The Scaled Down Strongman Challenge

Watching the annual World’s Strongest Man competition over Christmas and New Year has become a tradition that’s every bit as strong as its competitors. To give you an idea of the kind of events and weights that big boys are competing in, I’ve scaled down the six events featured in the 2013 finals of World’s Strongest Man (WSM) based upon the bodyweight of the competitors. Why not try out the ‘Scaled Down Strongman (SDS) Challenge’ and see how you match up to the strongest in the world.

Event 1 – Farmer’s Frame Carry

WSM – 375kg frame carried 15 metres and back

Best time: 20 seconds (Mike Jenkins)

SDS – 1.125x BW Farmer’s handles carried 15 metres and back

Notes: I’ve substituted Farmer’s handles for the frame as more people will have access to these. Diameter of the frame handles looked to be standard barbell dimensions and no straps are permitted. Carry the handles out 15 metres, drop, turn around, and then walk back.

Event 2 – Truck Pull

WSM – 15 tonne truck pulled 15 metres

SDS – 2.5X BW Sled pulled 15 metres

Best time: 40 seconds (Hafthor Bjornsson)

Notes: Yes, this makes it a completely different event but I’m guessing that few of you will have access to truck so we’ll making do with a sled brimmed to the rafters. You’ll need a harness to perform the pull and use an anchored rope to help with the pull if you have access to one. If you don’t have a harness then feel free to change this event from a sled pull to a sled push and take little weight off.

Event 3 – Super Yoke Carry

WSM – 480kg yoke carried 20 metres

SDS – 2.9x BW yoke – or BB – carried 20 metres

Best time: 13.6 seconds (Brian Shaw)

Notes: More and more yokes are popping up in S&C facilities but I appreciate that not everyone will be able to use one. I wouldn’t recommend using regular barbell on your shoulders for these but you could always adapt this to a Zercher carry and take some of the weight off.

Event 4 – Max Deadlift

WSM – 370kg, 400kg, 420kg, 442.5kg

SDS – 2.2x BW, 2.4X BW, 2.5X BW, 2.65X BW, More???

Best lift: 442.5kg (Brian Shaw)

Notes: Deadlift suits and straps are permitted here, as is hitching the bar up your thighs. If you’ll be lifting unequipped then take about 10% off the weights.

Event 5 – Overhead Medley

WSM – OA DB Press 110kg, BB Press 170kg, OA DB Press 120kg, BB Press 180kg

SDS – OA DB Press 0.66X BW, BB Press 1x BW, OA DB Press 0.75X BW, BB Press 1.1X BW

Best time: 43 seconds (Zydrunas Savickas)

Note: The DBs used were thick handled so pop a Fat Gripz on if you’ll be using standard handles; the BBs were standard diameter. You’re allowed to use two hands to get the DB to your shoulder and then press overhead with one. You can get the BB to your chest in any way you like, so long as you don’t rest it on your belt if you’re wearing one, and then press overhead.

Event 6 – Atlas Stones

WSM – 5 ascending 130-185kg stones

SDS – 5 ascending 0.8-1.1X BW stones, platforms descending from nose height to upper stomach height

Best time: 23 seconds (Hafthor Bjornsson)

Notes: Sandbags are good substitutes for stones if you don’t have them. Also, if you don’t have platforms you could build up a barrier to pass the stone/bag over.

What’s missing?

Two types of popular strongman events that didn’t feature in this year’s final were throws and endurance holds. As both of these can be incorporated without expensive equipment I thought I’d give you a couple of example events that you may wish to substitute for some of the above if you don’t have the right kit.

Bonus Event 1

SDS – 0.1-0.15X BW Overhead Med Ball Throw for Distance

Notes: The implements these guys throw are typically in the 20kg region so these above numbers should match up. Simply throw the ball back over your head as far as you can.

Bonus Event 2

SDS – 2X BW Trap Bar Deadlift Hold

Notes: Another simple one to finish on. No straps allowed but feel free to raise the bar up onto blocks or pins to make the pick up easier.


So, why not kick off 2014 by giving some of these challenges a try? Let me know how you get on if you do!

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