2015 Arnold Amateur Strongman World Championships

13 03 2015

On March 6th I represented Canada in the 175lb weight class at the Arnold Amateur Strongman World Championships. At the end of the day I was tied for 4th in the World, which is a nice result, but one that has left me completely unsatisfied with my performance. You heard it here first- next year I will be the top Strongman in the world u175.

Here are the videos from my day!:

150lb Circus Dumbbell, 5 reps in 60s, 4th place

600lb Yoke walk, 120ft in 19.99s, 3rd place

287lb Farmers walk, 60ft in 20.62s, 8th place

500lb Deadlift medley, barbell x2 + axle x7 in 60s, 4th place





2014.07.02

2 07 2014

Dynamic warm-up: 20x jumping jacks, 20x seal jacks, 10x body weight squats; LAX ball for bottoms of feet and barbell flossing for calves; 10x body weight squats, 8x cat camel, 8x yoga push-up, lunge variations, 10x Cossack squats

Box jumps – 24″x5, 36″x3, 40″2×2, 42″x1, 44″x1, 46″x1, 48″x2

Speed DLs – 225×5, 315×5. Added belt: 405 @ 8×1 – Wasn’t sure if I was going to go this heavy but was quite happy with the bar speed.

1-arm standing landmine press – 45×8, 70×5, 90 @3×5 – Controlled eccentric with explosive push.

Anterior loaded split squat – 135 3×5 – Trying to get in more split stance work for the sake of my adductors.

T-bar row – 2×8 w/3s hold at top





My 2014 Iron Label Strongman Competition Recap

6 06 2014

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This past weekend I competed in the 2014 Iron Label Strongman Competition at the Toronto Pro SuperShow.  I competed in the 2013 contest on whim and it reignited my fire for the sport, leading me to the Arnold Strongman Fitness World Championships earlier this February. Unsatisfied with my result at the Arnolds, I’ve been training diligently to get stronger and improve my technique on the major strongman events.  My focus is squarely on the 2015 Arnold Championships, but in order to be prepared for that I need the valuable experience that comes from competitions like the SuperShow.

The first event of the day was the People Deadlift, which involved deadlifting a platform of people. The event started with 3 people on the appartatus. After one rep, another person would get on. If you were successful on this attempt, another person would get on and the platform would get heavier with each attempt until you were unable to lift the weight. After a random draw, I was to go fourth. The three guys in front of me managed 4 reps, 2 reps and 2 reps respectively. The apparatus was clearly quite heavy, so I was a bit tentative going into the lift; I’m a very strong deadlifter, but all the guys in this show were heavier than me so I wasn’t going to be overconfident.  When the dust had settled I managed to get 6 reps, or to sound more awesome: I deadlifted a platform with 8 people standing on it. The last 3 reps were extremely heavy and the final rep was probably the heaviest thing that I’ve ever lifted, but I was stubborn enough to make it happen. My 6 reps ended up being good for 3rd place in the event.

Note: I have videos of all the events but this one, so the following picture of rep #5 will have to do!

People Deadlift. Rep #5 of 6 with 7 people on the platform.

The second event was the sandbag carry for maximum distance. I’m not sure of the exact weight of the sandbag; in the video he says 380 lbs, but I think he meant to say 280 lbs which would make sense as it felt like it was close to 300 lbs. I bombed the carry event at the Arnolds in February so I wanted to make amends with this. I knew I needed to get it into a nice high carrying position from the get go so that I could move quickly. After 4 legs, I had to pause and switch from my over-under technique to a bear-hug; my under hand was losing strength fast. Thankfully the transition was quick and effective and I made it 9 legs, totaling 234 ft and good for 5th place in the event. I was sitting in 2nd place after two events.

