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1st Competition Write-Up: TX Hill Country Strongman 2016

First competition ever in the books!
I weighed in at 181, and competed in the under 200 Open division.

Event 1: Log Clean & press (max)
Score: 0

I ended up opening with 190#. In training, I was repping 185 with the axle, and hit well above 2 with clean & pressing barbells & neutrals, so 190 sounded good. nope.

I cleaned it easily, but once it racked across my shoulders I just could not get myself to produce leg drive. I did a small dip but it just didn’t propel the bar & ended up trying to quasi press it. I tried a coulple of times but just couldn’t press it beyond 90 degrees. Dropped it and zeroed.

What i learned The log had large diameter, 12.5-13" I think. All the guys were a bit disappointed in their performance as everyone was saying they were hitting way higher reps in training. So what I’ll carry over to the next comp is

  1. open with a weight I can strict press, that way I get on the board despite what sort of implement is used.

  2. Learn the split Jerk! If i can get my technique solid, I think I can get some much higher numbers.

Event 2: Keg toss series, 8 kegs to 14-15’ in 60 seconds
Score: 2 kegs

So I think the rock trowing really paid off. If nothing else, it taught me to follow through with my body and eyes. The kegs were filled with sand, and flew much different than the rocks though. I missed the first keg by a hair, retrieved it, and blasted through 2 (30#). I got hung up on the third & lost my rythem. Tossed it a bunch of times both from the handles and on the side but just didn’t quite clear.

What I learned
I need to work on really achieving that full extension. I wasted way too much energy during the “pre-toss” where I swung it up to chest height, then back between the legs, then all the way. I didn’t do this with the rocks, and won’t do it again.

Event 3: 50’ harness, 50’ push, run to start, 50’ hand-over-hand with F350
Score: 1:23

It took me a moment to get going, but I got low and moved pretty damn quickly actually with the harness. Lost a lot of time in the push though, it literally took about twice as long. Don’t think i got low enough and I should have taken choppier strides. The arm-over-arm was cake (relatively) and I did it quickly. Was gassed for like 10 minutes after this.

What I learned I need to get better at pushing things!

Event 4: 525# deadlift from mats for reps in 60 seconds
Score: 0

I strapped in, & pulled as hard as I could. On the third try I bent the bar a bit and saw a lot of stars, but that was as far as that went lol.

What I learned I need to pull more!

**Event 5: Altas stone series 60" -175 / 56"-210 / 52"-240 / 48"-305 (for reps)
Score: hit the 240 (but was only 1/3 to break the ground with the 305)

I thought the 3rd stone was 275, I’ll edit in my log. But we went around a square & dumped the stone over a bar. The thing was NOT made well enough for what it was going to go through though haha. the 240 was fairly tough but I managed to get it up there. The 305 was something though. I actually got it to the knees twice, and ALMOST lapped it the first time. 2 other guys (who finished 1 & 2) got 2 reps with it, but besides them I take solace in the fact that I was the only other person to break it off the floor.

What I learned You can never have too much tacky! Next time I’m also going shirtless, the shirt was not my friend in this one. I do need to work on pulling though in a manner that my lower back isn’t thrashed afterwards.

I had a wonderful time. The camaraderie was top notch. Everyone was letting people borrow their equipment, offering tips (to those in their own class!), and there was no shortage of encouragement.

As far as the show. I enjoyed it but a lot of competitors got VERY frustrated by how long things were taking & how it was organized. It took 2 1/2 hours from between events 2 and 3. We began around 10am, and were competing until about 5pm. On the keg toss the bar fell down & they made the dude (who was close to finished) start over at keg number one. He seemed understandably irritated. Lots of people left before it was over. I would still like to compete in this one again though. The expo was cool, and I really want to come back filled out with muscle and kick some ass next year!

I’m happy I did this. I learned so much that I never thought about while training, and now have a really good budget plan so-to-speak regarding how I need to be spending my training dollars. Why on Earth did I ever fret over my back squat numbers? haha.

I’d strongly recommend competing to anyone who’s interested in the sport. And I have every intention of doing one again in the near future!

Lastly a huge thank you to all those who’ve offered guidance, advice, and support. It’s greatly appreciated and I’ll do my best to pay it forward.


What Ive found has helped with pressing is to train the strict press and anything requiring a push or jerk separately. You could alternatively clean, then strict press, in training. Glad you had a good time.

@Aero51 Thanks man. That sounds like a good Idea. I’m thinking about just running 531 for strongman (like I had originally planned) and strict press on the upper body day, and work on my split jerk technique on events day.

Also I’ll just keep pulling from the floor. The comp was supposed to be tires but we were damn near about to pull from the floor were mats not an option.

Great work dude! Especially showing up so light to an open contest. You said in your log and I agree; 175 is probably your weight class for now, but competing up is just awesome.

You get any video?

If you can split jerk a log, more power to you. I know some folks can manage, and it’s a viable technique if you can get it sorted out. As you’ve seen; diameter plays a HUGE role with getting the log moving.

Your medley experience sounds pretty typical; get it done, then suffer for a long time, haha.

