This past weekend, myself and two of my athletes competed in the Prescott Outdoor Feats of Strength competition. It was an Amateur Athletics Association sanctioned event consisting of 10 strongman events (5 per day) that were absolutely killer. Lisa, Josh, and I had an amazing time doing it and for anyone that is thinking about pushing themselves outside their comfort zone, PLEASE DO SOMETHING LIKE THIS. The community around all of these events is fantastic and supportive; everyone just wants to better themselves and is more than willing to help the people around them accomplish the same thing. That being said, there is definitely a competitive element to it as well (It IS a competition after all…) and this grueling 2-day event brought the best out of all of us. All of us placed in nearly every event and our training proved a rousing success as we all set personal bests on multiple lifts and events. Lisa took 2nd overall in the female heavyweight, missing 1st place by only a handful of measly points. I know she is more motivated than ever to get back on the horse and beat the hell out of her competition on the next go ’round. Josh insanely competed in two groups, the men’s middleweight masters division and the men’s middleweight open division. This meant that he completed most events two times with increasing weight on the second time!!! This was his first ever competition like this and watching him work as hard as he did was truly inspiring. He placed 2nd overall in the men’s middleweight masters division. I, myself, took 3rd in the men’s heavyweight open division and I’ll tell you about my experience below. Before I get going, however, I would just like to give a huge shout-out to my good friend Jake Murphy who came down from Washington and got a ton of great videos and pictures. He is convinced to compete next year with us in the competition!
I will go over the events briefly from my point of view and throw in a couple pictures and videos for you to check out along the way. But if there is one take away from this weekend, it is that the competition was SO. MUCH. FUN. Seriously, even as sore and as tired as we were after the events were all over, we are all just so happy and proud of each other. Get out there, join a 5K race, commit to a figure competition, commit to a powerlifting/strongman meet, do a sprint triathlon, COMMIT to something and work your ass off for it. You won’t regret it.
Event 1 – Atlas Stones. Each lifter had to pick up 6 stones in succession and stack them on top of a shelf that was about at my chest level. This is a classic strongman event that is a ton of fun to watch if you’ve never seen it before. The stones I lifted were 185 lbs, 205 lbs, 225 lbs, 245 lbs, 285 lbs, and I missed on the final stone that weighed 300 lbs.
Event 2 – Farmers Carry. This was personally my best event, as I was the only heavyweight to complete the entire course. One of the MOST effective overall strength building exercises you can do, it is also one of the simplest. Pick something heavy up in each hand and then walk with it. For this competition, the weights were set to 252 pounds per hand and the course was 25 meters (That’s 82 feet in American).
Event 3 – Log Clean and Press. This event was a total disaster for me and really showed the difference between competition day and train-up. I was obviously not comfortable enough with this event heading into the competition. Lisa and Josh, however, were! They both crushed it and set personal bests on the event!
Event 4 – Double Overhand Axle Deadlift. This event was a complete surprise to every competitor. All of us had trained up for a max lift on the axle deadlift using any grip we wanted. If you’ve never trained with an axle bar before, just know that it is much much thicker than a standard Olympic bar and very difficult to grip without using an alternating hand position. So instead of us being tested on our overall posterior chain strength with a max effort pull, the lift turned into a test of grip strength instead. This was an incredibly humbling event, but all three of us did very well regardless. Heading into the competition, I was hoping to pull somewhere around 540 pounds on this lift but instead settled for 300 pounds and a miss on 320 pounds as the bar slipped out of my hand. Very fun surprise for us, either way!
Event 5 – The Yoke and Sled Medley. I think all of the competitors this weekend will agree with me that this was the most physically exhausting event of either day. It literally took me about 45 minutes to get my breathing completely back under control and stop dry heaving after it was over! For heavyweights, the yoke was set to 565 pounds, the first sled was set to 365 pounds, and the second sled was set to 200-something pounds. It was absolutely brutal but a great test for all of us. My quads completely gave out as you’ll see in the end of the video, but I finished with the second best overall time, losing by 8 seconds to the eventual champion of the weekend.
Event 6 – Tire Flip. To start the second day, we had to flip a tire over a total distance of 25 meters. This was where I identified a HUGE flaw in my training, as we only trained with a 340 pound tire and the tire I ended up flipping was somewhere in the range of 600-800 pounds. The form is drastically different and you cannot muscle your way through that much weight. I lacked the pop required to flip that beast of a tire and ended up hurting my quadricep in the attempt. Lisa and Josh did great, however, and represented strongly for Liberty Performance Training! (Next time, the tire will be MINE).
Event 7 – Truck Pull. Another staple of Strongman Competitions, the truck pull was just an awesome time. It is so fun to watch people pull things so heavy and just work their asses off to do it. The video underneath is my run at 22.53 seconds; good enough for 2nd place again to the eventual champion. Lots of fun! I would also like to point out that my tank top game was on POINT this weekend, especially with the Day 2 Road Warrior tank.
Event 8 – Viking Press. None of us had done this event before but our overhead presses were all very strong from our train-up so we all did fairly well here. However, because we really had no context for the weights we should have attempted, all of us sold ourselves short on our 3rd and final attempts, completing them easily. This was a rookie mistake that we learned from immediately and will not make again in future competitions!
Event 9 – Sandbag Medley. This event was a total smoker. We had to run four sandbags across a 25 meter course one at a time. The sandbags increased in weight as we went. For both Josh and I, our bags were 125 pounds, 150 pounds, 175 pounds, and finally 200 pounds. We were both able to get the first three bags to our shoulder and had to carry the final one in front of us in a bear hug position. This event was absolutely killer.
Event 10 – Sledgehammer Crucifix Hold. Surprisingly, this event was exactly what it sounds like. We all had to hold out enormous sledgehammers to our sides for as long as we could. This was fairly torturous for all of us, especially at the end of the competition when all we wanted to do was eat everything in sight, but we all did well and I had to put this picture in the post because it is screams “AMERICA” louder than any other picture of me ever. Side note: the facilities we competed in were absolutely top notch.
I hope you enjoyed a little window into our weekend! It was just a great time overall and I couldn’t be more proud of what we accomplished together. Get outside of your comfort zone, Google an event that is coming up in the future you might want to partake in, and COMMIT to it. You won’t regret it.