Hafthor Bjornsson Deadlifts 435kg for a Double. Can He Take Hall’s Record in 2018?

While we spent most of the last year talking about building his squatting strength, Hafthor Bjornsson has been quietly bringing his deadlift to superhuman levels.

Okay, not that quietly. The hype is real in this new video that The Mountain uploaded of a mind-boggling personal record: two reps of a 435-kilogram (937-pound) deadlift. (Accompanied as always by a big hit of ammonia up the nose.)

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He posted it with the caption:

425kg / 937lbs deadlift x 2 reps. I’m not stopping until this is mine. I hope you’re paying attention. PB baby, and more in the tank #Teamthor

Besides his goal of winning World’s Strongest Man, Thor Bjornsson’s 2017 was in large part defined by his relentless quest to squat a thousand pounds (we last saw him hitting 970). But last September, he also announced his goal of breaking the world deadlift record.

Bjornsson has been steadily increasing his deadlift strength toward Eddie Hall’s 500-kilogram benchmark. At the World’s Strongest Man in 2016 he finished with a 425-kilogram (940lb) deadlift and at the 2017 contest he made what looked like a pretty easy 460 kilograms (1014lb). Here he is lifting the same weight a few months later in September.

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Bjornsson’s friendly-but-maybe-it-isn’t-so-friendly rivalry with Eddie Hall is no secret, and it makes sense that his goals for 2018 are to take the World’s Strongest Man crown and Hall’s world record to cement his dominance in strongman.

If you believe Hall, though, he couldn’t care less if someone took his record from him. In an interview with Sport360 released earlier this month, he said,

I was the first man to deadlift half a ton. There’s no one even f*cking close to me at the minute. If someone else were to come along and deadlift 501 kilos, who gives a shit? I was the first man to do 500 and that’s the truth.

Maybe he wouldn’t care, but it’s perhaps not quite true that there’s no one close to Eddie Hall’s record.

Featured image via @thorbjornsson on Instagram.

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How I Train Novices Differently for Strongman

I have played a number of different sports across my 45 years. All of them were in some way influential in the development of my mental and physical self. In that time every coach I have had has taught me something about how I now train people. One of the best things I have learned is that the same plan doesn’t work for everyone. A good coach will be fluid in recognizing and correcting for the unique attributes of each athlete. When someone is just starting out, there are a few points that all coaches show be aware of and use to the advantage of their competitor.

Hypertrophy work is just as important as strength building.

I have had plenty of people with zero experience in weight training go on to become fantastic athletes. For many of them the need to build mass and strength simultaneously was extremely important. The current lifestyle of many first world people places little emphasis on physical work and therefore, many people have underdeveloped musculature. I alway do the strength building work first (1-5 reps) then work on making the muscle larger by changing exercise execution and reps (8-15).

While we will primarily squat, press, and pull for strength at an explosive tempo, the lowering of the weight becomes one of safety and not emphasis. Weight can be lowered quickly or dropped during the strength portion of the session. To make the muscles grow, we obviously decrease the weight, increase the reps and also lower the weights under control. While some of the same exercises may be used, the implementation of them is radically different and so is the effect on the body. When all is said and done, 50% (or more) of the work performed in the first year may be this way.

Maximum personal best records are not very accurate, and this should be taken into account.

Beginners tend to be much less coordinated than experienced athletes. If you test an athlete and use those percentages, you may need to recognize that they may have the ability or hit a new PB every week. I tend to use them as a loose gage as to what weight they should be doing rather than absolutes.

Get comfortable with a straight bar on the overheads.

A weightlifting bar is more forgiving than an axle or log for the clean and press. The athlete will most likely get the feel of getting a bar in the correct positions faster than the standard implements. Same can be said for learning the positions of the circus dumbbell by substituting a standard one. Get the technique ironed out first then graduate to the implement. By using an object with a smaller diameter the athlete should have more ability to keep it close to the center of gravity and develop the coordination necessary for the odd object.

