Coming in from the Cold – Alaskan Strongman – Adam Capossela


From the heat of Abu Dhabi to the Freezing Artic Circle, Strongman competitions are held.

Adam Capossela StrongmanWith this in mind,  I was interested in catching up with Adam Capossela, an Alaskan Strongman to find out more about the sport there.

Phil Burgess: Are there many strongman competitions in Alaska? And who is currently the top ranked Alaskan Strongman?

Adam Capossela: Currently there are two strongman comps up here. I have full intent in taking over all qualifying NAS comps here in this spring.

It is my vision to invite the lower 48ers to compete in Alaska to qualify for NATS. I will be throwing unsanctioned underground lifts twice a month by word of mouth only. I have all the implements to run them, I will also compete and help make them run smoothly…

I had an opportunity to Help Dione Wessels (President of NAS) and the guys for the 2011 NATS in Mississippi last year. I had a blast and got a great feel on the running of a National level Comp!

Gary Loyd is our current Heavyweight champion along with Scott Armstrong our Lightweight champion.

Phil Burgess: What’s the main sport which people participate in in Alaska ? And is the sport of strongman growing?

Adam Capossela: I would say some of the BIG sports up here are the majors. Hockey,Football,Wrestling, Baseball.

Alaska is also a HUGE fitness state due to the long winter months from Oct-mid April.

The gym culture is BIG up here from wannabe’s to the real deal!!! I have been lifting since I was 15 years old. In Alaska I’ve seen it all. Alot of folks like to look the part but when it comes down to really getting after it, not so much.

Strongman is really GROWING up here!!!! So much that I’m putting all my eggs in one basket with the hope that I am right in opening up my strongman gym.

Phil Burgess: Are there limitations to the sport living in Alaska which warmer states wouldn’t have?

Adam Capossela: As of now,YES big limitations due to all the snow we have here.

I’m hoping to change that with Heavy Metal Gym. Winter time will no longer be a problem now that I have an indoor facility.

Adam Block Pressing 250lbs

Phil Burgess: How long have you lived in Alaska? What are Alaskan people like?

Adam Capossela: I’m born and raised up here. Back in the 80’s we had one Gym that had a really cool feel!!! Gold’s Gym! That is were my roots stem from.

Lifting was encouraged as much as grunting, and chalk…

Alaska is a very opinionated state and is late into trends.

I am labeled as a FREAK which is funny to me because I run in around 250lb just playing with it. A lean 265+ when I can devote more time into it.  Still a small fry in this lifting culture.

Most Alaskan people are quick to get intimidated by performance, where I on the other end of the spectrum am attracted to it!!! I’ve worked out of a few Gyms with my instruction and have been asked to “tune it down” members are getting intimidated…

I say good! Let em… Give them something to work up to, yet in the end the weak are big in numbers and seem to get there way in ostracizing talent…

It has allowed me to branch out and create my own gym with my own rules… “Built for lifters by a lifter!!!” I LOVE my lifting culture and love it when PR’s are broken by me or anyone else…

Phil Burgess: How did you get into strongman competitions?

Adam Capossela: My first Strongman competition was the Strongman of the North Oct,2010. I placed 3rd. I felt pretty good about that because, I competed in the Heavyweight category and was the smallest out of the Heavies@ 240lb with a herniated desk and the flu.

I hadn’t touched a Strongman implement up until that comp! 1st, 2nd and 3rd positions were very close. I have always been on the stronger side amongst my peers and wanted to take my strength to a new level…

I started Brazilian Jujitsu that same year and the bodybuilder framed guys SUCKED!!! They just weren’t strong on the mats. They were the first to gas out and I thought to myself… How Stupid!!! Why look strong when you should be strong when it counts…

Strongman lifts have made me functionally strong where I can apply my strength to the street if need be.

Alaska - Russia's neighbour..

Phil Burgess: Finally, what are your goals for this year and what are your favourite events?

Adam Capossela: My best result from Strongman is Win,Lose or Draw, Respect is earned!!! Even if I don’t win, my competition can read my heart very easily. If one just gives up, its frowned upon. If a man, or lady gives it there all and fails they still get a nod and a slap on the back!

Goals for this year 2012 has changed because my sole objective is to have my gym (Heavy Metal Gym) fully operational by fall. I will be going down to NATS with one of my partners who is currently our State Heavyweight Gary Loyd. I will compete in the State fair Strongman Sept 1… I just sustained a broken toe last Fri. loading a trailer. I should be fine by then to qualify. If not, no sweat theres always next year.

I have been plagued with injuries since 2010. Torn Achilles, quad, pec, tri, and now a fresh broken Big toe! Heavy Metal Gym will be the first Strongman dominant facility in the State of Alaska! I’m pretty proud of that. To date I’m kinda of the goto guy up here for folks interested in Strongman.

Three times in my life I have been unable to walk, so everyday under the bar I’m just happy to push, pull or press it!

Best lifts I would say anything overhead. I fabricate all of my equipment and built my 1st Block which is loadable 350lb+

The current World Record  is by Derek Poundstone @341lb and that is my goal of hunger! I can confidently execute that press @250lb and I am on an upward trend anywhere around 300lb,  I”ll be happy with that at a body weight of 250lb.

I really enjoy the truck pull whether hand over hand or tradition bear crawl. Any deadlift has always been a level of manhood for me.

Since I started lifting as a kid, the big question is “What do you flat back?” (bench) Now to all you benchers out there, I STILL LOVE TO BENCH!!! That is really my best lift, but in Strongman I haven’t noticed any major benefit to a flat bench in Strongman… Incline different story.

If I had to pick only one movement that was most effective in strongman, it would with out a doubt be the deadlift….

The team at Viking Strength would like to wish Adam all the best for his Strongman endeavours and the opening of his new strongman gym facility.