The third event was the 700 lb yoke walk; 52 ft with one drop and turn at the halfway point. I was confident in my yoke going in, but my legs were jello after the sandbag carry. Not much to explain here: My first leg was lightening quick but once I dropped it and picked it up at the turn I failed to regain a good position and fumbled with it all the way to the finish line. My time of 22.83s put me in 8th place in the event, dropping me to 3rd overall through 3 events. This was far from my best effort, and I need to learn to be patient with my second pick of the implement in such an event.

The fourth event was a 300 lb stone over the bar for reps in 75 seconds. Last year in the same event I got 4 reps, so I was confident that I was good for at least 5 or 6. I love loading stones and I’m confident in my ability. With this in mind, you can imagine my chagrin when I picked up the stone, thrust it up towards the bar, and found myself stuck in my top position without the stone moving forward over the bar as it should. I’m not sure if the bar was higher than I was used to, if the pad on the bar caused me to lose momentum, or if I’d simply gotten shorter since last year. As you can see in the video, the stone itself was not too heavy, but I simply didn’t have the height or power to get it over the bar. Furthermore, you may notice that halfway through the event, I failed to load the stone and slightly blacked-out for a second or two. I fall out of the frame of the video and I was only on the ground for a second or two, but at one point I had no idea where I was. Once I figured it out, I decided to give it another go. After my final fail, I unleashed my inner Hulk. The zero on the event put me out of contention for the day, dropping me to 8th and without answers for how it happened. On the bright side, at least I didn’t pass out with the stone on top of me. Silver lining.

And because it’s awesome, here’s a better angle of my inner Hulk.

The final event of the day was the 125lb 1-arm circus dumbbell for max reps in 60 seconds. I bungled this event at the Arnold and felt this was my chance for redemption. Before going out on stage, I announced to my fellow athletes that 10 would be the number to beat after I was done. And this is how I followed that up…

My 10 reps were good for 3rd in the event, moving me into a 6th place finish overall.

The 6th place finish was not what I wanted, but I was happy with my overall performance. I executed 3 of the 5 events to the best of my ability, had a small hiccup on the yoke that could have been better, and the zero on the stone was less about strength and more about height and practice. If I have one take-away it’s that I need to find a way to get my hands on stones more often, so this is my new battle.

Supershow2014finalstandings

Again I’d like to thank everyone who helped me with my training, and a big shout out to RJ Kayser and the folks at Fortis Fitness; a great strongman training partner and the best training facility in Toronto.

For more info on strongman training, don’t hesitate to drop me a line!

-DW





My 2014 Arnold Strongman Fitness Recap

3 03 2014

Arnold-Sports-Festival

This past weekend I was one of 24 competitors in the 2014 Arnold Strongman Fitness competition, aka, the under-185 lb strongman world championship.

Although my normal body weight sits around 175 lbs, I gained 15 lbs in 6 months weighed-in at 190 lbs three days out from the show. Since I was a bit high, I simply gradually decreased my water, sodium and carbohydrate intake until weigh-in on the morning of Thursday February 27th. I hit a whopping 181 lbs on the scale at 8am (I may have overdone it a bit…) and spend the rest of the day re-hydrating and replenishing my body.

Going into the contest my goal was to qualify for Day 2, which was to take place on Sunday March 2nd. Although they only took the top- 4 finishers at last year’s inaugural competition I figured that this time around they would take 6 or 8 competitors from the field, as this year there were twice as many competitors. To my surprise and disappointment, I learned that they were once again only taking the top-4, so I knew it would be a very lofty goal to reach Day 2; one that I could surely achieve if all went well, but lofty indeed.

