Establishing Standards in Strongman: Are You Strong Enough for Success?

Self honestly. It’s a tough asset to find and develop, but for the strongman game you can’t excel without it. While having a positive mental attitude is important, convincing yourself that you are better than you actually are is a sure way to stifle progress and lose credibility. In powerlifting and weightlifting there are qualifying totals that an athlete can rely on to gauge their progress and pick where they will compete.

In strongman we have so many different events that require multiple skill sets that a true benchmark may evade certain competitors.

To help you set some goals and proceed to the next level, I’ve constructed four charts that can be used to see what is approximately competitive at the national level and then where the professionals are. When you look at this chart, keep in mind it is designed to see what the well rounded strongman is capable of accomplishing. There will be outliers that can smash many of these numbers, as this is not to be used to set world records, but as a tool to determine your weak spots.

Once you know what you need to achieve, it will be much more beneficial to design your program around informed goals. Consider the following:

  • You are a great presser and are off the charts according to these numbers but your deadlift lags. It might be time to stop adding to your press and invest more energy bringing up the pull.
  • You have been progressing nicely and are at all of the amateur numbers but still haven’t gotten your pro card. Do you lack in speed and accuracy? OR are you having a hard time executing when you compete?
  • A smaller show presented itself and you qualified for nationals but you are way off these numbers. Do you create a program that will advance your standings and strive for self improvement or do you just roll the dice and blame a poor performance or a myriad of things other than being ill prepared?

A key to this chart is to not massage the numbers to your favor. Ask yourself if those reps you performed were quality contest reps. Weigh your equipment that can suffer loss of mass (lower quality bumpers, homemade stones, sandbags, wood logs, etc.). Realize that a 238lb stone that you can rep five times in sixty seconds might actually be cut to four reps when a true 250 is rolled out at a contest. After all, the greatest prize most people receive from strongman competitions isn’t a check for thousands of dollars, but a discovery or their true self and where their mental and physical limits lie.

Featured image: Michele Wozniak, Strongman Corporation

Editors note: This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein are the authors and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BarBend. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced exclusively by the author.

Michael Gill

Michael Gill

Weight training is in the blood of BarBend contributor Mike Gill. Learning how to lift as part of his conditioning for Jr. High School wrestling fueled a passion that has lasted now for 35 years. He has a background in all weight disciplines and has competed in Bodybuilding, Powerlifting and Weightlifting eventually finding his niche and turning professional in the sport of Strongman. Retired from competition, he now focuses on coaching and applying events from the most versatile weight discipline to other sports. His vast knowledge of Strongman has been highlighted in his work as a color commentator for live broadcasts of the Arnold World Championships, National Amateur Championships, World’s Strongest Man Over 40 and World’s Strongest Woman.Not limiting himself to just working with weights, Mike has used his decades of discipline to work as a life coach and speaker. Additionally he can often be seen in New York City as a stand up comic.He can be reached for coaching at Michaelgill100 [at], @prostrongman on Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram, and on Facebook.

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