Eben Le Roux speaks out – Southern Hemisphere’s Strongest Man

Eben Le Roux speaks out – Southern Hemisphere’s Strongest Man

Eben DeadliftOne of the guys I speak to regularly and greatly respect is Eben Le Roux, the currently Southern Hemisphere’s Strongest Man, and Australia’s Strongest Man.

In this interview he speaks candidly about himself as an athlete and also the sport in general.

PB: I rate you in the top 5 greatest Australian Strongmen ever, what would you say to that?

Eben Le Roux: Well honestly if that is accurate,and I don’t know if it is,it would be an honour to be on that list. With athletes with the likes of Bill Lyndon,Nathan Jones,Derek Boyer etc etc. It’s a big deal and I appreciate the question.


PB: Is Eben Le Roux over the hill in his Strongman career or is your best still to come?

Eben Le Roux: This is a hard one to answer because I’ve had mixed feelings about this.  Let’s be honest Phil, strongman in Australia has been suffering,we have been pretty directionless.

I mean we can all see that the potential is there but it just won’t take off….,so am I gonna pull the pin, well I’ve been hanging around hoping for something juicy around the corner.

I keep saying I’m gonna retire but then I start hitting pb’s and it’s full steam ahead again haha,let’s see how I go at the Arnold’s and how the body feels afterwards!

Eben Pressing an Axle

Eben Pressing an Axle

PB:  What are your next competitions, and do you know who and what you will be facing at the Arnolds?

Eben Le Roux: At this stage the Arnold’s of course, then maybe the record breakers in Adelaide, after that I got a little strength stunt that I’m doing with an Australian celeb( it’s a secret). In the meantime I’m sure something will pop up, let’s just say I’m hoping for an invite to a specific comp in the UK.

With the events I can’t say 100% and also I want to give the organisers a chance to announce it officially first.

I’ve also heard that a handful of the best in the world is coming down under, records will be broken for sure,that is all I can say for now.

PB:  If you could improve the sport in anyway how would you do it?

Eben Le Roux: Improving the sport…. well I know this is in the pipeline but we need a solid federation, look at the NAS North America Strongman fed,it’s working.   We can certainly give that a go,but let’s start small, I think we need to educate the young and upcoming guys about what we are planning on doing,what the direction is and what will be expected from them.

There are already promoters putting alot of work in to run regular comps,and we all appreciate that!

I am always willing to give advice to younger guys,( most don’t listen haha) but it’s all about training correctly and sticking with it I reckon,there are no short cuts!

I’ve also found that social media can sometimes do more damage than good, those old strongmen we all look up to so much weren’t posting how strong they are on FACEBOOK,they spent that time training!

The only way to grow the sport will be with discipline, meaning everyone is on the same page and know what is coming next.

Eben competing at Worlds Strongest Man

Eben competing at Worlds Strongest Man

PB:  What will you do sportwise once you finish competing?

Eben Le Roux: I am actually interested in a few things.

I really like discus and shot put,so I might try that for fun! But hey I don’t think I’ll ever stop lifting!

I’ll definitely drop my body weight a bit and start working on those explosive lifts, well let’s see what I end up doing, I don’t know phil,I’ll need your advice! (Laughing)

PB: How does your wife Marlien support you in the sport?

Eben Le Roux: Well marlien does everything!

She’s the one that cooks my meals, that’s alot of work, just ask the guys at my work, it looks like I’m having a picnic at work when it’s lunch time.

Then there is the mental side of it, she knows how to help me stay focused when things are not working out, I think she knows more about the sport than most of the guys I compete with (laughing), she really is an amazing woman!

Eben Le Roux believes Colm Wolfe is capable of huge things in the sport.

Eben Le Roux believes Colm Wolfe is capable of huge things in the sport.

PB: Which one of the Australian and New Zealand Rat Pack (under 30’s guys) impresses you the most and you think has the greatest potential from what you have already seen?

