24 Mar Here’s why you should try a Strongman Competition, at least once in your life.
Strongman Competition, camaraderie and community.
Back in 2018, I prepared for and competed in my first Strongman Competition This was the first time that I realised the competitors’ cheers were louder than the crowds. Now this is something that really struck me. My “Competitors” who I thought would want nothing more than to crush me, were literally my BIGGEST supporters. This experience was nothing short of a spiritual awakening.
– Corneille JS and Luke D (2021) Spontaneous Spiritual Awakenings: Phenomenology, Altered States, Individual Differences, and Well-Being. Front. Psychol. 12:720579. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.720579
Spiritual awakening is a term given to describe a subjective experience in which an individual’s ego transcends their ordinary, finite sense of self to encompass a wider, infinite sense of truth or reality.
This is why I believe strength sport saved me – My first Strongman Competition.
Fast forward to March 19th, 2022 – Tasmanian’s Strongest, Strongman Competition.
Four years have now passed and the world has been through a global pandemic, natural disasters and political turmoil. Yet the moment we arrived at the Longley International Hotel the troubles of the past washed away at the sight of huge humans and raw iron. I would like to clarify that when I say huge humans I mean both in stature and heart.
When we find our place in this world, many challenges we have faced will now seem insignificant in comparison to the potential we earn.Alex Howearth – PT Unlimited
I will do my best to explain what this feels like. Then give you a peek behind the curtain of competing with amazing humans on the shoulders of strength sport.
The Strongman Competition
You spend several months, if not years preparing for some of these events, especially since the global pandemic . The ongoing workouts, learning techniques and inevitable injuries that arise along the journey never really dampening your spirits. You might think that statement is bending the truth, but hear me out. We have spent the greater part of 12 months training with our family in strength at Artgym in Hobart, Tasmania. The group of us have prepared and competed in several strength competitions over that time. From the world wide event Static Monster held at Portside Barbell in Devonport, Tasmania. This is where your heaviest log lift and wagon wheel deadlift are weighed up against over 1000 competitors world wide. To the Leviathan Strength Trials held out of Leviathan Strength, in Moonah, Tasmania. This event was heaps of fun for everyone involved and several gyms come together and test their strength with a variety of spectacles.
The Strongman Competitors
All of these competitions are like minded people with like minded goals, to get stronger than they were yesterday. One of the most amazing things in the world of strength sport is the unrelenting support for fellow competitors. Like I said before there is no one that cheers louder at a strength competition than then competitors as they edge closer or surpass each other in an event.
I cannot express just how profound this is to me, having a long history in the extremely competitive individual sport of swimming in which I had a good amount of success in my earlier years. There was very little support from the person on the blocks next to you, their goal was to win. Now if you’re competitive the target on your back casts a shadow that can be seen from space.
Competing for me is less about the people I’m standing next to and more about me making good on my promises to myself that I would give 100% to each effort and know full well this is exactly where I’m at in my strength journey.. 1 % better than last time, stronger than yesterday or simply just making it count.
The other side of the coin.
Side step that thought for a minute so that I can give you the other side of the coin too.
As everyone prepares to walk out onto the competition floor in the months leading up to an event, it’s inevitable for some of our training partners to lose momentum due to work, life or injury. Now you wouldn’t be amiss to think that this would mean they would drop off the wagon and come back after the fact or even drop off completely. But that simply isn’t how the world of strength sport exists as it has a way of drawing you back in even after a long hiatus, it’s just too difficult to give that feeling of strength away.
Leaving strength sport is like trying to throw away a tennis ball that is tethered to your hand.
You can get it a reasonable distance away, but at the end of the day you’re still connected to it whether you like it or not.
A true testament to this is the scores of men and women who show up to every event and dedicate the better part of their days, helping to run them, the Trainers, Coaches and would-be competitors who have fallen foul of injury that simply cannot stay away. Their dedication to sport and the event even when they can’t compete or claim glory is second to none. Having been in many high performance settings and seeing first hand how quickly support can switch to contempt exponentially reinforces how amazing this community is to me.
From the first day that you walk into the gym to try your hand at strength sport, strongman, powerlifting, arm wrestling or grip training you will find you are welcomed with open arms.
You’ll find people from school teachers, business owners, artists, manual and skilled trades and everything else in between. These titles no longer define who you are when you’re at the gym. Simply put, you no longer have any other expectation than to do your best at the time and give 100%.
You will find over time that things such as break ups, heartache, bad days, mental health and many other challenging times are all felt at the gym, but in that space you have an opportunity to work through it in positive ways. Poor mental health is something that I have suffered through personally for many years as well as in this last prep, even up to the day of the competition I was still suffering. But the support, encouragement and environment that is created in the strength sport community is a blinding light that washed out the darkness.
For those out there that are in the midst of challenges, there is many support services in place, see the below links
The Silent Hero’s of Strength
This is a particular story about one individual that to me represents the truest meaning of camaraderie.
After several injuries unrelated to the preparation and training for Tasmania’s strongest 2022.
This individual was forced to pull out of competition due to a quad rupture. Again this is the point at which many would concede and simply “see you next time”, but not this one! Even unable to train, they would show up every session to coach, console, direct and support any and all that needed it and with the heart of an absolute lion would be the person feeding you the information you needed to reach the next level.
Most competitors find it hard to be at the sidelines of the event. But not this one, instead of hiding, they chose to stand on the other side of the line and judge.
That is one of the most important and foundational reasons that I believe strength sport could be what’s missing in your life. Every single human that showed up on the day in an ‘Officials’ Shirt is or was a strength sports competitor, even when they can’t compete it is near impossible to keep these humans away! Close to a dozen volunteers helped to ensure the day went smoothly and it’s an environment where you can tell that each person is giving 100% to their role and responsibility.
The Strongman Competition Community
The strength sports community has a unique and versatile position. All facets of the community hold one another accountable to strength standards. When effective lines of communication are established it is an unstoppable driving force for positive change.Alex Howearth – PT Unlimited
At the end of the day
We all have an innate urge to be part of a group, community or club of like minded people whether we realise it or not. My only hope is that after reading this, if you haven’t already, do some investigation into some of the opportunities to practise strength in your local area. I hope that you too can feel the amazing support that strength has provided to me.
Thanks for taking the time to read, if you have a topic you would like to hear more on, comment below!
Yours In Strength – Big AL.
If you are looking for somewhere to try your hand in the strength sport arena here are some option.
Leviathan Strength – https://leviathan-strength-gym.business.site/?m=true
Artgym – https://www.artgym.com.au/
PT Unlimited – https://www.ptunlimited.com.au/
Van Demon Fitness – https://vandemonfitness.com/
FITT199 – https://www.facebook.com/fitt.Heidi/
Portside Barbell – https://www.facebook.com/PortsideBarbell/
The Strength Den – https://thestrengthden.com.au/
Online Strength Coaching
Zero Weakness – https://www.zerow.com.au/