I met Eben at the 2011 FitX strongman competition in Melbourne, I was impressed by his friendliness and humbleness, a genuine nice guy, who also happens to be ridiculously strong 🙂
Eben: Virginia, South Africa
Phil: What sports/ interests did you have as a child?
Eben: I very much enjoyed long distance running as i grew up and completed alot of half and full marathons,i also played Rugby union in school.
Phil: Growing up who was your sporting idol?
Eben: Bruce Fordyce,(champion marathon athlete),he was a fantastic athlete,I also had a few Rugby union idols.
Phil: How did you get into Strongman competition?
Eben: Well that is a long story,but to keep it short, I was training in a gym in South Africa,and I was more interested in Bodybuilding, and did alot of bodybuilding competitions. However a local gym set up a strongman competition comprised of events like tyre flips and car rolls etc, and whilst I only weighed about 90kg’s I beat all the big boys,so the bug bit me.
Eben: Thinking back there is actually a few achievements I am proud of. My first big comp was one in South Africa where I competed against the best in the country and I got 5th place out of 10 guys,where I beat alot of big names simply with my strong grip. I also ended up in 3rd place out of 21 athletes in the South African nationals in 2006, unfortunately shortly after that I tore my lat in the deadlifts. Finally making a name for myself in my first comp in Australia in 2008 was important to me too, after I got 2nd place behind Derek Boyer.
Phil: What is your best strongman event?
Eben: My best strongman event will have to be my deadlifts, but then I also have a very strong grip, my grip is ussually the last that fails in an event,so events like Farmers Walk etc is good for me.
Phil: What is your least favourite strongman event?
Eben: My least favourite event is the Conans wheel,its very painful and walking in a circle with a heavy weight just does’nt work for me, hahaha.
Phil: Who do you respect the most in the world of strongman?
Eben: With respect to the strongman athletes I’ll have to say that there is a few, they all have their freakishly strong events,but guys like Derek Poundstone who has a great attitude means alot to me, even with him being so succesfull, he is still very humble!
Phil: What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Eben: The best advice I have been given was to not give up, its a hard sport to stay in,you have to keep training and the results will come.
Phil: What advice would you give to young people who want to get into strongman competitions?
Eben: The best advice I can give the new young athletes is always to stick with the basics of strength training. Powerlifting events are very important ,as are training strongman events, but dont go too heavy, its supposed to be fun and finally eat and sleep enough.
Phil: If you could only do one exercise what would it be and why?
Eben: Well I have been all over the place with my favourite exercises in training ,but these days I really enjoy doing all kinds of one arm snatches over-head. I also love the explosive movements,and stone loading is good fun as well!
Eben: I train about 4 days a week, I do 3 days in the gym where I do static strengh training and then 1 day of strongman events. If I’m training for a strongman comp I”ll start doing 5 days a week and do more event training.
Phil: Do you do Cardio work? If so how much?
Eben: I do cardio work with my weight training, I like to do 1 day a week where I’ll get my heart rate up and try to keep it up for a full 30min while I’ll do an exercise like overhead presses,or squats. They work for me, I dont go heavy and I hit the reps.
Phil: If you could invite 5 people (currently living or dead) to your house to have dinner with you, who would they be and why?
Eben: That is a hard one but I’ll say:
Derek Poundstone, I can learn alot from him.
Charlize Theron, Hollywood actress, we can chat in Afrikaans,so I wont have to think so hard.lol
Hamish and Andy, dont have to explain.lol
Pablo Fransisco, look him up on youtube,that dude is funny!
My wife, so she can laugh with me and take notes.
Phil: Thanks mate for a great interview
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