Tag Archives: Strongman

Strongest Of All Time #SOAT

Zydrunas Savickas and Bill Kaz Kazmaier

Zydrunas Savickas and Bill Kaz Kazmaier

I was listening to the Worlds Strongest Man PodCast (yeah I’m late) and they were talking about the Strongest Of All Time Strongmen, and only Eddie Hall pulled an old school strongman out of the mix (Louis Cyr) where as most others were concentrating mostly on WSM guys, which is an understandable mistake to make given the context. Brian Shaw refused to name a 3rd but gave mention to Mariusz Pudzianowski and some others, he was the only one to mention the dominator too. 

In short most people said Bill Kazmaier, Jon Pall Sigmarsson and Zydrunas Savickas. The latter is the more interesting one because these are his peers and they are name checking him, which is a huge thing. It would like like Jenson Button saying Lewis Hamilton is the best driver of all time. I was really surprised that they named an active strongman, but equally I loved that they did. 

Colin Bryce made some good points about why Brian Shaw may not be remembered for the monster that he is because he doesn’t really show off and doesn’t finish events if he doesn’t need the points. Basically he doesn’t play the crowd, he’s playing just for points and the win. I say for no reason because last years WSM 2016, there were a moment where Thor and Eddie agreed to end it on the deadlift and take equal first points. Eddie played the points because he has dislocated his fingers and we know he could have done more but he played tactics due to injury. Zydrunas on the other hand near enough threw away his win by going for a world record log press, and often shows off his brute strength. 

My Strongest Of All Time

I am aware there are guys moving nearly 4x their body weight, and Olympic lifters with amazing numbers but I’m sticking within the spirit of Strongman and the extremes of human performance 🙂

Arthur Saxon Bent Press

Arthur Saxon Bent Press

Author Saxon – Arthur Saxon were born nearly 100 years before Worlds Strongest Man even existed, he nearly envisioned the WSM TV Format and some of his world record breaking feats still stand today.

There were no steroids, no growth, no intimate muscle knowledge or training techniques, very little body building knowledge existed. Still his feats are impressive, even more so for a man his size.  

There were so little available knowledge that Arthur Saxon (and his brothers) wrote a huge amount of the available literature at the time on how to get fit, strong and healthy, how to build a better body and generally documenting physical culture.

Much of the 100 year old advice given in his books (which are copyright free now) is still relevant today and even being touted as “new ideas” by modern science. 

Arthur invented the Saxon Side Bend which is one of my favourite core and abdominal moves, he used to eat like a beast, drink like a fish and even went to war with a dapper moustache.

What A Man! 

Zydrunas Savickas at Body Power 2017

Zydrunas Savickas at Body Power 2017

Zydrunas “Big Z” Savickas – The greatest in a long line of Lithuanian strongmen, having just turned 40 years old and holding 4 Worlds Strongest Man titles (matching Brian Shaw), with only 1 man holding more titles (The Dominator). Big Z is obviously the king of current day strongmen with even many of his peers saying the same thing.

When others struggle with events at Worlds Strongest Man, you see Big Z thunder up, the ground shaking under his steps, the crowd wide eyed and he lifts the weight like it wasn’t even there an shows his peers hows its done and strolls away.

I have met Big Z a number of times at various events, a fairly quiet man, doesn’t catch all that you say due to the language barrier and noise at the events but a really really nice guy and quite funny too.

At Body Power 2017, Bill Kazmaier did the forearm flex for a photo and Big Z stood up and did the same and his forearms are HUGE and made Kaz’s look normal size so Kaz took a step closer to the camera and pushed Zydrunas back a little and just a little fooling around between 2 legends of strongman.

 

Bill Kazmaier at Body Power 2017

Bill Kazmaier at Body Power 2017

Bill “Kaz” Kazmaier – When it comes to one of the early days legends of strongman, its all about Bill Kazmaier, while Jon Pall may have been the showman it were Kaz who were the berserker powerhouse.

I will always remember his eyes bulging out like Jim Carreys Mask Character and him slapping himself in the face Rowdy Roddy Piper style getting the rage up. 