The competition started at 8am and the first event was the 150 lb 1-arm circus dumbbell press for max reps in 60 seconds. In training, I had done 5, and therefore had the goal of 6 or 7 reps in the contest. The contest dumbbell was a bit shorter than the one I used in training and had a thicker handle, so in my warm-ups I found that it sat on my shoulder a bit differently and that the lockout at the top was a bit more unstable. When the whistle blew for my turn, adrenaline took over and it cost me major points. I missed the lockout on my first rep and it was all downhill from there. After the miss I got a solid 3 reps before missing another lockout and hearing the final whistle. I was completely unsatisfied with this performance and knew it was a horrible beginning to the contest. It was so bad that I was literally laughing at myself after the final whistle, which you can see in the video below (orange dumbbell). The 3 reps were good for 11th place in the event. But at least I didn’t drop the dumbbell on my face at the end… oh wait…

Event number two was the yoke. This entailed carrying around 630 lbs on my back for 75 ft. I’ve been training yoke diligently since the fall, but I know that it’s not one of my stronger events, and I knew that I would have to execute perfectly to rebound from the dumbbell disaster. When the whistle blew, I picked up the implement and had the best yoke run of my life, finishing the 75 ft in 11.26 seconds, good for second in my heat. I was ecstatic until the line judge informed me that he was applying a 2-second penalty to my score for sliding the implement across the finish line. As I was sure that I’d drop the yoke past the finish line, I was not happy with this news, but I knew that my buddy Jordan had recorded the event and just happened to be standing right at the end line while shooting it. With the help of the video below (3rd lane from the camera with the red yoke), they reversed the call, giving me my original time. Feeling vindicated, my time was good for 7th place in the event, moving me to 9th overall.

Up next was the 300 lb Husefeldt stone carry. I knew this event would be a huge wildcard for me because I’d never before carried a Husefeldt stone. My more experienced friends gave me lots of advice before the show and I had an idea what to do, but my result reflected the lack of experience- I managed to carry the stone just 168 ft before dropping it, putting me 22nd in the event. As you can hear in the video below (again 3rd lane from the camera and the last to pick up the stone), I simply didn’t get the stone high enough on my chest to enable myself a quick walking speed, so my biceps gave out before I gained much ground. This was a back-breaker, and the moment when I knew I wouldn’t be qualifying for Day 2. Top-10 became my new goal.

Event four was the farmer’s walk where I was to carry 250 lbs in each hand for 75 ft. I’ve never liked farmer’s, my grip isn’t fantastic, and one of my calluses had already started to rip. However, knowing that I had nothing to lose I was determined to leave everything on the floor in this event. The whistle blew, and I moved as fast as I’ve ever moved that kind of weight, finishing first in my heat with a time of 9.71 seconds. Much like the yoke, I was happy with this result, placing 5th in the event and moving into 10th place overall.

The final event of the day was the deadlift medley. This was a mystery event up until the night before the competition, and it turned out to be the worst strongman event in the history of strongman. The specifics had me pick up a 100 lb sandbag, carry it 50 ft to a big bin, go back and pick up a 150 lb sandbag, carry it 25 ft to the bin, and then deadlift the bin as many times as possible in a 75 second time span. The bin itself, empty, supposedly weighed around 400 lbs. However, even with the added weight in the bin, there’s no way this deadlift was over 600 lbs. As you can see in the video below (shoeless hobbit, 2nd lane), I sprinted with the sandbags and got to the deadlift before anyone else but then made a few mistakes. First, the judge stopped me and discounted 2 of my first 5 reps because I wasn’t listening closely enough to his cadence- a very sticky call. Secondly, after about 10 reps I could feel my calluses start to tear and knew I was losing my grip. I had to take a quick break to chalk my hands and in the end I got 24 reps- counted as 22 due to the judge’s call. Those 2 reps were the difference between finishing 7th in the event, to 13th– leaving me in 13th place overall and missing my goal of the top-10 few points

Final Standings

Final Standings

In the end, I was fairly happy with my performance. My placing, although personally embarrassing, was not the result of a lack of strength, but moreso a lack of experience and technical expertise. I’m taking March to enjoy myself, but much to the chagrin of my mother, come April I’m gearing up for another year of hard training. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, I will be back at the Arnold next year, and I’ll be leaving with some hardware.

