Rob Kearney Diagnosed With Ruptured Triceps Tendon

Kearney expects an estimated 10 months of recovery after surgery before he competes again.

On Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020, current American log lift record holder Rob Kearney ruptured his left triceps tendon while competing remotely on World’s Ultimate Strongman (WUS) “Feats of Strength” series.  The goal of the event was for Kearney and Scottish Strongman Luke Stoltman to set a new log lift world record in front of the official referee and current log lift world record holder — four-time World’s Strongest Man (WSM) Zydrunas Savickas.

It was mid-jerk during Kearney’s fourth attempt of 220 kilograms (485 pounds) — which would have bested his current American Log Press record of 475 pounds — when he suffered the injury. You can check out the lift that went awry as well as a follow up with Kearney himself regarding the injury, surgery, anticipated recovery time, and his plans in strongman via the video below from his YouTube channel:

[Related: Rob Kearney Shares Dumbbell Clean and Press Tips for Efficiency]

Here are the attempts with corresponding weights that Kearney made:

  • First attempt — 190 kilograms (419 pounds) — good lift.
  • Second attempt — 205 kilograms (451 pounds) — good lift.
  • Third attempt — 220 kilograms (485 pounds) — failed.
  • Fourth attempt — 220 kilograms (485 pounds) — failed, sustained an injury.

Prior to the attempt, everything was going well for Kearney. He says that his warm-up felt great (specifically that his jerk mechanics seemed smooth), and that he had already hit 218 kilograms (480 pounds) in training. That is a full three kilograms (10 pounds) over his current American log lift record.

Kearney had no sense that anything was wrong during attempts one and two, but did feel something slightly off in his third attempt. Upon failing the lift, he shifted his goal from challenging the world record to advancing his American record. During his fourth attempt, his clean was good, but as the log moved overhead during the jerk — where the triceps kick in — his left arm gave out:

I felt like a balloon had popped in my arm.

Kearney’s background in sports medicine — which includes a master’s degree in athletic rehab — helped him isolate what the issue was almost immediately after he stepped away from the log. He “felt a large divot” in the back of his elbow, indicating a ruptured triceps tendon.


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[Related: Martin Licis Confirms He Is Out of 2020 World’s Strongest Man]

Following an MRI, the official diagnosis was a ruptured distal triceps tendon. Fortunately for Kearney, this is his first “big injury in strongman” across his 11-year career. Unfortunately, the injury will require ample rehabilitation time following surgery — which is scheduled for Oct. 14, 2020.

We’re looking anywhere between eight to ten months before I’m back competing again.

This means that Kearney has to withdraw from the 2020 WSM competition, which is scheduled for Nov. 11-14, 2020, in Bradenton, FL as well as the inaugural Shaw Classic, currently scheduled for Dec. 12, 2020 in Colorado. Additionally, Kearney will not compete in the 2021 Arnold Strongman Classic in Ohio come March.

Moving Forward

Despite this major career setback, Kearney seems to have adopted a healthy mindset about the whole ordeal. His focus has shifted entirely on getting back in competition shape after his surgery and rehab.

Overcoming obstacles has never been an issue for me.

In the meantime, the 2019 Arnold Australia Strongman champion anticipates a lot of leg workouts in the coming months.

Feature image from Rob Kearney’s Instagram page: @worlds_strongest_gay