Liberty 2012 Strongman Contest Recap

•July 30, 2012 • Leave a Comment

To start this one out, I just want to say that the Illinois Strongman Association is a great group to be involved with in the world of strongman.  One of the things they do is have all the weights the same for all competitors so you have a weight class winner and an overall winner for each contest.  This adds an extra element to competing because it’s nice to see where you end up across the board.  Now let’s get on to the events of the day.

As I pulled up and was getting out of my car, another competitor approach me before I even had a chance  to close my door.  He said something like, “Hey man, it’s great to meet you.  I think you’re awesome and I’m going to name my next child after you”.  OK, maybe not.  He did however make mention that he recognized me from my sponsor and watched a bunch of my contest video.  He said he is impressed with my ability and looks forward to competing with me.  I don’t think I’m a big deal at all, but things like this give your ego a boost.  So now that the ego stroking is done, on to the first event.

First up is the max log press.  It’s pretty simple really.  You have 3 attempts to clean and press the log at any weight for 1 rep.  So traditionally you would pick an opener weight that you know you can press without a doubt.  Your second attempt would be something that is close to your max, and your third should be something that you may have hit before or slightly above.  The promoter(from here on out referred to as Tony) walked around to all the guys prior to the start to get their openers.  I settled on 215lbs.  As it turns out, my opener was heavier than any of my competitors max attempts.  I think these guys were playing it safe on this first event.  So I hit 215 with ease, jumped to 245 for my second attempt and hit that easily as well.  I decided on 265 for my final attempt because 260 is the current state record.  It was an easy clean but I couldn’t lock it out.  I had some time to I tried again but it just wouldn’t go.  Well, I got first in that event so I was happy.

Next up was the max truck dead lift.  It’s a side handle dead lift with the weight starting out at around 550lbs.  Same format as the max log above.  I looked at the list as Tony was getting everyone’s opener and decided on 632 for my open.  The week before I hit 660lbs on a silver dollar dead lift so I knew I could get this.  I hit my opener and jumped to 687 for an easy 2nd attempt.  With my 2nd attempt that gave me first for this event, but I wanted more.  I had him jump the weight to 742 for an easy pull…I should have gone heavier.

Third event is the tire toss.  It’s a 38lb truck tire you throw for distance.  I’ve never done this event before, but a friend of mine who does Highland Games showed me a technique to use.  Current record was 16’2″.  First toss went around 17′, cool a new record.  2nd toss was a bit over 18′.  Last toss everything felt right and the new state record is set at 21′ 2″.

The fourth event of the day was the keg carry.  All you have to do here is pick up a 220lb keg and carry 50′.  Set the keg down and grab the 260lb keg and carry it back to start.  Fastest time wins.  I was able to cover the course in 24.5 seconds.  First in this event too.

On to the final event, Atlas Stones.  The stones are loaded to a 48″ platform.  You have to start with the lightest stone and go up from there.  Stone weights were 240, 260, 300, 335,  and 360.  The current state record for this event in my weight class is 3 stones is a bit over 19 seconds.  So everyone starts getting ready for the stone loading.  Typically you put on a different set of shorts and shirt for this because once you get tacky on it, it ain’t coming off.  So I put my stone shorts and shirt on and notice almost everyone is taping up their forearms.  Bunch of sissies.  A little stone rash never hurt anyone.  So this was a fairly fast meet, and I know I’m feeling the fatigue.  I’m watching the other competitors go before me and they’re only getting the first two.  I know I can get the first 3, but I really want the 4th.  I work through the first 3 in 17.53 seconds(new state record) and set up for the 4th.  I grab the stone and start to lap it when the stone slips on my right forearm and tears away a bit of skin.  Well that sucks.  I look down at my hands and the tacky is full of dirt.  Shit.  Time is ticking down at this point and I don’t think I have time to re-tacky.  I try to lap the stone again, and it slipped out again just before I get it lapped.  I decided the 335 wasn’t going to get loaded today.

I finish the day with a first in every event in my weight class, so obviously first for 200lbs and under.  I also finished 3rd place overall.  So that means I beat everyone in 200 and under, everyone in 231 and under, and everyone in 265 and under…at a body weight of 195.  I also have 2 more IL state records.  I’d say it was a pretty good day, and I feel good going into my next contest.


The Georgia Games and my first Powerlifting Meet.

