Ahead of the Arnold Strongman Classic 2020, former World’s Strongest Man Eddie Hall joined the reigning winner of Britain’s Strongest Woman, Andrea Thompson, for a training session. While practicing for the different strongman events, Hall offered Arnold the benefit of his experience, including some insights on technique that have helped him win in the past.
Yoke walk and farmer’s carry
The first event they train for is the yoke walk into a farmer’s carry. “Where you’re gonna win or lose this is the transition from throwing that yoke down to picking the farmers up,” says Hall. His advice to Thompson is to not let the referees or event officials pressure her, and take her time laying out the equipment just so prior to the event, to maximize her efficiency once the clock stars.
Thompson completes her first attempt in 14 seconds, including a slight fumble in that transition as predicted, but Hall reckons she can do better. “Push that yoke away from you, and use that push to get into the farmers,” he says. “You might be the strongest girl there, but it’s about the fastness of the transition.” Thompson follows his advice, and shaves 1.5 seconds off her time.
Efficiency of grip is key in this event. Hall recommends taking the time to practice on the specific tire: “Show up early on the day and just do drills,” he says. “Lift it an inch, just do that five or six times, just so you know the space of the grip and where to put your chest into the tire. That’s what I did in World’s Strongest Man.”
Another time-saving measure he proposes it to jump right over the tire rather than walking around it between reps; this can create an advantage as it places your weight on the tire, keeping it flat and ready for the next flip.
When it comes to the dumbbell press, precision of movement can make all the difference between getting that extra rep and winning, and losing. “Where you’re gonna win or lose this is in the speed with which you get it up there, control it down, then get it back into that rep,” says Hall.
“People lose a lot of time when they press it, throw it down, it’ll go rolling about and you’ve got to chase it like a rugby ball… I advise you to keep your hands on it at all times, because 10 reps is a lot to get in 60 seconds, you’ve got to be working really fast.” He recommends using both hands to bring the bell down in a controlled way for each rep. Using Hall’s technique, Thompson smashes out 10 reps in 43 seconds.
Elephant bar deadlift
“I think you’ll surprise yourself with this bar,” says Hall. “The heavier it gets, the easier you get it off the floor, but you’ve got to watch out for that whip at the top.” He points out that many strongmen think the elephant bar is a harder bar, but that statistically, this is where a lot of strength athletes pull PBs.
Atlas stone over yoke
Hall’s only tip here is to be a little bit underhanded (while still remaining within the rules), and dropping the stone over the yoke either to the left or right, so that your opponent takes longer to get it back to the center, allowing yourself an extra few seconds to recover between lifts. Sneaky!
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