Eben Le Roux: Well I’ve said this to Colm Wolfe a few times,he has got insane potential!

He will go far. And then there is Rongo Keene who has proven his strength with his great pressing,I know he is training hard and he will be one to watch.

What about young Coco!, I’m curious to see what he will do in a few years, definitely a quiet achiever!

In the meantime there are a few lighter guys that are coming up fast and will be our next generation of strongmen.

PB: Who excites you the most in the sport of Strongman and why?

Eben Le Roux: The most exciting and also my idol, I have made up my mind now, is Mark Felix! I met him at WSM.

He is a great guy! A fantastic athlete, but what I love about him is how calm he is,even before he will be lifting, and then he will just blow your mind with his incredible strength!

I was lucky enough to hang with him for a bit at WSM and what a true gentleman.

PB: What obstacles have you had in your career and how did you overcome them?

Eben Le Roux: I’ve had so many obstacles I won’t know where to start and we will be here all week, but my worst was probably my back injury years ago.

I was out of it for about a year, I thought I was never gonna be able to lift anything again but I recovered and slowly started lifting again. It took me a long time to get back to a 250 deadlift, now I’m hanging around 400 lol,I think I’m doing ok!

Then another obstacle that I’m sure a lot of people underestimate is when I migrated to Australia from South Africa, it really threw me back, as there was no time to train and I lost a ton of weight and strength.  It’s not easy when you know no-one but I can only thank my wife for being so strong and helping me achieve my goals, in the meantime I’ve met some great guys and that helps a lot.

Finding a good place to train,also equipment can be painful, but luckily enough I’ve had some great people help me, today I’ve got guys like Jamie Christensen from PTC Sumner park helping me heaps at his gym!

PB: Thanks Eben


Strongman Italia Style – Angelo Di Filippo

Strongman Italia Style – Angelo Di Filippo

At Viking Strength we regularly talk to the top names in the sport, however sometimes competitors who may have not yet scaled the summits can be just as interesting to talk to.  Here I spent 10 mins with Italian Strongman Competitor Angelo Di Filippo.

Angelo Di Filippo Driving to a competition Italian Style.

Angelo Di Filippo Driving to a competition Italian Style.

PB: So how did you get involved in the sport of strongman?

Angelo Di Filippo: i am 29 years old…i am an ex weightlifter and hammer thrower…i start train when i was 9 years old with martial arts, and I am a black belt in karate and judo.

I approached the world of weights when I turned 11 years old…..I competed in the Olympic lifts, but I have always loved, since a kid the brute force events…..in Italy we have a Strongman federation only since 2012,but I was training by simulating tests strongman already long before.

When i was hammer thrower I was among the best athletes in the Italian youth.  Over the years that I competed in Weightlifting, I have always placed among the top 5 best Italian athletes

I really like the strongman, mainly because it favors brute force,and brute force is my main quality.

Angelo lifts 75kg Dumbell

Angelo lifts 75kg Dumbell

PB: So what Weight Division do you compete in?

Angelo Di Filippo: I compete in the under 96kg class.   In italy the weight class is under 96kg and over 96kg…my best results is 4th place in 2012…but i have a problem, most competitions  take place in northern Italy…and unfortunately I am not often able to participate because of the distance from where I live.

PB: So how well known is the sport of strongman to the public in Italy?

Angelo Di Filippo: In recent years it is becoming better known,but unfortunately it is still not as famous as other countries. The current Italian champion in my category is Angelo Iannetta

PB : How do you train for Strongman and what’s your favourite event?

Angelo Di FilippoI work out in different ways,using both the weight lifting exercises and those of strongman.

I particularly like the partial movements, I use alot in my workouts because I think they are very valid to build core strength.

I also like doing grip training and banding….I think the grip is very important for a strongman.

My favorite event is the circus dumbbell for max…. I have a personal record of 75 kg…In italy at this moment this is a very good lift even in the higher weight class.

