioning.
STONE SERIES (175, 200, 235, 290, 335)
Who am I kidding, I never train for stones. The sandbag over bar I was doing as part of my circuit at least helped with the mechanics a touch, but my strategy was the same as always: come in strong and want it more than everyone else.LWM- 175, 200, 235, 290, 335
Weighed in at 195lbs with clothes/shoes on and a full stomach. Zero issues making weight.
Most guys were struggling on the log on this one. The Rogue 10" log is terrible, no question, and training with good equipment makes it hard to compete with bad equipment. Implements were far apart as well, so I realized footspeed was going to be a factor. Best on the CDB was 5 reps when I was up.
I took off in a sprinters stance, booked it to the keg, and one motioned it to the air. I knew that I didn't want to waste any time between implements and be able to take my time on the CDB. I took my time with the log, just because it was a screwy log, but still got it overhead pretty easily. Zero leg drive, didn't trust myself.
Got to the circus dumbbell, and was surprised at how easy it went up. I had been training with my ghetto Home Depot bucket bell, and even though the handle on the Rogue dumbbell was much thicker, the bell felt much easier to press. I ended up knocking out 11 reps before I started losing steam. It felt less like I ran out of strength and more like I ran out of coordination, if that makes sense. I ended up taking second to some guy who banged out 14. The difference between us is that he didn't use his left hand at all to stabilize the bell in between attempts, and just beated it up. That's what I need to work on now if I want to be hot stuff. Still, happy with a second on press, as it's not my strongest event.
My last contest, I got edged out of the car deadlift and it's been eating away at my soul every since. I came into this contest with a vengeance, and swore that I would NOT lose another deadlift event. So sick of tying for first. I didn't care what anyone else did, I was going to win.
Got my straps set, settled in, and just let the world go black. I moved as quickly as I could, and kept a good pace going for the first 20 or so reps before slowing down. Up until this point, the best score was 13, so I was making a spectacle. I ended up slightly re-torquing my left lat a touch around rep 30, but just kept pushing. Ended up with 33 reps, beating the next closest by 13 reps. Just about killed myself, but met my goal. I have no regrets/lessons learned on this one.
SURPRISE! The tire is 100lbs heavier! Now 750lsb. Not that it mattered, I didn't have a tire to train with. Up until my point, most folks were struggling with the yoke itself, and no one had flipped the tire.
Been focusing on fast feet this whole time on my yoke training, and it seemed like it paid off. The front of the yoke skipped just a touch at the start, and I could feel myself wobbling left, but I had zero put downs and got to the tire plenty fast.
I thought the tire flip wouldn't be that touch, and rather than do the smart thing and take off my belt, I tried to do the fast thing and just beast it over. This was a dumb move, as this tire felt like it was a million pounds. I got it to my knee real quick, and then just went to war with it for what felt like forever but in reality was maybe 10 seconds. I eventually abandoned my grip on the rim of the tire and snagged one of the treads so that I could push up with my hands and my knees, got the inertia broken, and finally got the tire over. Two other folks after me flipped the tire, but I believe I was either first or second on this event.
Sorry, no video of the tire flip itself, but you can see the yoke at least.
I was in first overall at this point. People were talking about how the stones were dirty, so I put some tacky on the back of my hands, but otherwise stuck with my normal gameplan of being strong and wanting it.
First 3 stones popped up real quick, but around stone 3 I realized that my technique was terrible and I was probably exhausting how far I could get on brute strength. By stone 4, I learned I was right.
Around stone 4, I also got to enjoy the fun and dynamic nature of strongman, for as I was bracing the stone on the platform getting ready to load it, I was told that suddenly that wasn't allowed. I thought this was America. I MIGHT have been able to get the stone had I just known right away they had this rule, for I wouldn't have even of tried to move as quick as I did with the stone off my lap, but getting this announcement right in the middle of my load attempt hosed me. When I dropped the stone and tried to relap it, it just wasn't happening. My tacky was shot, and I was most likely fried.
Biggest lesson is that I need to learn how to do stones. I can see the exact moment in the video where my technique goes to hell, and if I had my arms over the stone versus under, I could've hit it, since I lapped it just fine.
Still took first place. Apparently, I still loaded the first 3 stones fast enough to maintain my first place standing.
This was an awesome show. I still have some things to work on, but ultimately I am satisfied with my performance.