Southern Qualifiers for ESM u90kg ’14

Setting up my own gym was one of two goals I set at the start of year. The other was qualification for England’s Strongest Man 2014, the path for which was by qualification of the top five strongest in Southern England on March 16th at Strength Tec gym in Fareham.

The run up for this had been pretty smooth, under the guidance of Winning Health Solutions Owner and 2013 England’s Strongest Man Tom Hibbert, I’d increased my strength greatly and was feeling pretty good about my chances for top 5 based upon what I thought I’d make on the day.

The morning was perfect, leftover rib roast and nuts and a smooth drive down to Fareham with the usual ridiculous songs blaring in the car; Bowling for Soup, Kelly Rowland and One Direction etc. I took food with me including burgers, sweet potato, nuts and protein shakes etc, not favouring the typical Strongman diet of Lucozade and Jelly Babies etc.

The events went as follows:

Event 1: 170kg Axle Back Squat (As many reps as possible in 75s)

I’d said before that I would be happy with 2 reps, delighted with 3. My previous best was 170kg x 1! With extra adrenaline and focus, I managed 4 reps! (Ironically, this was the event I scored least points in and needs to be my focus over the next few months alongside my overhead strength if I want to compete with the best).

Event 2: Overhead Medley (60kg DB Press/80kg Block Press/100kg Axle Press/120kg Log Press)

The event coming in I was most worried about. I’d managed the 60kg DB once so knew it was 50/50 whether or not I’d make it. I had comfortably lifted a 60kg block but had never managed the 80kg (having only practised once) so was concerned about this one. I had lifted the 100kg Axle before but never after completing the previous two. The 120kg Log I wasn’t even contemplating, although my Log had increased exponentially over the previous 8 weeks, my PB was only 105kg.

I started with the DB and was close on the first rep, getting it close to lock out but not committing so losing balance. From there it made it very difficult and wasn’t close on second attempt. Strength was there but more practice required! I missed the Axle the first time round but we were allowed a second attempt because the DB broke and I nailed the Axle comfortably on the second round. The block wasn’t attempted as I wanted to save myself for the next event.

Event 3: Deadlift Max

A strong event for me, I already had pulled 260kg so after the previous events was hoping for at least that but had 270kg in my mind. 200kg – easy. 230kg – easy. 250kg – easy. Then the bar rose to 270kg, a big jump, I was hoping it would rise to 260kg. I broke it off the floor which is the most difficult part but didn’t have enough in the tank to keep it going. Had to settle with 250kg, not bad but 270kg would have scored much better points.

Event 4: 75kg Tyre/80kg Block/100kg Keg (15m each)

I’m pretty good at moving events so was looking forward to this. I was 3rd/4th fastest in this so picked up good points. Sprinting between events really helped to move me up places!

Event 5: 120kg Farmers Walk (Each hand) x 30m

Another good event for me, having already done this I was confident of posting a good time. 18s total scored me 5th place which I was happy with although I was aiming for top 3.

Overall I finished 7th out of 17 which certainly wasn’t what I was aiming for but 10th-6th was split by 2 points so perhaps the final placing wasn’t a fair reflection of what I felt was a fairly successful day. Regardless, 6th is the same as 10th and so my focus moves on to my next two competitions back to back in June, Southampton’s Strongest Man and then a week later, Britain’s Natural Strongest Man Qualifiers which I’m hoping to do well in.

Unfortunately the goal of qualifying will have to wait until next year but a very heavy competition with great athletes will make the rest of this year and next seem much easier.

Finally I want to say a massive thank you to all those that support me on my journey. My training partners; Robbo and Keith (both budding Strongman athletes), my business partner and huge source of inspiration, Ben, Tom Hibbert who provides a wealth of knowledge and guidance, all my friends, family and clients who give so much support and of course my girlfriend Franki, my rock and pivotal to all I do.

On to the next one. Big plans for the next 12 weeks and (another) big announcement coming up in next month.


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