In the quest to become a better strongperson athlete, a smart athlete will plan out a road that will lead to their long term success. But in an effort to acquire hardware, many athletes will often pick contests that are easier for them for a variety of reasons, only looking to win. This is a surefire way to become over confident and mislead yourself and your progress. Are you falling for this trap? The best way to tell is to ask yourself the following questions:
Am I really still a novice?
The novice class came about to grow the class and take some of the pressure of new competitors. The idea was to get your feet wet and then move on to bigger and better things (weight grouped classes). Some people however, seemed to move in here and never move out. The weights are lighter, and expectations of the competitors lower, but after you get one or two of these under your belt it is time to test your mettle against the open classed competitors. Forever a beginner is a crutch that will keep you from reaching any sort of potential you have. Never having to get stronger than moving the lightest weights possible will stunt your growth. After one or two attempts in this class, move it on up!
When an event comes up that my team is doing, do I only participate if it has “my” events?
As a coach and former leader of a training group of stone cold iron killers, this one really gets my goat. The team is preparing to hit an event together and the energy on every event day is following, except for that one athlete who is off to the side, doing their own work, because the chosen events do not line up well for them. They have turned into a distraction and disrupt the whole flow of the gym. Now from time to time you may have different priorities and that’s ok; but what isn’t cool is doing only contests that feature events that you are good at.
Strongman has over 30 different events with variations of each. To actually be good you must be proficient on all of them. Additionally, getting better at one thing may have an indirect benefit to another. To improve your all around game you must experiment and improve your weaknesses, not ignore them. A competent strongman is prepared for anything at any contest. Don’t become a five trick pony.
Am I purposely waiting until the last minute to see the competitors list and then jumping in a poorly filled event?
While a promoter may thank you for the extra entry fee, your win is hollow and unfulfilling. Harsh, I know, but beating 10 people in a stacked class in a very rewarding task. Taking first because only one other guy was there is more like a training day than an actual meet. Look for big events, prepare for them and do your best to make an impact. While taking home the “Mr. East Transit Road Strongest Man” trophy may impress your mom and guys at the office, we all know what it was really worth.
So you have answered yes to some of these questions and decide to take my advice. That is good news, but I want to prepare you for the second part; most likely you are going to get your butt kicked and fail miserably. That is great news! From this failure you can now work towards being a true success. Only those who fail and get up to try again will be a true success in the long run. By truly challenging yourself you can actually have self honesty and be able to correct your weakest points.
Doing strongman as a hobby is so very rewarding. Just don’t do it in a delusional manner. It would be like a model car builder making the same car over and over again because they were good at it. They are always testing themselves and making more difficult models. You need to reach high into the tree and burn some calories to get at the better fruit; because in the end, the juice is worth the squeeze.
Editor’s note: This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein and in the video are the authors and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BarBend. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced exclusively by the author.