Angelo Di Filippo Farmers Walk

Angelo Di Filippo Farmers Walk

In Italy we are still early,and it was difficult for us athletes in the early periods also to find the equipment, and we have adapted. Fortunately things are changing, and we too are coming up to par with other countries.  The road is long, but the passion of us Italians is strong…strong like a strongman.



Strongwoman Alana Curnow – The Stone Conqueror

Strongwoman Alana Curnow – The Stone Conqueror

In the 2015 season Alana Curnow was one of the most successful and determined strongman athletes in Australia.  Then she topped it with a record Atlas Stone Lift of 138.2kg.   So it was great to have 10 mins to catch up with her..


Stone Lifting on Sunrise, Channel 7

Stone Lifting on Sunrise, Channel 7

PB: So we know Alana the Strongwoman, when you’re not doing Strongman what do you do?

Alana Curnow:  I always feel like I should have a more exciting answer for this question, my jobs pretty awesome , I work for Ben and jerry’s but that’s kinda where the excitement ends .. I think anyway . I’m a mother of 3 and I work full time .. so house work and KPIs lol and if I’m lucky catching up with a few friends.

PB: Tell us about the daily life of Alana?

Alana Curnow: 7 am wake up , usually oats for breakfast , supplements vitamin C , magnesium, fish oil , MSM . Pack my car , decide what area I’m working , go to my rep thang for 8 hours, eat my prepped lunch and not be tempted by the thought of ice-cream for lunch .

Later I head to the Hut , train for usually at least 2 hours . Get home at about 7 . Cook dinner , feed animals 2 dogs and 2 cats , have supplements , shower, bed .

PB: Did you do many sports when you were younger?

Alana Curnow: I did a few different sports soccer, basketball and I loved Athletics at school. I was also a very competitive horse rider .

Alana Curnow - 138.2kg Record Stone Lift in Brisbane

Alana Curnow – 138.2kg Record Atlas Stone Lift at 2016 Brisbane Fit Expo

PB: You are now Australia’s top female Stone Lifter, is this event your favourite?

Alana Curnow: It’s a love hate thing . I like it more now with stone sleeves !

I had been training without them but then when I tried out my 4 Armor sleeves .. it was a game changer . I could train stones more frequently.

PB: How often do you train the stones? Any tips?

Alana Curnow: At the moment, once a fortnight . Leading into that record stone lift it was weekly . I’ve found that volume on stones was very effective for increasing my max .

My Tip , train lighter to a higher platform to build your extension technique and strength.

PB: Your progress is really impressive, what do you use to help your recovery?

Alana Curnow:  I’m lucky enough to be sponsored by MASS nutrition Kawana , so they are always hooking me up with the best supps . Vitamin C and MSM and creatine really assist with recovery .. and nurofen .

PB: You mentioned MSM, and in previous conversations you have spoken highly of it, can you explain more?

Alana Curnow:  MSM is  a supplement I sourced out for my horses having one old boy with clicking stiff joints . After seeing this improve I started to look into this supplement more . It turns out this form of sulphur is essential for healthy cell development .

Biologically active sulfur is one of the most critical nutrients for our bodies to remain youthful and energetic. As we age, along with a diet deficient in essential nutrients, our bodies become stiff, our cells become rigid, and our overall energy begins to rapidly decelerate.

MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) is an organic sulfur compound that’s naturally derived during the earth’s rain cycle. Sulfur is present in many natural unprocessed foods, but it’s quickly lost during the cooking process. MSM is gaining a lot of attention due to the recent focus on longevity and anti-aging technologies. Here’s a a few impressive benefits that MSM delivers:
1. Improves skin health and complexion
MSM is necessary for collagen production. Sagging skin and wrinkles, as well as dry, cracked skin are all developed through a loss of collagen. MSM works together with Vitamin C to build new, healthy tissues. MSM can normalize collagen formation and radically improve skin health.
2. Improves flexibility
Research has shown that MSM is highly effective in improving joint flexibility. Additionally, it helps to produce flexible skin and muscle tissue. This leads to an increase in overall flexibility due to a restoration of the “juiciness” in the tissues.
3. Detoxifies the body
One of the most important features of MSM is that it makes your cells morepermeable. This means that it allows toxins and metabolic waste products to easily be moved out of the cells, while essential nutrients and hydration can be moved in. It’s a calcium phosphate dissolver, so it has a remarkable ability to break up the bad calcium that’s at the root of degenerative diseases.
4. Strengthens hair and nails
Collagen and keratin and both critical for the production of healthy hair and nails. MSM is a bonafide “beauty mineral” that provides the sulfur needed to produce collagen and keratin. It’s also highly noted to contribute to exceptional strength and thickness of the hair and nails, which can be noticed in just a couple weeks of consistent use.
5. Accelerates healing
Lactic acid and other byproducts cause pain and soreness in the body. MSM increases the ability of the body to eliminate waste products at the cellular level. This speeds recovery and frees up more energy for rebuilding.

PB: Thank-you for answering these questions and we wish you all the best at the Arnolds in March 2016.

WSF World Cup Strongman Event

WSF World Cup Strongman Event

VladscompThe traditional Strongman tournament PROFORM WSF World Cup was held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on 3rd May.

There was hot weather and hot battles to determine who is  the strongest.

14 athletes from 13 countries, 6 hard events. New Polish star – Mateusz won pretty handedly with 4 out of 6 events and seems to be an athlete to watch out for in the future.

Final Placings

1. Mateusz Kieliszkowski (Poland)

2. Sergey Trubitsin (Uzbekistan)

3. Dimitar Savatinov (Bulgaria)

4-5. Oleksandr Lashyn (Ukraine), Evgenii Markov (Russia)

6. Hamza Primov (Uzbekistan)

7. Ari Gunnarsson (Iceland)

8. Tarmo Mitt (Estonia)

9. Rolands Gulbis (Latvia)

10. Sergey Vachynski (Belarus)

11. Alexey Pisarevsky (Kazakhstan)

12. Shurat Alihonov (Uzbekistan)

13. Sergiu Mirzenco (Moldova)

14. Antanas Abrutis (Lithuania)

WSF World Cup

2015 Arctic Man results

2015 Arctic Man results

belt1As provided by Vlad Redkin:

Final results of ArcticMan 2015 in Nadym, Russia:

1. Valery Savin (Russia) – 39 points
2. Ari Gunnarsson(Iceland) – 36
3. Tarmo Mitt (Estonia) – 35
4. Vjacheslav Astapenkov (Belarus) – 35
5. Antanas Abrutis (Lithuania) – 32
6. Rolands Gulbis (Latvia) – 29
7. Sergey Trubitsin (Uzbekistan) – 27
8. Anders Engen (Norway) – 14,5
9. Anders Lindbladh (Sweden) – 14
10. Tim Enersen (Norway) – 10,5


Nenets stick pulling “IEHETUKLMA World Cup” winner – Antanas Abrutis (Lithuania)

Arctic Man Competitors

Arctic Man Competitors

The World's Coldest Log Press?

The World’s Coldest Log Press?

Nenet Stick pulling

Nenet Stick pulling

2015 Arcticman Strongman Tournament – Reindeer Herder’s Holiday..

2015 Arcticman Strongman Tournament – Reindeer Herder’s Holiday..

articman_LOGOIn Russian Nadym, in celebration of the traditional Day of the reindeer herder, the second time will be held the strongman tournament Arcticman 2015. (by Vlad Redkin)

This year it has grown considerably in rank – held under the auspices of the WSF (World Strongman Federation) and has the status of a World Cup. Priority for participation in the tournament organizers gave athletes from countries of the Arctic region – together with the Russians on the competition area Arcticman-2015 will come representatives of Norway, Iceland, Sweden and Finland. Also will come athletes from the Baltic states and the CIS.

