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I was invited to the Arnold this year, despite not being an automatic qualifier. I was thrilled at the chance to compete at this event again, so I took advantage of the invitation, knowing that being 7 weeks out from a torn pec would be a challenge, both in training and competition. I ended up 22nd out of 35-40 competitors. Although I wasn’t thrilled with my placing, I felt that with the limitations that I had in training due to this injury leading up to it, I performed to the best of my abilities.
1st Event-210 Giant Dumbbell Clean and Press.
I knew going into this event that my pec was going to be an issue, especially since it was on my dominant side, and I haven’t had a lot of luck pressing a dumbbell that heavy left handed in the past. I knew going into this event that quite a few of guys would either hit 1 rep or zero, so my goal was to get at least 1 rep, which I did. This put me on the board, and in the top half of scores for the rest of the field. I had some issues getting the dumbbell into a good pressing position due to my pec being tight, but other than that, this event went about how I expected.
2nd Event-Super Yoke: 950 lbs, 75 feet, straight run.
This was an event that went pretty well for me in training, although I never went that heavy in training, since yoke training beats up my lower body pretty bad, so I focused mostly on speed and technique in training. I ended this event in around 22 seconds, which was good for 13th place or so. I had one drop, mostly because I felt like I was going too fast, and my weight got out in front of me.
3rd Event-400 lb husafell stone for max distance.
This was the event that I was most concerned about with my pec issues, in addition to this being the 2nd time I had ever done this event (the first was 2012 NAS Nationals). I had a decent pick of the stone, but I immediately had a horrible amount of tightness and discomfort in my right pec and shoulder. I was able to go 125 feet with the stone, but carrying it with mostly biceps definitely is not recommended. This result was pretty close to the bottom of the field, which I definitely couldn’t afford at this point. This was a huge setback for me in the competition, and definitely cost me a lot of points, which was disastrous at this point.
4th Event-340lbs farmers walk, 75 feet
Knowing that I had finished horribly in the previous event, and that I feel that I am one of the better strongmen at the amateur level at farmer’s walks, I was aware that I would be going in the first heat, and would have to set the time to beat. I finished the run in 12.26 seconds, which was the top time until the final 2 heats of the event. I finished 4th in this event, which was definitely what I needed.
5th Event-Sandbag carry/Deadlift Medley
This event was set up with 2 sandbags set up 75 feet and 25 feet from a large pan with a car deadlift platform underneath it. The athletes were to carry the farthest sandbag to the pan, run back and grab the closest sandbag, then lift the handles for max reps, with no suit or straps. This event went pretty well, with the exception of my biceps still being on fire from the Husafell incident. I was able to complete 11 reps on the apparatus, which was competitive with the top half of the field. My only issue with this event happened when the boards that were underneath the handles slipped apart, causing my lift distance to increase about 2 inches, which is quite a bit with 750 lbs or more in hand with no suit or straps.
Once again, being invited to the Arnold was a great honor, and I was lucky to do so. Although my placing was not as high as last year, I felt that I performed to the best of my abilities on that day. It was great to have most of my family there, as their support is very important to me. I would also like to thank HMB for the continued support throughout these competitions. HMB was critical in my training leading up to the Arnold, as it will be for me in future competitions. As far as future competitions are concerned, I haven’t scheduled anything yet, I feel that I need some time to rehabilitate some nagging injuries and get healthier, but I plan on scheduling something in the near future.