Much like Eddie Hall having broken the 500kg Deadlift Barrier for the World Record, Kaz were the first man to break the 400kg Deadlift barrier for the World Record.

The fact they have Bill doing the commentary for world strongest man is awesome for me, along with Magnus they add some informed colour in to it. They KNOW what they are they talking about and what it takes. 

I’ve also met Kaz a few times and he’s also a really nice guy, and gave me a little interview a few years ago. I did want to get an interview for my blog this year when I spoke to him but he were just so damned busy when I met him, maybe next time. 

The Feats

I haven’t really gone on too much about what they have done and what makes them the strongest because you guys can read my Arthur Saxon post and the other 2 guys are well wrote about online so I won’t cover them again. 

This concludes my strongest of all time strongmen #SOAT.

A Manchester Based Photographer and Website Developer with interests in Strongman, Fitness and Geekery.

Stanley “Stanless Steel” Pleskun

Stanless Steel Strongman Movie

Stanless Steel – Strongman Movie

Its been a while since I posted about Arthur “The Ironmaster” Saxon, but there are plenty of other guys who I admire. One other such man who I admire does simple but zany feats of strength. Many of these feats remind me of the old school strongmen, and absolutely of the early days of The Worlds Strongest Man when they was ripping phone books in half, bending iron bars on their heads, lifting huge amounts of money (coins) in boxes and more recently throwing washing machines.

The one which made Stanless Steel so famous, is that he’s believed to be the only man on the planet who can bend a Penny with his bare hands. Its not 100% clear where this penny is from, but either way the size, limited surface to get leverage and small grip space makes pretty much any penny bending impressive. UK penny’s are made from copper mostly, and US penny’s are made mostly from Zinc, and the EU Cent / UK Penny are made of Copper coated Steel. 

Zinc is softer than Copper and Steel, so the US Penny should be easier than the UK penny, but either way its impressive. I have tried with the UK 2p which is double the size so better leverage and still didn’t even make a mark on it, using pliers and my hand I could make a slight bend but no where near bending point.

Using 2 pairs of pliers is fairly easy, I would like to try with varying lengths of leverage. This would enable me to work up to the strength, certainly be a fun and interesting training tool, Pleskun achieves his leverage by using a towel. I assume this is to reduce the grease and sweat on his on fingers rather than enhance leverage. 

Stanley "Stanless Steel" Pleskun under a car tyre.

Stanley Pleskun Under a Pickup Truck

Some of the other feats are fun too, bending a kro-bar, a wheel brace and various other metal bars, a more interesting one would be where a 4×4 pick up truck drives over his body with the director of the Strongman Movie driving it. 

I haven’t watched the video yet, but along with Eddie Halls, CT Fletchers and various others they are on my play list, been watched or in the process of being watched. I’ve watched Eddie Halls, and I’m half way though CT Fletchers My Magnificent Obsession, I have Generation Iron 2 and Stanley Pleskun’s Strongman ready and waiting.  Its worth watching Generation Iron and Pumping Iron as well. 

As best I can ascertain the Strongman video isn’t a happy or fun story like Eddie Halls road to being the strongest. The movie is very much in the same vein as Mickey Rourkes The Wrestler, showing the dark underbelly or the sports-entertainment industry. The place there dreams are either dead or dying. It sounds like a really sort of sad movie, Stanley is just a guy who happens to be really strong and born in the wrong time, he should have been in PT Barnums Circus or the travelling freakshows of old. Perhaps he would have been a contender along with Sandow and Saxon on the strongman circuit.

A Manchester Based Photographer and Website Developer with interests in Strongman, Fitness and Geekery.

Eddie Hall – Worlds Strongest Man 2017

Eddie Hall at Body Power 2015

Eddie Hall at Body Power 2015

Last year one of the top 5 had been injured and in my opinion that’s why he got the podium last year, but that little taste of the podium seems to have pushed Eddie Hall to new heights. All that rarefied air drove Eddie Hall to new heights, heights so great he took the top spot to be crowned Worlds Strongest Man 2017 in Botswana.

