By: Nick Hickey
On May 2nd, 2015, I competed in my second strongman contest in Bloomsburg, PA. The name of the contest was called The Beast Of Bloomsburg. Leading up to this contest I had a pretty decent training cycle and was seeing some progress on my training for a few events, but it wasn't an across-the-board success.
I hit a few hiccups in my deadlift progression, and sustained an impingement of some sort in my left shoulder with about a month to go before the contest. However, I was able to work around it and still train my overhead press, just with less volume and accessory work. Since I won the novice heavyweight division at my first contest, I had to move up to the open heavyweight division. This means heavier events and better competition.
To refresh, the contest was a max log press, farmer's walk, car deadlift, fire truck pull and circus dumbbell. I was able to train for most of these events as best as I could. I have a wooden log that I trained on, I was able to use farmer's handles to prep for that event, and I used a loadable dumbbell to approach contest weight in training. I figured if I kept training the deadlift like before my first contest, it would translate to the car deadlift. For the truck pull, I was just planning on winging it.
I arrived with my fiance Caitlin in Bloomsburg Friday night, and we got settled for the contest the next day. The morning of the contest we had breakfast at the hotel, gathered our stuff and headed over to Bloomsburg Fairgrounds. This was a cool venue that had a horseracing track and tons of space; plenty of room for a strongman contest. I weighed in at 277 lbs. To my surprise, there were no other competitors in my desired weight class of 265-300 lbs, so I had to be bumped up to the 300+ lbs or superheavyweight (SHW) division. The SHW division consisted of myself and 2 other competitors.
The day started with the log press. This event was held as last man standing, and used the "Wessel's Rule". Basically, the bar starts at a certain weight and jumps 10 lbs per round. You can jump in whenever you chose. Once you do, you must complete each lift until you fail or chose to pass. You are then credited with your heaviest lift. My best log in training was 230 lbs, but it was on a different style log. In addition, this log used oversized jeep tires at 230 and up. So, to make sure I got a good lift or two in, I jumped in at 210 lbs. I completed each subsequent lift until I failed at 260. I was credited with 250 lbs, which was a 20 lb personal best! Unfortunately the other competitors in my class didn't even start lifting until 300 lbs. They were the strongest pressers in the show and one got 330 lbs while the other hit 350 lbs. Those are some good pressing numbers. No matter though, I got 3rd in this event.
The next event was one I was excited about, the farmer's walk. I worked up to 295 in training and the competition weight was 305 lbs per hand. I was a little concerned with the pick off the ground, but the handles were much higher than the ones I had trained on, so I picked it upeasily. Towards the end, I attempted to accelerate to a near jog, lost my balance and fell. But, I had already crossed the finish line and walked the 80 ft in 12 seconds. Unfortunately, the timers were only using whole seconds, not tenths or hundredths and my 12-second time tied me with another competitor for 1st.
The third event was the car deadlift. The car in my first contest was very light and I completed 21 reps. The car for this contest was a different story. It was a Dodge Charger and the car was parked much closer to the handles, making the lift more complicated. I watched, as about a third of the field couldn't complete a rep with the car. I was unable to get a rep myself, and got a very frustrating 0 in this event for 3rd place. My deadlift needs improvement for sure, but that was a heavy car!
The fourth event of the day was the fire truck pull. I hadn't trained for this, but was excited to give it a shot. I talked to some more seasoned competitors beforehand and got some tips. These guys were less than 200 lbs and said they had pulled tractor-trailers before, so I figured I would be able to pull this truck. Competitor after competitor attempted to pull the truck, and after about 25 guys the truck had only moved a matter of inches. The promoter said the truck was 35,000 lbs. It was also full with water, so when you tried to get it moving, the water sloshed in the tank and sent your momentum backwards. In my opinion, the tires looked low on air too! One of the other 2 competitors in my weight class went the turn before me, and he got the truck to move. He pulled it about 15 ft. Next was my turn, and I gave it all I had for 60 seconds. I was able to get the truck rolling a bit and pulled it almost 12 ft. The final competitor in our class didn't move it, so I got 2nd place.
The last event was the circus dumbbell. The weight for the contest was 150 lbs. In training, I had done 140 lbs for multiple reps, so I figured 3 reps would be great for me. Unfortunately, never having trained on this equipment made this a very tough event. The dumbbell ends were massive and the grip was 3" around I believe. I was able to get it up to my shoulder but couldn't get it in the right position. This event is a lot about balance and finding the right spot to press from. I was credited with 1 rep, but I lost control at the top so I wouldn't have given myself the rep. My other two competitors were stronger pressers and beat me out in this event, so I got 3rd place again.
At the end of the day, I got 2nd in one event, tied for 1st in another and set some PRs. I ended up in 3rd out of 3 in my weight class, but still got a plaque. The winner of my weight class qualified for nationals for the second time. Good luck to him. I had a great day and met a lot of competitors who were willing to give advice and encouragement. Strongman is a welcoming sport, and the people involved are very helpful. I would like to thank my fiance Caitlin for making the trip with me as well as being supportive and keeping tabs on the contest to keep me focused and ready when it was my time to lift. In order to improve it is pretty simple; I just need to get stronger. I need more time under the bar and improvement on my deadlift and overhead press specifically. I am going to continue to work hard to improve and keep competing. Thank you for following along. Until next time...
buy House of Musclesupplements
- Supplement Categories
- All House Of Muscle Products
- Hardcore Muscle
- Natural Muscle
- Cycle & Liver Support
- Men Over 40
- Safe For Women
- Fat Burners
- Official House Of Muscle Gear
- Special Prices
reach yourtrue potentialArticles: Learn & GrowVideos: Get MotivatedTrain Hard With Joel