This weekend, Columbus, Ohio, will play host to the largest gathering of strength sport athletes on the planet. Serious weight-training fans and athletes know all about the spectacle that is the Arnold Sports Festival and will come together to see who comes out on top in all of the world-class contests on display. And for you strongman aficionados, this year promises to be bigger and badder than ever.
Zydrunas Savickas Takes on the World
The event that started it all, The Arnold Strongman Classic, is now the crown jewel in the Arnold Pro Strongman World Series. This invitation-only event, the heaviest contest on the planet, will take center stage Friday, March 3, at 3:30 p.m.
Last year's champion, Zydrunas Savickas (Lithuania), will defend his title against Brian Shaw (USA), Hafthor Bjornsson (Iceland), Krzysztof Radzikowski (Poland), and last year's amateur world champ Zach Hadge (USA). More action will follow Saturday at 1:30 p.m. The finals will be held Saturday night at 7.
Going to the Strongman? Get There Early!
In the Arnold Strongman Classic, competitors perform in a completely different style than at the World's Strongest Man Contest. The Classic is all about the ability to lift mind-blowing weights, rather than physical conditioning and athleticism. It's pure, raw strength!
A lot of people consider the Strongman Classic victor to be the strongest man on the planet. For that reason alone, it is easily the most-watched live strength contest of the year. If you plan on attending in person, get there early to get close to the stage. The Classic will be standing room only, and the crowd will be a few thousand people deep by the start.
Women Versus the Circus Dumbbell and Stone
Not to be outdone, the new women's class will kick off the inaugural Arnold Pro Strongwoman contest Saturday morning. Preliminaries will start at 10 a.m., then move to the Rogue Strength Stage for the finals at 2 p.m.
This contest is host to 10 women from all three weight classes in an "earn your way in" event. Using a similar format to the men’s contest, the athletes will face off in grueling tests of strength, including the circus dumbbell, deadlift, and the stones, a big crowd favorite.
With a minimum $10,000 payout, you'll see some very motivated athletes compete at the top of their game. Look for Kimberly Lawrance, Kaitlin Burgess, and Brittany Cornelius to be in the top ranking. Personally, I'm looking forward to seeing what the last year of training has done for this new class. We'll all be looking for some world-class strength efforts.
A Star Will Be Born: Count on It
Mike Jenkins (USA), Adam Scherr (USA and WWE superstar), Donna Moore (UK), Mikhail Shivlyakov (Russia), and Mateusz Kieliszkowski (Poland) are all past winners of the Arnold Amateur World Championships, and all are now household names in the strongman and strongwoman world. Athletes looking to make it into the big leagues will prep all season long for a shot at winning the event.
With all this energy and more than 175 athletes competing, a star is certain to be born. All corners of the globe will be represented at this event that takes place on Friday starting at 10 a.m.
In my opinion, strongman is the most athletic sport on the planet, making the male and female athletes probably the biggest highlight of all. At this level of competition, every athlete must possess extraordinary strength, power, speed, and technique—along with an abundance of anaerobic endurance—to make the cut! The finals hit the main stage on Sunday at 1:30 p.m.
The Arnold's First Strongest Disabled Man Contest!
At this year's Arnold the Strongman Corporation will host the 2017 Strongest Disabled Man contest. Beginning Sunday at 10 a.m., athletes who face different obstacles in their daily routine will have the opportunity to push, pull, and lift for a crowd of thousands.
Modified events such as stones, overhead press, and timed hold will determine this champion, and it will be an amazing contest to witness. In 2015, I attended a disabled strongman event at a smaller venue in Ohio and was thoroughly impressed by the quality of lifting exhibited. This event rounds out the largest gathering of strongmen on the planet.
Take It All in!
Make sure to take in as much of each event as you can. The variety of what you will see is unparalleled and can motivate you to train harder—and to get out and support your local contests. The entire convention is a crazy setting of like-minded people from around the world, offering the chance to make new friends and enjoy the camaraderie that strength sports bring.
See you in Columbus!
Reprinted with permission from barbend.com.