Its not all celebrations since Eddie has taken hit time on the podium to follow through with his pledge to retire from Worlds Strongest Man when he won, but remain on the British Scene. Eddie is the first British Strongman to take the Top Spot in 24 years since Gary Taylor took it in 1993, before that it was the mighty Geoff Capes almost a decade before. 

Eddie’s win isn’t without a little controversy (more in the spoiler), but who cares we may get some of that Olympic Mania funding around Strongman now and it will get more popular and more gym equipment, whoop. I remember back in the late 80s maybe early 90s going to the local nature park for a carnival or summer fair to see Geoff Capes, it was a huge fanfare, lets see those days again.

Eddies Words

I can't say how I've done at wsm but I can say I'm now retired from wsm! I'll still be on the British scene for many years to come and I thank all my fans and sponsors and my family and friends to the moon and back. Massive thanks to my wife who I dearly love and ow a lot of my success to her. Also my manager Mo Chaudry not only changed my life for the better but one of my best friends. Big Love The Beast @proteindynamix @xploape @strengthasylum @alphadesignsuk @bobosbeard @blakemans @wrightspies @pulseworldwide @getnewage @sbdapparel @giantslive #alphadesign #wrightspies #strengthasylum #giants #giantslive #proteindynamix #bobosbeardoil #beast #beard #deadlift #deadlifts #boss #bosslife #hulk #strong #strongman #strongmantraining #pulse #getnewage #performance #mouthguard #SBD #supports #SBDapparel

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Spoiler Alert

Don’t click the following if you don’t want to know the final scores and line up: [toggle title=”Spoiler”]The top 3 were the ever predictable Eddie Hall (51 Points), Hafthor Bjornsson (50 Points) and Brian Shaw (49 Points) with only a single point separating them. Hafthor believed he should have won but lost on a referee’s decision that one of his reps didn’t count giving Hall 1 point, and the win. Had that that not happened, Thor would have won, Eddie Second and Brian Shaw Third. Thor posted on Instagram that he believed he was robbed, so little bit upset. Lets hope Eddie doesn’t end up like Oberyn Martell with a crushed head at the hands of The Mountain.

Final Placements

1. Eddie Hall – 51 points
2. Hafthor Bjornsson – 50 points
3. Brian Shaw – 49 points
4. Jean-Francois Caron
5. Mateusz Kieliszkowski
6. Martins Licis
7. Laurence Shahlaei
8. Zydrunas Savickas
9. Konstantine Janashia
10. Nick Best

[/toggle].

The Final Word

Laurence Shahlaei at Body Power

Laurence Shahlaei at Body Power 2017

It would appear that Zyndrunas Savickas’ Upper and Lower back injuries not to mention huge weight loss has reduced his odds of joining the 5x club. Maybe Colin Bryce was right when he said earlier in the year that unless Big Z stops being more like Medium Z and gets back to being Big Z his chances aren’t good (Dec 2016 in WSM PodCast).

Its almost reminiscent of Mark Felix who has taken up Cross-Fit, lost a huge amount of weight and looks damned good for a 50yr old man. The price has been his raw strength, has Big Z fallen in to the same trap. Better question, is the weight loss because of his back injuries ?  

Some strong shows from other finalists, including Laurence Shahlaei who is the come back kid, having retired once now he’s back in the top 10 worlds strongest men again, sporting a rather nice beard. 

Its also interesting that Hafthor has made his 6 consecutive podium place, but its also a shame Mark Felix didn’t make this is 10th consecutive final, but I can’t wait to watch this when its on TV. 

 

A Manchester Based Photographer and Website Developer with interests in Strongman, Fitness and Geekery.

Body Power 2017 – In Review

Body Power Aerial Shot

Body Power Aerial Shot

This was my 5th Body Power Expo, it were considerably busier on the Friday and Saturday compared to previous years, Sunday was about average. The official visitor total shows just shy of 96,000 visitors. So very close to the magic 100,000 visitors. I would guess if you counted the athletes, media, press, staff and security, it would easily hit the golden 100k visitors. Next year is the 10th Anniversary so maybe 10 is the new 100k, and Nick Orton the organiser say it will have a Vegas Style strip straight down the middle with all the arenas and such in the middle. Sounds like an awesome plan.