I want to give a big thanks to everyone who puts up with me while I’m training for these silly competitions, an especially big thank you to my strongman training partners for helping me prepare for this contest, and an even bigger thank you to Jordan Foley for making me strong and helping me out this weekend. Additionally, I’d like to congratulate my fellow Canadians Lance Lavallee and Ben Ruckstuhl who finished 15th and 3rd respectively in the Arnold Amateur Strongman Open; Ben’s 3rd place finish is highest placing ever for a Canadian at the Arnold, so he’s a pretty big deal.

That’s it and that’s all- 6 months of training for 4 minutes of video. Good times!

DW





What I Did In The Gym Today – 6 Months Out from Arnold Strongman Fitness

11 09 2013

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Hey folks,

It’s been a long and busy summer! Lots of travel, lots of change, and now I have 6 months to gear up for the Arnold Strongman Fitness competition. As most of you will surely agree, the summertime is the most difficult time of the year to stick to solid fitness and nutrition plan; between vacations, patios, barbecues and parties, it’s a constant challenge to stay on track! Over the course of the summer, from May through August, I was testing a new program for Mr. Eric Cressey. It was great to have a detailed plan, as it saved me a ton of time and tinkering that would have come with my own programming. My nutrition was a bit all over the place- far too much alcohol and restaurant meals- but in the end my weight stayed the same and although I didn’t track it ,my body composition is certainly no worse.

On August 31st I tested out my 1-rep maximums in the squat, overhead press and deadlift, and in spite of the unpredictable nature of my summer months, I achieved personal bests in all 3 lifts. I must give a lot of credit to the programming of Eric Cressey, as I haven’t achieved such results with my own programming in quite some time. I learned a lot, and my plan from here until March will involve a lot of the same principles used during these last 4 months.

Like a good boy, I recorded all 3 personal best lifts. In sequence, here are my 3 tested lifts at 175 lbs body wright: 430 lb squat, 315 lb overhead press, and 590 lb deadlift:

I was happy with my squat results, but this is a lift that must come up over the next few months; my technique is better than it has ever been in the past, so I’m confident that I now have the necessary base to see steady improvement. As you can probably tell from my post-lift reaction, I was ecstatic with my overhead result. My previous best was 285 lbs, so the 30 lb improvement was pleasantly surprising; I had aspirations to break the 300 lb mark, but getting to 3 plates is a huge milestone for me.  Finally, I’m content with the deadlift result, and I’m sure I’ve got 600 lbs in the tank. I let the bar drift out in front when I pulled it off the ground, and I’m surprised that it didn’t cost me the lift. With that being said, it’s also a sign that I can surely pull more should I iron out the technical kinks.

My training will now gradually move towards training specifically for Strongman- I need to start getting my hand on the appropriate implements- but without losing track of the main goal: get strong as hell. My weight is currently fluctuating between 175 and 180 lbs, but I need to get this up around 190 by December, at which point I can lean out and cut down for the beginning of March.

So there you have it- an update on me, and a promise that I’ll be pumping out more Fit in a Fat World content on a weekly basis. I currently have a list of about 10,000 things to write about, so it’s just a matter of finding the time to put my thoughts to my fingers. As always, should any of my readers have a specific topic that you’d like me to address, please don’t hesitate to let me know! Additionally, Cressey will soon be releasing his new program to the public, and once on sale I will let you all know- it’ll be a great buy for anyone interested in getting stronger and/or feeling better.

That’s all for now- Happy Hump Day!

DW





Fit In A Fat City

9 09 2013

Trying to stay fit but not interested in paying for a gym membership? Wondering where to find good local food and community events in the big city of Toronto? You aren’t alone. Enter: Fit In A Fat City.  In the spirit of health and community, the talented Aniko Kaszas joined me to create this short episode that we hope to be the first of several in this online mini-series. Take a look, share with your friends, and get out and get active!!!

DW