In addition to traditional strongman events – of course, with the obligatory adjusted for northern weather – the program Arcticman-2015, for the first time at the international level, including traditional Nenets stick pulling (“Iehetuklma”). This national kind of physical activity has deep historical roots in the Russian North, and every nation in the technique of this exercise has its own specifics. Very interesting as cope athletes from Europe in this traditional Nenets wrestling – IEHETUKLMA.

Special guests of the tournament, as well as last year, will be very popular and  known champions – Michael Koklyaev and Elbrus Nigmatullin, the head referee will be the general manager of the WSF – Vlad Redkin from Latvia. Arcticman 2015 will be filmed and broadcasted on Russia Sport – TV channel with support from Russian Strongman Federation ( Piskunov ). The best 3 places will participate in Uzbekistan World Cup on May.



  1. Valery Savin (Russia)
  2. Tarmo Mitt (Estonia)
  3. Rolands Gulbis (Latvia)
  4. Ari Gunarsson (Iceland)
  5. Anders Lindbladh (Sweden)
  6. Anders Engen (Norway)
  7. Tim Enersen (Norway)
  8. Viachaslav Astapenkov (Belarus)
  9. Sergey Trubicin (Uzbekistan)
  10. Mika Jaakola (Finland)


  1. Log lift 130 kg for reps
  2. Farmers walk 2×130 kg for distance
  3. Arm over arm – car
  4. Deadlift for reps (car )
  5. Conan Wheel 300 kg

Additional event – Nenets stick pulling “IEHETUKLMA World Cup”

  1. Traditional Nenets stick pulling
Russia’s Princess of the Bench Press – Maryana Naumova

Russia’s Princess of the Bench Press – Maryana Naumova

maryana small

Makes the perfect present….

Powerlifter Maryana Naumova is 15 years old at 60kg, bench pressed an amazing 145kg, which is 2.5 x her bodyweight!!

Here is the interview we did.



Phil Burgess: How did you get into the sport of powerlifting?

Maryana Naumova: I was so active in my childhood so my mother took me to Aerobic Gymnastics.

When I was 10 years old I went to a Powerlifting competition with my father, he is a powerlifter too. I was very impressed when I saw girls who bench pressed.

The next day I went to the gym with my dad and I did my first workout. After 2 months I won my first competition and bench pressed 40 kg(88lb).

Maryana Naumova powering up the bar.

Maryana Naumova powering up the bar.

Phil Burgess: What do you love the most about being a powerlifter?

Maryana Naumova:  I really love being a powerlifter. Bench press gives me alot of opportunity.

I travel around the world, explore new countries and cultures,meet my fans and friends, talk with my idols who give me many advices how to become better and stronger.

I really like the atmosphere in the competitions. You can show your strength to another athlete.

Phil Burgess: What are your best lifts and what records do you hold?

Maryana Naumova:  Two weeks ago I got a new world record in Poland at the World Raw Championships federation IRP.

I bench pressed without bench shirt 120kg (265lb) easy. At the Olympia 2014 I hold new record with bench shirt 145kg (320lb)

getting ready to bench

getting ready to bench

Phil Burgess: What do your school mates and friends think about you being a powerlifter?

Maryana Naumova: Of course everyone knows who I am in school, but I don`t like when my classmates or teachers talk about me. I don`t want them to feel not comfortable about themselves.

They know about my records and competitions, but at school I try to be a normal teenager. Of course they congratulate me after my victory and I like it.

I always tell where I was and what I did, but also as my classmates do,  I go to my school everyday and do my homework.

Phil Burgess: How often do you train and are there any training theories that you follow?

Maryana Naumova: I have my own program. My talented coach writes it for me and it really works.

I feel it and you can see it.  I go to the gym 3-4 times a week.

I have light,medium and heavy workouts also I do leg day.

After every workout I pump my shoulders,biceps,triceps and my back. I have pain on my back after Aerobic Gymnastics so I always use my gravity boots.

I don`t like boring workouts so I use rubbers,boards and other interesting things for my bench.