The main highlight for me were the Strongman Arena by Strongman Revolution which were right up my alley, and I spent as much time as I could watching the events. What I saw were a bloody good show, I only wish I had more time to watch but I was constantly on the go. Sadly I didn’t get that many photo’s because the arena were surrounded and packed the whole time. I would have ended up blocking some ones view or getting a Vauxhall Corsa dropped on me, so I spent more time watching the event than taking photo’s of the events.

Full Gallery of Images

There are around 500 images over the weekend posted on my facebook page:

Body Power 2017 – Friday (142).
Body Power 2017 – Saturday (122).
Body Power 2017 – Sunday (200).

Feel free to tag and share any images I haven’t already tagged. 

Panoramic View

Each year I have taken a panoramic view of Body Power. This year is no different, last year was the queue for Paige Hathaway, this year its the PHD Kitchen stand from the top floor of their stand.

 

This was taken on the Friday (I think), you can see how crazy busy it were, and Saturday was massively more busy.

 

Stand Out Products

The stand out products for me were things which made my diet and lifestyle better, so I’m putting them in Alphabetical order as I really couldn’t choose which one is best. 

Barebells Protein Pudding

Barebells Protein Pudding

Barebells – This is a company owned by Nocco (NO Carb COmpany), a Swedish company which has been my stand out company in previous years for having one of the best marketing and tasting products in its class. This time around they came with Barebells Pudding and Barebells Protein Bars, both of which considering their macronutrient content tasted amazing. I normally forcibly eat MyProtein Puddings or I pick up MHP PowerPak Pudding when I can find it.

I nearly turned down the samples, until I spoke to the people on the stand and they explained the connection to NOCCO, so I tried it and were blown away. You would barely be able to tell they are not normal products. I wanted to try the Hazelnut Spread by Barebells but they didn’t have it to hand, but more on that later. 

Jazz Apples – This company is emptying my wallet as a new addition to my fruit bowl. They are so delicious, they have a pear type firm consistency but a sweet and juicy taste. Its like biting into a fruit based Magnum Ice Cream, such an awesome crunch and explosion of sweet juice.  

The team on the stand explained they were a combination of Gala Apples and Braeburn which ironically was the 2 types of Apple I had back in the hotel room, I’d say that’s a fair analysis. I’ve since purchased them twice, a pack of 4 large ones from Waitrose and a bag of 6 normal ones. Certainly won a spot in my fruit bowl. 

Farmers Walk Treadmill Machine

Farmers Walk Treadmill Machine

Jim Jams Spreads – I had seen these in Tesco (I think) but I were sceptical of the low sugar content being replaced with sweetener and having an after taste or not being nice. The stand owner near enough guaranteed I would like them if I liked Nutella, only it wouldn’t contribute diabetes or sugar crashes.

Macro for Macro they are fairly evening matched, the difference is Nutella has 57.6g Carbs or which 56.8g are Sugars, where as Jim Jams has 49.4g Carbs but only 8.7g are Sugars, thats a beastly chunk of sugar you’re not eating by swapping over. Shame both of them are quite low on the protein compared to 

Farmers Walk Treadmill were one of my favourite bits of equipment and easily stood out. Its fixed at 11 degree incline so as to be able to generate momentum, with various resistance settings along the ability to load around 160kg of weight plates and walk. I didn’t get to use it very much, least nearly as much as I wanted to play on it. I’m not sure I could justify the costs, but so very cool.  

Challenges

Thors Hammer at Primitive Apparel

Thors Hammer at Primitive Apparel

The Thors Hammer challenge on Primitive Apparel‘s stand were good fun, the poor lad who were first up and scored over two and half minutes holding a 10kg Hammer looked destroyed when someone topped 6 minutes and more so when a girl was within 30 seconds of his time. It was certainly a fun challenge, beats the usual protein bags /  buckets and lateral holds and the likes. 

