Strongman is a Jealous Lover

Mark Clevenger

I’m not going to lie, if “Strongman” were a woman, and you met her at a bar, she would be a solid 10. She would be incredibly hot, love to eat, lift heavy, and would confess that she “never does traditional cardio.” You’ve got to go for it, right? I mean, what could possibly be wrong with her? All of these first signs feel so right and then you figure it out… she’s a stage 5 clinger. If you don’t spend your every waking moment thinking about how you are going to incorporate “Strongman” into your life giving every ounce of your energy and time to her… I promise something bad is going to happen to you.

If she catches you thinking about another form of training she’s gonna key your car. Don’t have time to spend with her this weekend because of work? You’ll come home to your Playstation 4 and all of your games burning in the front yard. With all of this said, you should be asking yourself, “is she even worth it?” If so, how do you keep this stage 5 crazy at bay so you can enjoy this beautiful 10 on a daily basis?

Forgive me for sounding like a misogynistic pig while I’ve tried to illustrate a point about the sport of Strongman. The thing is, training and competing in Strongman can be the most appealing, fulfilling, and exciting sport on the planet, but only if you give it a prime spot on your priority list. This is going to mean devoting the time and attention needed for training, recovery, nutrition, and implement-specific technique work. Here are the top three things you should be ready to do to keep this dime piece happy.

Commit to her, there can be no one else

There can be no one else. If you think you can train for Crossfit, Powerlifting, Olympic lifting, and water polo and be safe competing in Strongman you’re wrong. Every sport has its own unique set of sporting demands that must be addressed in training to prevent injury. The more sports we compete in the longer the list of sporting demands that must be addressed becomes, but there are only so many training hours a week that we can fit in or recover from. Eventually, things on this important list get neglected and it’s not too long until the injury fairy ends up paying you a visit. If you’re going to compete in Strongman, commit to Strongman.

Eat

If you wanna wear skinny jeans and have ‘cut abs’ all the while being able to deadlift cars and run with hundreds of pounds on your back, you’re obviously in the wrong sport. Training for Strongman is hard and requires the proper fuel to keep doing it day in and day out. If your body isn’t getting the nutrients it needs to recover, guess what? It’s going to break.

Active and passive recovery

When you’re not in the gym training, or eating to be in the gym training, you should be focusing on recovery. This includes 8 hours of sleep a night, lots of water all day every day, using a lacrosse ball or foam rolling problematic body parts every day, getting on a regular massage schedule, and going for regular walks on both training days and rest days. If you don’t focus on recovery, recovery won’t focus on you and that’s how you end up hurt.

It may sound like I’m trying to make this an all or nothing scenario, but I’m really just trying to stress the importance of sport specific training.  Do some athletes dabble in multiple sports and do just fine? Yes, but think about how many players you have you seen on the show ‘Cheaters’, that is generally the exception and not the rule. What I don’t understand is, why dabble with a 10, when you can simply have a 10? In the end, if you’re a weightlifting player who wants a side chick, Strongman is not the one to just play around with.

Commit to her or you’ll regret it.

The 5 types of strongman competitors you’ll see at your fist novice competition

By Mark Clevenger
September 10th 2016

The following are the 5 most common strongman competitors you’ll see at your first novice competition.

  1. The guy/girl that doesn’t belong: This is the athlete who crushes every event and obviously should have been an open competitor. How they got to compete in the novice division is still a mystery of the universe. Their mastery of the implements and timing of the details suggest this is nowhere near their first rodeo. You watch and learn as much as you can from them all the while hating the fact that you have to compete against them.
  2. The guy/girl that doesn’t belong, part deux: This is the athlete who zeros almost every event. Why they decided to pay money to compete in something they are physically unprepared for baffles everyone there. Fellow competitors give them tips and cheer them on because that’s what this sport is all about. When it’s all said and done we just hope they fall in love with the sport, learn from the experience, hit the weight room… hard, and come back when they’re a little more prepared. Mad props to this athlete for putting themselves out there though.
  3. The strong Crossfitter: This athlete is strong (by Crossfit standards, take that however you want) and pretty good at Crossfit. They thought this success would parlay to success as a novice strongman, and most of the time it does. They have the mental toughness required to attack each event with 100% of themselves, they have the strength endurance to repeat this effort in multiple events throughout the day, and they are generally good at both overhead and lightweight deadlift events. They are not as good at the more traditional strongman implements like farmers walks, atlas stones, ect… Their strengths in the overhead and lightweight deadlift events generally carry them through pedestrian performances in the other events to the podium.
  4. The naturally strong athlete that never really works out: This athlete claims to never really workout. They do manual labor all day for a living and decided to compete on a whim because it sounded cool. You believe them when they say they never train because they look like a baby giraffe trying to walk when they touch any barbell or implement. They generally come out the gate doing reasonably well in the first two events and then either get hurt, or their bodies tank, because they are not used to repeating maximum effort for multiple events in a row. You watch them jealous of their natural talents and wondering how good they could be at this sport if they worked at it.funnylifting
  5. The athlete who has committed to the sport but not ready for open competition yet: This was me. I trained in strongman every college football offseason because I was a blocking tight end and my strength coach was an ex-strongman competitor. By the end of every season I lost so many of the gains I made that the cycle just restarted for the following season until I graduated. These athletes are fairly strong overall and have a good grasp on the implements because they are part of their regular training regime. They truly love the sport, are always in the hunt for the podium, and perform fairly well in every event. These athletes generally make the jump to the open division shortly after they start competing in the sport.

This list isn’t all inclusive, there are other ‘types’ of athletes you’ll encounter. These are just the 5 most common that I have seen. Ask yourself if you fall into one of these categories. If you fall into the first, do everyone a favor and compete in the open division. Kicking kittens isn’t cool and the other athletes won’t appreciate you dominating a division below where you belong. If you fall into any other, you have a good idea of what to expect based on the type of athlete you are. Either way go enjoy the experience, learn from the vets, be a good sport, then go out and connect with your fellow competitors after the contest for burgers and beer.