•July 10, 2012 • Leave a Comment

This probably isn’t so much a meet report as it is just a personal account of my experience. It was my first time competing and I intentionally didn’t pay much attention to what was going on outside my own world. So here it is:

As part of the effort to win the bid for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, the Georgia State Games were created in 1989 and have continued ever since. Among the roughly 40 events in this Olympic style festival is Powerlifting. This year the powerlifting was hosted by USA Powerlifting (USAPL) and took place at Iron Beast Barbell in Gainesville Georgia on July 7.  This would be my first powerlifting meet.

I got to the gym early to watch one of my training partners compete in the first session. She did great and the energy was really high. There were several competitors from a local crossfit gym and they brought quite a cheering section. The nerves were kicking in and I had a difficult time sitting still but for the most part I managed.

I registered for the 242 weight class for both Open and Master I (40 – 44 age range) raw divisions and weighed in at 236 – That was a 21 pound drop in about 15 weeks. My gear all checked out and we set my rack heights. I was good to go. Now it was time to wait. I tried to eat but my nerves had other plans. The fact that I was trying to eat cold baked chicken tenders and sweet potatoes didn’t help much either but I did what I could.

My session was supposed to begin at 2 with rules briefing at 1:30 but the early session ran over and they pushed it back 30 minutes. More waiting.

Throughout this process I’ve been working with an awesome coach and friend that just goes by the name Callahan as well as a handful of other “handlers” – All of them VERY experienced in the powerlifting world. Callahan had it all down to a science and was determining when to start warming me up and what weights i would use for warm up and on the platform. I’ve trained with him off and on for 4 years and completely trust his experience. This was his world and it showed. My job was to do what I was told and just lift.

I took my time warming up and worked the bar up to 385. It felt good… really good.

Our session was broken up into two flights. I was in the second. The first flight ended and I was about 6 deep in the second flight. When I was on in the hole i took my place in line and got a final pep talk from Callahan – a reminder – “This is what we came here to do! Focus, Listen, and have a good time! Trust the training!” I was on deck. “Chalk it up! Eyes Up Chest Up! Big Air! Stay in those heels!”


Holy Shit! I’m actually here.

My squat opener was 393. I walked it out, settled it and looked at the judge. Got the command and went all out. No problem. 3 white lights and just like that I was in the meet. My nerves immediately turned into excitement and I was ready to do it again. My second and third attempts were also met with 3 whites at 408 and 424. I had an idea what my openers would be but I didn’t know what kind of jumps i would be making. My third attempt took some work but it still went up pretty easily. In retrospect I think it may have been a good second attempt with a heavier third. Being my first competition Callahan was playing it a little safe.

My mind went blank when I got out on the platform. I when I squatted I was on autopilot, the technical training kicked in and did exactly what it was supposed to do – it was almost Zen like. That served me well in both the squat and deadlift but would prove to be a problem on the bench.

Feeling confident and a little more relaxed from the success of my squats I returned to the warmup area and started getting ready for my bench. A guy named Tim Moon was warming up and using the bench so I worked out of the power rock. Tim was entered in the 275 Bench Only and would go on to press 633 in single ply. It was impressive to say the least.

The bench in the power rack was higher than a standard bench and it was really messing with my head. It didn’t feel right. In the last couple of weeks we had to do some serious tweaking to my form and technique on the bench. I’ve been capable of putting up some pretty good numbers for a while but have been really struggling to keep my ass on the bench and my feet flat – both required for in USAPL. On top of that my lower back was screaming at me anytime I arched and with the high bench in the warm up room I couldn’t ever really get into position. Nonetheless, I had nailed my squat so bench would be a breeze right? Wrong.

When I went to get in position on the platform it just didn’t feel right. I tried to push into my arch and was afraid my back would light up so i didn’t really get into it well. I went on with it anyway. My opener was 297 and it went up easy! Again, 3 whites. No sweat.

Second attempt rolled around and I was still feeling good a mentally. I took my place with 314 on the bar. Old weight. Again my arch was not tight but I went for it. “Start!” I lowered the bar and there was no press command… it felt like it took FOREVER. Looking back at the video the bar was drifting on my chest. Not very much but enough that they waited for the command. Finally, “PRESS”. I pushed the bar and got stuck about half way there. I tried to kick in with the legs and nothing happened. Shit. “RACK”. Three red lights.

