World’s Strongest Medium-Sized Man

At the end of June, I won the 220 lb weight class and overall middle weight division at United States Strongman nationals in New York. This was the achievement of multiple long-time goals I have had including earning me an invite to compete in 105kg World’s Strongest Man in Liperi, Finland. I had only had 1 month to train for this competition, but I was perfectly fine with that since I am also in the middle of my final clinical to finish up PT school and putting together a long-term training program for world’s would have been made much more challenging due to the current demands on my time with everything else I have going on. Travel to Finland was hell, but tha

t was my own fault for trying to save money on my flights and for being in a situation where I was not able to get there several days early to catch up on rest and acclimate to the changes in time, temperature, amount of daylight, etc. Finland itself was nice and I would definitely go back again since I really did not get to see much of the country or do anything touristy on this trip. With all that said, I was at world’s for the first time so of course I’m still gonna send it.

Qualifying Round Event 1: Frame Carry

This event was supposed to be 40 meters/131 feet with a 260 kg/573 lb frame. The weight wasn’t bad, but I was not used to anywhere near that long of a distance. The first time I trained for this event, I did it indoors with drop and repick at 40 foot intervals because it was raining. After 120 feet I realized I had ripped open a callous on my right hand so I stopped training that event for the day and subsequent week while my hand was healing. The reason I had torn open my hand with only 250 lbs per hand on the smooth, unknurled farmer’s handles I was using was because I rushed my picks and didn’t get my grip set tightly. Because of the rip and other factors, the only other time I was able to train this event was the weekend before worlds and I hit it for 120 feet straight to practice the feel of having that much distance to get up to top speed and work on my control and acceleration.

Fast forward to the qualifying round of worlds and as happens so often in the sport of strongman, the rules changed the day of the competition. Now instead of a set distance, we had to take the 260 kg frame for max distance with a drop and repick every 15 meters. This was run three at a time and all lanes had to alternate between going diagonally uphill first and then back downhill. The weight wasn’t heavy, but max distance always sucks more than going for a set distance and the slope definitely made the odd numbered lengths a lot rougher. My hands had just healed up enough to train this again a week ago and I did not want to repeat my training error of ripping them open so I was more deliberate on my picks to make sure I had a solid grip since I had already seen a few of the other athletes come away with or even have to stop early due to ripped up hands when they were finished. The first and second lengths didn’t feel bad, but were definitely wobbly, probably from the slant of the course. The 3rd length felt much worse going back uphill and then coming back down on the 4th length I took a misstep to the side and felt like I was going to trip and/or drop the frame coming back downhill. I turned to go back uphill for my 5th length, but before I could get it started the whistle blew and time was up. I finished with a distance of 60 meters/196 feet which put me in a tie for 6th place on the event with 5 other athletes. This is a classic example of why you never stop at a turn on a max distance event. Just one more foot would have given me a lot more points. On the positive side, I didn’t choose to stop there, it just happened that time was up when I was at a turn, but it still cost me for not going faster.

Qualifying Round Event 2: Viking Press

The weight for the Viking press was 140 kg/308 lb and it was for max reps in 60 seconds. This was the event I was most worried about crapping the bed on due to the design of the actual Viking press itself and the rules, which did not allow for rebending the knees after the initial leg drive – i.e. push press was allowed, but push jerks were not. I have done Viking press a few times in competition before and actually owned one for several years until I traded it for the stone platform I have now, but the setup here in the USA is always a low central anchor point with the weight hanging from the arm, which makes it much easier than having the pivot point high (above the heads of most of the athletes in this case) with the weight sitting on top all the way out near the handles. I trained for this with several different setups to try to mimic it as close to the contest setup as possible. The closest I got was at Iron Athletics training with owner and my good friend and long-time training partner, Steve Mattheu. We setup the axle in the highest position on his wall-mounted landmine with the EliteFTS Viking press handle on the end and the weights resting on plyo boxes. I wish I had been able to train it with this setup every time, but I made due with similar setups when I was training at work at Healthy Baller or when I was back home at Iron Strong CF, thanks to the fact that both of those places also have Viking press handles. I got some good advice from Coach G regarding keeping tight through my trunk and not losing all my air and I’m pretty sure this played a big part in helping me to not bomb this event. Sadly, I still only managed a single rep. After the first one, my feet got staggered so I reset them before attempting a second rep, but I was too far behind the handles/weight and almost got ejected backward when I missed my second attempt. Subsequent attempts were also pretty awful because I was rushing it instead of stopping to rest like I had planned, which probably would have allowed me to get at least one more rep, if not two. Despite being very happy that I did not zero the event, my 1 rep was only good enough to tie me for 14th place on this event, which dropped me down a lot on points. I definitely need to put more work into my strict and push pressing at some point in the future if I am ever going to be competing on an apparatus like this again.