Elbrus Nigmatullin – 3 times Russia’s Strongest Man

Elbrus Nigmatullin Russian Strongman
Elbrus in his National Costume.

Elbrus Nigmatullin is a leading and very popular Russian Strongman. He  is a successful Strongman, University Lecturer, Personal Trainer, Cultural Advocate and Deputy of the Legislative Assembly and in his spare time he goes to the Disco!

Elbrus Nigmatullin Russian Strongman
Elbrus in his National Costume.

So lets meet Elbrus..

Viking Strength: How popular are strongman competitions in Russia , and do many people know who you are from Strongman?

Elbrus Nigmatullin: Strongman in Russia has been really popular over the last 9 years. We used to have to explain what it is, because several years ago nobody had heard about it.   Now six out ten people will tell you that they’ve seen Strongman Competitions on the TV.

For some time one of the Russian Central TV channels showed internal Russian championships and some international events. The faces of the most strongmen became recognizable to the citizens of Russia.

However presently Russian Strongman is going through a period of reorganising and the public interest in this sport is diminishing.  

This is because there have been few competitions over the last 3-4 years, and lots of strongmen left or they’ve changed to other sporting disciplines.

Viking Strength: What strongman competitions have you won? and what ones are you proud of your performances in?

Elbrus Nigmatullin:  I participated in four tournaments of the World Strongest Man: 2005 – Chengdu (China), 2006 – Hainan (China), 2007 – California (USA), 2008 – Charleston (USA).

I’ve won Russia Strongest Man many times in 2001, 2003 and in 2005 I beat Mikhail Koklyaev in the final, and I guess this victory is my proudest one.

Internationally,  I have two silver medals in the Strongman World Cup Finals in Podols (Russia) in 2006 and Minsk (Belorussia) in 2008.  Both times I was runner up to Mariusz Pudzianowski only.

The title of the Strongest Man of Russia brings me the biggest dividends and pleasure.   When people see me on the street – they say that I’m the strongest man in Russia.

Viking Strength: How have your results gone in your most recent competitions?

Elbrus Nigmatullin:  In recent years I only did a few strongman competitions. My last 3 starts were: 1. World Strongest Man Tournament 2008 in USA – I took the 4th place in my subgroup. 2. Moscow Grand Prix Tournament 2010 – 4th place 3. Togliatti (Russia) in September 2011 on All-Russian Tournament in memory of Vladimir Turchinski – there I won.

Viking Strength: What do you love most about the sport of strongman?

Elbrus Russian Strongman
Elbrus and Australia's Derek Boyer

Elbrus Nigmatullin:  In iron sports I love the travelling and meeting new people and discovering new countries. Thanks to Strongman I’ve been around the world – I have visited Asia, America, and Europe. Now I can login and add real friends in FACEBOOK worldwide. It’s so cool.  Talking with people from different points of the planet, who understand who we are and how we look and we’re living the same feelings.

Viking Strength: Are you a professional Strongman or do you have a different job?

Elbrus Nigmatullin: Strongman is not my current job. Rather it’s my favourite hobby that brings me money from time to time. I’m a Lecturer in the Department of Physical Education at the Bashkir State University (Ufa).

Also I do one on one training in the fitness club.

I’m also the founder of  a Russian Children’s Charity fund. I’m spending lots of time there.

Elbrus Russian Strongman
Elbrus getting a lift from friends

In addition, I’m one of the leaders of social organization “Bashkir kurultai” (Assembly) Chelyabinsk region. I’m doing advocacy of national culture and national sports.

Sometimes I appear in advertisements and sometimes in the movies.

I was elected as deputy of the Legislative Assembly of Chelyabins region in 2005. This is only a partial list of what I do. (Editors Note: Elbrus is a busy man).

Viking Strength: What is your favourite event in Strongman Competitions?

Elbrus Nigmatullin: My most favourite event in strongman – is Arm over Arm (when you pull your hands on a rope) Truck Pull  and the Tyre Flip. I’ve got strong arms and back from nature. My strength and stamina has always been good. My most unfavourite exercise is Super Yoke, because the strength of my legs has always lagged behind.  If this event has been in my competitions, I usually was at the back, and I found it hard to catch the others up.

Viking Strength: You are one of the shorter strongmen, as you are under 6 foot tall, how has this affected your strongman results?

Elbrus Nigmatullin:  Yes I am relatively small compared with other strongmen. But I know of top strongmen that are smaller or the same height as me, like Darren Sadler, or the legendary Yuko Aholla. But we know what strong power they got and how they can win against taller and heavier athletes. Generally we are faster and stronger than other large athletes. Of course it’s a big minus for us short people, because there are alot of events especially suited for tall people, such as the Atlas stones on platforms. Tall athletes also have the advantage because of their stronger grip. (Editor’s Note: Taller People have longer fingers which mean gripping a bar is easier)  But it doesn’t mean that I’m giving up.

