USA Strongman Mike Burke – Beating the Pain Barrier

Mike Burke Strongman
Dumbell Press at 2012 Arnold Strength Classic

 I met strongman Mike Burke at the 2012 Giants Live Event, in Melbourne, Australia.

Mike Burke Strongman
Dumbell Press at 2012 Arnold Strength Classic

Just shaking the hand of strongman Mike Burke was an awesome experience due to the size of them, which explains his amazing grip strength.

However the real strength he showed in this event was of competing with a painful injury, then qualifying for World’s Strongest Man 2012.

Phil Burgess: You recently qualified for the 2012 World’s Strongest Man by coming third in the Giants Live Competition in Melbourne. How did it feel to qualify for the WSM?

Mike Burke: I am very excited to have made it and just to be a part of  it. And it feels good to accomplish a goal I set for yourself.

Phil Burgess: Your performance in qualifying for World’s Strongest Man was even more impressive, in that you injured yourself mid-way through the competition! What happened?

Mike Burke: I was warming up for the keg carry and felt a pop in my ribs when I was picking up the keg. There wasn’t anything I could really do except gut it out and finish the event.

It did stop me from doing the deadlift that night which I had to take a 0 in. The deadlift was 5 hours later that night and by then it was so sore I felt that I should rest it and try to finish the show the following day. I finished the show but I didn’t have my best performance. 

I went to my doctor when I got home and he said I probably tore something in between the ribs. It is healed now so back to training for WSM.

Phil Burgess: Your wife Maree was there to support you in Melbourne, how important is her support to your performances?

Mike Burke: My wife’s support of me doing strongman plays a huge role in my performances.

Mike and his biggest supporter Maree.
Strongman takes up alot of time with all the training I do and on top of working too, so there isn’t much time left for anything else. She handles it very well and helps me in every way she can.

Phil Burgess: You recently have been on a trip to China to promote Strongman I believe? Can you tell us more about that trip?

Mike Burke: I went with Josh Thiggpen and Marshall White to do an exhibition show.

They have a big show every year called the Cherry Blossom festival which lasts for 15 days. So for 12 days we put on a 2 hour show along with some chinese strongman. We did yoke, log, tire, frame, deadlift and people pressing.

We also got a week of sight seeing as a bonus 🙂

Phil Burgess: Some would say that you are the luckiest strongman, as you train with Brian Shaw. What’s it like training with Brian? And how long do you think it will be until he’s asking you for training advice?

Mike Burke: I do consider myself lucky to be able to train with Brian.

We actually have a small crew where everybody gets along very well and we push and support each other and I am happy to be a part of it.

As far as him asking me for advice, I don’t think so. I am still new to strongman and am still just trying to keep up with him.

Phil Burgess: Do you think you can win Worlds Strongest Man this year? Or do you have in you head a placing which you would see as respectable for your first attempt?

Mike Burke:  I don’t think I can win but that doesn’t mean I am not going to try. My goal is to make the finals.

Mike Burke
Apollons Axle at the 2012 Arnold Strength Classic

Phil Burgess: What are your best lifts in the Log Press, Deadlift and Squat?

Mike Burke:

  • Log Press 400lb 
  • Deadlift 800lb
  • Squat 700lb

Phil Burgess: What area or weakness have you been dedicating the most time on improving?

Mike Burke: I have been trying to bring my deadlift up the most, it needs improving. Brian is helping me out with it.

Phil Burgess: What’s your most favourite event and why? And least favourite? Where on the scale did the hip lift come at Giants Live? Loved it or hated it?

Mike Burke: Stones are my favourite and I could do without the hip lift.

Phil Burgess: Where do you live in the US ?

Mike Burke: I live in Colorado. We get the best of all four seasons.

Phil Burgess: Did you play any other sports before going into Strongman?

Mike Burke: I played 3 years of semi-pro football. The turning point was I just that I liked strongman more.

Mike Burke and Friends
Mike and Friends

Phil Burgess: Finally what do you love the most about the sport of strongman?

Mike Burke: I like being strong…..

Thanks Mike for your time, and we look forward to watching you progress into the 2012 Worlds Strongest Man final series.