Powerlifter Versus Strongman: 605 lb AMRAP Deadlift Competition

One of the age old questions within every gym is, “Who’s the strongest athlete?” Or for this specific scenario, “What type of strength athlete is the strongest?” These questions are older than Broses himself and his 10 Commandments of Leg Day.

If you lie awake at night staring at the ceiling pondering the above questions, don’t fret. The Super Training crew are working hard to pave the road and lead the fight in getting to the bottom of life’s hard hitting questions, like…

Who the hell is the strongest type of strength athlete?

Two days ago Silent Mike shared a video on his YouTube channel covering an epic show down between two extremely strong athletes. Silent Mike went head to head versus Maryland strongman Brian Alsruhe. They performed a 605 lb deadlift for as many reps as possible.

The Athletes

  • Name: Mike Farr, aka “Silent Mike”
  • Sport: Powerlifting
  • Max Deadlift: 705 lbs
  • Known For: Co-Host Powercast
  • Deadlift Style (in video): Sumo

Screenshot from Silent Mike YouTube channel. 

  • Name: Brian Alsruhe
  • Sport: Strongman
  • Max Deadlift: 710 lbs
  • Known For: Maryland’s Strongest Man
  • Deadlift Style (in video): Conventional

Screenshot from Silent Mike YouTube channel. 

The competitors are very close in stats…so before watching the video, who do you predict will win?

This my rationale & prediction: Both types of athlete are known for performing supramaximal strength feats, so there’s no bias between them both being able to handle maximal loads. Mike and Alsruhe have similar deadlift maxes, which means they’re a close strength match up and eliminates a strength bias. However, when it comes to moving a heavy weight multiple times, then strongman style training is most similar.

This all being said, I’m taking Alsruhe on this one. I’m sorry Mike.

Final Results

If you picked Maryland strongman Brian Alsruhe, then you guessed right. Up until rep five, both athletes looked incredibly similar in deadlift speed.

  • Mike: 6
  • Alshruhe: 9 (technically 8 if you judge on lockout)

Every strength sport has their list of strengths and weaknesses, so there’s really no way to directly compare the two. It’s still fun to wonder and debate though.

Videos like this are great because they bring two different athletes and training styles together and ask the question: Who’s the strongest type of athlete?

Feature image: Screenshot from Silent Mike’s YouTube channel. 

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James Hobart Won’t Be Competing with CrossFit Mayhem This Year

When it comes to Reebok CrossFit Games teams spearheaded by well-known athletes, CrossFit Mayhem Freedom (also known as just CrossFit Mayhem) is among the top of the list. This team gained a lot of recognition when 4-time Games champion Rich Froning (owner of CrossFit Mayhem) made the switch over to team competition.

James Hobart is one of several other veteran CrossFit Games athletes who have made up the CrossFit Mayhem team the past few years. (Clearly the strategy has worked, as they’re back-to-back champs.) In 2017, it appears Hobart won’t be competing with the team.

In a recent Instagram post from Hobart’s page, he states, “Looking back on one of my fondest memories of the CrossFit Games: not because of the accomplishment itself but for the team I could share it with–the gift is made precious by the giver.

A photo posted by James Hobart (@jameshobart) on Jan 26, 2017 at 4:11pm PST

//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.jsHe finishes the post with, “This year I will not be competing with CrossFit Mayhem. They are an immense group whose secret to success is made from care and selflessness, not fitness. My time there was inimitable. And it’s already been a very different year without them, yet I am excited to take a step back this season and watch them from this side. I expect they will be unstoppable once again.

In the post above he states, “I am excited to take a step back this season…

From Hobart’s Instagram page and post it still remains unclear if he’s taking time off from formal competition entirely to focus on his personal life, or if he’s just shifting his athletic focus.

A photo posted by James Hobart (@jameshobart) on Jan 16, 2017 at 2:43pm PST

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Hobart was in attendance at Wodapalooza earlier this year in Miami.

Whether Hobart competes as an Individual or member of another Team, we’re confident we’ll continue to see his name within and around the fitness community.

Feature image from @jameshobart Instagram page. 

