How The Titan Games Could GREATLY Improve Strength Sports

By now, there’s a good chance you’ve seen something on social media or television about NBC’s new show The Titan Games. If you haven’t heard of it, The Titan Games is a massive competition based show that pits everyday heroes against one another in epic displays of strength, mental fortitude, and power.

The show is produced by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (who also hosts the show) and Dany Garcia, and it first aired on Thursday, January 3rd. Since the show’s initial air date, it’s already become one of the most talked about shows on television. This is pretty big news for strength sports, but why?

Besides the show featuring handfuls of strength-based activities that have resemblance to strength sport movements (squats, deadlifts, sled pulls, etc), the show also features and highlights multiple strength athletes from a wide variety of sports. To take it a step further, the show does a great job at highlighting each athlete and how they train on a regular basis, which is awesome for bringing more awareness to sports like weightlifting, strongman/woman, powerlifting, and CrossFit.

Spoiler Alert: Some of the quotes and information below include details about the show’s first episode, so if you missed it and want to avoid any spoilers, then bookmark this article and come back when you’re all caught up! 

Professional Strongman and 105kg World’s Strongest Man Anthony Furhman told us, “In my opinion, never before has the sport of Strongman had the nation’s attention, as it did Thursday, January 3rd on primetime TV, during the debut of NBC and Dwayne the Rock Johnson’s, Titan Games, which drew 6.5 million viewers for its debut. 

I was fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to showcase my strength as the 105 kg World’s Strongest Man, and represent not only myself, but the sport of Strongman, on such an enormous platform.  Gone are the days of “dungeon lifting,” and bland personalities in this niche sport. I welcomed the chance to project my personality and achievements as an active duty US Army soldier and World’s Strongest Man (105kg), into the homes of millions of viewers.  My hope is that the sport of Strongman will continue to break into the mainstream, and strength athletes, like myself, will be seen as true, pro-athletes, capable of providing purpose, guidance, and motivation to others.”

In addition to what Fuhrman said, Titan Games athlete Kelsey Horton, a 67kg/148 lb powerlifter states, “The amazing thing about The Titan Games is that it’s giving everyday people a chance to shine while showcasing a multitude of different fitness endeavors.”

“Am I an amazing beast of a powerlifter? Not by a long shot, but this opportunity gives millions and millions of viewers an opportunity to learn about the sport and how great it is.” — Kelsey Horton

There’s no denying the fact that strength sports as a whole are growing, and that more of the general population are beginning to see fitness — strength more specifically — as being directly related to health and wellbeing, and the top ten Fitness Trends of 2019 did a good job at showcasing this point!

This concept as a whole is a really good thing for the general population, and in our opinion, The Titan Games could be the sizable bridge that strength sports and athletes have needed for quite some time to finally really reach and encourage the general public to try something new in the gym.

Titan Games athlete and powerlifter Chris Ruden adds, “The Titan Games give strength athletes an opportunity to showcase their skills without having to be a full-time American Ninja Warrior.”

“It’s a show that highlights having strength as definitely giving you an advantage. And for people like me who have a disability, it allows people to show that there are no limits except the ones we accept for ourselves.”  — Chris Ruden

Outside of bringing awareness to strength sports, athletes, and the simple act of highlighting that strong is good, the show is also doing good job at shining a light on women in strength sports.

Seeing women compete in powerlifting, strongwoman, CrossFit, and weightlifting is a norm for recreational lifters and strength athletes, but for those not invested in either or unaware of those sports for that matter, it can be something completely new to them, and the reactions that follow are not always positive.

The general public tends to readily accept men competing in strength sports, yet there’s still a gap when it comes to women competing in sports like powerlifting and strongwoman (commonly thought as male sports). For some, the act is almost foreign and that’s not always because of ignorance, but simple unawareness due to the lack of mass media publicizing women in strength sports.

Titan Games athlete and All-Time World Record holding powerlifter Emily Hu comments, “I think the Titan Games will have a positive impact for women in strength sports. This, like the CrossFit Games, will show the world how determined and strong women can be.”

“What is most amazing is that none of the challenges or weights were scaled down for women — we did the exact same challenges as the men. So pound-for-pound, inch-for-inch, the women had to work way harder than the men!” — Emily Hu

[Read: Why women can handle more training volume than men!] 

In The Rock’s Instagram video description, he writes, “I’m callin’ it now. The women competitors of our @nbctitangames will STEAL THE SHOW. Why? I did not alter my challenges for the women.”

“If the men have to hammer thru a 350lbs of concrete ball. So do the women.  If the men have to run thru a 1,000lb wall at Mt. Olympus. So do the women.” — The Rock

Continued: “I have too much respect for women to change it, but more importantly — they wouldn’t want it any other way. Because of this, the physical and mental arcs our women go thru are simply spectacular and boundlessly inspiring.  They got hurt. They bled.  They conquered.  I’m so proud of these women. And you will be too!”

To further this point, functional fitness athlete Carla Miranda adds, “We only see the major sports like baseball, football, and basketball, the mainstream sports all day everyday, but is that really speaking to the new generation?”

“In addition to breaking new boundaries highlighting strength sports, the show also showcases strong women by practicing and highlighting sports that are often dominated by men. ” — Carla Miranda

Miranda adds, “Overall, I believe that the program will motivate the masses to workout more, and to trying something new, and hopefully connect and identify with some of them to achieve something they’ve never done before.”

Besides the Titan Games athletes featured in this post, the show has also featured a handful of big named strength athletes that you’ve probably seen before such as powerlifter and strongwoman Charity Witt — who made it into the finals on the first show.

CrossFit athlete Gina Policastro concluded with, “It will be amazing to see how strength sports will grow with the premiere of Titan Games.  I am beyond grateful to have been selected to compete among so many great athletes.  One of my biggest takeaways from being on the Titan Games, was all of the people I had met.  CrossFit, Strongmen and women, Olympic lifters, and bodybuilders, all came together to showcase our strengths and share our stories, careers, training, and experiences that all led us to this moment. 

As a high school teacher, I imagine that some of my students may develop a new found interest into a sport they have previously never heard of before. Perhaps the Titan Games will pave the way for greater opportunities for adolescents to participate in strength sports.”

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.

Feature image from @charity_witt Instagram page. 

Jake Boly

Jake Boly

Jake holds a Master’s in Sports Science and a Bachelor’s in Exercise Science. Currently, Jake serves as the Fitness and Training Editor at BarBend. He’s a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and has spoken at state conferences on the topics of writing in the fitness industry and building a brand.

As of right now, Jake has published over 1,300 articles related to strength athletes and sports. Articles about powerlifting concepts, advanced strength & conditioning methods, and topics that sit atop a strong science foundation are Jake’s bread-and-butter.

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