What Should A Strength Competition Test?

Next month, RxFIT will host Gainzgiving–a barbell, strength competition that will test the five major lifts (deadlift, back squat, bench press, snatch, and clean & jerk).

Yesterday, we announced all five events for the November 21st competition. This announcement brought nerves and excitement to most, but also the expected criticism from a few.

Today, I’d like to address why these events are programmed the way they are. More specifically, why these five events will crown the strongest male and female in each division.

World’s Strongest Man

There’s no argument that the winner of the annual World’s Strongest Man competition is, in fact, the strongest man in the world. Yet, “the World’s Strongest Man competition is about more than just force: it is about stamina, skill, tactics, training, and strategy” (taken directly from their website).

While a 1-rep max would certainly make a good test, the overall competition must include varying strength modalities in order to (truly) crown the strongest.

As an example, let’s briefly review the events of last year’s World’s Strongest Man competition:

Event 1: Loading Race

Athletes must carry five objects the course of 50-feet and load it into a truck. This strength event was a test of speed and power, the finishing times ranging from 40-60 seconds.

Event 2: Overhead Press Medley

Athletes must clean & jerk four different weights, varying both in size and shape. This strength event was a test of coordination, balance, and accuracy, the finishing times ranging from 25-55 seconds.

Weights for each lift:
1) two, 130-lbs. dumbbells.
2) one, 220-lbs. circus dumbbell.
3) 350-lbs. circus barbell.
4) 370-lbs log.

Event 3: Squat Lift (Reps)

Athletes must squat 710-pounds as many times as possible. This strength event was a test of stamina as the finishing scores were between 5-9 reps. Most athletes lifted between 60-75 seconds.

Event 4: Deadlift Hold

Athletes must deadlift 710-pounds and hold it in the top position for as long as possible. This strength event was a test of endurance, the finishing times ranging from 20-40 seconds.

Event 5: Atlas Stones (Last Man Standing)

Athletes go head-to-head where they pick up a 400-lbs. stone and put it over a 5-foot target. The stone gets passed back and forth until an opponent fails. This strength event tests a lot of different components, two of which are flexibility and agility.

Summary of World’s Strongest Man Events

Looking at these five final events (there were also five qualifying events before they cut the field down to just 10 athletes), you will see that nine physical skills were tested in order to find the strongest athlete: speed, power, coordination, balance, accuracy, stamina, endurance, flexibility, and agility.

Additionally, the event directors of The World’s Strongest Man tested varying modailites (dumbbells, trucks, barbells, stones, and even a plane!) as well as time domains ranging from 20-75 seconds.

Surprisingly (but not surprisingly), a 1-rep max wasn’t even tested.

Clearly, sustained time under tension has something to do with being strong.

Gainzgiving

At its core, Gainzgiving is a barbell, strength competition. While the cliché purpose of this competition is simply “to have fun”, the overall winners will be he and she who are strongest. As an additional twist, we are including bodyweight and lifting coefficiants to find the strongest pound-for-pound athletes.

Allow me to briefly explain:

Event 1: Clean + Front Squat + Jerk

Athletes will enter the competition when the bar reaches 80% of their 1-rep max clean and jerk. Weights will then continue to ascend by 10-lbs (men) or 5-lbs (women) as each lifter completes the clean complex.

It is anticipated that athletes will lift near-maximal loads 4-6 times before they eventually fail. The final barbell will then be multiplied by the athlete’s sinclair coefficient, the sum being the athlete’s Event 1 score.

This strength event is a test of coordination and accuracy.

Event 2: 1:00 Bench Press (Max Reps)

Athletes will complete as many repetitions as possible in one minute. Weights on the barbell will vary depending on your bodyweight (and division). The barbell may be racked and unracked whenever the athlete chooses.

It is anticipated that athletes will lift between 15-25 times before the timer runs out. The number of repetitions completed is the athlete’s Event 2 score.

This strength event is a test of stamina and agility.

Event 3: 10-rep Deadlift For Time

Athletes will deadlift 2x their bodyweight (or less, depending on division) as fast as possible for 10-reps.

It is anticipated that the event will last between 20-30 seconds for each athlete. The time elapsed after completing the 10th rep will be the athlete’s Event 3 score.

This strength event is a test of speed.

Event 4: 3-rep Max Back Squat

Athletes will have two separate attempts to back squat a 3-rep max.

The heavier of the two attempts will then be multiplied by their wilk’s coefficient, the sum being the athlete’s Event 4 score.

This strength event is a test of power.

Event 5: 30 Snatches For Time + 1-rep Max Snatch

Athletes will have five minutes to complete both sections of this event–first the 30 (light) snatches and then a 1-rep max snatch.

It is anticipated that the 30 snatches will last between 60-75 seconds, allowing the athletes 3:30-4:00 to recover and hit a max snatch. After the event, the heaviest successful snatch will then be multiplied again by the athlete’s sinclair coefficient, the sum being the athlete’s Event 5 score.

The time it takes to complete the 30 light snatches will be recorded and used as a final tiebreak, only if needed.

This strength event tests a lot of different components, but most notably endurance as the athletes must recover from a sprint before lifting a max load.

Summary of Gainzgiving Events

These five strength events test seven physical components: coordination, accuracy, stamina, agility, speed, power, and endurance. Because we limited our scope in making this a barbell-only competition, we left out the tests of flexibility and balance–although they are surely tested in the olympic lifts.

Additionally, these five events will test varying time domains ranging between 10-75 seconds.

Surprisingly (but not surprisingly), a stand-alone 1-rep max will not be tested because sustaining time under tension has everything to do with being strong.

Takeaway

The five events programmed at next month’s Gainzgiving are designed to find the individual most competent across all strength modalities.

A “Super Meet”–a five event lifting competition testing the 1-rep max of all five lifts–surely has its place in finding strong lifters. But we weren’t interested in just that. He (or she) who has the largest super total is not necessarily the strongest–the sport of Strongman being evidence of that.

Every year, The World’s Strongest Man competition crowns the strongest man without performing 1-rep max lifts. Instead, they test nine different strength modalities. This was the inspiration behind Gainzgiving.

In proving strength, the strongest on earth have taught us:

It’s about more than just force: it is about stamina, skill, tactics, training and strategy. Every event is designed to push the [athlete] to their absolute limits, challenging not only their physical strength, but their agility, and mental toughness too.

Tyler

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