The sport of Strongman is growing exponentially worldwide. With new talent joining the sport every week, weights that seemed the pro standard a few years ago are now training poundages in most gyms.  

Recently, I pondered how quickly we would see women hitting numbers near men of similar body weight. We were all astounded by the outcome of Dani Schwalbe finishing men’s Grace in 2:20 then hammering a nearly 170lb Circus Dumbell. The future is bright across the board, so I’m going to make so bold prognostications for the upcoming season based on my observations this year of some amazing athletes.

1. A middleweight Pro Woman wins the OPEN at the Arnold Debut of the Professional Strongwoman inaugural contest in 2017.

The middle weight classes feature insanely talented athletes in both the men’s and women’s divisions. All of the top five 180 lb and under women at Strongest Woman in the World exhibited strength similar to world class open Women and a speed that can’t be matched. I feel that these are the best athletes in the world right now in Strongman, and this event is going to be a true test of athleticism. With a massive audience and more events, it is going to favor some of these athletes who have D1 athletic experience and multi-sport backgrounds. With 10k in prize money guaranteed (as of September 2016) and a custom bronze Katie Sandwina statue, these women are training harder than ever.

This event is going to inspire a bunch of unofficial training world records, and if they are on video I will share them with you.

If pressed for a name as to who would win this, I pick either Schwalbe or Kimberly Lawrnece.

A video posted by Dani Schwalbe (@dlschwabs) on

2. I’ve seen some great performances at the major events this year, and I will say that I am confident that Jess Reeves and Chris Burke get middleweight pro cards in 2017 with Trey Mitchell and Gabe Pena making heavyweight Professional status.  

All four of these men have been so close to that card multiple times that they could taste it. They have just always competed stacked shows or had one event turn their fortune upside down. Burke had an equipment malfunction in Florida, Mitchell couldn’t figure out the stone at the Arnold, and Pena and Reeves just needed to pull up one spot each at the last Platinum plus to have a better seat at the final event.

By adding some polish before nationals, at least two of these athletes could walk into 2017 with Professional status and up the ante in both divisions.

A video posted by Gabriel Peña (@daskinggabe) on

3. Looking to give Zydrunas Savickas or Mariusz Pudzianowski a run for the title of the G.OA.T., Brian Shaw will be crowned World’s Strongest Man in 2017 for a fifth time.  

With his fourth win in August 2016, Shaw tied Big Z (an impressive feat), but Mariusz has five for the most overall wins. Taking another first puts a very deep notch on his already impressive lever belt, but it’s getting more difficult every year. Thor Bjornsson and Eddie Hall are considerably younger (in athlete years) and they both want that title sooner than later. They will do everything they can to prevent Shaw from winning again, and try to begin their own legacy.  

4. Although it technically exceeds capacity, I expect to see an unofficial record of 500 pounds on Stone of Steel.

The race to hit huge numbers on this apparatus has already begun with the women hitting over 250 lbs in training. With a different technique needed than a standard stonem it has taken some adaptation since being introduced last October at America’s Strongest Man (not contested at the show but athletes got to see and feel it for the first time). Since then some trial and error had lead to some outstanding results for the athletes with the “feel.” Eric Dawson co-owns the men’s record with Stoyan Todorchev at 183 kg (402.6 lbs). Performed at a European contest, they took a 20+ pound jump after setting the record and missed but I am certain that more is coming quickly.

A video posted by Mike Bartos (@mbpowercenter) on

5. The 105kg and under Strongman World Record deadlift stands at 380kg (836lbs). This is a 3.6 times bodyweight deadlift and quite incredible. But as Eddie Hall Smashed the absolute record this season, this poundage will get crushed October 29th at the World Deadlift championship in England.

If I needed to chose an athlete, I would pick Pro Sean Demarinis from California lifting near 900 lbs. He’s one of the best pullers in the world, and this stage will prove it. His body lends itself to the event and and he is hitting some huge numbers in training. If he puts it together at this contest the ground will shake on the set down! If somehow he does get beat it’s because the best in the world are all gunning for this record and this is one of the few chances to do it.

While Vegas most likely won’t make odds on any of these predictions, trying to see the future of athletic events is a fun and frustrating process. I’m sure there is something you see coming that I have not. Who do you think is going to break a record or do something legendary? We would love to get your input!

Editors note: This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein are the authors and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BarBend. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced exclusively by the author.

Featured image: @daskinggabe on Instagram

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