by James Smith
On Sunday 30th August I travelled down to Bridgend in Wales to compete for the title of Britain’s Natural Strongest u90kg. This was my biggest competition to date so although I was a little nervous, I was also looking forward to the day as my training had been good and I was feeling in good shape.
I weighed in at 87kg after breakfast and with all my clothes on, phone in pocket etc so definitely need to increase my lean muscle for next year!
Event 1: Max Deadlift
I was looking forward to this as had never had a max pull in comp and had set some good numbers for reps in training. Starting weight was 240kg which went up no problem although as the bar was so sharp I actually ripped one of my callus’ off my hand which made the subsequent lifts and events a bit painful! Setting up to 260kg I felt apprehensive as I knew I should get it but it wasn’t a given! I missed the first attempt after doubting myself but after some encouragement I re-strapped and pulled an easy rep just on the time limit. Thank god!! Next up was 270kg which was a 7.5kg PB, this flew up! I then asked for 280kg which I got to my knee but proved a step too far. Happy enough and middle of the pack. Well done to Adam Hales who pulled 290kg at 86kg bodyweight for a British Natural record!
Event 2: 95kg Axle Clean and Press from 18″
PB was 4, beforehand I wanted 7 but knew I needed a few more for good points. First 5-6 reps were perfect, snappy belt cleans and quick jerks but just ran out of gas. Finished with 8 reps which was poor points, winner got 13 but was a big PB so was happy enough. Overhead is always a weak event for me so definitely a focus in the next 6 months.
Event 3: 340kg Yoke x 15m
Very heavy yoke, not far off 4 x bodyweight! Saw a few guys go ahead of me and knew that not dropping would be the most important thing! All I remember is the weight not feeling too bad on the pick up, I got moving quickly and managed to get to the end without dropping. Looking back at the video my legs were very wobbly but who cares, 2nd place, delighted with this!
Event 4: 150kg Anvil Carry for max distance
The most awkward implement ever, horrible pick up, banging off your hips, could barely grip it! Looking back again I could see not a high enough pick up which cost me an extra length or two so finished mid pack again. Definitely something which I could have improved upon!
Event 5: 78kg DB/100kg Sandbag x 15m + Drag
Solid event for me, knew I could make up some points here. Slight mistake on sandbag pick up cost me slightly but me and Tom who I was racing got 1st and 2nd, I lost out by less than 1/2 a metre so was ecstatic with the result.
Event 6: 100/125/135/145/155kg Stones to 52″
Originally the weights said they were going to much lighter so when the weights changed to the above I knew I’d struggle, I just hadn’t focused on this in training as much as I needed to. Going in to it I knew if I got the first 3 stones quickly it would be probably as good as I could have done, unfortunately technique and fatigue let me down and I was unable to load the third. Lower end of the pack for sure, this event cost me big points although I still wasn’t too disappointed as 125kg was as heavy as I’d done.
2 x 2nd place, PB in every event and my first final in a competitive field being not too far off 3rd place left me feeling pretty pleased with my performance and definitely increased my desire to train harder, get stronger and to come back next year and fight for a podium spot!