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6 short years ago I fell in love with the sport of strength – STRONGMAN. Like most people leaving college I was searching for a competitive niche, a sport to call my own again coming from constant competition through high school and college. My body was growing too old/brittle for football and having dabbled unsuccessfully like most do in bodybuilding and powerlifting, my competitive prowess was yearning for something more!
SOMETHING INTENSE !
Long story short; I found a worthy and amazing sport, community and unique passion that I feel offers such a unique experience in Strongman that I decided to make it my life’s work.
Which in hind site could very well be considered moderately insane or legitimately ballsy. I personally, prefer a nice concoction of both in life.
Now, through our very own strongman gym, IRONMILL based out of Lancaster, Pa: I live, breath and literally wear strongman every day! Want to go to work in sweatpants you say? Start a strongman gym!
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Now, my days are spent learning, teaching and spreading the gospel of strength through this crazy sport of STRONGMAN one person, contest and semi coherent article at a time.
My visceral obsession with this nearly infant 35 year old sport of strongman is only surpassed by my robust love of Tex – Mex, cheese laden cooking. Let me give you the first hint about achieving success in strength, these two passions go easily hand in hand.
During my burrito trance like strength lectures and personal run in’s with many a people inside of the industry, I tend to encounter extreme excuses and many head scratchin’ road blocks to entry as to why the average person CANNOT participate in this time tested tradition of strength in men and women.
I’m talking to you now sir’s and madam’s. TAKE SOME C4 – SNAP A NICE “SELFIE” FOR FACEBOOK and bring your fine mannered attention back around to the big guy!
Let me take you on a fun fact filled and sour cream covered adventure on why STRONGMAN can be a great fit for you along with a few reasons you have probably (and very wrongly) avoided our massively sweaty and exciting sport up until this point!
Hell, by the end of this I want your wife, your kids and even the weird LA Fitness spandex wearing loon determined to tell you why cable crossovers rule and chalk should be outlawed to be picking up atlas stones, creating a training group and posting sweet log lifting pictures to Pinterest in no time!
HERE WE GO –
The 3 BIGGEST myths AND reasons you should be doing Strongman – Now!
STRONGMAN MYTH #1 – YOU MUST BE A MAN TO COMPETE IN STRONG (MAN)
I really DO understand where this first addressed and major confusion towards the sport only being for men began. Hell, the name STRONGMAN itself is a bit confusing and off-putting to our opposite and much better smelling gender.
Let me assure you that the state of yoga pant clad women picking up stones, pulling trucks like crazed beasts and looking much better than our bloated and bearded man models…..is flourishing.
With groups like N.E.W.S. ( New England Women of Strength), The IRONMILL Ladies Lift Here club here in Lancaster, B.R.U.T.E sport out of Virginia Beach and countless Crossfit boxes creating excitement, competition and a venue for women’s strength displays on the east coast alone – Growth in STRONG (WOMEN) is at an all time peak!
GUINESS BOOK OF WORLD RECORDS gold medal winner (Atlast Stone’s) and current 3rd Strongest Women in America Kimberly Zimmerman can attest to the growth inside of the sport from her own unique perspective perch atop this new found world of Women’s Strongman.
“I’ve seen such an increase in the amount, the caliber and the community of women’s strongman in the past 3 years that the future holds very bright for our sport if we keep infusing new women, keep them interested and keep them spreading the word of STRONG (WOMEN),” states Zimmerman.
Kim continues, “We have momentum, its up to us ladies to continue pushing forward and show the world we are just as entertaining as the Men!”
I cannot digress, and I can proudly and firmly stamp the misogynous MYTH that STRONGMAN is ONLY FOR MEN- BUSTED!
STRONGMAN MYTH # 2 – YOU MUST BE A “GIANT” TO COMPETE WELL IN THE SPORT OF STRONGMAN
Again, I actually completely understand why this may be confusing in the eyes of a normal strongman adoring public. World Strongest Man ( WSM ) has been aired across the major television networks (ABC, ESPN and now CBS) for 35 years and has dominantly showcased the larger than life athletes with equally awe inspiring names like Kazmier, Sven, Magnus, Mariuz. Zydrunus splayed across the screen for our wonderment.
Yes, to lift the gargantuan implements and complete the unbelievable tasks that the strongest men in the world must complete, you will probably have had to wear size “husky” pants at some point as a child.
HOLD ON ! An introspective and finely trained look into the sport will shed a much more optimistic light onto our smaller and probably much Longer living strength connoisseurs.
Yes averaged sized Men AND Women ( See previous myth ) – even YOU can now compete and be photographed straining unattractively pulling on heavy crap with the weight system rankings that North American Strongman (NAS) has set up to let all lovers of IRON partake. Website for all things NAS – http://www.nastrongman.com/
N.A.S. guidelines for men’s weight classes are as follows – > 175lbs, >200lbs, > 231lbs, >265lbs , >300lbs , 300lbs +
N.A.S. guidelines for women’s weight classes – >140lbs , >165lbs ,165lbs +
With the recent advent of the ARNOLD CLASSIC showcase division of STRONGFIT for men and women including a qualifier at nationals for both, NAS has now offered some of the lightest competitors in Strongman and women a grand stage to compete in as well!