The Mammoth stand had an interesting challenge and Bryan made it look far easier than it were. It were good fun to watch. You had to have an empty 5kg Protein tub balanced on your back while you did a press up, then raised your hand and opposite foot, then repeat the other side with a 5 second pause.

Bryan did it dozens of times and made it look easy as pie, but very very few people actually executed the move without the bucket falling off. I love the Mammoth Carrier Bags, they are basically sealable 

Mars Protein Peg Challenge

Mars Protein Peg Challenge

The Mars Protein stand had a fun challenge, this stand were the biggest disappointment, as the biggest company there (Mars turned over £25,000,000,000 (BILLIONS) in 2016), the fact they ran out of samples within the first 2 hours but still had plenty to sell potentially highlights now they made 25 billion, I won’t even go near the fact they were selling at full retail not a show price.

The stand had a peg board climbing frame challenge (see pic) which destroyed so many people, apart from some old man who pretty much ran up it matrix style. It certainly favoured the free runners, parkour and cross fit types but still fun to watch the techniques and 

There were one more challenge which stuck in my memory, a girl called Joanna managed to hold a lateral hold for over six in and a half minutes on another stand with two 2.25kg tubs of protein. Another challenge was for hang time, the longest time hanging on rock climbing handles, which is brutal on the fingers.

Some other challenges were equally fun to watch. 

Big Names

There was a little controversy over a certain big name who decided to get pissed out of their tree and didn’t bother turning up on their last day. Other big names included William Bonac, Kate Errington, Robert Oberst, Imogen Parfitt, Terry Hollands, Lee Constantinou, Zydrunas Savickas, Christie Bailey, Kris Gethin, Bill Kazmeier, Emma Hyndman, Zac Aynsley, Rich Piana, Flex Lewis, Cedric McMillan, Laci Kay Somers, Steve Cook, Dana Linn Bailey and Jay Cutler. There were loads more which I have forgotten, but will be in the images. 

Oh there were a dude called Callum Best sneaking around too

A Manchester Based Photographer and Website Developer with interests in Strongman, Fitness and Geekery.

Ginormous Strongman Stops Tractor Bare Handed

Arbab Hyat

Arbab Hyat

Abab Khizer Hayat, 25 from Mardan, Pakistan is for want of a better word is a behemoth of a man. Standing at 6ft3in, he clocks in at 68 stones 8 pounds, he were recently named Pakistans Hulk, and won various regional strongman events. 

The internet has literally been torn in half, mostly fat-shaming, and kinda abusive. There is a video of him stopping 2 cars, and holding a tractor back, which attracted some heat. The mechanics of traction explain it, if you’re on a wet road or on loose ground, you lose traction your wheels spin, same deal here. His weight as a land anchor against low traction, means I’m not even going near it.

At nearly 1,000lbs he’s certainly beastly, and now has his eyes set on becoming a professional wrestler in WWE, entering the global world of strongman, and getting even bigger to ease the path. Since I started writing this article, it seems WWE have made clear there is no affiliation on various outlets, so looks like a dead end there… for now. 

What I am going to touch on is, Eddie Hall is similar height, and less than half his weight, Brian Shaw half a foot taller and is rumoured to be half his weight (Brian declares 190’s but many speculate 220s), so I AM going to question how much of his mass is fat rather than muscle when compared to world class strongmen. 

Arbab Hyat Tractor

Arbab Hyat Tractor

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying he’s not strong, every time that dude stands up, he’s basically squatting 400kg, every time he steps he’s calf pressing 400kg, his muscles will be lumping his mass around which means he’s going to be strong, there’s no two ways about it.

The problem is, when you start adding iron on top of his own mass, will his body be able to stand another 100-200kg of pressure. 

What I did find interesting about Arbab is his diet is 10,000kcal per day based on over 7lbs of meat, 36 eggs and a gallon milk amongst other things. It reminds me somewhat or Arthur Saxon Diet, which is crazy when you think Saxon weren’t even 1/4 of the size of Arbab. Many other strongmen from Brian Shaw to Eddie Hall all aim at the magic 10,000 calories, while body builders generally aim at 5,000 while bulking and 2,500 while cutting. 

