The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person’s determination.
– Tommy Lasorda
Strength. Power. Determination. Effort. Skill. We all have the ability to be strong. We all have the power to change our lives and to change people’s lives. This past Saturday, we had the pleasure to change people’s lives through lifting heavy, heavy things…multiple times. With the help of our friend, Mike McKenna of Performance Training/McKenna’s Gym in Pennsylvania, we hosted our first Strongman/Strongwoman clinic at FiveX3 Training. The ten participants, 6 men and 4 women, ranged in age from 19 to 45. All backgrounds. All levels of fitness. All eager to learn strongman technique.
Once we got through the introductions and our warm up, Mike got right to it. Our first lift was the axle clean and press (or jerk or push press – whatever you needed to do to get the bar over your head!) The bar was a 2″ axle weighing about 35 pounds. It was quite demanding for the ladies whose hands were much smaller than the guys…talk about grip work! After everyone successfully cleaned and pressed the bar, then the fun began. We added weight. Then more weight. Then more weight. Eventually, some of us just deadlifted the bar….no way were we able to clean it! Mike kept adding weight until the last man standing failed to press the bar. It took a while but Jarreau finally hit the wall. Of course, he had close to 200 pounds on the bar by then!! Two of the ladies (myself included!) deadlifted 203 pounds. Celebration!!!
After the axle, we moved on to the log. This beast was 7′ long and weighed 70 pounds. The thought of adding weight to this seemed crazy! Mike instructed us in the technique behind the log press. Once you got it onto your legs, you simply rolled it towards you and onto your chest. From there, all you had to do was press it above your head. That’s it. Easier said than done. Talk about awkward!!! We had a great time watching each other pick up this monster. It humbled all of us, men and women alike. 🙂
Mike decided that after the log, we would tackle the Atlas stones and save the yoke for the end since it would demand so much of us. I am glad we did! Mike brought a 135 pound stone for the ladies and a 240 pound stone for the guys. I tried to pick up the 240. It would barely budge! Once all the guys picked up the 135 pound stone, Mike yelled for music. AC/DC started blaring out of the speakers and we all got to work! We rubbed tacky on our arms in order to get a better grip on the stones. I decided to tacky my stomach. I attacked the 135 pound stone with a vengeance. Every time I put the stone down, I had to literally peel myself off of it. Actually, it was more like rip myself off. While I managed to pick up the stone up four times, I did not succeed in pushing it over the bar. Although this type of training does not look very technical to the naked eye, it is ALL about technique. My trouble with the stone was not in picking it up. I failed each time to get it over the bar because once the stone was touching the bar, I moved my arms under it instead of keeping my arms OVER it. I thought that if I pushed it up, I would have an easier time. Not so. Watch the video of Diego as he picks up the stone. Notice how he keeps his arms wrapped over the stone. It makes it a lot easier. Next time, I will master the stone. Mark my word. The other ladies did a great job and worked on their negatives – picking the stone up from the plyo box and putting it down. We had a blast looking bad ass with our stone!
We finished our day with a medley – Yoke carry, sled drag with chain, anvil carry for the women and farmer walks for the guys. This was awesome. What a way to end the day! The ladies managed to carry a 200 pound Yoke. I carried 280 pounds and the guys carried 360 pounds. Incredible. The chain weighed 90 pounds and everyone dragged more than their body weight! The women rocked the anvil – 110 pounds- while the guys walked with 140 pounds in each hand from one end of the room to the other. What a tough medley!
Our spirits were high by the end of the clinic and everyone was pumped for the next one! High fives were shared by all throughout the afternoon. Everyone was cheering and clapping for each other, encouraging each other, egging each other on. Chalk was flying around the gym and laughter was heard the entire time. The camaraderie between all of us was incredible. You could not have asked for a better crowd for our first clinic.
A HUGE shout out to Bryan, Lamont, Jamal, Jarreau, Jim, Charlotte, Germaine and Sunni for coming out to lift really heavy things! You guys were awesome! An even bigger shout out to Mike for bringing all of his cool gear down and teaching us some Strongman technique. You made everything look so easy!
We are already looking forward to our next clinic and are hoping to schedule one again in the fall…perhaps an Olympic lifting clinic??? We are all ears so if you have an idea, let us know!
We made a little video montage of the clinic. Enjoy!