Viking Strength: What are your best lifts in the Deadlift, Squat and Bench Press? Elbrus Nigmatullin:   My best results:

  • 360 kg Deadlift
  • 320 kg Squat .
  • 210kg Bench Press

Viking Strength: What three things would you do to improve the sport of strongman?

Elbrus Nigmatullin:

  1. I’d add more dynamic events I wouldn’t transform Strongman into mix of heavy athletics movements and powerlifting.
  2. I’d also introduce more competitions. There are alot of strongman but so few competitions.
  3. I’d create Internet Strongman TV-channel which could broadcast the most interesting competitions.

Viking Strength:  How did you get involved with Strongman competitions?

Elbrus Nigmatullin: As a child I took a part in Sabantui (it is a national cultural sports festival of the Tatars and the Bashkirs) in a Kuresh fight, where I beat an adult man.

With iron sports I began by doing powerlifting competitions and was the Russian Junior Champion in 1997.  

Then I went to Armsport (Arm Wrestling) and in 2000, I became Russian Mens Champion. At that time I had’nt heard anything about Strongman competitions.

In 2001 I heard about a strongman competition which I entered.  To my surprise I won it and I then became very interested with this kind of sport.

Viking Strength: What problems have you encountered in strongman competitions? Elbrus Nigmatullin:  My most unfortunate tournament, to my mind, was the World Strongest Man Finals in China (Chengdu) 2005.  After the final selection I had food poisoning. In four days I lost 6 kg of mass and I couldn’t perform at my best in the final.

My most successful tournaments as a rule were performed in Russia or in the CIS countries. This was because all the strongman equipment which was there was known by me in advance and I could adjust my training for it.

Almost all the tournaments of the World Strongest Man are difficult for me, because there is no possibility to be adequately ready for them. The biggest problem is that all the data for the tournament is in English and I would receive it only a short period of time before the tournament.  As a result, I think, I have had bad results and couldn’t get into the Final.

Viking Strength: Describe a typical day for you? Elbrus Nigmatullin: When I wake up I’m checking my e-mail. I’m registered in all the social networks and there I get lots of emails and messages.

Then I have breakfast. afterwards I’m off to the city by car. It could be meetings with business-partners, or interviews or to visit the children’s center to bring with my colleagues, gifts for the children.

In the evening I go to the fitness club to work as the fitness instructor. Alternatively it may be strongman training with my students from ELBRUS Team.

After the training I go to the cafe with my friends or to the DISCO for dance. Three times a month I go with my girlfriend to the cinema.

Viking Strength:  Can you describe where you live to me? What three places would you suggest would be worth visiting?

Elbrus Nigmatullin:  I’m living in Chelyabinsk. It’s the capital of the South Urals. It’s situated 1500 km south of Moscow. It’s the center of Russia. It is on the border of Europe and Asia. It’s a sharply continental climate in winter -38, in summer +36. If anyone was to visit the places I could show you would be:

  1. Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant, which made T-34 tanks for the Western Front during the Second World War.
  2. Arbat Street, it’s a place where all the tourists come here to visit. It’s not inferior to Moscow, Arbat street.
  3. Chubary village.40 km from Chelyabinsk, where I was born. There are 200 people living there and 4 streets only. Dogs and cats are running on
    Chelyabinsk Tractor Factory 1930s

    the streets, sometimes rabbits and foxes 🙂







Viking Strength:  Where do you train?

Elbrus Nigmatullin: I’m training in the basement of one of the educational buildings at the Chelyabinsk State University. The gym is 6 metres wide and 60 metres long.

In summer I do training outdoors in the village where I have a house. I have equipment I have made myself from metal and wood, but the most dear to me is the Atlas Stones, because it took more money and time for their production.

have got very basic strongman equipment at this place. Super yoke, log lift, tyre flip, rope and farmer bags.

Viking Strength:  What are your strongman competition plans for 2012?

Elbrus Nigmatullin:  This year I want to make my debut at the international tournament in Abu Dhabi (10-13 February), then Dubai on February 17.

I want to take part in Worlds Strongest Man Tournament in 2012.

I’ve got a strong desire to take part in any major competitions, wherever I could be invited.

Viking Strength:  Who do you think will win Worlds Strongest Man in 2012?

Elbrus Nigmatullin:  If nothing changes I think that Brian Shaw will be the winner.

Viking Strength who is your favourite strongman competitor and which one do you respect the most?

Elbrus Nigmatullin:  

  • My favourite opponent is Tarmo Mitt. He’s a cool guy and I was lucky to be his opponent and friend. He is a real man and he’s always ready to help, not only with word but the action.
  • Svend Karlsen is the athlete I respect the most. He was my first trainer. I stayed in his house and I trained with him in Kristiansand (Norway) in 2004.  I’m very thankful to him that I had such an honor. 

Thanks for that Elbrus, I’d better let you go, as you’re a busy man…

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