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Matt Sohmer Sets an Unofficial Jr. World Record With 804.5lb Deadlift at 120kg

At a meet held at Pro-Fit Deer Park in Long Island, 23-year-old Team USA athlete Matt Sohmer just entered a new class of elite lifters with a raw deadlift of 804.5 pounds (365kg) at 264.5lb (120kg) bodyweight.

And he makes it look fairly easy, too.

A video posted by Matt Sohmer (@thehulksmash75) on Jan 29, 2017 at 6:00pm PST

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(Yep, that’s announcer is indeed a pirate – he’s called Geno, the Pirate of Powerlifting, the treasured hype man for many of the USAPL’s events. He’s so beloved that someone made a full twenty-four minute video dedicated to him on YouTube, and USAPL even bought him a golden microphone for his ensemble.)

This was a giant PR for Sohmer. His best squat is 828 pounds (375.5kg) at 250 pounds bodyweight and his best total is 1,962 pounds (890kg) at 256 pounds (116.1kg) bodyweight. He claims his bench is currently sitting at 336 pounds (152.4kg).

A photo posted by Matt Sohmer (@thehulksmash75) on Jan 31, 2017 at 6:29am PST

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Hailing from New York, Sohmer started lifting after a slew of knee injuries cut his football career short. (ACL, PCL, MCL and meniscus injuries are no joke.) He rehabbed his injuries through weight training, and when he pulled 600 pounds in a local New York powerlifting meet in late 2011, he decided that becoming a pro powerlifter was the career for him.

When he was just nineteen, he became the youngest person to ever squat 800 pounds raw and without wraps, and over the course of his career he has won over twenty gold medals in eight different powerlifting federations. He also dabbles in strongman – you can see him pulling a 13-ton truck below.

Sohmer’s current goal is to break the all-time raw, drug-free, strap-free record for the open squat, which stands at 865 pounds. With this kind of tenacity, we think he’s got it in him.

Featured image via @thehulksmash75 on Instagram.

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Powerlifter Gabrielle Tucker Deadlifts 405×3 at 132 lbs

Gabrielle Tucker’s powerlifting career didn’t start like the traditional powerlifter. She began her career thanks to Reddit and has since become a 57kg champion and record holder.

Yesterday Tucker shared a video on her Instagram page highlighting a huge three rep deadlift at 405 lbs with straps. The video also features a five rep touch and go set with 405 lbs.

Normally Tucker competes in the 57kg (125 lb) weight class, but is on a bulk – as stated in her Instagram post’s description – for her current training cycle. Regardless of whether she’s 132 or 125 lbs (competitive weight), a 405 lb deadlift for three reps is still insane.

A video posted by Gabrielle Tucker (@pumping.fe) on Jan 30, 2017 at 8:09pm PST

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At 132 lbs, 405 is 3.06 times her bodyweight. To give more context into just how heavy this pull is for Tucker’s weight class, it’s 20 lbs over the current junior world record record of 385 lbs.

Last year, Tucker won the USAPL 57kg Junior weight class at Raw Nationals in October with a 382kg (840 lb) total, and won Best Female Jr. in the USAPL. Currently, Tucker holds the US National Junior Deadlift record at 397 lbs (heavier than the world record). Also, she’s been selected to represent the USA at the 2017 IPF World Classic Powerlifting Championship in Minsk, Belarus this June.

Her deadlift is impressive, but she can also squat and bench. Her best 1-RM squat is 315 lbs, which she performed at a weight of 127.5 lbs (during a mock meet).

A video posted by Gabrielle Tucker (@pumping.fe) on Apr 22, 2016 at 5:26pm PDT

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This squat personal record is only 22 lbs shy of the junior record. Her best bench 1-RM as stated in her Reddit AMA 18 days ago is 170 lbs, but I have a feeling it’s much higher now.

Three days ago she shared a video smoking 160 lbs for 3×3 with a moderate pause. Her speed and explosiveness off the chest were great, so a 1-RM over 170 lbs is most likely on the close horizon.

A video posted by Gabrielle Tucker (@pumping.fe) on Jan 27, 2017 at 5:55pm PST

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Tucker didn’t start her lifting career like the normal strength athlete, but then maybe she did. Communities likes Reddit continue to connect people/athletes with quality information and often them lead to newfound passions, such as in Tucker’s case.