My friends Scot Mendelson,Eric Spoto and other strong powerlifters give me advices.

Phil Burgess: What are your goals for the next 24 months?

Maryana Naumova: Of course I`m going to complete. Soon I`ll begin to prepare for the Arnold Classic where I want to show a new record.

I will continue to do social work. I will go to the schools and orphanage to tell children about sport and healthy life.

I hope that I can motivate people to change them life and do good things.

Maryana inspiring the school children

Maryana inspiring the school children

Phil Burgess:  I believe you were supposed to come to GPA worlds in Sydney but couldn’t come, what happened? And where have you travelled already to compete in powerlifting?

Maryana Naumova: I was surprised too. I was preparing for GPA World’s in Sydney but a week before the competition at the Embassy they didn`t give me a Visa. I don`t know the reason.

They don`t tell it, but I think it happened because I was in Donbass (Ukraine). I think that it`s not right because I came to Donbass to support children.

Phil Burgess: What job do you want to do? And what things do you do to relax?

Maryana Naumova: I have alot of time to choose my future job because I`ll study for 2 years more at school.

I want to be a journalist, it’s a really interesting job. You can travel and meet new people.

I don`t want to work at the office it`s so boring. I hope that I will enjoy my work.

So what about relax time.. I don`t have any.

If have free time I prefer to go to the cinema or to the park with my friends.

With my parents we often go to the village and make BBQ.


Maryana between sets

Maryana between sets

Phil Burgess: What advice would you give to other teenagers who want to get involved in powerlifting.

Maryana Naumova: Don`t be afraid. Don`t think that you can’t speak to other people.

If you want something, do it.

Find a good coach, work hard, eat healthy food and sleep enough.

Follow your dreams and you will get it.

If you want to know something you can write me. I will happy to help you.




Click below for Interviews with:

Paul Carter of Lift-Run-Bang.com


Andy Bolton


Benedikt Magnusson




The First of the Mohican’s – Finnish Strongman Antti Mourujarvi

The First of the Mohican’s – Finnish Strongman Antti Mourujarvi

The Iceman Antti

The Iceman Antti

The first time I noticed Finish Strongman Antti Mourujarvi was during the Truck Pull World Championships in 2013, he did very well in the competition but his Mohawk really made him stand out amongst the other competitors.  I thought it would be good to find out more about him, and here is the interview I did with him.

Phil Burgess:  What is your best performance you are the most proud of in your Strongman career and why?

Antti Mourujarvi: My best result is 2nd place in SCL Truck pull world chanpionships 2013 I did not expect too much when i was on my way to that competition,there was so much tough competititors. And it is my first and biggest tittle so far.

Proloc AdPhil Burgess:  What events are your strengths and which events are you focusing on to improve?

Antti Mourujarvi: My strongest events are; front hold,farmers walk,power stairs and arm over arm truck pull.

I have to improve all my overhead pressing. I have begun to train with a weightlifting coach,and I just do more pressing exercises than I normally would.

Phil Burgess:  Scandinavia is home of many Strongmen champions, is it a popular sport with the public there?

Antti Mourujarvi:  The Strongman sport was very popular in 1990’s and 2000’s, after that there havent been so many big stars and it has affected the popularity of the strongman sport.

Phil Burgess:  How frequently do you train, and can you give an example of a training week for you, and leading up to a competition how does that change?

Antti Mourujarvi:  I train 5 times a week.

  • Monday: chest and triceps
  • Tuesday: back
  • Wednesday: rest
  • Thursday: overhead presses
  • Friday: legs
  • Saturday: rest
  • Sunday: strongman events

I start to do shorter sets about four weeks before a competition. First two weeks I do reps of three. In the third week I try to do some max lifts and the last week is just light training and stretching.

Antti Atlas Stone

Antti Atlas Stone

Phil Burgess:  What advice would you give to new competitors in the sport of strongman?