Condition, Condition, Condition.

The demands of this sport can be nothing short of pure agony for sixty seconds. The last thing I want is for a rookie to show up strong, but out of shape. I always put in two or three conditioning sessions each week for six weeks leading up to the contest. I ask them to build in intensity over those weeks so they become used to going full out multiple times on short rest. The best tools I have found for this and have minimal impact recovery are sleds. These workouts are often best performed in small groups to keep the competitive spirit burning.

Program for the long term goal, not their first contest.

I tend to look at the bigger picture and believe that having a good strength base at the start is essential for long term success. While I want to make sure that the athlete is comfortable with the events coming up, it is more important to make certain they have developed the fundamentals of the squat, pull and press. Add to that the stones, a front carry and tire flip and you will create a very well rounded athlete. These movements are the core of the sport and you can’t go wrong being comfortable with them as a base.

Getting a solid start with the basics, having a good level of conditioning, and learning how to look at the long term are just good ideas for a new athlete. Keep the pressure off them to perform to a level of a seasoned athlete and that should keep their interest high. You can never get a good handle on someone until they have a few contests under their belt so, encourage them to enjoy themselves and put in 100 percent!

Editor’s note: This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein and in the video are the authors and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BarBend. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced exclusively by the author.

Images courtesy Michele Wozniak

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Junior Powerlifter Jessica Buettner Deadlifts 211kg (465 lbs) at 78kg Bodyweight

Canadian junior powerlifter Jessica Buettner is already off to a strong start with her training for 2018. She’s been posting some ridiculously strong videos, and one of the most impressive comes from a little over a day ago. In her latest video, Buettner smokes a 211kg (465 lb) deadlift, which is 9kg over her current IPF Junior World Record.

In her latest deadlift video’s Instagram description she writes, “465lbs / 211kgs today for a single! 3lbs below a PR for me, so I’m thrilled! And 3 backoff sets of 395×5. Sugars were in range too and what a crazy difference that makes. Was a great end to the week after having a cold and starting to diet. Also weighed 173lbs today so I’m already down 2, but at this point it’s probably mostly from depleting carbs. Happy Saturday everyone.”

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Buettner’s best deadlift to date came from the Eastern Powerlifting Championships back in October 2017. At this meet, she deadlifted a huge 212.5kg (468 lbs) for a personal PR. This record would have been a Canadian Powerlifting Union record, but Buettner missed her weight class by .8 lbs on meet day, which she addresses in another Instagram post.

In her video’s description below she states, “Second attempt deadlift from easterns (205kg) and third attempt which was a huge pr (212.5kg/468lbs)! 72.8kg/160lb bodyweight. On my third I inhaled a bunch of my hair which made for some weird faces, but I’ve been ready to lift that weight for a few months now and I wasn’t going to let hair in my mouth or anything else break my focus.”

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Buettner regularly competes in the 72kg weight class, where she holds the current IPF Junior Deadlift World Record. Her current junior world record stands at 202kg, and she set this back in 2016 at the IPF Raw World Classic Powerlifting Championships in Eileen, Texas.

You can view her 202kg Junior World Record below, which was shared on the IPF’s Facebook page. As the year progresses, hopefully we see Buettner break more records with her ridiculously strong deadlift.

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Feature image screenshot from @djessicabuettner Instagram page. 

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Katrin Davidsdottir and Streat Hoerner Top Elite Leaderboard at Wodapalooza

Familiar names sit atop of the 2018 Wodapalooza elite leaderboard. This year’s Wodapalooza Fitness Fesitval took place from January 11th-14th, and brought out some of CrossFit’s best athletes. Over the course of Friday-Sunday, athletes competed in nine WODs in the effort to be crowned Wodapalooza Champion.

[When’s the Open, Regionals, and the 2018 Reebok CrossFit Games? Check out the full 2018 CrossFit Season schedule here.] 