Callahan told me what he saw because at the time I didn’t know the bar was still moving on my chest. I went and got prepped for my third attempt. The bar was loaded with the same weight and this time I stopped it on my chest quickly and accordingly got a much faster press command. It came off my chest much faster and was looking good but by this time I was gassed and couldn’t lock it out. Three more reds.

Time to move on.

When it came time to start warming up for my dead lift my bench was still in my head and I think Callahan was a little worried. My deads have not been looking very good in the gym the last few weeks.

When I stepped up to the bar to warm up my mind went blank. As I reached down to grab the bar I tried to remember, “do i go left hand over or under? Fuck. I should know this!” The nerves came back. I stepped back, took a deep breath and went in again, this time not thinking about it and just pulled. This time it was much better. As I warmed up it continued to feel better and the nerves subsided a bit.

Being that my first initial and last name spell SLASH, most people use that as my nickname. Callahan on the other hand, has been calling me SLACK for the last 4 years. We made a deal. WHEN I total in a meet, he would no longer call me that.

I opened my deadlift with 402 and it went up easy. Back on autopilot and three white lights again. I had just totalled in my first powerlifting meet! After making Callahan say it, “Slash!”, I went on to pull 424 and 452. Not sure why but I got one red light on my last pull but by that time I really didn’t care. I definitely had more in the tank for my dead lifts and probably could have pulled more but it didn’t matter. It was done.

I totalled 1173 and that turned out to be enough to get a silver in the 242 open. I didn’t know it at the time but I was only competing against 2 other guys. Peter Bush won the 242 with a nice total of 1527 and Matt Lindsey came in third at 1042.  It also got me a ‘participation award’ gold in the 242 masters because I ended up being the only one in it. Another guy apparently made weight for it but it turned out he intentionally drank enough water to jump into the 275 bracket leaving him and me both alone in our masters weight classes.

All in all I call the meet a success as did my crew. Anna and I both took home some medals and I currently hold 4 state records for the 242 masters class I.  I learned a great deal and will be continuing to process the information for a long time to come. I learned about my strengths as well as my weaknesses and I can now focus my training even more. It’s a long way between the gym and the platform and it was a very long road to that meet. I had to overcome a number of personal demons as I think we all do. One thing is for certain, I can’t wait to do it again!

“He who gains a victory over other men is strong; but he who gains a victory over himself is all powerful.” Lao-Tzu

Back 2 Basics update.

•July 2, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Ok…I have been running Back 2 Basics for 2 full weeks now and am very impressed. This week is my heavy lifting week. Remember, this is for those of us that can only spend 30-45 minutes at the gym.  This is also combining a heavy primary lifts with speed pull secondary lifts followed by accessory lifts.

After the first week, I thought I was going to die I was so sore.  On the 4th day, Squat day, I had such serious DOMS in my quads and lower back that I was not sure I was going to be able to actually go very heavy.  I was wrong.  I hit a rep PR of 325lb x 5.  By the time the second week started I was rested and fairly sore free.

The second week I was missing my last sets of primary lifts by one rep.  Some of the accessory lifts were lagging too so I compensated(instead of 3×8, I did 4×6). I was trying to figure out why I was lagging and the only thing I can think of is I am dropping weight too (less of a fat ass).  Even though I was lagging, I realized I was still repping weight I couldn’t before so I know I am getting stronger.

I am including a new updated Back 2 Basics Template as I changed a bunch of stuff around to accommodate for the limited time at the gym I have. I had to cut a bunch of accessory lifts(ones I thought were important too).  I will keep the old template for when I can have more gym time, I know the stuff I cut will come in handy. 🙂


Contest Recap For My First friedmush Post

•June 27, 2012 • 1 Comment

Summertime always bring around festivals to celebrate summertime and in Minnesota we like to eat.  One of these festivals is called Rapids River Days.  There are many events that take place with live music and food.  One of these events is the Strongman Championships.  There are 5 different grueling events that take place in this contest and 4 weight classes.  The weight class I competed in is the under 200lb class.  At weigh in time I was given the list of competitors.  9 competitors in my weight class, and some pretty good names in there.  While going through my normal warm up routine I was mentally running through all of the events.  I felt pretty confident that I would compete well, but you really don’t know what your body is going to do until you start moving the weight.

First up was the farmers carry.  You pick up two implements, one in each hand, and walk as far as you can in 60 seconds.  Our farmers was 210lbs per hand.  Nothing like going for a leisure stroll with 420lbs in hand.  My grip gave out at around the 280′ mark and I couldn’t even pick the implements up anymore.  4th place in that event, and not a good start for me.

