Tag: World’s Strongest Man

The Birth of the Arnold Strongman Classic

Arnclassic

Earlier this year we were treated to perhaps the most exciting Arnold Strongman Classic to date. We saw Hafthor Bjornsson win the event for the second year in a row with a domineering display of power. The ‘Wheel of Pain’ from Conan the Barbarian made an appearance and it was joined by an exact replica of the famed Husafell Stone. The competition itself, and its sponsor, Rogue Fitness, spared no expense or difficulty in devising a truly remarkable show.

For those unaware of the Arnold Strongman, the competition is an annual gathering of some of the strongest athletes in the world held as part of the Arnold Classic, a multi-sporting event hosted by Arnold Schwarzenegger. While the Classic itself began in 1989, largely as a bodybuilding contest, it has grown since then to include everything from Ninja Warrior to fencing. It’s this multi-sporting appeal which resulted in the inclusion of a strongman event.

Regular readers of the blog will no doubt be asking why a strongman event came to the Arnold. After all, the World’s Strongest Man contest (WSM), as detailed previously on this site, had been running since the late 1970s. Herein lies the beauty of the Arnold strongman. Whereas the WSM is often times decided by a combination of muscular strength and athletic endurance, the Arnold, as conceived by the Todds, Peter Lorimer and Arnold Schwarzenegger, is interested solely in brute force. In the WSM, a competitors’ endurance is often a limiting factor. This is especially the case in any long distance carrying events or lift for reps features. In the Arnold, the lifts are closer to one rep maxes or are done under very strict time limits. The thinking behind this is that the Arnold is a better indication of who is the strongest man while the WSM combines strength and endurance. Think of the Arnold as a test of strength alone.

Now while that is simplifying things somewhat, it provides a nice indication of the organiser’s initial motivations. So with that in mind, today’s post takes us back to 2002 and the inaugural Arnold Strongman Classic.

The Rise and Fall of the World Muscle Power Classic

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Admit it. We’re somewhat spoilt for choice these days when it comes to contests of strength. Though not as well televised as some of us might like, myself included, strongmen competitions have grown exponentially over the past decade and a half. We have the World’s Strongest Man (WSM) and its various qualifying rounds around the globe. We have fiercely contested domestic competitions and even contests in your local gym should you be so lucky.

Time was, that this was not the case. Indeed for a long period, the world of strongmen had but two real contests to look forward to, that is the WSM and the World Muscle Power Classic (WMPC). Showing my nostalgic side, today’s post will examine the rise and fall of the WMPC, a strongman competition that for a brief period, was every bit as contested as the WSM.

World’s Strongest Man and the Crunch Bunch or ‘Are Strongmen Athletes?’

Nice muscles, what can you do with them? A common question and also the title for a series of YouTube challenges well worth watching.

The underlying point remains however. Are men and women of muscle athletes? Can they challenge others athletically or are they simply lumbering oafs? While anyone who watches World Strongest Man will testify to the athletic abilities of these men, the common man or woman may be dubious. Imagine then the wonder of 1988 when a rag tag bunch of strongmen donned American football uniforms and set off against the Glasgow Diamonds. The ‘Crunch Bunch’ as they were termed compromised some of the world’s strongest men, and undoubtedly the scariest defensive line in recent memory. This is their story.

Sports Illustrated, ‘Titans of Testosterone’, 1999 World’s Strongest Man Article.

Titans Of Testosterone The (mostly) juiced-up athletes competing for the title of World’s Strongest Man tote stones, toss kegs and tow trucks for puny paychecks and the glory of exposure on late-night cable TV

By Jack McCallum

You see them at all hours of the day and night, lifting cars,
pulling buses, lugging around absurdly large rocks. They are big
men with big arms, big chests, big shoulders, big legs and
sometimes big bellies; sweaty, scary men trussed in bandages and
harnesses and belts; gargantuan mummies come eye-poppingly to
life. They compete in something called World’s Strongest Man
(hereafter WSM), and their esoteric exercitations are replayed
with numbing frequency on ESPN and ESPN2. But it’s
difficult–particularly at 4:30 in the morning–to wrap your
mind around this whole strongman thing. You have questions.

Guest Post: Jon Pall Sigmarsson

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You can’t talk about great strongmen without mentioning Jon Pall Sigmarsson. He was a complete strength athlete. From competing in strongman, Highland Games, Powerlifting, Olympic Weightlifting, and even Bodybuilding, Jon Pall embodied his Icelandic Viking heritage in all that he did. It was the combination of his physical ability and larger-than-life personality that have left a legacy in the world of strength.