T Nation

Need Old School Randomness in Modern Strongman

Where are the log pulls across a river and canoe squats? I understand that Strongman is huge, so there need to be some standard core lifts, but I miss all the random crap.

The initial idea of WSM was to get strong people together and have them compete in events that they couldn’t or hadn’t trained specifically. That way, the effect of technique would be reduced and more would come down to general strength. That had some definite advantages, but some of the events ended up not working the best in my subjective opinion.

The final event of the WSM you showed was a several hundred meter race with 100 (if I remember right) kilos of bricks on their backs. The idea has merit, but I think it ended up being too long and light to really be a good WSM event. Metal bending is another event that I know some liked but I think didn’t work well as a competition, either from a spectator perspective or a good test perspective. The original truck pull had no rope in the hands so it was shaky. The head to head competitions like sumo and tug of war were interesting, but in my opinion the technique required was so great that it always came down to having relevant experience and good instincts rather than general strength.

Those are the kind of things that WSM and strongman in general worked through to develop the sport. The old school randomness, as you call it, had it’s good side, but it typically ended up with a couple events that didn’t pan out well and there was no good way to necessarily see that coming.

That said, I think the boat lift was a good event. The one problem it suffered from was that it was highly preferential to guys of a certain height. If you were too tall, you had to get down further and that made a big difference. If it gets brought back in, they should have a system to alter the starting height (or the platform height).

They still introduce new events on occasion, but they’ve tried a lot of them and weeded out a large number due to various issues. On that comes to mind is the car flip. You had to flip over a fully loaded car twice, then sprint across the finish line. Then, two guys were injured doing it one year and they never had it again.

Strongman was created for television. That’s why when it started in the1970s, there were so many unusual events, e.g., racing with a refrigerator strapped to your back. I happen to miss Conan’s Wheel. But all that was simply an update on what the old time performers did in the 19th century and early 20th century. No HBO back then. People went to see these guys – and a few women – for the entertainment.

A more accurate title would be World’s Strongest Men Performing Weird and Sometimes Funny Feats. But that’s a bit long for TV. :slight_smile:

Conan’s wheel will probably be back. The fridge carry is now two fridges on a yoke. The one fridge on your back is also interesting, but two is better than one.