What did 2016 look like for you?
For me it came in like a lamb and out like a lion. I started out feeling hopelessly beaten by nagging injuries and lacklustre gym options and ended the year making incredible progress and proactively treating any pains that stood in my way.
I thought it would be fun to look back on the highlights of 2016 in several different categories to distill and extract the most important lessons I’ve learned from them. We’ll kick things off today with my 2016 Strongman review, including training, competing and highlights from The Credible Hulk. Over the next couple of weeks I’ll also reflect on some of the best books I’ve read in 2016, since I feel that is important to reflect on and share with anyone who may appreciate it.
Best of Competitions
This year was solid all around for me competing in strongman. I started the year off with a major setback to my biggest weakness - pressing, but by the end of the season was quite pleased with how I was performing.
I think this was the longest strongman season I’ve endured so far and I know for sure that it was the most competition-laden season. Thanks to being part of the Clydsdale Power Team in Kingston, I never was at a lack for training for upcoming competitions and had competitions readily available to compete in pretty much every month this season. Despite a very poor performance in the press back in April in the first competition at The Royal Cities Strongest Man, I still managed to place 2nd in a very tough lineup of competitors. This paved the way to my late-notice invitation to the Eastern Canada qualifier for Canada’s Natural Strongest Man. I was not ready for this competition, but still wanted to give it a shot, and I had some good events and bad events. Zeroing the log press really was a major driver for the determination I had to make immense improvements to my pressing strength since May of this year. The great thing about being on Team Clydsdale Power is that each competition throughout the season builds on the previous one, so following the circuit naturally leads to progress on some of the staple strongman events. This must have had something to do with the progress I made throughout this year and all lead up to competing at the toughest Clydsdale event: Kingston's Strongest Man.
Kingston’s Strongest Man
The fact that I’m living in Kingston now makes it all the sweeter that I am the winner of Kingston’s Strongest Man 2016. I don’t think I’ve every felt more prepared for a competition than I was for KSM this year. Unfortunately the scorching weather was not conducive to a good turn out of competitors, but I was ready to perform well no matter who showed up.
- As previously mentioned, training the overhead press was really weak for me up until about May, when I became more proactive with finding a great chiropractor/sports therapist that really helped to correct the problems I was facing throughout last offseason.
- For anyone reading this in the Kingston, Ontario region Dr. Read at Frontenac Sports Chiropractic has been an integral part of getting me back on the right track when dealing with nagging injuries.
- Switching from one to multiple overhead pressing days per week has also made a huge difference in my shoulder health and strength progress.
- Another major change this year that helped me with making better progress this year compared to last year was investing in starting a home gym. This change took place in March and helped to get the ball rolling towards the first couple of competitions of the season.
- With seeing consistent improvement in pressing over the last half-year, I am proud to say that I reached a milestone goal for myself by hitting a 250 lb. log press about a month and a half ago and more recently managed to clean and press 230 lb. for a set of 5. I’m looking forward to continuing to make progress with pressing and hopefully getting back on track with deadlifting and squatting more weight as well.
- Tearing a phonebook in half - need I say more?
Launching the new website and then seeing my super-popular article on How to Make a Strongman Log regain traction was definitely a huge highlight as far as blogging went this year. The traffic that article alone brings continuously gives me hope that people are gaining value out of my writing.
Following the original strongman log article up with a part two on what I would do differently and the adjustments that you can make to create a better strongman log was also a huge success. I really liked sharing this information, since there are some things that I believe would make my log better.
I mentioned that starting a home gym this year was a big turning point in making better progress compared to last year. The article about Everything You Need to Start a Home Gym has become popular and I hope that it will make more strength enthusiasts seek out garage gyms or start their own to get away from the mind-numbing "Globo gym" setting.
Finally, I thought the article on cryotherapy was pretty cool and implementing regular cold exposure seems to have made a difference in my recovery from training and mental clarity. Dive in to more on the benefits of cryotherapy here.
Onwards to 2017
Thank you for continuing with me on the strongman journey in 2016. I hope that I brought you all some entertainment and education. If you are new here, I welcome you and hope that you stick around for much more to come. Social media deceives us all of the fact, but it really does take years to make significant progress in gaining size and strength. No matter where you are on your journey to strength, it is a journey that never ends and always remember that. There’s no rush to get anywhere today, next month, or next year. Keep on getting after it, keep on progressing, take care of yourself along the way and you’ll be in the game and in great shape for the rest of your life.