Regardless how you start, what matters is what you make of it, and Tucker has proven that she’s definitely making the most of her strength, training, and powerlifting career.

Feature image from @pumping.fe Instagram page. 

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USA Weightlifting, USOC Release Statements on President’s Immigration Order

On Friday, January 27th, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that, among other stipulations, suspends admissions for Syrian refugees and limits the flow of other refugees and entrants from certain countries into the United States.

Uncertainty over the order’s impact and future still remain, and several governing bodies in the sports world — detailed below — have issued statements in response.

Under the order, persons from seven countries are barred from entering the United States for the next 90 days, and the US Refugee Admissions Program is suspended for 120 days. The countries primarily impacted are Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia. On Saturday, a federal judge in Brooklyn issued a stay that temporarily blocks part of the order.

In response to this executive order, Iran vowed to take reciprocal measures which include temporarily barring Americans from obtaining visas to enter their country. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has said any Americans who currently possess a valid Iranian visa will have it honored.

On Monday, USA Weightlifting posted an official statement on their website quoting CEO Phil Andrews. His quote appears below, in part referencing the 2017 World Weightlifting Championships scheduled to take place in California later this year:

“Our view is that politics and sport should be separate. Weightlifting provides an excellent opportunity to interact with our fellow nations from all parts of the planet in a peaceful and cooperative fashion.

At this time, we are still working out what impacts beyond the initial 90 day period that this issue may have, both on Iran’s participation in the World Championships in Anaheim, CA, and on our own team’s participation in the Fajr Cup in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

We sincerely hope to peacefully welcome these 7 nations to Anaheim this November. It is unimaginable to be able to host a true World event without their participation.”

In addition, the United States Olympic Committee issued a statement by Chairman Larry Probst and USOC CEO Scott Blackmun. From the body of the message:

We have been specifically asked about the impact that the executive order could have on athletes and officials coming to the United States to compete. Recognizing the extraordinary power of international sport to bring people together in a peaceful celebration of friendship, excellence and respect, the U.S. government has today advised us that it will work with us to ensure that athletes and officials from all countries will have expedited access to the United States in order to participate in international athletic competitions.

 

In the world of strength sports, Olympic Weightlifting specifically, there are at least two international events taking place this coming year where the executive order could impact competitors. In March, Iran will be hosting the 2nd International Fajr Cup, an International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) Grand Prix event where world records can be set.

In November, the 2017 World Weightlifting Championships are set to take place in Anaheim, California. 

While March’s Fajr Cup is still over a month away, and the World Championships are toward the end of the calendar year, it’s still unclear what impact — if any — President Trump’s executive order could have on strength sport competition both in the United States and abroad.

In a move from another Olympic sport’s US governing body, USA Wrestling announced early this week that they still plan to send a team to Iran in two weeks to compete in a freestyle wrestling tournament.

Editor’s Note: BarBend is the Official Partner of USA Weightlifting and maintains full editorial independence.

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How to Improve Running Without Sacrificing Strength

Functional fitness typically attracts two groups of people: those who like to lift weights, and those who like to do cardio. So every time the coach writes up a running WOD on the whiteboard, you’re likely to hear two equally distinct responses, one cursing the gods and the other relishing the opportunity to shine. While those in the latter group might be looking at the run as little more than active recovery, the iron junkies among you know that a slow run will ruin your score.

It doesn’t have to be that way, and with the following slight additions to training, you can turn running from a fear to a strength.

1. Fat

Like pull-ups, running is one of those movements that suddenly makes you extremely conscious of of every ounce of fat you’re carrying. This is especially true if the run is longer than a few minutes, after a while it can start to feel like you’re wearing a weights vest. It’s not just the extra stress it’s putting on your muscles and cardiovascular system, though; that dead weight is also putting unnecessary on your joints.

Remember that every stride subjects your foot to roughly 4 times your bodyweight, making that extra few pounds you gained over Christmas ever more noticeable. Fortunately the remedy is as simple as it is effective: make better food choices. As the old adage goes, you can’t out train a bad diet.