Next up is the Mega Dumbbell Press Medley.  These are huge dumbbells that must be pressed overhead with one hand and increase in weight.  The weights of the dumbbells were 110, 125, 140, 165, and a Thomas Inch Dumbbell(174).  I knew going in to this that I was good up to 150lbs, and my right arm is stronger than my left.  So I hit the 110 and 125 with my left in quick succession, and switched to my right for the 140.  All three went up with relative ease.  I got the 165 to my shoulder, and realized that a 25lb jump from the previous weight was a lot.  It turned out to be too much for me.  One other competitor his the 165, but I still took second in this event.

Third event of the day is the tire flip.  Now I don’t have any pics of me flipping the tire, but it’s not too hard to figure this event out.  They put a 650lb tire in front of you, and you have to flip it for 80′ or 60 seconds.  I flipped it the entire course in 60 seconds.  Good enough for third in this event.  Not quite what I was hoping for and this tire felt really heavy on this particular day.  I’m not sure why, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.


For the fourth event they decided to have a shield carry.  Basically it’s a 320lb chunk of steel that we had to pick up off the ground and walk with it as far as possible.  Most guys were hitting around the 100′ mark for this event.  The problem with the shield is that when carrying it, it kind of lays on your body and makes it hard to breath.  Not breathing and carrying 320lbs is a difficult task.  I was able to make 289′ for this one and good enough for second in this event.

Now I saw the point spread at this point and determined that the only way I would be able to get first in the contest is if for some strange reason the current first place holder got zero reps on the last event, the viking press.  Well that likely wasn’t going to happen, and I really only needed to get one rep to take a solid second.  It was the last event, and it would be kind of boring if I just went in there and pushed for one, so I went all out.  I hit my first 5 reps rather quickly, and had to push a bit for the 6th.  I brought the handles back down to my shoulders and tried for one more.  At the halfway point my body said, “This ain’t gonna happen”.  I brought the handles back down, at this point the weight was taking every piece of energy out of me just holding it there.  I decided to try for one more, and just didn’t have any more.  Walked away with second in that event, and a second place finish over all.  Not bad considering the guy that beat me once held his pro card in both light and heavyweight at the same time.  All in all it was a good day, and I picked up on some areas that I feel I need to train more.  On to the next contest.


Back 2 Basics Workout

•June 3, 2012 • 2 Comments

So I have been working out for about 9 months now and have seen some great changes on the old body.  I have been doing great following a Modified 5/3/1 training regiment.  I have put huge weight on Military press, Deadlift, Bench Press, and Squat, yet I have not focused in on losing the fat. That is going to change.

Mmmm MEAT!

I have made many modifications to the original template I used to the over complicated template I used last cycle.  I have added this and that while removing this and that to the point I have lost my way with the principle of the whole ideal…Keep it simple!  While I was on vacation I had a conversation online with a friend of mine, Tabascofr.  He is a Competing Strongman who is also sponsored.  He and I went back and forth on a new template I was working on that I call Back 2 Basics.  After hashing our reasoning on why we needed this and didn’t need that, we came up with what I think will be a great Template.

On Mondays, Wendsdays, and Fridays I will be doing 30 minute interval training and on Leg days, I will be doing weighted tabata.  This should be fun. UGH.

If you download the template and give it a go, please let me know what you think of it.  Thank You!

Super Human Feats!

•May 29, 2012 • 2 Comments

There are too many people out there that bitch and complain about not having time to workout, or it is too hard, etc.  The list goes on folks…it is easier to come up with an excuse not to then it is to make the dedication needed to do it.

I personally only get to workout for 30-45 minutes a day but I can still put up big numbers.  If you are looking for motivation to actually get out there and train, then check out the Train to be Awesome Virtual Meet that just concluded.


These are average people going out and making the best of the time, equipment, etc that they have to better themselves.  Take a few minutes to go and check out the individuals that have posted their lifts and see for yourself you too can aim towards this.

Train to be Awesome is a Private Group on Fitocracy.  It is invite only.  If you would like information on how to join, leave a comment here.

What would you change?

•May 17, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Cleaning out the Clutter!

So I have found a renewed energy for my site.  Now as I grown and move forward, I wanted to know what you guys would do differently. You can choose up to 3 choices.

[poll id=”2″]