Elite Individual Women

For the women, Katrin Davidsdottir found herself in first after a commanding performance all weekend. She earned first in three of the nine events, and never finished outside of tenth place. Check out the top five finishers in the Elite Individual Women’s category.

1. Kartin Davidsdottir
2. Kari Pearce
3. Mekenzie Reily
4. Chantelle Loehner
5. Bethany Shadburne

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[Interested in competing in the 2018 CrossFit Open? Registration is live, check out this link to sign up and compete!]

Elite Individual Men

On the men’s side of the competition, a new Wodapalooza champion was crowned. Streat Hoerner edged out Dakota Rager by a very close 5 points to seal his first place title. At the 2017 Reebok CrossFit Games, Hoerner finished in 14th place. Check out the individual men’s top five below.

1. Streat Hoerner
2. Dakota Rager
3. Garret Fisher
4. Tim Paulson
5. Luke Schafer

Elite Men’s & Women’s Team

The Elite Men’s and Women’s teams also had plenty of excitement behind them, and the men’s teams came down to a nail biting finale. In the Barbells for Boobs workout finale, Team Quebec was able to hold off TTTW to keep them in first with a slim four point lead.

1. Team Quebec
2. TTTW
3. 5STAR4MULA

The women’s teams weren’t nearly as close all weekend, as Team Progenex finished with a 56 point gap between them and second place. This team was made up of some of CrossFit’s best female competitors including Chyna Cho, Lauren Fisher, and Emily Bridgers.

1. Team Progenex
2. Maybe Team Ten
3. Invictus

Feature image from @wodapalooza Instagram page taken by @jblaisphoto. 

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Six Star Pro Nutrition Creatine X3 Review — Why the Amino Acids?

Six Star Pro Nutrition is a supplement company that’s owned by Iovate Health Sciences, the same company behind MuscleTech and StrongGirl, and the brand is targeted a little less toward bodybuilders and more toward pro athletes like baseball, basketball, and football players.

They’re pretty well known for their four different pre-workouts — check out our review of Pre-Workout Explosion here — but we wanted to try Creatine X3, a supplement that combines creatine, branched chain amino acids, and a few other interesting extras.

Check HERE to get the best price on Six Star Creatine X3.

Six Star Pro Nutrition Creatine X3 Nutrition & Ingredients

Scoops are large and provide 90 calories and 19 grams of carbohydrates. That includes 5 grams of sugar and a small amount of sodium and potassium (3 and 1 percent of your daily intake, respectively).

The ingredients are split into three categories: Muscle Building Creatine Blend (8 grams), BCAA-Amino Blend (2.5 grams), and Creatine Synthesis Amino Matrix (1 gram).

The creatine blend has creatine monohydrate and creatine HCI; the BCAA blend has leucine, isoleucine, valine, and taurine; and the Amino Matrix has glycine, arginine, and methionine. These blends are proprietary, so we don’t know how much of each ingredient they contain.

The other ingredients are mostly natural and artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, the sugars maltodextrin and dextrose, and some anti-caking agents.

Six Star Creatine X3 Ingredients

Six Star Pro Nutrition Creatine X3 Benefits & Effectiveness

Is there a difference between creatine monohydrate and creatine hydrochloride? Probably not a huge one, though the creatine HCI is more water soluble so it’ll dissolve more easily. It’s also possible that it’s easier on the stomach if regular creatine happens to upset your stomach.

As for the BCAAs, there’s evidence that they can help promote muscle protein synthesis, endurance, and valine, but doses should be at least 7 grams or so. There are a combinedb 2.5 grams of BCAAs and taurine, so the doses is probably too small to have much of an effect on your workout. To be fair, the label says that the BCAAs are just there to “boost nitrogen levels,” which may help with muscle gain.