It’s worth addressing the elephant in the room, especially as this guide is about improving running without sacrificing strength. You don’t need to be fat to be strong. It can certainly help, but it’s far from a prerequisite. If you need any reassurance on the matter, look at u90kg strongmen, barely an ounce of fat on them, yet they’re often out-lifting many men twice their size. Losing fat to make you a more complete athlete is almost always a good idea for a fitness athlete or anyone who has health and performance as priorities.

2. Sprints

I believe the CrossFit Games have bucked this trend as of late, but outside of the highest levels of competition, many functional fitness athletes aren’t doing a lot of long, steady state runs relative to their other training. This is probably in part because they are such a nightmare for both the gym owner and competition organizer alike. As such, you are unlikely to ever come across many workouts with a run longer than 5km; what’s more likely is that you’ll instead be confronted by lots of short bursts of up to a mile. Worst case scenario you’ll be running uninterrupted for roughly seven minutes, of course most of the time it will be a lot closer to 90 seconds or two minutes.

The best way to improve moving fast is to practice exactly that. It doesn’t have to be a lot, to begin with just one fifteen minute session will yield results.

  • 3 x 60m runs at 60%
  • 3 x 50m runs at 70%
  • 4 x 40m runs at 80%
  • 5 x 40m all out sprint
  • Rest as long as is needed to feel you can match the speed of the previous set.

Add ten meters to the length of each set every other week until the distance of your final set is 70m. A word of warning if you haven’t sprinted since school, then you might want to take a little longer to warm up and get the body firing. Otherwise you might find yourself with a nasty hamstring tear.   

3. Nervous System

The better a runner someone is, the more tired they tend to be after a sprint. As counterintuitive as it sounds, all you need to do is keep an eye out the next time “Murph” is written on the whiteboard. After the first run and bodyweight work has come to an end, watch out for the difference between the experienced runners and the rest on that final mile.

The less experienced runners will often call time looking tired and worn down but barely out of breath. On the other hand, their more experienced counterparts will seem more on the brink of death. On the surface this looks like one group simply working harder, but that isn’t necessarily the case. Instead it has to do with your body’s nervous system and it’s ability to push through fatigue on a unfamiliar movement. Research has shown that if you’re unfamiliar with a movement, then you won’t have the sufficient coordination to put down the power you need. Especially when you’re tired, leaving yourself plodding along, unable to command your legs to go faster.

Fortunately this is impossibly simple to rectify; it just takes more running. But instead of dedicating your weekends to hitting the trails or signing up for a 10k, you can make huge improvements by just adding small runs into your daily life. It’s a concept known as greasing the groove, where you practice a movement as much as possible without ever pushing it near failure.

These don’t need to or even want to be long planned runs. Instead they want to be short opportunistic runs, to the shop, to the gym or to work, anywhere that is feasible and within a couple of miles is a perfect opportunity. I appreciate that not everyone has a place for this groove runs, if this is you then make do with 20 minutes before or after the class to get a few laps in, just as you would with any skill work. These easy everyday miles, both sharp tune your nervous system firing while simultaneously gently increasing the amount of time spent on your feet. Bringing us nicely onto our next point.

4. Time on your feet.

The importance of spending more time on your feet might sound more like the sort of propaganda a standing desk salesman might spew than running advice. I read in one of Charles Staley’s books that Russian Sprinters weren’t allowed to start running until they could jump from a 10ft ladder onto concrete without injury. He credited this as nothing more than a rumor but there’s an important message hiding within the tale, your feet like the rest of your body are supported by tiny stabilizing muscles. The difference between your feet and the rest of your body though is that in general we neglect our feet, instead strapping them into overly supportive shoes or just by sitting down for the majority of the day. To build those muscles back up we just need to train them, like any other muscle with a combination of volume and heavy work.

