I didn’t think it would do justice to how amazing this experience was to lump it in together with my regular weekly diet/training update, so this post will solely be about my first Strongman class. I will pop back later in the week for the rest.
A few people have asked what the difference between powerlifting and strongman events are, so here is a very quick simplification. Powerlifting meets focus around the absolute strength of your squat, deadlift and bench press. You have three attempts at each lift, and your highest successful lifts add to your ‘total’ – which then goes up against the totals of others in your weight class.
Strongman competitions are what you may have seen on television, with the World’s Strongest Man being most well-known. These events about moving as much weight as possible, sometimes as single maxes but more commonly lifting over a certain period of time or distance. This involves objects other than barbells, including cars, airplanes and atlas stones to name a few. There are many events involved, and each competition will vary.
Back to the recap. I was SO nervous on Thursday. I was afraid of being the weakest person there, or making a fool of myself by not having a clue what I was doing.
The class lasted three hours, but only 90 minutes of that was actual working time. We spent a lot of time setting up and the newbies had to learn the moves beforehand. There were 22 people training, including nine women.
We transported all the equipment from the gym down to the park in two trucks. I was helping unload the truck and one guy passed a 25kg plate beyond me to the man next to me, saying ‘no offence’. Well, I wasn’t offended but I made sure he knew I could handle a lot more than 25kg!!! Haha
As we walked through the drills, I got a bit more respect. We started with a 35kg log press, and I watched woman after woman fail to even clean the log, let alone press it. So I was surprised when I got it up easily. Then we moved on to the tyre flips and only two other women could flip the tyre without assistance (it weighed around 100kg). I should point out that these two women are beastly strong – one of them almost got the 60kg log press up!
The session consisted of two halves. We started off in groups of three, making our way around each station and working together for 3-4 minutes, resting as necessary. Then we split into groups of four, and each person had to do as many reps as possible in one minute. This way, you had three full minutes of rest before your next event.
We started with the log press in the first round, and I managed to do about 15 reps while feeling strong. I was still trying to learn the technique (it’s awkward as hell).
The log press ended up being our final exercise of the second round, and I had to do it right after the crucifix. My shoulders were absolutely ruined and I only managed five proper reps, even though I had the coach yelling right in my face.
I loved doing farmers walks! The guy in my group (who was a complete beast, by the way!!) tried to get me to use the ‘man’s’ weight (62.5kg per side) but I chickened out and stuck to 45kg in each hand. I managed 70 metres in one minute. I have absolutely no idea if that’s good or not.
The tyre flip was my absolute favourite exercise. I happily went twice in the second round on behalf of the other lady in my group, and my best effort was 40 metres in one minute.
I’m so pissed I didn’t get a photo of me doing the yoke! This felt like the most badass exercise. It was really awkward to get the movement right at first, as I felt it kept slipping off my back, but the weight was easy. We skipped this in the second round, so I have no formal results.
We did an arm-only pull of the prowler and this felt so easy to me. I enjoyed being the weight!
The carry medley involved carrying various objects such as kegs, filled sacks and boxing bags from one side of the field to the other. My teammate tricked me (the same one who wanted me to go for the heavier farmers walk!) and made me lift everything, before I found out there was designated ‘male’ and ‘female’ weights.
The crucifix was the worst, most embarrassing exercise. You basically just hold weights at your side for as long as you can. I started off with 4kg dumbbells and had to drop down to 2.5kg plates after 30 seconds. My arms were shaking and I haven’t been able to lift my arms since! You can see me doing it in the video below (click here if it doesn’t appear):
Our coach was Britain’s eighth (I think?) strongest man, and he told me right away that he was impressed with my strength. A few times throughout the session he asked how many reps I’d done and then asked me if I was joking when I replied! At the end, he looked at me square in the eye and told me I am going to be a strongwoman (competitor)!
Rob came to watch the last hour of the class (you can see him at the start of the video, yawning away haha) and he overheard some of the guys talking about how strong and badass I was!
The whole environment was very supportive – I can see why people love CrossFit so much 😉 Everyone cheers you on and wants you to succeed. My gym runs these classes in the park every two weeks, and I seriously can’t wait for the next one. I know I definitely want to compete in either powerlifting or strongwoman events (there, I said it!) but I just don’t know when yet.
Have you ever done or would you ever do a Strongman class?