Behind the Scenes with Slovenian Strongman Matjaz Belsak

At 24 years old, most of us were lucky if we’d even discovered the free weights section of the gym, let alone started lifting in there. Matjaz Belsak, though, isn’t your average 24 year old, nor is he your average human. He’s one of the best strongmen in the world and he keeps getting better.  

Starting off in powerlifting at a young age, Matjaz caught national attention in the strength world when at only 17 years old, he broke two national records. His 220kg squat, 130kg bench, and 255kg deadlift were even more impressive as it was only his first year of competing. It didn’t take long for the young Slovenian to leave powerlifting behind as he stumbled upon the marvelous sport of strongman. Wasting no time, he was hard at work training on the awkward implements of strongman before he’d even turned 18.

Soon after beginning training, the aspiring strongman was lining up alongside the strongest men Slovenia had to offer and besting them, winning the title of Slovenia’s Strongest Man in both 2014 and 2015. Holding such prestigious titles at such a young age predictably drew a lot of attention, and by 2015 Matjaz had earned himself a regular spot on the international stage. He started competing regularly in both Giants Live and Strongman Champions League.

The only place competition left on the strongman bucket list was the World’s Strongest Man, and in 2015 Matjaz took his meteoric rise in the sport to its logical conclusion. He competed at World’s Strongest Man in 2015, less than a year after his first ever strongman competition. In a tough group alongside legends of the game, Eddie Hall and Mike Burke, Matjaz struggled. He failed to get out of the group stages, although his third place in such a tough group was an indicator of things to come.

A year later, and Matjaz got a little closer to becoming the Strongest Man in the World. Breaking out of an equally tough group, he got his first taste of a WSM final. Sadly his 9th place finish wasn’t the fairytale ending he was looking for. Will he be able to best it in 2017?