On March 3-6, 2022, 10 of the world’s top strongmen will converge on Columbus, OH, to clash for the 2022 Arnold Strongman Classic (ASC) title. One of those athletes is Rob Kearney, who recently returned to competition at the 2021 Rogue Invitational. He finished sixth overall after recovering from a ruptured triceps tendon sustained on Oct. 11, 2020.
On Jan. 21, 2022, Kearney took to his YouTube channel to answer some questions from his fans. In one of his answers, he offered some insight into his current mindset regarding his strongman career. He is more interested in podium finishes at elite strongman contests than getting his name back in the record book. He made clear that he has no intention of reclaiming the American log lift record, currently held by Bobby Thompson at 478.5 pounds. Check out Kearney’s entire Q&A session below:
[Related: Tom And Luke Stoltman Teach Their Younger Brother Harry How To Train Like A Strongman]
No More Log Lift Records
At the 3:48 mark of the above video, Kearney reads the following question: “Are you going to attempt the American record or world record on log press again?” Kearney doesn’t mince his words when answering in the negative.
I can confidently say no.
Kearney’s journey to the American log lift record was impressive. Though he is a large athlete, compared to the other elite strongman he often competes against, he is usually the shortest and lightest athlete in the field. He stands five-feet, 10-inches tall, and weighs sub-300 pounds. He is notorious for employing weightlifting techniques rarely seen in strongman, such as the split jerk he used to claim the American log lift record (475.75 pounds) from Robert Oberst.
The triceps injury Kearney sustained from his American log lift record attempt came with a steep cost to his competitive career that he doesn’t feel was worthwhile in hindsight. While recovering from his injury, Kearney missed the 2020 World’s Strongest Man (WSM) contest, among other high-level events he would have preferred participating in — a trade not worthwhile even if he had resecured the log lift record.
I don’t think I’m willing to risk a triceps again for a record.
Kearney’s current mindset as a competitive strongman is similar to Evan Singleton‘s — trophies and podium finishes that boost his strongman resume are more of a priority than records.
View this post on Instagram
[Related: 2022 Britain’s Strongest Man Roster Released]
Kearney’s Best Events
Another question posed to Kearney asked for which five events would best suit him in competition. His mind immediately jumped to his win at the 2019 Arnold Australia contest, which he believes was the best performance of his career. Kearney would program the following five events as his best:
Kearny’s choices are pretty far off from the events he’ll compete in at the 2022 ASC. The scheduled events for that contest are:
- Max Barbell Squat
- Monster Dumbbell Press (275 pounds)
- Max Austrian Oak Log Press
- Timber Frame Carry
- Stone-to-Shoulder for reps
With only eight weeks to prep for the max barbell squat, Kearney seemed less than confident about his capacity to post a lift that meets his potential. Kearney’s personal best squat is 825 pounds while wearing knee wraps. Although the squat is a typical event in premiere strongman contests, it is rarely for max weight — it is usually for reps of a static weight or for reps with ascending weight. Kearney’s squat training, which generally consists of three to five sets of four to five reps that scale up to 90 percent of his max, is not optimal to score a one-rep max.
Really excited for the event, just wish we had a little bit more time to train for it.
Reaching the podium against the likes of three WSM champions in Martins Licis, Oleksii Novikov, and Tom Stoltman, in addition to the 2021 Europe’s Strongest Man Luke Stoltman and 2020 ASC runner-up Mateusz Kieliszkowski, at the 2022 ASC will not be an easy feat. We’ll see if Kearney can convert those eight training weeks into a prep that pays off with a podium finish.
Featured image: @worlds_strongest_gay on Instagram