Strongman is a multi faceted sport, it requires athletes to have high absolute strength, good conditioning and good movement. An athlete like Brian Shaw or Big Z can rip a massive max deadlift off the floor, throw a heavy kettle bell, run with a huge weight on their back, or in their hands, pull a truck/bus/plane and put a heavy log over their head for multiple reps – and this could all be in one competition! It’s fair to say this sport isn’t for the specialist.
Because Strongman is so varied, being a one trick pony just doesn’t work. If you win the max deadlift but all the other events are moving with weight, and your conditioning and movement is terrible you’re not going to place. The way I see it is, if you’re really good at one event, ok at two and terrible at the other three in a given competition. You need to train for all the events equally, don’t spend the majority of your time trying to get better at the events your good and ok at. An equal, Or sometimes more, amount of time needs to be spent on improving the events your terrible at. Even if you don’t enjoy them or find them hard or have made up a stupid excuse as to why you are at a biological disadvantaged, fucking grow a pair and get the work done! Getting better at the events you’re terrible at will really push up your placing in competitions.
To flip an old saying on its head, you need to become a ‘jack of all events, master of some’. The ultimate goal in Strongman should be to become a well rounded athlete and not have any weak events. With a few events you are known for winning because they play to your strengths and you’ve mastered them – like Thor with keg toss or Big Z with log. Of course this is easier said than done and will take many years of crafting your game to achieve.
All this comes from one of the fundamental principles of training and lift in general ‘work your weaknesses’ because that is what will
make you a well rounded person/athlete. The best thing about training this way is the events that used to scare you become something your confident in. So when your looking at that competition you want to sign up for, the anxiety you used to feel for a certain event will slowly fade away as it becomes one of your better events.
The way to win competitions is not to focus on one or two event wins and leave the rest to chance, it’s to consistently come top three in every single event. At the BNSF finals, I didn’t win a single event (obviously I wish I had) but coming second in every event apart from the deadlift, where I placed fourth, left me in the top spot overall. Strongman is all about finding the athlete that is strong all around not the one trick pony. Keep this in mind when prepping for your next competition.
Jake - BNSF Britain’s Strongest Natural U105kg