With a newly combined 175, 200 pound weight class into a weight averaged 185lb. class – The strongest 185lb. men on the planet now have an outlet for strength AND one of the biggest known stages to show off their shiny new blue Rehbands!
Women – Of course NAS didn’t leave you out either combing the 140, 165 pound classes and averaging it into a brand new 150lb. Women’s STRONGFIT class at the ARNOLD CLASSIC also !
My firm opinion on weight class division, the massive pro heavyweight athletes and the battalion of amateurs is this: The Pro ( and largely undefined) Division of strongman celebrates everything that is awe – inspiring and visually spectacular about the sport of strongman. It allows the millions of fans to be exposed to the rigors and down right miracles of strength and surreal spectacle that is STRONGMAN.
Delving further into the facts reveals that the amateur ranks, contest promotion, male and female athletes, their immediate circle of support a, the casual fans and the thousands of training groups coupled with their relentless and combined expansive Facebook fodder are what ACTUALLY drive the grassroots following of our wonderful sport.
The strength swarm of faceless, nameless, sinewy strong, average build rockstars training in their basements, competing in parking lots far away from the glare of the strongman spotlight together broadly and boldy BUST this myth that only the truly huge can compete.
STRONGMAN MYTH #3 – YOU MUST HAVE ACCESS TO STRONGMAN IMPLEMENTS TO TRAIN FOR STRONGMAN
Ok, so now your interested AND QUALIFIED to start strongman. We’ve granted divine access to ALL of the interested women AND ALL of the tiny men that request entry into this magnificent sport. Great! But what now? How the hell do I actually learn how to pull a bus???
Not a bad question actually. Luckily there are answers!
Besides obviously spending a large amount of loot on buying every Bigg Dogg Strongg (The official equipment of NAS) yoke, log, dumbbell, wheelbarrow, axle, frame, farmers and husafelt stone.
There happens to be a natural phenomena that is highly unique to Strongman and it will help you with the acquisition and storage of expensive equipment, make you feel warm when you down, guide you through the rough patches of a stagnant press season, scream at you when you are faking fatigue on tire flips and probably afford you the opportunity to ONLY urinate outside.
What is this strength utopia akin only to strongman you ask? Everybody chime in at once if you know the words – that’s right – “THE TRAINING CREW”
Powerlifters, I know you all love getting together and shoving yourselves into tiny T-Rex bench shirts and lying to each other about your depth on squats. Bodybuilders, of course you all love to critique your Vastus Laterallus sweep in your dorky underwear and lubed up olive sheen skin.
I’m here to tell you only one SPORT OF IRON can claim complete lunacy and invite every single one of your lunatic training partners to your hour house, garage, shed, storage unit, or warehouse facility for an ENTIRE day on the weekend.
Yup, Kiss one of your beloved weekend days goodbye and say hello to your new musty neoprene’d and new foul smelling family of chest hair covered, 25% bodyfat bearded men. Was this everything you were thinking it was going to be?
Your god damn right it will be. First – Look up a strongman crew located closest to you from the compiled strongman gym site – www.letkallelift.com – put together by Kalle Beck. Contact the gym closest to you before you know it you’ll be the new kid at school. Just watch, learn and lift your ass off. WTF is a continental clean and viper press you ask ? Go ahead and take it up with your new family. You are theirs now. For better or worse. Enjoy 🙂
Can’t find a crew near you ? Next Step – www.marunde-muscle.com – Go to the forum. Post your whereabouts and someone (probably short of break and overly polite) will be in contact with you before you can even start pricing out old dirty sheds to train in!
The Anvil Message board on the NAS site is also a great idea. Hell, try all three. Give yourself some options to preferably find one with a bathroom and closest to a medical facility if you have the option.
Still live in the middle of Kansas and can’t find a damned person to train with. Look up Big John Connor – he’s actually out there only available in blurry pictures presumed to be the Kansas “Squatch – Or here’s an idea – Simply start your own!
Fly that rainbow freedom flag of forearm tape and financial destitute and see who else is crazy enough to join you. You’d be surprised. If they can cultivate a strongman group in Oil City Pennsylvania, the possibilities are endless elsewhere!
Last tip and final stamp on this now clearly befuddled and now busted MYTH – Information is power. Information on training stones ( the signature event in strongman ) without having stones is like freaking’ He-man, Thundercat and Gi-Joe power all combined. Here’s a headstart – thank me later – www.ironmillstrong.com/stone-training-101-part-1/
So I thank you on taking this nonsensical ride through the 3 BIGGEST myths for strongman and allowing my vastly decaying and strongman pre occupied mind to put an end to your understandably lame excuses for not putting down the curl bar and picking up an axle dead lift today!
Strongman has so many health and performance benefits that I will leave to the real experts to dazzle your analytical and strength obsessed brains to dive into later. For me, the ultimate love of strongman is a direct link to the camaraderie of the crews, the difficulty of the actual tasks, the exhilaration of overcoming what you previously thought possible and last but not least: The post workout BURRITO’S !!
Hopefully with these STRONGMAN MYTHS successfully debunked you will soon feel the overwhelming spinal load of yoke carrying and pass out bliss of distance carries and I’ll tell you what, you’ll never want it any other way.