Archive for the ‘Powerlifting’ Category

The Mountain That Rides Wins Europe Strongest Man Competition

You might know him as The Mountain That Rides, Ser Gregor Clegane from the hit HBO series

Hafthor Bjornsson Wins Europe's Stronest Man Competition. Photo:

Hafthor Bjornsson Wins Europe’s Stronest Man Competition. Photo:

Game of Thrones; but Hafthor Bjornsson walks-the-walk as much as he talks-the-talk.

The 25 year-old Icelandic giant (a towering 2.06 meters) recently won the Europe’s Strongest Man competition.

These men lift truly mind-boggling weights, in a variety of ways. One event had competitors lifting two I-girders and racing along a 50 meter grass track. Another event pitted two competitors in a race lifting, carrying and throwing full kegs of liquid into the back of a truck. But it was at the Lifting Stones Ser Gregor – sorry, Hafthor Bjornsson – drew away from his rivals.

The Lifting Stones requires competitors to lift six huge cannonball shaped stones and deposit them on a barrel. The height of the barrel is around 1.50m. Each stone is heavier than the one preceding it. Not every competitor can even complete the event – and these are some of the strongest men in the world. Bjonsson sailed through the event even having enough time to rev-up the crowd between lifts.

To give you some idea of his strength, consider this: The New Zealand All Blacks boast two players who can squat 230 kilograms (itself an incredible feat). Hafthor Bjonsson can bench press that! He can squat 350kg!!! (more than half again as much as the strongest members of the best rugby team in the world). And deadlift an almost unimaginable 420kg!

But Bjornsson showed he also has a flair for TV. After flying through the Stones Lift, and winning the competition, he ripped the t-shirt from his body and roared at the crowd. A diminutive English reporter took her life in her hands and approached him for an interview. Her blonde head barely reaching his chest, she looked up at him and said, “You’re King of the Stones and you proved why there – completing all six stones … tell us how different that challenge is to the conventional, classic (lifting)?”

Bjornsson completely ignored her.

“I am the future of strength!” he roared. “I am the King of Stones!”

He then turned away and stomped off.

See event and interview highlights here:

Life as a Sumo Wrestler – for a Westerner

Takanoyama Shuntaro (aka Pavel Bojar) is one of few foreigners competing in Japan’s sumo series. He was born in the Czech Republic and discovered sumo after years spent learning judo.

After years learning the ancient sport of sumo Bojar placed third in the Junior World Sumo Championships. He then made the biggest decision of his life and left his homeland to live and train in Japan.

Foreigners get a rough time in the sumo schools. Like all novices they begin at the very lowest rungs in the order. At this level they receive training, but act as servants to higher sumo and doing the most menial of tasks.

“Westerners who come to train in Japan need to know that they’re (Japanese sumo) going to go twice as hard on you as they normally go,” Harley Flanagan, another Westerner to live and train in a sumo school, said about the attitude towards foreigners.

Pavel Bojar. photo:

Pavel Bojar. photo:

What made it all the more difficult for Bojar was that he was a 98 kilogram man in a world of 150 to 180 kilogram giants.

Avoiding training injuries in this type of situation is a real skill. To that end Bojar has implemented a lot of judo technique to use the bulk and force of his opponents against them. To lift and throw an athletic guy who weighs half as much again as yourself would otherwise be impossible. In 2011 Bojar broke through to the Makuuchi division – one of only 42 men able to do so. However, he struggled against these opponents who were as well-skilled and wily as they are big and powerful. Bojar has since bounced between the second and third divisions of the sport.

But Bjar is loving his life as a sumo in Japan, “Whether I win or lose,” he told The Mainichi Daily News in 2011, “I’ll just keep trying to perform good sumo.”

Entrants Being Decided for Crossfit 2014 Games

Athletes are getting to the pointy end of the season with the Crossfit Games to be held on 25th of July. Thousands of men and women have been whittled down to 50 males and 50 female competitors. The Open three-day event will decide who among them is the fittest on earth.

The Crossfit Games identify the true fitness of its competitors by incorporating a wide range of exercises all based on functional movements. The Crossfit mantra is to ‘move large loads, over long distances, quickly.’

Crossfit Games - Photo:

Crossfit Games – Photo:

To this end, competitions are almost exclusively interval events; that is – different exercises tax different body parts in different ways. So, for instance, athletes may be required to perform a certain number of overhead squats (holding a weighted barbell at full extension above their heads while squatting) before moving onto a series of rope climbs. The main muscles used for the first exercise are the assistor muscles used for the second. This allows a constant aerobic demand to be put on the cardiovascular system while making a maximum demand of the anaerobic system of different muscles in turn.

For anyone who has never been to a Crossfit event I have this recommendation – GO! Or at least watch a stream of the event from the Crossfit website.

Even if you do not exercise yourself, these events are the most absorbing sporting spectacles today. And this is because the events are designed to push each and every athlete to their absolute edge.

Rather than competing against each other each athlete is, in effect, competing against themselves. So spectators are treated to the human element of sport – the determination required to persist, the desire to go beyond anything they thought they could do. Because no matter how well trained an athlete is there will be some point at which they break. Crossfit is designed to get its participants to that point.