THERE’S a funny saying in the strength sports community which belies an unsavoury truth: Competing is “just something we do between injuries”. This is just as true for me as for anyone who might try and compete at this level. But something else I like to do with my time is coach.
When I moved my training to Genesis Bentley in early 2014 I carried on the legacy begun by Dan Macri, creating the WA Strongman Genesis chapter. Despite it’s unfortunate demise, Genesis chapter provided me with the chance to train some great people in the sport I love so much, one of whom went on to compete that year and did me extremely proud. Ashleigh’s determination, combined with the short amount of time we had to get her prepared and the fact that I was competing on the day myself made it a pretty exciting experience.
In 2015 PTC Perth suggested I do the same for them, and together we even created PTC’s first ever strongman novice competition in WA, which was a huge success! Throughout that year I had the opportunity to coach a bunch more awesome people, amongst them were Kat Becker and John Champion; two athletes from other disciplines (PL and Xfit respectively) who, with very little actual assistance from myself, went on to dominate their divisions. John in fact took first place in both the under 90 and under 105s in the state finals that year and Kat – being the strongest woman in WA Powerlifting already – simply dominated. I think she may have found the lack of real competition disparaging. I do hope she continues with the sport though, regardless of how relatively sparse the field might be in this state; that’s Perth, unfortunately.
All this nostalgia is not for no reason. At today’s clinic I met Eddie, who is called Kong by his friends. Kong is easily six foot five or six, in his early thirties with a beginner to intermediate level of training and precisely zero experience with proper strongman events, until today.
After a few pointers with the log, Kong clean-pressed 90. Then 95, 100 and 105 before failing under 110. Most of those presses looked effortless; strict, even lazy. Can a quick press also be a lazy press? Apparently so… and all this happened after Kong told me of his shoulder mobility issues. Clearly not an issue right here. This behemoth will press 120 before I’m even back to full strength. I’d put money on it.
Stalwarts Ryan and Alex were also in attendance and just as impressed. They excelled themselves, of course, with Alex repping a 90 kilo log (I think) four times and later pulling a 180 kilo axle for thirteen. Kong pulled a beltless 200 kilo axle and Ryan pulled it twice, after a punishing series of presses he had programmed for himself. He worked up to a 57.5 kilo monster DB clean-press, which was a serious new PR for the man and well above the loadings for the conditioning and technique-focussed work I’ve introduced Alex to recently.
Kong tells me he’s very interested in getting strong, and I have absolutely no doubt that he will be stronger than me in the clean-press (at least) in a matter of months. Maybe weeks. It will depend on how good of a coach I am, I guess…
Monster dumbbell clean-press and axle deadlift were also on the agenda today, but that was it. The yoke is still in the shop, which really compromises training for everyone considering entering the WASM qualifier on 7th May. Unless it’s back next weekend, I’ve recommended to Ryan, Alex, and will tell anyone else who’s serious to spend these next two Saturdays at the Muscle Pit under Dan’s tutelage. Yoke is definitely not something that you can jump back in to after weeks of not training it and expect to do well.
Having said that, I will be at PTC next weekend, doing what I do.