Antti Mourujarvi:  For new competitors:

  1. Train hard,be ready to bleed blood,sweat and tears
  2. Set your goals for  the future, and no one can be the best right away. It will take lot of years.
  3. If you have the opportunity to get tips from more experienced strongmen do it.

Phil Burgess:  What was your path into the sport of strongman? Did you do any other sports before?

Antti Mourujarvi:  When I was a young boy I saw strongman competitions on television and I decided to be a strongman too when i grow up.

I started with powerlifting and I lifted  in all the junior series. After that I started to do strongman events. First a little bit and then more and more every year.

Phil Burgess:  You and Eddie Hall have the same hairstyle (a mohawk) do you feel that he copied you (joking)? 

Antti Mourujarvi:  No, I dont think that Eddie copied my style. First time I had a mohawk in competition was about 5 years ago and a full beard became later. In that time I did not know who Eddie Hall was and I think he did not know about me when he cut his mohawk first time. But i have to say it is f*@#@$  great style .

Phil Burgess:  What strongman has given you the most advice in the sport, who do you turn to for advice?

Antti Mourujarvi:  Most advice I have got is from former world’s strongest man Janne Virtanen. He helped me with techniques and told me how I should train when I started in this sport. Nowadays if i need to know something I like to ask Ervin Katona.

Phil Burgess:  Who to you is the best strongman ever and why?

Antti Mourujarvi:  For me it is Big Z. He has had such a long career and he has won everything what is possible so many times. He is the true incarnation of strength.

Antti competing in China

Antti competing in China

Phil Burgess:  When you are not training or competing, what is your occupation and what are your favourite shows on TV?

Antti Mourujarvi:  My occupation is a carpenter as so many other Finnish strongman have been. My number one tv show is definitely Game of Thrones. Otherwise I just watch the news.

Phil Burgess:  Anything else you’d like to share with the readers?

Antti Mourujarvi:  I tore my biceps tendon one year ago. Because of that this season I havent been too good and I have already began to focus on the next season.

 I’ve heard from the big boys talking, to become real strongman you must have torn at least one bicep.

The New Force in Polish Strongman – Rafal Kobylarz

The New Force in Polish Strongman – Rafal Kobylarz

rafal farmers smallAfter watching Rafal Kobylarz winning the Strongman Champions League event in Latvia, it was time to interview this new force in Polish Strongman.

Phil Burgess: How did you get into the sport of strongman? Did you do any other sports before?

Rafal Kobylarz:  I started to train in the gym and decided to try my hand at strongman competitions. Previously I trained football and powerlifting

Phil Burgess: What is your best competition result and what is your aim for the next 12 months?

Rafal Kobylarz:  In this year I think my favorite competition were :

  • -Strongman Champions League – Latvia (Olaine) – 1st place
  • -IHGF Highland Games Strength Challenge – Romania (Satu Mare) – 1st place
  • -Giant’s Live Poland – S?upsk – 3rd place where I qualified for Worlds Strongest Man 2015
  • -SCITEC European Strongest Team Challenge- Slovakia (Dunajska Streda) – 1st place, Croatia (Cakovec) – 1st place, Hungary (Tatabanya) – 1st place
  • Arnold Classic Europe Spain (Madrid) – 1st place.

Since January I plan to prepare for World’s Strongest Man 2015 as this is a very important event for me.

Rafal Truck Pulling

Rafal Truck Pulling

Phil Burgess: Strongman seems to be very popular in Poland? Why do you think this is? And do you get recognised as a strongman in Poland by the public? I remember Mike Jenkins saying that strongmen in Poland seemed to be like rock stars?

Rafal Kobylarz:  A few years ago it was like that, now it is a little worse after the departure of Mariusz Pudzianowski.

Mariusz was the star of the strongman, in Poland. 

Phil Burgess: What strongman has provided the greatest influence on your strongman career?

Rafal Kobylarz:  The model is Mariusz Pudzianowski for me and Sebastian Wenta and of course Zydrunas Savickas.

Phil Burgess: What hobbies do you have outside of strongman?