The Creatine Synthesis Amino Matrix is an interesting inclusion. It’s glycine, arginine, and methionine, which are the three amino acids that make up creatine itself. The human body makes its own creatine in small amounts, and some studies suggest that consuming the unbonded amino acids on their own may help you to make your own creatine.

Otherwise, the extra carbs may help the creatine to absorb and the electrolytes can help with hydration.

Six Star Creatine X3

Six Star Pro Nutrition Creatine X3 Price

You can pick up 35 servings for $15, so that’s 42 cents per serving or 5.25 cents per gram of creatine.

All things considered, that’s pretty cheap. The most inexpensive creatine you’re likely to find, GNC’s plain creatine monohydrate, is 3.3 cents per gram of creatine. Creatine X3 is more expensive but given the wide variety of additional ingredients, I think it’s very reasonably priced.

Six Star Pro Nutrition Creatine X3 Taste

It only seems to come in Fruit Punch flavor. I was expecting something more sour, since BCAAs are naturally bitter and they usually need sour flavoring to mask the taste. But one scoop mixed with 1.5 cups of water had a pretty tame cherry flavor.

The Takeaway

This is a pretty interesting product. The two kinds of creatine make it a little more soluble, the BCAAs slightly boost your nitrogen, the amino acids may help you to make your own creatine, the carbs help the creatine to absorb a little, the electrolytes help you hydrate a little… all of these, to be clear, probably are;t’ massive benefits, but they’re benefits nonetheless. If you’re convinced, then you’ll be happy with this inexpensive, innovative supplement.

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Check Out Jaisyn Mike’s Latest 612 lb Raw Bench Press

Powerlifter Jaisyn Mike recorded a strong performance at his latest meet over the weekend. He topped his personal total meet PR by 5 lbs, hit a new squat PR, and benched a massive 612 lbs. If you’re already a fan of Mike, then you’re probably well aware of his crazy strong bench strength.

In his Instagram post, Mike points out that this 612 lb bench is a new all-time world record for a drug tested full meet. And to add to this bench’s impressiveness, it ties the current IPF Open World Record, along with topping Mike’s current IPF Masters 1 World Record.

Check out his crazy strong bench below, which has a good amount of speed behind it.

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Outside of his bench, Mike also put up strong numbers under the bar, going 8 for 8. In one of Mike’s Instagram posts in lead up to the meet, he points out that he switched to lifting in the full meet last minute. To finish off the day Mike hit a 2,060 lb meet total, as mentioned before tops his previous meet best by 5 lbs, not a bad way to finish after a last minute game time call.

If you’re interested in seeing Mike’s full meet lifts, then check out the video below. In his Instagram video’s description he writes, “1/14/18, Full Meet Summary: Squat: 711 lbs, Bench: 612 lbs (ATWR) DT 2x’s BW, Deadlift: 738 lbs, Total: 2060 lbs.”

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To conclude 2017, the Instagram page @kingofthelifts awarded multiple athletes with “Best Lifter” accolades in multiple denominations. After polling multiple athletes and coaches, Mike and LC McClain were voted as “KOTL 2017 Bench Lifter (Bench)” by @kingofthelifts Instagram page.

Where will we see Mike next? On January 2nd, Mike announced that he’d been invited to compete in the USA Powerlifting – Pro Raw Bench at the Arnold in March. Last year, he finished with a 547 lb bench press, so we’re excited to see what he’s able to do this year.

Featured image screenshot from @mr.athletic_over_everything Instagram page. 

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L-Sit Pull-Up – Muscles Worked, Exercise Demo, and Benefits

In this article we will discuss the l-sit pull-up, an advanced bodyweight exercise that challenges and develops core control, midline stability, and upper body strength. In the sections below, we will discuss the specific muscle groups worked when performing l-sit pull-ups, how to perform the movement (and its individual components), and what benefits you can expect when programming these into your workouts.