The volume work is easy, walk and stand as much as possible. Barefoot if you can, if not, minimal or flat shoes like Converse are a brilliant alternative. The heavy part requires access to a gym and ideally a bit of strongman equipment. If you have a yoke 5 sets of 40m barefoot walks at bodyweight is a great starting point, if not you can use farmers walks or dumbbells with roughly the same weight spread across both hands. The point of these movements are not to go really heavy or to even be fast but instead to move in a controlled manner making sure each step is completely smooth and pain free. (Note when training barefoot check for sharp debris, I stepped on a nail with 80kg a hand on farmers walks and it hurt).  

Editors note: This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein 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 of Christo Bland

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The 2017 Arnold Classic Strongman Preview: Athletes to Watch

In just a few short weeks, Columbus, Ohio will play host to the largest gathering of strength sport athletes on the planet. Everyone who considers themselves a serious weight training fan or athlete knows about the spectacle of the of the Arnold Sports Festival and craves the outcome of multiple world class contests. For the strongman aficionado, this year is bigger and more amazing than ever.

Zydrunas Savickas

The event that started it all, The Arnold Strongman Classic, is now the crown jewel in the Arnold Pro Strongman World Series. An invitation only event that is the heaviest contest on the planet will take center stage Friday, March 3 at 3:30. Last year’s champion, Zydrunas Savickas (Lithuania), looks to defend his title against Brian Shaw (USA), Hafthor Bjornsson (Iceland), Krzysztof Radzikowski (Poland), last year’s amateur world champ Zach Hadge (USA), and a field full of stacked athletes. More action will follow Saturday at 1:30 and the finals will be held that night for ticket holders at 7PM.

A completely different style than the World’s Strongest Man Contest is presented in Ohio. The mind-blowing weights shift the athlete’s focus to pure limit strength rather than physical conditioning and athleticism. Many consider the victor of this event to be the strongest man on the planet, and it is easily the most live viewed contest of the year. If you plan on watching, work your way to the stage early, as this standing room only event will be a few thousand people deep by the start.

Not to be outdone, the new class of professional women will kick off the inaugural Arnold Pro Strongwoman contest Saturday morning with the preliminaries starting at 10 AM and then moving to the Rogue Strength Stage for the finals at 2 PM. This contest is host to ten women from all three weight classes and is an earn your way in event. Using a similar format to the men’s contest, the athletes will face off  in grueling tests of strength including the circus dumbbell, deadlift, and crowd favorite; the stones. With a minimum $10,000 payout, you will see motivated athletes on top of their game including Kimberly Lawrance, Kaitlin Burgess, and Brittany Cornelius. Personally, I am looking forward to seeing what the last year of training has done for this new class and expect some world class efforts.

Mike Jenkins (USA), Adam Scherr (USA and WWE superstar), Donna Moore (UK), Mikhail Shivlyakov (Russia), and Mateusz Kieliszkowski (Poland) are all past winners of the Arnold Amateur World Championships and now household names in the strongman world. Athletes looking to get to the big leagues often prep all season long for a shot at winning the event, and with over 175 athletes this year, a star is certain to be born. All corners of the globe will be represented at this event that takes place on Friday starting at 10AM.  

Because strongman is the most athletic sport on the planet — in my opinion — the male and female strongman athletes are one of the Arnold’s highlights. At this level, you must possess strength, power, speed, technique, and an abundance of anaerobic endurance or you won’t make the cut! The finals hit the main stage on Sunday at 1:30 PM.

In the strongman world, the athletes know very few limits. Competitors of all sizes are well represented at every contest. Now, for the first time at the Arnold, Strongman Corporation will host the 2017 Strongest Disabled Man contest. On Sunday starting at 10 AM, athletes who face different obstacles in their daily routine will have the opportunity to push, pull and lift for a crowd of thousands.

The modified events like stones, overhead press, and timed hold will determine this champion and will be a great contest for the fans of the sport. I attended this contest in 2015 at a smaller venue in Ohio and was thoroughly impressed with the quality of lifting exhibited. This event rounds out the largest gathering of Strongmen on the planet.

Make sure to take in as much of each event that you can. The variety of what is offered is unparalleled and can motivate you to train harder or to go out and support your local contests. The entire convention is a crazy setting of like minded people from the world over, and new friends await the camaraderie that strength sports bring. See you in Columbus!

Featured image: Michele Wozniak, Strongman Corporation

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