Rafal Kobylarz: Spending free time with my wife, training highland games, and watching movies and various sports on TV.

Phil Burgess: What two things have you learnt in your strongman career which you wish you knew when you started?

Rafal Kobylarz:  That you need to train regularly and slowly improve your results, and that I have to practice the most, events which I dislike.

ProlocCollarPhil Burgess:  If you were in charge of an international strongman federation what 2 things would you do to increase the popularity of the sport worldwide?

Rafal Kobylarz: I think that you could increase the number of events,and organize more competitions for amateurs.

Phil Burgess: Ok time for some personal stats, what’s your best log press, deadlift, squat?

Rafal Kobylarz:

  1. Log press- 190kg,
  2. Deadlift- 423kg,
  3. Squat- 353kg without suits and tape on knee. 

Phil Burgess: What assistant exercises do you do to support the log press and how often do you train shoulders?

Rafal wins SCL Latvia 2014

Rafal wins SCL Latvia 2014

Rafal Kobylarz: I training my shoulders once a week, my arms are not so strong.

In this winter I must train my arms more because this event is not my favourite.

Phil Burgess: Any last thoughts you’d like to share?

Rafal Kobylarz: I would like next year to be better than this. This is my dream…..

So you want to run a strongman competition? 6 lessons learned the hard way.

So you want to run a strongman competition? 6 lessons learned the hard way.

So you want to run a Strongman Comp?? 6 lessons learned, the hard way…

Its great when people step up to the plate, to run their first strongman comp.  I thought it might be useful to share some lessons I’ve learned in running a few comps in Australia.

log press1. Test all the events beforehand

If your using traditional strongman events, then you probably wont need to test them before the competition.  However if you are looking to do an event such as a truck pull, then you will need to test it out.  i.e. to find out how hard it is to pull, and the angle and consistency of the surface.  Also if you are going to add a twist to a traditional event you should test it out first.  I thought doing a viking press, using a telegraph pole, would be fairly easy, however on the day of the competition the event had to be amended as it hadnt been tested previously, and whilst it was workable for the men, the weight of it was too heavy with out weight plates being added.

2. Have a team, Referee, Time keepers, Loaders etc.

As stupid as it sounds, I thought that I could do most roles in the latest comp I ran this year 2014 New South Wales Strongest Man and Woman.  There were 32 competitors across 8 events, in 9 different divisions…The first day I started out as emcee, referee, timer, and result scorer, and loader/helper..  Whilst I struggled through the first day, I realised late that night that I couldn’t do it again the next day.  The first role I dropped was emcee, then I gave the record keeping to a young friend who was good with maths.  I then gave the time keeping responsibilities to other people.   It wasn’t easy as I’d become a bit of a control freak, but you know what….. the day started running smoother, I began to enjoy it more, and it was great to see friends and family of the competitors getting involved in the competition.

3. Have clear instructions written  for the different roles.

Related to point 2, it is a lot easier to delegate jobs if there are simple clear instructions for them to follow.  A case in point was a loading race where, for the first heat one of the time keepers didn’t realise that they needed to record the time down to the hundreds of a second.

4. Eat, Drink, you will need it.

Sounds obvious but it is not unusual to be too busy to eat.  You will definitely be burning alot of calories if you are running a competition.  I have found that I lose 2 kg of bodyweight when I run a comp.  Have easy to eat foods available chocolate, shakes etc.

5. Make a scoring sheet for each event for each weight division, and print spares.

I thought I would be smart and have all the events for each division on the same piece of paper, however it meant that when the next event was being run, the previous events scores were on that piece of paper and couldn’t be put onto a leaderboard to give the up to date subtotals for the competition.

NSW strongman group shot6. Enjoy the competition

Sounds obvious but if you are running an event it is easy to become so absorbed in making it work, that you forget to enjoy it.  It should be fun, if not why on earth are you doing it, as in most cases there is no money to be made in doing it.

Phil Burgess

css.php WordPress SEO