Ok, you're in the gym hittin' the weights hard and seeing some pretty good results. You're watching what you eat and taking the right supplements. (If not stop reading and head to the Bodybuilding.com cyberstore immediately if not sooner!) But you wanna be strong, right? Sure, you're pretty strong. You can use almost the whole stack on most machines and do more weight than a lot of the guys in your gym. So you think you're strong? The problem is that defining and testing strength can be difficult.
First let's define strength. Strength, defined by Webster's Dictionary is being strong; toughness; durability; intensity. Ok, so that's a little general, although I like the words. Dr. Fredrick Hatfield (a.k.a. Dr. Squat) defines Strength as the "ability to contract your muscles with maximum force..." (67). I think this is more appropriate to our topic. What is the maximum amount of force you can generate, by contracting a muscle/muscle group, against a certain object (barbell/dumbbell)? Now that doesn't mean what can you hit for a double on Incline Bench. It means what's the actual amount of force you're pushing to move that bar off your chest and toward the ceiling. If you have 185 lbs on the bar and you're pushing it up with relative ease, than you're generating more than 185 lbs of force. Make sense? (Nod your head.) Ok, so we now know what strength is, but how is it tested?
What makes you strong? The sport of strength athletics and strongman competitions are designed to find out who is the strongest. While some argue that they don't test absolute strength, they test what can be called functional strength or athletic strength. Not only can the athlete move heavy objects, but they also have the cardiovascular development to carry out certain carrying, dragging, or hoisting and loading tasks as fast as possible. Strongman competitions have different events testing different skills and strengths. These events may test grip strength, leg and back strength, and stamina and they have evolved over the history of strongman competitions. In future articles, I will discuss things like training for certain events, increasing functional strength, writing up a workout that will help you achieve your goals, and many others.
Many of you out there have done some powerlifting, bodybuilding, or other sports with some nice success. If you're looking for a challenge, something different and fun, and something that will really put your mind, body and training to the test go out and do a strongman competition. Everyone starts somewhere, and good luck. Check back for more articles, workouts, and information related to strongman competitions.