So first, the video
10th competition is over and done with. I met 2 out of my 3 goals; I placed, and I didn’t get injured. I wanted to qualify for nationals out of this comp, but it wasn’t in the cards. I had 1 big error that cost me first in one event, but ultimately I wasn’t ready for what this show would bring. Part of that burns me, but at big part of it excites me; it’s good to know I’m not even close to done in this sport yet. I still have a lot to learn.
Training for the event went pretty poorly. I got a bad glute injury on my left side right around the time the show was announced that was never healed until about the day of the show. I ended up not deadlifting for 3 weeks before the show, and even prior to that my deadlift workouts were pretty poor. However, none of the competition movements seemed to hurt the glute, so there’s that. I also ended up buying myself a 12.75” Circus Dumbbell to get in some real practice, which was a pretty smart move all things considered. I was losing weight coming into this show, mainly because I seem to perform better whenever I do that. Ended up weighing in at 198.0 with a few meals in me in jeans and a t-shirt the day before the show.
EVENT 1: FRAME DEADLIFT FOR REPS 450LBS
Usual strongman last minute changes here. We were going to be told go, and at that point we could set up our straps, vs getting set and then going. I realize nationals is moving in that direction, but honestly I think it’s just a dumb ploy to get us to all go out and buy figure 8 straps. I switched to my Why Our Way straps since they were easier to throw on quickly compared to the Ironmind ones. Also, we now had a down AND up command, whereas before it was just going to be a down command.
I managed 20 reps in 60 seconds, losing the 21st rep because my left strap slipped. This was good enough to tie for second place. First was 21 reps. I will say that, ultimately, I lost first because I wasn’t strong enough. That said, I also was moving slow because I could not hear the “up” command over the sound of the plates clanging, and I lost a lot of time staring at the judge waiting for an up command he already gave me. I think an up command is a legit idea when you’re lifting a weight that people are only gonna hit 5-10 reps with, but on rep fest weights, it’s really going to boil down to who got the faster command to decide who wins. This is the second time I’ve been burned this way, so lesson learned; I’m gonna ask for a hand signal from the judge for an up command and for him to yell and say the command multiple times.
EVENT 2: PRESS MEDLEY (180LB KEG, 200LB LOG, 231LB AXLE, 125LB CIRCUS DUMBBELL FOR REPS)
Probably the event I trained the most for, specifically the dumbbell. I haven’t hit a circus dumbbell of any variety since Dec 2015, so I was way out of practice. I managed to hit the competition weight for a sloppy double the week before the show. Last time I clean and pressed a keg was ALSO Dec of 2015, so I brought that back into the rotation quickly.
The keg killed about half the competition, but someone managed 3 reps on the dumbbell before me, so I had a number to beat. I got out and 1 motioned the keg, hit the log without much trouble (a 12” steel log is a lot easier than the 14” mutant I built at home), and then lost the continental on the axle. Looking at the video, I caught it too low the first time. It was a quick correction, but I was a little unstable at the top. I imagine it was the train wheels throwing me off.
The dumbbell in the contest was a lot like the one I had at home, which is to say crazy. I was having a difficult time finding a stable position. I know I need to figure out my rack on the CDB, but with only 6 weeks to build up STRENGTH on the movement, technique had to take a backside. I was using a technique where I’d spin the bell on my shoulder and press it while it was moving through space once it hit a balanced point. It sounds crazier than it is. It worked for one rep, but that was it. Someone else managed 1 rep as well. If they were using split times, I took second here. If not, I tied for second.
EVENT 3: 250LB STONE OF STEEL OVER 52” BAR
This was a first for me. To prep for the stone of steel, I used a stone simulator with a combination of bumper plates and metal. I figured the slippery bumper plates would get me used to the surface, and the uneven weight distribution would get me ready for the weight of the SOS.
I was mostly right. I was the first guy in my weight class to even lap the damn thing, but just couldn’t nail the extension. For the most part, I just didn’t have the confidence in losing the stone to the extension over the bar. Looking at the video, I was much closer than I felt, but it was a helluva fight, and eventually the stone threw me on my ass. I ended up performing a backwards summersault to escape the stone’s path and then put my arms up triumphantly proclaiming that I stuck the landing. Gotta have some humor in this, and honestly this event broke me out of a funk during this contest and got me to start having some fun. This was the second time I’ve ever zero’d an event, and the first time as a result of lacking strength, which was a motivator more than anything else. That said, being the first to lap the stone and doing it without wide receiver gloves, a grip shirt, tape, and all the other weird voodoo that was being used made me feel pretty badass. …although I did steal someone’s tacky towel.
EVENT 4: POWER STAIRS (250LBS, 300LBS, 350LBS, 3 14” STEPS EACH)
I prepped for this event using a Hungarian core blaster loading to a 20” plyobox. It worked well enough.
Time to beat was 27 seconds and some change, and I managed 23 before getting beaten by a 20 second and 16 second placing. My biggest mistake was being short, so next time I’ll pick better parents. Otherwise, I needed to pick a little higher on the 350s to get some better clearance, but this went about as good as it could.
EVENT 5: CRUCIFIC HAMMER HOLD (14LB HAMMERS)
Initially, this event was only going to be for the top 2 competitors in each weight class, but they opened it up to everyone at the end. It was worth double points, to create some drama. I actually DID train for this one, and I felt like it was a smart idea. I took 2 5lb loading pins and placed a 10lb weight on each of them with some locking collars to hold them in place. I then held the pin about 2-3” below the plate. I heard that the hammer held likes to tip, and it really stresses the wrist, so this did a good job of training that.
Time to beat was 1:50+. That was an outlier, as up until that point 1:20 was a good time. That said, there’s no real way to say this without sounding cocky, but I don’t think there are a lot of people out there with a pain tolerance greater than mine. It’s about the one thing I bring to the table, after all the stupid stuff I regularly submit myself to. I set up the hammers, and went through my ritual of listening to the chorus of “Ruiner” in my head (“you didn’t hurt me, nothing can hurt me, you didn’t hurt me, nothing can stop me now”). Just kept listening to that until I couldn’t anymore, and when I was done, over 2 minutes had passed. I took first in the event, and had the second highest time in the contest, beaten only by 1 of the heavyweights (we all held the same weighted hammers). Sadly, even with the double points, it wasn’t enough to bridge the gap and take second. I imagine that zero in the third event sealed my fate, but at least I didn’t lose my 3rd place finish.
For the immediate future, I’m going to lose a little more weight. I have a physical fitness test coming up this month, and I plan to run the crossfit “Murph” workout on 25 May as part of work function, so being lighter will pay off. I’m also going to get my run into better shape. My conditioning needs to improve as well, as I took a lot of time off after this show. On top of that, the CDB is going to make regular rotations into my training so I can better practice my skill on it, and I might be eyeing a stone of steel since they seem to be appearing in more and more shows. I’m still not done yet.
I don’t have any other show on the horizon at the moment, but I’m keeping my eyes peeled. Until then, my off season is going to have a lot of volume and conditioning and I’ll grow as much as I can.