My Five Thoughts on Strongman for the Close of 2018

While still a very small sport, our passion has grown by leaps and bounds in the last three years. It has been fun to watch it grow and become slightly more mainstream and more inclusive of women. Many thoughts I have on strongman are interesting but do not deserve the attention of a full article. I’ve saved the gems for you here in my end of the year rundown.

Even the best can be beaten

The pro men’s division had one name stamped on it and one only: Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, AKA The Mountain. Assuming he stays in the game, the safe bet is for him to stay on top. Competitors should be encouraged though, because in a razor thin upset Andrea Thompson unseated favorite and previous winner, Donna Moore, at the World’s Strongest Woman contest. The line between athletes has gotten thin and mistakes or overly slow pacing can determine the winner now. Take a lesson; be fast and be flawless.

Get stronger

Strongman is getting heavy. That may sound silly but contest weights have gone up about 5% over the last three years. If I were you, I would add that to the article I wrote just a few years back on strongman standards about where you need to be and stay competitive. More competitors, better coaches and better run contests have all contributed to this rapidly increasing tonnage. Adjust your goals and get to work.

You get what you pay for

More and more companies have started making the odd objects we need to train, and with that comes a variety of quality. This was especially apparent with the sandbag throw being the “in” event for 2018. Cheaper options may have seemed attractive at first but torn handles and the resulting butt bruises from off balance throws proved less convenient. Stay with the top brands and buy once, not twice.

Squats for reps are more important than your max

With the squat almost never being tested directly in Strongman (with the exception of The World’s Strongest Man contest) you really should never worry about directly raising your max. Working your squat triples for strength is a good idea but so are sets of 10 or 20. I fully believe the legs can handle a variety of different stresses and continue to get strong but your leg endurance is paramount.

You are more important than you think

All hobby sports are expensive, some much more so than others. Joining a softball team may cost you $100 plus gas money, but doing an Ironman distance triathlon can cost thousands in entry fees alone. Don’t even mention the cost of the bike! Strongman falls somewhere in the middle.

Contest entry fees and equipment are cheaper, and most people share implements or pay a gym to use theirs. There are many calls for the sport to grow, and when a quality live stream is offered, pay the cash to watch it. Recruit a pal to come with you and try out the sport and help it grow. Speak positively about it and be helpful to people wanting to get involved. Stop complaining about the expense, lack of prize money, or anything else. Make it better if it’s something you love. Everyone benefits and you will enjoy it more as a result.

I would love to thank everyone for their kind words, comments and shares on my articles over the last season. I have a love for this sport that runs deep and teaching athletes is my passion. I wish you all success and an injury free 2019 season.

Editor’s note: This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein and in the video are the author’s 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] gmail.com, @prostrongman on Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram, and on Facebook.

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