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Muscles Worked

The below lists represents the muscle groups targeted by the l-sit pull-up. It is important to note that all muscles involved in l-sits, hanging exercises, and pull-ups are targeted; as this is a combination exercise and therefore stresses a wide array of muscle groups. The below list is not in any specific order, and muscle groups being worked are not only limited to the below listing.

  • Abdominals
  • Hip Flexors
  • Latissimus Dorsi
  • Rhomboids and Scapular Stabilizers
  • Quadriceps
  • Biceps
  • Forearms

L-Sit Pull-Up Exercise Demo

Before we go over the full blown l-sit pull-up, we must first break down this complex bodyweight movement into its individual parts to ensure proper progressions have been made to maximize one’s abdominal and hip flexor strength and control. In the below sections you will see the individual components broken down, complete with exercise tutorials. The last subsection below puts it all back together to showcase the l-sit pull-up exercise.

Here’s how to do a hanging l-sit…

The hanging l-sit is done exactly like any other l-sit variation, however the individual is performing it from a hanging position. The hanging position does not allow for any countermovements or counterbalancing, making it much more demanding on core strength, overhead/shoulder mobility and control.

Here’s how to do a pull-up…

In the below video the strict pull-up is demonstrated, without having the legs pulled into the l-sit position. Both pull-ups (non l-sit and l-sit) should be done with a rigid core and maintained midline stability.

Now, let’s put it all together…

Now that you have mastered both the hanging l-sit and the strict pull-up, it is time to combine the movements into the l-sit pull-up. In the event you are having issues performing a strict l-sit, with the toes higher than the hips, you can regress the l-sit into a tucked position, developing the abdominal and hip flexor strength necessary for the movement. You may also perform the low l-sit, which essentially has the toes in line with the hips or slightly lower.

Benefits of the L-Sit Pull-Up

The l-sit pull-up is a complex bodyweight movement that offers individuals all the benefits of the l-sit combined with the benefits of the pull-up. Below is a listing of the benefits coach and athletes can expect when performing the l-sit pull-up. Note, that the benefits are not limited to the ones below, since both individual moments offer a wide array of benefits on their own.

Core Stability and Midline Control

Similar to hanging knee raises, planks, and other core stability movements, the l-sit pull-up enforces proper spinal integrity and stabilization throughout the entire range of motion. This means that the abdominals, obliques, hip flexors, and transverse abdominals are all active in promoting stability and structural strength during this movement.

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Time Under Tension Training

Time under tension is another variable that can be used to increase angular strength, isometric contraction abilities (holds), and muscle hypertrophy. The l-sit pull-up requires great amounts of isometric strength and coordination of the core muscles, while also keeping the lifter in high amounts of muscle contractions throughout the entire range of motion. By doing so, you can increase neuromuscular firing, movement coordination, and even increase muscle hypertrophy of the back and core muscles.

Scapular Control and Stabilization

Like most hanging movements, the scapular stabilizers are responsible for keeping overhead integrity while in this position so that the back muscles can contract properly, allowing the scapulae to slide freely across the back of the rib cage. By doing so, the shoulders are protected from unwanted stress, and the muscles are able to contract and lengthen without impedance.

All the Benefits of Strict Pull Ups

The l-sit pull-up is a variation of the strict pull-up, however it requires more body control and movement integrity due to the fact the lifter cannot overly extend their lumbar spine or change the pulling angles too much. Increased back strength, grip, and core stability are just a few of the immediate benefits of this movement. Here are some more benefits of pull-ups and their immediate regressions.

A post shared by Lauren Pak (@laurenpak22) on

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Gymnastics Application

This movement has a direct application with gymnastic movements and strength exercises performed on bars, rings, and parallettes (to name a few). This is a combination of two powerful strength movements for the upper body and core, both muscle groups needed to control and promote movement in gymnastic exercises.

Ab Exercises to Improve Core Strength

The below exercises guides and articles are geared for coaches and athletes looking to increase core stability, midline control, and abdominal development.

Featured Image: @laurenpak22 on Instagram

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