Veteran strongman Brian Shaw has begun prepping for the 2021 World’s Strongest Man contest — and he’s looking fierce. In a YouTube video released on his channel on March 30, 2021, the four-time WSM winner looks lean, mean, and fast as heck. Working alongside fellow strongman and his occasional training partner Steve Fotion, Shaw performed yoke walks, load-over-bar (similar to loading for a medley), sled pushes, and keg carries.
Check out Shaw’s pace on the yoke walks and medley work in the video below, courtesy of Shaw’s YouTube channel. The man can move:
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Notably, Shaw looks more agile and speedy than usual. This increase in quickness can be attributed to Shaw’s recent weight loss. From January to March 2021, Shaw and his wife Keri challenged each other to get lean. He has been cutting weight following a diet that is nearly one-third of the calories of his previous 15,000-calorie strongman diet.
In just eight weeks, Shaw shed 34 pounds and went from 413 to 379 pounds. Whether he’ll stay at that bodyweight for WSM is unclear, but Shaw may bee looking to adjust his approach for the 2021 WSM.
Shaw’s 2020 WSM Performance
When it comes to scoring events in the WSM competition finals, each event win scores 10 points. Each rank down earns one less point (i.e., second earns nine points, third earns eight, and so on). This means that consistency is usually rewarded more so than event specialists. A great example is how 2020 WSM champion Oleksii Novikov never placed worse than fifth in any finals event. 2020 WSM runner-up Tom Stoltman had three event wins in the finals but balanced it out with a ninth-place finish in the Hercules Hold.
Shaw placed fifth in 2020 — his second-place finish on the Atlas Stones was his best event. Shaw did not perform as well on the Giant Medley, placing seventh. The Colorado native also finished third in the keg toss event. Missing out on an event win there was not due to his ability to get all eight kegs over the bar or with his keg toss technique, but rather Stoltman and JF Caron (the two strongmen who bested him) moved to each keg faster.
Judging by his diet and training, Shaw seems to recognize that there is room for improvement in the agility-based events and is placing his focus there. At a lighter body weight, Shaw may have better conditioning for a more consistent performance overall.
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Shaw’s Next Steps
Shaw’s sheer size, raw strength, and clean technique make him a threat to win any strongman contest he enters — he even won the inaugural Shaw Classic in 2020. At 39, Shaw isn’t old, but he certainly has some competitive miles on him. Shaw’s first-ever strongman show was in 2005, and he’s since competed in 12 WSM competitions, 10 Arnold Strongman Classic shows (he’s won three), and two World’s Ultimate Strongman competitions in Dubai. That’s not including his America’s Strongest Man performances, Giants Live showings, and Strongman Super Series events.
It’s also clear that Shaw is beginning to shift from athlete to promoter. He launched the 2020 Shaw Classic with great success. Fans and athletes lauded him for both the impressive roster and that he put in $25,000 of his own money into the prize pool, refusing to take any of the winnings (regardless of his placing). The prize money was also distributed fairly evenly among the Shaw Classic top 10. The 2021 Shaw Classic will take place in Estes Park, CO in August, and feature top athletes, including 2020 WSM Oleksii Novikov, JF Caron, and, yes, Shaw himself. This time, Shaw is putting up $50,000 of his own money.
With all he has going on, Shaw is still clearly focused on winning a record-tying fifth time — alongside Mariusz Pudzianowski — and fans around the world will be excited to watch him try.
Featured image: @shawstrength on Instagram