Now that I’ve had a week to recoup and decompress from participating in FAU’s Strong Owl strongman competition, I can concede that I was clearly unprepared for the competition itself. This wasn’t like training for a race where training, for the most part, is fairly easy. You register for the race and train to that distance. But for something like this, there’s a reason the guys on World’s Strongest Man competitions are the size of cars: training takes years. Even if you’re juicing or darksiding — that is, using anabolics or other steroids — training takes gobs of time. Once you acquire your base level of strength needed for a competition, you then have the fun option of training with a bunch of oddly shaped objects. For the most part, running a road race only depends on your level of fitness and ability to stay injury-free during the race. But my gosh, Strong Owl taught me that even if you’re the strongest guy in the show, you’re going to struggle. We had one competitor, Davis, who is about 5’10” or 5’11” and basically built like a brick outhouse. His arms are as big as my legs and has a barrel chest. I talked to him afterwards and he’s currently training for America’s Strongest Man, which was literally no surprise if you see this guy. But even he struggled with some of the events because it’s notoriously difficult to train for flipping a 600lb tire. After all, what gym can you go to that actually has a 600lb tire or has Atlas Stones sitting around for use. Not many, that’s for sure. Hell, it’s easier to train for pulling a car than it is for flipping massive tires.
So even though I was severely under-trained, I’m going to be doing the same competition in the fall and now that I have a rough idea of the weights that will be used, I can train to that much more easily. Going into this, I had no idea what weights I would be doing in the farmer’s walk, so I trained in the gym with 55-65lb dumbbells using Rogue Fitness Cannonball Grips, which would be literally ripping the weights out of my hands by the time I’d completed my third set. However, I severely underestimated what we’d be doing, which turned out to be 170lbs each hand. I was training at more than a 2.6x deficit in weight and I suffered for it. But now, I can hit the gym over the summer — luckily, no one will be there — and I can drag out the hundred pounders and walk around to my heart’s content. I also need to begin training the deadlift since that was the lift that replaced the sled push – something I was sure I’d do well in. Even if we don’t do the DL in the next comp, it’ll benefit my training overall.
While I have no specific programming in mind just yet, I just know that I’ve got to get stronger across the board and for now, I’m looking to stick to mostly classic lifts: deadlift, squat (and variants), overhead press (and variants), and so on. I don’t care about doing isolation exercises, I’m not working out for a beach-ready body, I just want to pound out some weight. I’ve got about six months to prepare, so I’m going to blitz my body into it.