The strongman and bodybuilding worlds have collided. On July 8, 2022, the reigning two-time World’s Strongest Man (WSM) champion, Tom Stoltman, and 2021 Europe’s Strongest Man (ESM), Luke Stoltman, published a video on their YouTube channel, wherein they train with IFBB pro bodybuilder Nathan De Asha.
The Stoltman brothers are preparing for their next contest, the 2022 Shaw Classic, on Aug. 13-14, 2022, in Loveland, CO. De Asha is qualified for the 2022 Mr. Olympia contest in Las Vegas, NV, on Dec. 16-18, 2022. The athletes met at the Prophecy Performance Centre, also known as the “North West Mecca,” in Liverpool, UK. Check out the full workout below:
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The training sessions opened with the trio of big men tightening their wrist wraps and knocking out reps on the chest press machine. Tom Stoltman was first to lift with what appeared to be 85 pounds in each hand, not including the weight of the machine’s handles. The number of sets wasn’t revealed, but they changed the bench to an incline position to train the upper chest in the same machine.
Despite being the top strongman in the world, Tom Stoltman was still impressed by the equipment they were training on.
These machines are unbelievably cool.
After training their chest, the two strongmen and the bodybuilder shifted to the overhead triceps extension machine. The machine allowed them to sit while gripping the angled handle to provide better stability and place all the load on their triceps. Each man performed three working sets followed by a drop-set.
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Following their chest and triceps training, De Asha and the Stoltman brothers took turns on the preacher curl machine. Unlike more common versions of the machine designed with one large pad to base the arms against, this preacher curl machine had individual pads for each arm on a slight angle. This allows for a more natural position that places less stress on the elbow and shoulder joints.
They returned to the chest machines to perform sets on the chest press. This worked their pecs in the shortened position, complimenting the work they did earlier in the session that emphasized the pecs in the midrange. The programming for the day kept evolving as the trio moved to the leg section to perform a leg press with 790 pounds — 13 25-pound plates and two larger plates, presumably 35-pounds each, were seen loaded to each side of the machine.
Luke Stoltman was concerned about his knees, and although he looked as though he was about to attempt, he never moved the weight off the blocks, even after four plates were taken off. His younger brother got in position and, while wearing knee sleeves, banged out a pair of reps. Not to be entirely shown up, Luke Stoltman got back in position and performed a pair of reps with assistance from De Asha and Tom.
After their shirts came off to hit a front double biceps pose, the session came to a close. Though bodybuilders and strongmen are often muscularly dense, what each sport calls for are very different. The former requires tension to stay on the target muscle to develop a particular aesthetic that pops on stage, while the latter is about moving the largest amount of weight in the fastest time possible regardless of how it looks.
Though training with one of the top bodybuilders in the sport gave the Stoltman brothers newfound respect for those who reach the Olympia, it seems safe to assume they won’t venture onto a competitive bodybuilding stage anytime soon.
Featured image: @nathandeasha2 on Instagram