I’m glad it was your first show for you to not get too upset over how it was run. 2.5 hour delay is real long, but when you got the excitement going, it’s not too bad. Terrible for the spectators.

And just wait until you can piss off the entire internet when you let them know you’re not concerned about squat numbers, haha.

Good stuff. You’re officially a strongman dude.

@T3hPwnisher Thanks man! It was kind of funny, organizers kept asking me “175?” and when I told them Under 2 they gave me a sort of look like “your funeral dude.” Haha

My family did get some video indeed, I’ll figure out how to post some later.

Yeah man did it ever. I know you guys were saying it would, but it’s hard to understand until you’re under it. The dudes split jerking looked so clean, but yeah with the amount of drive I was getting my current technique wouldn’t have cut it. I want to really practice getting deep quickly.

Yeah I was just having a blast, but it was getting more & more difficult to recharge between events. Luckily for the spectators there were lots of competitions going on around us: crossfit, powerlifting, weightlifting, bodybuilding/bikini shows, grappling, kettlebell comps, and tons of stands. The upside to waiting so long between events was that I got to check out some cool stuff.

Yeah the hills didn’t have anything on that medley. Gave me some crazy back spasms too. I also realized that I need more unilateral leg work than just hill sprints.

Haha, well a least I’ve got some back-up! But hey, according to the internet a deadlift with straps isn’t a deadlift at all, so really we don’t even lift.

Thanks a lot man for all of the advice you’ve given me. Glad to finally be a part of the community!

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Definitely check out the Medley’s thread in the strongman forum for some ideas. Try to come up with your own crazy torture and share it. It’s always awesome to see the insanity percolating in the minds of other strongmen.

Thanks for the tip, I’m going to check that out indeed, and add a few sadistic/masochistic contributions of my own!

Where was this in the Hill Country?

@ChickenLittle It was in Austin, TX

Okay thanks. I am about 75 miles from Austin. Would have been fun to drive over and watched the show. Maybe next year.

Oh nice. Yeah it was part of the “Naturally Fit Games,” they’ve done it for at least a couple of years now.

It was a big expo with a lot of events going on. They had physique shows, oly lifting, grappling, strongman, crossfit, powerlifting; the works. Hopefully though next year the strongman portion will run a bit smoother.

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Hey, good job seeing it all through. Training for it and giving it your best really says a lot. I’m very much looking forward to your future shows man!

@strongmanvinny2 Thanks man, and I am too haha! And thank you for all of the advice you gave me along the way.

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Hey man, sounds like you had a really good experience and learned a lot. A brutal competition weight-wise as well. Been following your log and was excited to read about your competition! It sounds like this was bot your last one? :wink:
Congratulations to your achievements, great job!

@Koestrizer Thanks!

I did learn a lot indeed. Training just doesn’t compare to the real thing. Even the “stage fright” aspect of it has some effect on performance. Glad to have had you along the the way.

Not at all senor. I want to get better and do another. I’ve been perusing looking for another comp and there are quite a few in TX. One’s in my city next weekend no less. But we’re going on vacation in early-mid August and trying to save every penny we’re able until then, so any additional expenditures are on the back burrner. I’m stoked for vacation but saving kind of sucks because there’s literally like 4 contests this month in driving distance. That one in my city though is super tempting haha, and the Branch Warren Classic is in my hometown this month too; I’d save on hotel fees at least. I’m keeping my eye out though.

There’s one going on in the middle of my vacation called “Beer, Beards, & Beast” which is a craft beer festival, beard competition, & strongman contest. They would have that while I’m a thousand miles away… bastards.

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Worse comes to worse, you could always volunteer to help out at the show. Won’t get to scratch the competition bug, but you can learn a lot from watching.

Awesome to be in a bit of a strongman mecca there though.

That’s a really good idea. The owner of my gym is actually one of the hosts of the competition next weekend, I could ask if he needs any extra hands.& the guy who helped bring it to the table is the one who showed me how to use the stones, so I certainly owe him one.

Yeah man I didn’t really realize it until I opened my eyes I guess. Football (American for anyone else reading) is essentially a religion here, so I guess that carries over pretty heavily toward the relative popularity of strength-based sports. I’ve got a pin in a bunch of things for next year that should circle back around.

I need to participate badly! I did brew my own beer in the past, I have a beard and would like to become a beast :smiley: so with 2/3 I think I qualify. All kidding aside I really envy you that conpetitions are so easy to find and participate in for you!
I recently contacted the GFSA (german federation of strength athletes - german strongman federation) to ask what my options are since I still am a beginner and can not compete in the 2nd league or open cups but am not allowed to enter in a beginner cup again. The head organizer’s answer was basically “train more”. Not the worst advice but I think training for competitions makes you infinetely stronger than training just for yourself.

All the best wishes for you going forward!

Haha, yeah it sounds to be about as much fun as you can have within the realm of legality.

Aw man that’s a bit of a bummer, how many years away would you be stength-wise before you think you’d be ready? Yeah having a specific goal really drives focus for sure. You could always have SM as the cornerstone for your strength training but pursue other physical challenges were you so inclined.

You could get together with some people and host a small non sanctioned competition. Maybe have a BBQ afterword. If I was living in Germany Id go.