You may have noticed a relatively largish new member at our gym lifting relatively largish weights and objects. His name is Ben Holstine. He's a professional strongman and, if you're interested, he's going to start sharing his knowledge of his sport with us on Wednesdays at 6:30PM.
Here's Ben's take on his sport, the class and some of his accomplishments:
"When you hear strongman probably the first thing that comes to mind is ESPN2 at 2 am, behemoths lifting ungodly amounts of weight in the most awkward forms. While this is true strongmen are some of the most well rounded strength athletes. Training for strongman involves building overall strength in the gym, and training with competition implements to gain familiarity. In the gym it is necessary to train the entire body for strength, especially with variants of the squat, deadlift, and overhead press. Also important is explosive power, developed by weightlifting-style lifts, and cardiovascular conditioning. Grip strength must also be developed. Like any sport, it is necessary to train using the equipment one encounters in the sport. In the case of strongman these include logs, tires, yokes, farmer's walk implements, etc.; building strength in the gym alone is insufficient.
In this class we will focus on the technique of each event and pushing ourselves to the limit! There will be 3 parts to each class. The first will consist of some dynamic, athletic warm up, working on speed, balance and agility. The second element will be a unilateral strength element focusing on keeping the body balanced, stable and powerful. Finally, we will work on a Strongman skill that could include atlas stones, farmer’s walks, axel lifts, tire flips, sledgehammers, sandbags, yoke walking, sled pushes/pulls, etc. The class will usually end with a short and heavy event.
With a background in football and rugby, I decided to make the natural transition into the competitive world of strongman. I
began competing over 4 years ago and have won many titles at the local and state levels as well as qualified and competed in nationals and am reigning Illinois’ Strongest Man. I have also become a sponsored strongman by supplement company Hydraulix. I have learned strongman from some of the best pros in the Milwaukee area whom have competed in overseas competitions. These pros have inspired and encouraged me to continue to learn more independently to further refine my techniques. When I’m not competing in strongman I am studying to be a nurse. Some of my best lifts are:
Bench Press: 500
Overhead Axle: 340
Farmers Walk: 300/hand
Atlas Stone: 360
Log Press: 320
I look forward to teaching you the art of strongman. This will be a fun and challenging experience!"