2016 Royal Cities Strongest Man
My first competition of the year, the time to shake off the cobwebs and get into the competition spirit for another season, took place in Guelph in April at the Royal Cities Strongest Man competition. Here, I will break down the events in the competition and share what I learned from the competition. You can check out the attached YouTube video to see the events as well.
Always Take a Pre-Game Dump
Truer words were never spoken.
This is a pretty funny digression, but if it helps one strongman out there perform better on competition day, then I will consider it a worthy lesson to mention. I had to travel pretty far for this competition. It was about 4 hours of driving to get to the location the morning of the competition. Things were thrown a little off that morning and I hadn’t had the chance to use the bathroom yet before reaching the location of the competition. I knew it was being held at a supplement store, and I figured that the store would be open and I would be able to use that bathroom…..
They were late opening and the competition was about to start!
This threw off my ability to focus and get warmed up for the looming competition.
Fortunately they opened about 15 minutes before the competition started and I got to settle my business.
So, the lesson here is that if you’re thrown off by the travel to your competition, find a gas station or coffee shop you know will be open prior to heading to your final event location, as you never know if it’ll have washrooms available or not.
Event 1 - Farmer’s Walk
The first event of the day was a farmer’s walk with 265 lb. in each hand. After my bathroom fiasco, I had a bit of luck as I drew the last position for the first event, meaning I got to go after everyone else. There’s nothing better than that when you are competing against a very tough crowd and it’s a speed event like farmer’s walk. This event went really well for me. It went just about perfectly and I came in 2nd or 3rd place with something like 17 seconds for the 100’ course. I took the turn pretty wide, which kept my momentum and speed up coming around for the second 50’. I could feel myself struggling to push the pace through the last few feet and I may have slowed down a little at that point. The lesson for this event: if you are competing with side-loaded farmer’s handles, make sure that whoever is running the show tightens them very well before your run.
Event 2 - Tire Flip
The tire flip event was 800 lb. for 100’. Once again I had the advantage of going towards the end of the list, because of my placing on the last event. I had trained this event well before the competition and it went just about as well as it could have. There’s not much I could have done differently, except maybe made sure to push a little more evenly, so there isn’t any wobble in the tire, meaning you can get back under it and flip it again sooner. I finished it somewhere in the 40-something second range and got second place.
Event 3 - Circus Dumbbell
If there’s any overhead event that I’m somewhat decent at, it’s the circus dumbbell. Unfortunately, the shoulder problem I had been dealing with had put me out of commission on pressing and I ended up losing strength in both shoulders over the winter. I talk about this more in my article on improving pressing when it’s your weak point here.
This circus dumbbell was particularly challenging. It was tough to balance, perhaps because of the super-thick handle, or just the way it was made. Either way, I knew this would be my weakest event and I ended up only getting a few reps, meaning I would have to really dial it in for the last two event.
Interlude - Tug of War
In case you’re wondering from the video, this competition was held as a fundraiser for Big Brothers / Big Sisters and so we had a tug of war with the Little Brothers / Little Sisters during the middle of the competition. You’ll have to watch the video to see who won.
Event 4- Yoke Walk
The yoke walk was 700 lb. for 50’. Setting the yoke high when you’re on an even surface like a road or parking lot makes the pick easier, which gets you going forward a little bit quicker. I finished this just in about 8.5 seconds.
Event 5 - Car Deadlift
The last event of the day was the car deadlift. Typically the final event of a competition should be heavier, but this was an intermediate level show and since they draw in some newcomers, at least everyone was able to complete the lift. But it was still a little too light, since everyone got over 10 reps in the event. I knew I had to get over 20 reps to lock in the overall competition win on this event. I ended up getting 19, which I know was all I was good for on this day, so I can’t be too disappointed with that. Looking back on the footage, I think I should have had my feet a little further forward and this would have made it a little more of a 1-part lift, instead of the 2-parts it looks to be in the video with pressing through the bottom range and then locking out the hips. The top range of this motion felt extremely heavy. Maybe a disadvantage of being tall on a car deadlift event…
Coming in second place in my first competition of the year was a great start and I was excited to put my skill to the test when I got my invite to the Eastern Canada Natural Strongman National Qualifier a week later.
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