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Pro Strongman Vs Journalists: Thor Challenge, Steinborn Squats, and Plate Flips

A legendary competition between one elite athlete...and two other..."athletes".

We’re a competitive group of people at the BarBend office; after all, we write about strength sports day-in and day-out. However, are we really that competitive compared to a pro strongman?

That’s the question we wanted to find out, so like any rational group of strength sports journalists, we had strongman and strength coach Joey Szatmary in the office to challenge him to three events. The events that we chose inspired by three different schools of thought.

The first event, the Thor Challenge, was inspired by social media relevancy and timeliness. The Thor Challenge entails heaving a barbell from the floor upwards by only gripping one collar — it’s a leverage based challenge.

Then the second event, the Steinborn squat for max reps, was inspired by strength pioneer Milo Steinborn who earned his claim to fame for standing barbells up, then rocking them onto his back. This is still an event that takes place every year at the Arnold Sports Festival, and Martins Licis currently holds the world record for the heaviest Steinborn Squat.

Our final event was simple, the good ol’ plate flip. It’s an old timey strongman classic. This challenge beg the question, who can flip the most weight and catch the plate without it hitting the floor? So who won the competition? Watch the video below to find out!

The Competitors and Rules

Before we dive into the events and who won each, it’s a good idea to first provide a lay of the land with each competitor’s specs and how the competition was scored. 

As you can see, the athletes were all fairly even below with only some minor discrepancies between them!

The AthletesTheir Specs
Joey Szatmary6′ 3″, 230ish lbs, can deadlift 700+ lbs 
Jake Boly6′ 0″, 180 lbs, can deadlift 575 lbs (sumo, he’s a cheater)
Phil Blechman5′ 8″, 195 lbs, can deadlift 450 lbs

When it came to scoring, we kept it simple. An event win equated to 2 points, a second place finish earned you 1 point, and dead last resulted in a whopping 0 points. 

The scoring and judging was methodically tracked by BarBend’s Head Editor and Founder, David Tao, and he held no punches from being strict. 

Event 1 | Thor Challenge

Thor Challenge
Thor Challenge

For the Thor Challenge, every athlete had two chances to lift the respective weight that was called on the barbell. Every athlete started with the barbell, then 10 lbs was added for to the barbell for round two.

Joey and Jake progressed past the first round with ease, while Phil failed to lift the barbell earning a whopping 0 points. After two tough tries, Joey was not able to lift the barbell with 10 lbs, which left Jake with the victory. 

Score After Event 1

  • Joey: 1
  • Jake: 2
  • Phil: 0

Event 2 | Steinborn Squat Max Reps

Steinborn Squat
Steinborn Squat

The Steinborn squat for max reps featured a weight of one Nick English, BarBend’s Nutrition Editor who has a bodyweight of roughly 200 lbs. Essentially, this was a 200 lb set of maximal reps for the back squat. 

Phil kicked off the competition completing five reps, which was not a terrible number, but was certainly not too difficult to beat (sorry, Phil). Next up was Jake who completed 13 reps, followed by Joey who easily hit 15 reps with plenty of energy to spare. 

Score After Event 2

  • Joey: 3
  • Jake: 3
  • Phil: 0

Event 3 | Plate Flip

Plate Flip Challenge
Plate Flip Challenge

The plate flip was structured similarly to the Thor Challenge. Every athlete had two chances to complete a flip at a respective weight starting at 10 lbs, then moving to 25 lbs, 35 lbs, and so forth. 

Every athlete easily passed the first round with 10 lbs. On the second round with 25 lbs, Phil was unable to come up with a catch, while Jake and Joey progressed on to 35 lbs. After attempting to use pre-workout as chalk (it doesn’t work), Jake fell short with 35 lbs and Joey came out on top easily flipping and catching this weight. 

Score After Event 3

  • Joey: 5
  • Jake: 4
  • Phil: 0

Joey Comes Out On Top

After three grueling events, Joey Szatmary came out victorious with Jake taking place, and Phil bringing home third. If you put money on Joey before the contest began, then give yourself a self-five, because you just made your money back!

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