Rob Kearney is a professional strongman athlete who competes in the 105kg (231 lb) middleweight division. He’s been competing professionally now for four years and continues to prove to everyone just how strong he is.
His lifts rival some of those in the heavyweight classes, and possibly one of his most competitive lifts is his log clean & press. Kearney’s next competition will be the Arnold Classic Africa, which is being held May 5-7th in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Kearney recently log clean & pressed 207kg (455 lbs), which is almost two times his normal competition bodyweight (though he’ll likely be competing heavier in Africa). This clean & press matches and exceeds personal bests of some of the famous heavyweight athletes we’re accustomed to seeing.
In addition, this lift very likely makes him the lightest athlete to ever complete a log clean and press this heavy. What’s possibly the most interesting aspect of Kearney’s log presses is the split jerk he uses to complete the lockout.
It’s not common to see strongman competitors at heavier weights split jerking in a log clean & press, especially with that heavy of a weight overhead. The split jerk is performed in Olympic movements because it allows an athlete more time to get under the bar while maintaining a locked out position.
Michael Gill wrote a great article with pointers for strongman competitors interested in split jerking with a log and axle; check it out here.
The downside to the split jerk is the amount of athleticism and timing it requires to master it. A lot of strongman athletes (usually superheavyweights) stick with the push press, as it requires less athleticism and more ability to muscle through the movement, which they often can. It’s a different form than we’re accustomed to seeing at heavier weights, but maybe Kearney is on to something.
Last year in May, Kearney took first place in the 105kg weight class at the Log Lift World Championships in Lithuania. He finished with a 202.5kg (445 lb) log lift to seal the championship.
Similar to his most recent 207kg lift, Kearney uses a split jerk technique in the Log Lift Championships. His log clean & press at his bodyweight doesn’t lie, so maybe Kearney is on to something with his split jerk technique.
It would be interesting to see athletes such as Brian Shaw and Eddie Hall try a split jerk. Do you think they could be as successful and make it look as athletic as Kearney does?
Feature image from @worlds_strongest_gay Instagram page.