Its reported that Arbab has no health issues, no pain or joint problems, I can assure you this is age at work. As he gets older and his joints and metabolic system wear down, its not going to be pretty. Geoff Capes said in an interview “I’ve ripped my stomach open three times, my abdominals. I’ve ripped my leg open, I’ve got a new hip. I’ve got degenerative problems in my spine because of the pressure on the lifts and everything else.”. There were more injuries listed too, and this were just about normal strongmen, Arbab will also suffer this too. 

It will be interesting to see how this unfolds, if indeed it does unfold. 

 

A Manchester Based Photographer and Website Developer with interests in Strongman, Fitness and Geekery.

Konstantine Janashia the Georgian Giant

Konstantine Janashia Known As The Georgian Bull

Konstantine Janashia Known As The Georgian Bull – Img by WSM

I posted way back in August that Konstantine Janashia aka the Georgian Giant or Georgian Bull if you listen to Colin Bryce is one to watch. Watching him perform were a little tarnished, not because of anything he did or his performance, but because there were so much spectacular new talent in this years Worlds Strongest Man.

It were bordering on biblical, with the 4 Horsemen riding in to town to challenge the old guard, upon the ashen horses rode Mateusz KielszkowskiGrzegorz Szymanski, Martins Licis and Konstantine Janashia.

Lots of new blood in Worlds Strongest Man this year, lots of potential and this experience will have given many a new set of goalposts and without raised them up. 

I’ve just re-watched it again, which makes it about the third time now. 

A Quick Round Up

In the 825lb Frame Carry event, Janashia destroyed Brian Shaw by a huge 6 seconds, and Hafthor Bjornsson, well you’d need the Hubble Space Telescope to see across the 30 seconds gap between them, only the above Kielszkowski who pretty much sprinted the 30 meter course 11 seconds faster than Brian Shaw. 

In the 100kg Circus Barbell, he beat Brian Shaw again, Brian looked to be struggling and I think Janashia still had 1 more rep but ran out of time, Shaw looked struggling to match him. 

In the deadlift, Konstantine matched Bjornsson at 420, with only Eddie Hall, Brian Shaw and JF Caron beating him by 25kg. That 25kg did make it a new world record but you can see thus far how Konstantine Janashia is making some pretty big waves for a WSM Débutante. 

In the 40 Tonne plane pull, he were just 40cm between Eddie Hall, and 85cm behind taking first place, and the Kettlebell Throw he scored just 5 seconds behind Eddie Hall to gain 5 over the bar.

Lastly in the Atlas Stones you saw him come unstuck, he were only just getting to the 4th Stone up while Eddie Hall had near completed all 5, Hafthor, Shaw and Eddie all completed the full 5 stones up to 210kg in the time it had taken Konstantine to do just 4.

The Stones is a big event based on technique, and skill to wield the strength, and he has shown he has the power, strength and speed, he just needs to hone his skills and nail that technique. You could see in this grand final that he were standing toe to toe and took a bit of a beasting but still he stood toe to toe.

Another Way

There were the odd event variance, where they used a Viking Press with Canoes, or Fingals Fingers for example, had ALL the competitors had the exact same -semi-final events, I think the Grand Final may have had 1 or 2 different faces.

It really could have gone another way if some of the shorter contenders had Fingals, or some the weaker endurance guys the car carry. If there weren’t an injury or two during the semi’s the finals would have looked different for sure, and if Big Z weren’t out I think the Podium would have certainly been different. 

Really looking forward to seeing Konstantine and the other 3 horsemen excelling, I just hope this event has given a sample of the good stuff and increased their hunger. I remember feeling this way when Savickas showed crazy strength potential, the same moment when as a kid I saw Kazmaier do the original Crazy Eyes and you could see the raw passion, the same as when Pudzianowski went full on Berzerker Rage and earned the name The Dominator, exciting times. 

 

Image from Worlds Strongest Man.

A Manchester Based Photographer and Website Developer with interests in Strongman, Fitness and Geekery.