The men that lift buses

Strongman events always seem very pure – a competition to see who is the strongest. Is that why people flock to see it, do you think?

The sport of Strongman has always been a spectacle. People want to live vicariously through the athletes and see them perform superhuman feats. It’s entertaining to the average human, inspiring to anyone who wants to pursue strength and of course to the young population Strongmen are almost seen as superheroes: pulling planes, lifting logs and flipping cars. It’s the kind of stuff you can’t imagine a normal person doing that makes it so exciting. On top of that, pit 15 of them against each other and of course everyone will want to know who is the strongest.

There are lots of events in the competition. What’s your favourite, and which one do you dread just a little bit?

My favourite would be the deadlift, where a loaded barbell is lifted off the ground. Always has been. And the one I dread the most is the 700lb yoke and carry, where you have to lift a weight and walk with it. Scares the hell out of me!

It’s your first time at World’s Ultimate Strongman. What attracted you to it?

It’s the biggest Strongman show with the highest prize purse and the top athletes lined up for it. That takes things to a whole other level: having the best of the best competing neck and neck. I’m really looking forward to competing, because the sport is taking major steps to improve the athlete’s treatment – and just upping the game in general.

Can you give us some sort of idea of the kind of training regime you have to undergo to get yourself among the 15 strongest men in the world? 

For Strongman you have to add “event training” on top of your regular gym training routine. In my case, I would average about eight hours a week event training, plus my usual weight and conditioning training. In addition, of course, one has to take into account the feeding that goes along with it. You just can’t reach that level without enough calories so the eating is pretty constant. Sometimes, it can reach around 10,000 calories a day.

How did you get into this kind of extreme athleticism  – and what do you get out of it?

I actually started out in powerlifting and transitioned into Strongman. There is something about constantly pushing your body to the limit and always trying to push the envelope that excites me. And of course upon achievement, there is a deep sense of personal satisfaction that is just unexplainable

How important is showmanship to the spectacle?

Trust me, lifting almost half a tonne off the floor is showmanship enough. Having said that, just like any other sport we feed off the crowd and try to get them engaged as much as possible. Usually, they are just staring with their jaws dropped!

October 25, Meydan Grandstand, Dubai, UAE.