A Middleweight Experience!
I’ve been competing in strongman for a little over 2 years now. Last weekend was my first trip to nationals. For those of you who do not know, there are two different sanctioning bodies for strongman; USS and NAS. USS has been around about a year and this was their first national competition. In order to qualify for nationals, one has to finish first, or sometimes second depending on the size, in a competition hosted by that sanctioning body. This is an overview about my preparation, my journey to, and the events at USS nationals.
Four weeks ago I won the Monsters of the Midwest show in St. Louis at Logan Chiropractic College. First place was awarded with their entry fee to nationals paid for. Initially, I was planning on skipping USS nationals to train, but I decided to go compete in the 220 weight class. This left me 3 weeks to train and about 8 or 9 weeks without a deload. I usually begin training for a competition months in advance so it was crunch time. My coach, Ken McClelland, set up an excellent program that covered months of event work in those 3 weeks. I was on a 3 days on 1 day off split until competition time. During those weeks of training I had to fight to keep my weight up for the 220 class since I was sitting at around 215. Normally I would make the cut to 198 but these weights both go into the middleweight class. My dietician, Lora Schmuecker, pushed me on the diet which is where I struggle especially with and increased workload. Along with the workload and no deload came the aches and pains. The weight of the yoke took a toll and may have caused a stress fracture in my tibia and the frame tore a chunk out of my hand; putting my grip out for at least a week. As the competition came closer, I was feeling beat up and not the most confident in some of my events.
Big thanks to my dad and grandpa making the trip out to Indianapolis to be my coaches. We arrived on Friday for rules and the final weigh ins. I weighed in at 218 which was heavy for me. I fueled up that night and the next morning and was ready to go. After a week of deload I was feeling rested up for the events.
700lbs yoke: The yoke is an implement that is carried on your back for a distance or time. I was a bit nervous after seeing the shin snap on the guy ahead of me since I could possibly be dealing with a stress fracture. My goal was to just make sure it crossed that end line. I carried it, only setting it down once, bringing in a 7th place finish out of 25 middleweight competitors with a time of 26.4 seconds.
250lbs log press: The yoke gave me some confidence going into the second event; log press at 250lbs for reps in a minute. I had only ever gotten 7 reps in the gym before this so the goal was to PR with 8. Apparently I cannot count because I hit 8 and thought I only had 7. 8 reps tied for 2nd place in that event and put me in 3rd place overall.
Car Deadlift: The first two events had my confidence high going into the car deadlift. I have never really had an issue with car deadlift before this competition. We were allowed to use a deadlift suit but I did not have any experience with one. I bombed hard with a zero for reps. This event was a huge setback that dropped me from 3rd to 11th. There were quite a few zeroes but this still made me angry.
610lbs Frame carry: I tend to do well coming out of a poor event. The car deadlift fired me up and it was now time to come back as much as I could. I was confident in my frame despite not being able to train for a week or two before nationals. I got it running and ended up moving a bit too fast. My momentum brought me down and I took a hard dive across the end line, sliding with the frame into a 2nd place finish with a time of 12.37 seconds. This bumped me up to 9th place overall.
Stone medley: The last event was the stone medley. Going into stones, I was pretty confident in my stones since it was my best event during training. My strategy was to one motion the first two stones to shave some time off. This was a 5 stone loading medley for time to 48” with ascending stone weights. The weights were 220, 240, 280, 300, and 320. I placed 3rd in this event, getting all 5 stones in 19.38 seconds. and finished with 5th place overall and 4th place in the 220 weight class.
This was the best competition I have been a part of. It was ran smoothly and had a nice atmosphere. Thanks to the competitors and the staff for making it very enjoyable and competitive at the same time. Special thanks to Bob Schwantz and Justin Passe for pushing me through this first nationals. Well done Willie Wessels and John Albrecht on a great show. Thanks again to Ken McClelland for preparing me. Now onto nationals in October.
Boston Jacobs – The Anvil Gym. Cedar Rapids, IA