"World's Strongest Man" Competitions
Strongest Man Have been around, more or less continually, since 1977, though the sponsorship of the competitions and nature of the events has changed a number of times.
These events are very popular and entertaining and do attract some of the strongest athletes in the world.
The presently consist of the following events:
Anvils and Anchor & Chain
The competitors carry a weight a set distance, then drag an anchor and chain a further set distance until the whole anchor and chain crosses the finish line. The athlete who covers the greatest distance in the shortest time wins. The anvils weight 130 kilos an the anchors and chain 300 kilos.
The athlete wraps his arms around a stone has been placed on a stand by interlocking his fingers. He then lifts the stone and walks as far as possible along a designated path. Dropping the stone or walking outside the path ends the trial. The athlete carrying the stone furthest wins (the stone weighs 175 klios).
The competitor puts on a harness attached to a rope and attempts to pull a plane that weighs 70 tons along a set course. If more than one athlete complete the course, the one who does it fastest wins. If no one covers the entire course (30 meters), the athlete who goes furthest in the 75 seconds wins.
Competitors carry a yoke that holds two refrigerators on their shoulders, total weight is 415 kilos. Athletes cover a 30 meter course in up to 60 seconds. If more than one athlete completes the course, the one who does it fastest wins, of no one does, the one who goes the furthest in 60 seconds wins.
Deadlift For Reps
A car rests on a frame that has handles which the athlete grips. He lifts the car until his knees are locked and returns the car to the start position. The athletes who does the highest number of reps in a set time wins. The car weighs approximately 1800 kilos.
Competitor will carry a weight in each hand over a marked course in the shortest possible time (weights vary but have a handle and are held on either side of the athlete as he walks.
There are five stones 100-112-120-140-160 kilos, positioned in ascending order and five podiums that have decreasing heights. The athlete lifts the lightest stone first, placing it on the highest platform, and continues this process until all five have been put on the podiums. If two or more athletes place all the stones, the one who does it fastest wins. If no one succeeds, the winner is the one who places the highest number of stones in their prescribed positions.
Overhead Lift for Reps
Athletes lift a wooden log from the ground then raise it overhead as many times as possible in the time limit; the weight, returning log back to the ground in a controlled manner before attempting to the next lift. The log weighs 115 kilos and the time limit is 75 seconds.
The athlete squats until they are below parallel, then stands fully erect position. Each time they stand erect, more weight is added to the apparatus. If more than one athletes lifts all weights loaded the one who lifts them the fastest wins. If none complete all the weights, the one who got to the highest weight fastest wins. There is a time limit of 75 seconds and the weights can vary from the starting weight of 235 kilos/518bs to a final weight of 320 kilos/705lbs.
Barrels are dropped one by one into a frame and the athlete lifts the frame. Then another barrel will be loaded automatically, until time runs out or all barrels have been lifted. The athlete lifting most weight in the shortest time wins. Barrels can vary from a starting weight of 250 kilos/551lbs to a final weight of 335 kilos/739lbs.
The athlete is placed in a harness attached to the lorry, the weight of which varies from competition to competition. With the help of a rope, they pull the lorry along a road while always facing the direction of the finish line. If more than one athletes finishes, the one who does so fastest wins. If not, the one who covers the greatest distance in the allotted time wins.
Five large poles will be lifted in ascending order of weight and flipped over 180 degrees, the winner being the one who can flip all 5 the fastest. The length of the poles ranges from: 3.5 m – 5.5 m and the weights from: 200 / 225 / 250 / 275 / 300 kilos.
Pillars of Hercules
Competitors stand with their arms outstretched, gripping handles attached to two pillars that are slating away from the athlete. The winner is the one who holds the pillar for the longest time. Each pillar weighs about 350 lb.
Giant Log Lift
A large tree trunk weighing 380 kilos, with handles at one end, is supported horizontally on a stand. The athlete stands with his back facing the tree trunk and lifts it over his head as many times as possible within a designated time limit. The winner is the one who performs the greatest number of repetitions.
Carry and Drag
Competitors carry a weight a set of anvils weighing 130 kilos each over a set distance and prescribed path. They then drag an anchor and chain weighing 300 kilos over another set distance. The winner is the athlete who covers the most distance in the shortest time.
While many very strong men compete in these competitions, they generally do not attract the very strongest men in the world. The latter men are generally engaged in Olympic-Style Weightlifting or Powerlifting and do not wish to risk injury competing in WSM events. Moreover, as can be seen from the above descriptions of events, many involve endurance and even speed as well as strength, so would hardly qualify as pure strength tests.
However, competitors in these events are very strong and the nature of the events are very entertaining, and they attract extensive television coverage, bringing much needed attention to the world of strength.