Friday morning Gem and I packed our bags and headed south. The trip to Virginia Beach was fairly uneventful and I was thrilled to see two of my closest friends, Jenn and Dan. Gem hit it off with their children immediately. We spent Friday evening catching up before bed. We had to be rested Saturday for the main event.
After a hardy breakfast of ham and cheese omelets Jenn and Dan took me over to the Brute Strength Gym. My friends have been training for Strongman competitions and this was my first chance to see them in action. The hour long clinic was focused on tire flips and fingal fingers, neither of which I had attempted before.
Dan warming up with some Sara tosses
I stayed in the back and watched as women with muscles I dream of having heaved the 300 lb tire over. When it was my turn I put on a brave face and approached the tire. I've never deadlifted more than 145 lbs and I was afraid that I wouldn't even get it off the floor. But it came up surprisingly easily and before I knew it I was lining up at the 380 lb tire. That also went up and over without a hitch. Next up was the 500 lb tire. That was a little more of a struggle as you can see below:
After that I attempted 625 lbs but I couldn't even budge it. Oh well. Almost four times my body weight is a good start!
We moved on to fingal fingers after the tire flips. I had never seen a finger and it was intimidating. A hollow metal tube is filled with rebar to meet the weight required. If I remember correctly my weight was 207 lbs. The tube is attached to a pivot on the floor and the point is to deadlift the tube, clean it, and then quickly push it to vertical and over the pivot.
Fingal Finger picture (strongman.org)
I had very little trouble lifting and cleaning the finger but, once it was shoulder height, I couldn't press it to overhead. It took everything I had to just work my shoulder under it towards the pivot one small bite at a time until I could heave it over. Upper body strength is clearly my biggest weakness.
The experience was amazing and gave me a new appreciation for lifting. I usually dread strength workouts where I feel trapped into 3 x 12 reps of standard exercises. Strongman workouts were more like really heavy playground excursions. I think I could really get into training like that. Tires, logs, rocks, and pretty much anything heavy and awkward can be used to create an amazing workout.
The aftermath of it is almost as entertaining. I am black and blue from shoulder to fingertips with a few scattered bruises on my stomach, hips, and thighs from resting the weight of the implements at different points on my body. I went for a haircut today and when I removed my coat I'm pretty sure the hairdressers jaw hit the floor. I almost wanted to explain but thought I might just come off as crazy if I tried!
My wrist is disgusting!
This experience was so worth the temporary pain and stares. And now I can proudly rock my Brute Strength Gym tank top!
Did your holiday involve any unexpected or exciting workouts? How did you counter all those tempting calories?