Saturday, August 17, 2013

Cowapalooza Strongman Contest

Cowapalooza Strongman Contest
Woodstock, Ontario
August 17, 2013

So I did another strongman contest today. No weight classes this time, just two open classes. One for men and one for women. I knew going in that I was going to be the smallest competitor so I wasn't expecting to win anything but the first event was an axle deadlift for max weight and I just really wanted to find out how much I can deadlift on an axle right now when the pressure is on.

The last time I did an axle deadlift in competition it was way back in 2006 and I managed 480 with a rising bar format.

I didn't win that contest but I won that event and I was very proud of that lift. I had been training for it for a while and I really wanted to get 500 lbs that day. I wrote the number 500 on the wall behind my machine at work and told all my friends and family that I was looking for 500 lbs in this event.

I already had the win with 480 but I asked for 500 anyway, just because I really wanted it that bad. Here's how that turned out:

If I could have just gotten it past my knees I could have gotten away with hitching it because hitching is legal in strongman but I just couldn't pull it far enough. So while I was happy with 480 and the fact that I won that event, I've always wanted to deadlift 500 lbs on an axle in competition. And today was my chance.

In today's contest it was a rising bar format again but instead of having to attempt every weight, you had to choose three attempts like in powerlifting. The weight started at 305 and went up 20 lbs at a time. I chose 445 as my opener.
Ridiculously easy and I felt like I should have shot for more.
For my next attempt I went for 505, which was as close to my goal for the day as I could get with the 20 lb weight increases.
While this was also easier than I expected it to be, I tore a callus off and didn't notice until I walked away.
For my third and final attempt, I went for 545. I figured since I had already hit my 500 lb target I might as well aim high and see what I could do.
Yeah, that was a mistake. Looking back, I should have gone for 525 instead. Oh well.

The next event was an axle press for reps with 215 lbs. Those wheels are bolted into place on the axle so they don't turn at all. I've never used non-revolving weights before so I was a little unprepared for the "clean" portion of this lift.

That continental was tough. The press itself was comparatively easy but I didn't get any points for it because I couldn't stand still long enough. That was disappointing but I told myself going in that I would be happy as long as I could get just one rep and as far as I'm concerned I did. I've got a nice bruise across my ribs from those continentals. That bar was ridiculous.

Third event was a combination of duck walk and sled pull. The duck walk was 301 lbs and I did that easily. The sled pull was 455 lbs and I was barely able to budge the fucking thing. It was way harder than I thought it was going to be.

Unfortunately I lost a few more calluses during that sled pull. My hands took a beating today.

The final event was a farmer's walk with 231 lbs per hand. That weight would have normally been well within my ability but with so many calluses having been torn off my hands, it turned out to be not easy at all. I could barely hold on to the handles.

This moment here is when I ripped whatever calluses I had left off of both hands.

I don't know why my hands were so uncooperative today. It was very frustrating to say the least. Pretty painful too. Especially when I wash them.


Oh well, it was a fun day anyway and you don't get any stronger by not competing. I'll chalk it up as experience. I didn't expect to win but I didn't expect to lose chunks of flesh out of my hands either. I'm disappointed but I haven't been competing as much as I used to these past couple of years so maybe that's what I get for allowing myself to go soft. Maybe I should start soaking my hands in pickle juice or something.

That's all the competitors from the men's division today. 
You can see that the next smallest guy is still at least 40 lbs heavier than me if not more.

I came in dead last but it wasn't a total loss. Considering I took this contest for the sake of only one event and surpassed my goal for that event by five lbs. I'll relish in that small victory over the next few weeks while I'm waiting for the skin to grow back on my hands.

On a side note, I also went out with the wife to see Kick Ass 2 tonight. Good movie. I think I liked the first one better but that's probably because the sequel lacked much of the shock value that the first one had. Not taking anything away from it though. I definitely liked it.


  1. As a new reader and this being the first post I have ever read, I have to ask, do you do any sort of callous care?

    I find washing chalk off after a workout, and then immediately applying a balm like Cornhusker Oil helps a lot. And scraping them with a butter knife to keep them from getting big and ripping helps a lot too.

    1. I don't do anything like that. I should probably start though. I've had calluses tear off before. I think this is the first time I've had all of them come off at once but I usually rip one at least once every couple of years.

  2. Living proof of progress attainable!
    Helluva thing.
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  3. I don't know if this would have helped then but for future reference, I've gotten away with super-gluing my calluses back in place to get through a work day.

    You didn't wear your Viking hat this time. Maybe that was part of the problem...

    1. I should wear that hat all the time. Not just contests.

  4. "I lost, but only because all the other guys were bigger and stronger than me, so i'm still a winner in my heart"

    hahaha, try being bigger next time, loser.

    1. Yeah I'll get right on that, junior.

      There are no winners on the Internet. Only an endlessly rearranging totem pole of losers.