Bodybuilder Ryan Terry Teaches Strongman Eddie Hall How to Pose

Deadlifts, lat pulldowns, and posing — where bodybuilding meets strongman.

2017 World’s Strongest Man (WSM) champion Eddie Hall has become a jack-of-all-trades since he retired from competitive strongman. Since leaving the business of eating 8,000 calories a day and deadlifting 500 kilograms (1,102 pounds), we’ve seen Hall overhaul his diet multiple times, perform the 2020 CrossFit Games WOD “Damn Diane” in 4:37, take on the Navy Seal Fitness Test, and drop a ton of weight as he prepares for his first boxing bout against 2018 WSM champion Hafthor Björnsson in Las Vegas, NV in September 2021.

A result of Hall’s high-intensity interval training and lower-calorie diet in preparation for his fight against “The Mountian” is a very noticeable physique transformation — the man weighs 350 pounds and has a very visible six-pack. Trying his hand at yet another strength sport, he reached out to Men’s Physique competitor, fitness model, and fellow UK countryman Ryan Terry for a joint training session and a posing lesson. Check out the video below from Hall’s YouTube channel wherein Hall and Terry perform deadlifts, lat pulldowns, and seated single-arm rows before stripping off their t-shirts to hit some front-double biceps, side chest, and vacuum poses:

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Greetings and Deadlifts

Terry arrived at the M Club in Stoke-on-Trent, UK. Shortly after, Hall and his crew finished fawning over the Men’s Physique competitor’s “chiseled everything.” 

After your boxing career, do bodybuilding.

Terry’s suggestion for Hall’s future was the undercurrent of their training session. The pair started with a warm-up with an empty barbell in the squat rack and then went right into deadlifts. Hall used a belt but no lifting straps. Terry did the opposite. They performed sets of six to eight reps of the following:

  • 100 kilograms (220 pounds)
  • 140 kilograms (308 pounds)
  • 180 kilograms (396 pounds)

Terry failed on his third rep of the last set, so he dropped the weight back down to 140 kilograms (308 pounds). Hall moved into speed reps, performing three sets of two reps of the following:

  • Two sets of 220 kilograms. (Terry upped the weight back to 180 kilograms (396 pounds) for two reps.)

Once they were done lifting heavy weights off the floor, the British strength stars moved on to train back.

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Lats, Rows, and Pushdowns Galore

In his post-strongman boxing days, Hall’s workouts resemble the training that Terry performs as a bodybuilder. Except that Hall focuses less on volume and more on fast-twitch muscle fiber recruitment and explosiveness. Terry typically trains his biceps on a back day, but that is not part of Hall’s agenda, which is training solely to punch Björnsson in the face.

They did not disclose the weights they were moving during their three sets of 10 reps each of lat pulldowns, single-arm rows, seated rows, and straight-arm pushdowns. However, judging by their effort, they weren’t going light.

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World’s Strongest Pose

Stepping into what appeared to be a fitness studio at the club, adorned with mirrors on the walls and tape on the floor to mark proper social distancing for COVID-19 protocols, Terry dived into the first step of proper posing:

You’ve got to find the best light.

It is unlikely Hall ever thought about his lighting when trying to pound out as many reps as possible on the Viking press against some of the largest athletes on the planet. Still, once he found the natural light that suited his post-workout glow, the shirt came off, and the posing went down.

Front Double Biceps

For this pose, Terry — who has placed as high as second at the Mr. Olympia competition (2016) — spreads his lats and takes in a deep breath to accentuate his size. Then he extends his arms to show some definition before flexing his biceps while exhaling or “sitting in” his abs to draw the eye to his well-defined midsection. The difference in sport became very apparent when comparing the narrow waist of Terry to the sheer size of Hall. 

Side Chest

Hall was certainly getting into it as he rolled up his shorts to show off his hard-earned wheels. Terry stands with his feet parallel to the mirror for this pose and places his weight on his upstage leg (the leg further from the mirror). He then bends his upstage knee, beveling towards his upstage leg, to accentuate the line of the quad that sweeps up the thigh. 

From there, Terry extends his downstage arm forward as though shooting a laser out of his hand at the corner of the floor to show off his back before. He then draws that arm into a curl and meets his upstage hand to a closed stage fist. With his feet planted, Terry’s upper body rotates towards the mirror to show off the fullness of his chest. He leans way back to accentuate the distance between his flexed downstage shoulder and waist while tensing his abs.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Men’s Physique Pose

If Hall were to ever compete in bodybuilding, it’s unlikely he’d enter the Men’s Physique division. Considering 2020 Mr. Olympia winner Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay is 5’10” and 290 pounds, the 6’3″, 350-pound Hall would most likely compete in the Open division.

Still, this is Terry’s bread and butter, so he showed the division-specific pose off anyways. For this pose, the feet assume the same position as the front double biceps, but the arms don’t curl up. Rather the left hand sits on the hip with the corresponding elbow flared out as the lats spread, and the right hand floats away from the body comfortably to lend to the “X” shape of the physique. As always, Terry and Hall “sit” into their abs.

Abs and Thighs

As the name suggests, this pose aims to show off the abs and thighs via a front-facing, square-footed position. The bodybuilder flexes their quads with their hands behind their heads (elbows tucked to point forward) and exhales as deeply as they can to flex into their abs as much as possible. Terry has arguably one of the best midsections in the sport, making this pose and the Men’s Physique pose strengths for him. Granted, in Men’s Physique, bodybuilders wear board shorts and are not judged on their legs, so Terry doesn’t actually perform this in competition. 

Once the abs and thighs position is hit, bodybuilders can take the liberty of extending one leg forward to show off definition in their quad further. Terry guided Hall through this adjustment, and the strongman seemed to like what he saw.

[Related: Bodybuilding Techniques for Strongman: How Hypertrophy Can Improve Your Game]

Rear Lat Spread & Back Double Biceps

Facing upstage, the rear lat spread is almost like a reverse Men’s Physique pose, except the knees flare out (to flex the glutes), and both hands are drawn along the lower back before locking in at the hips. A bodybuilder spreads their lats in this position, rolling the shoulders back and then tilting downstage (backward) to allow for shadows to accentuate all the definitions of the back.

The judges are looking up at you, so if you [lean] back, you create more thickness in your lower back — more shadows.

The back double biceps pose utilizes the same setup as the rear lat spread, except the arms are flexed the same way they are during a front double biceps pose.

Vacuum

The final pose Terry and Hall hit is a vacuum pose, which is only a requirement in the Classic Physique division. It is the signature pose of current two-time Classic Physique Olympia champion Chris Bumstead. The goal of the vacuum is to contrast further the width of the shoulders and the narrowness of the waist.

World’s Strongest Bodybuilder

Hall has previously stated that he is really enjoying his early career as a professional boxer. However, it did appear as though Hall enjoyed his posing lesson with Terry quite a bit and did not dismiss the suggestion of becoming a bodybuilder in the future. For reference, Big Ramy was 36 years old when he won the Olympia in 2020. Seven-time Mr. Olympia champion Phil Heath is still one of the best in the world, placing third in that same event at age 41. Hall is 33 years old.

If Hall were to compete in a bodybuilding show, he wouldn’t be the first strongman to cross over. In 2019, veterans strongman Terry Hollands got ripped and entered a bodybuilding show. Hollands dropped down to a stage weight of 135 kilograms and a body fat percentage between five and six percent. He got first in the beginner category, second in the Masters’ division, and second overall in the Open category. 

Will we see Hall step into the bodybuilding arena? Who knows, but he’s now armed with some serious knowledge from a serious competitor if ever does. 

Feature image: @ryanjterry on Instagram