As some of you may remember, last December I competed in the United States Strongman (USS) Contest Winter Wreckage 2.0 in Lancaster, PA. I placed third and that qualified me for USS Nationals. At the time, I was excited about the chance to compete but apprehensive about the heavy weights required to be competitive at that contest. After a few weeks to mull it over, I made the decision to compete at USS Nationals, coming up on June 24, 2017 in Detroit, MI. This is the first in a mini-series documenting my training up to the biggest contest I have ever done.
After the decision was made to train and compete at Nationals, I enlisted the help of Josh Bryant to write my training programs. I worked with Josh from 2010-2013 and he helped me gain a ton of strength in prep for my first powerlifting meet back in March of 2013.
My goal for the first 12-week training block with Josh was to continue to gain strength and size, while training some strongman events to keep my technique up to speed. But, the main focus was strength. From January through March I trained in this manner and I added a bit more size and strength. That training block was a success. I worked hard and slammed plenty of House Of Muscle 100% Whey Protein shakes to get my bodyweight back up and it paid off. Now I am ready to shift my training to focus specifically on Nationals and doing the best I can there.
As I said, this is the biggest contest I will have done to date. It is also very heavy (for me). The 5 events are axle clean and press, axle deadlift from 13", farmers carry for time, sandbag carry for time and atlas stone for reps over a bar. I am in the super heavy weight class (which is anything over 275 lbs in USS) and the weights are 320 lbs for the clean and press for max reps, 700 lbs for the 13" deadlift for max reps, 340 lbs for the farmers walk for 80 feet, 300 lbs for the sandbag carry for 160 feet and 380 lbs for the stone over a 54" bar. Like I said, heavy!
I have just begun training specifically and will focus all of my efforts on getting as strong as I can on these 5 events before June 24. I am a little concerned with the axle, deadlift and stones but I am confident that with training I can increase my strength and technique. My training will be 4 days a week. Day 1 is overhead work and accessories. Day 2 is squats, deadlifts and accessories. Day 3 is axle presses and accessories. Finally, day 4 is event training where I will train sandbag, stones etc.
Here is a clip of a recent training session where I was working on pressing the axle from the rack and then practicing the continental clean:
There will be some very strong competitors at this contest. My competition philosophy is to do my personal best. I am out to set personal records and perform to the best of my ability. I believe that there are things out of my control that I don't need to concern myself with. If I focus on myself and make sure I execute, regardless of how I place, I will know that I did what I set out to do.
In addition to Nationals on June 24th, I am doing a "tune-up" contest on April 29th. I am not training specifically for this contest. I am doing it to increase my experience and to get more comfortable with the events and strongman competitions in general. More competitions means more experience and less chances to be surprised on "game day".
I will keep you posted on how my training is going and how I do April 29th in Connecticut. Until next time, thanks for reading.