http-equiv='refresh'/> Global Therapies: UK Strongest Athlete Event

Monday, 11 July 2011

UK Strongest Athlete Event

Our blog is now featured on our website ( You should be redirected automatically to this article on our new site.

If you get an ERROR MESSAGE, or you are not redirected please press the REFRESH button on your browser.

The competitors and the organisers
What a fantastic day, and what a fantastic event.

Sean and Zoran from Strength and Performance in Stockport have been planning this one for a good couple of months now. In short, it was well executed, slick, well attended and really good fun to be at. And, all the proceeds went to charity. What more could you possibly want!?

We were invited over to the event pretty much last minute after treating Sean and Z on Thursday - in order to provide massage cover for the event. As it was for charity, we followed our script for every charity event that we do and there was no charge to anyone that wanted a massage. Any and all monies were donated direct to the charity box. The charity in question was Francis House Children's Hospice.

Tyre fip and sprint
The general format of the competition was relatively simple. It was a competition based on an American format, open to athletes rather than to specific "strongmen", and was an amateur only event. There were 5 events in total, each one tested a different part of the athlete's power.
Tyre flip/ sprint
Farmers Carry
Log Press
Sled Pull
Medley (sprint, carry, pull)

The competition was put on over two indoor 5-aside pitches, and when we arrived, there was all manner of lifting, pulling and flipping paraphernalia being transported in and around the area.The competitors were arriving right from 8am - even though the contest didn't start until 10am. There was an awful lot of eyeing up of the weights and ropes and tyres - working out the best way to heft, pull and press the various bits of kit. Apparently the tyre wasn't as big as expected, though it certainly seemed big enough considering the effort it took for some of the competitors to flip it. At the beginning there wasn't all that much call for massage therapy as everyone got on with their own warm ups.
Pre-event warm up massage

We did have a couple of guys who had low back issues - which were duly sorted. We did not treat any issues as this was very much a pre- and mid- session event. Warming, maintenance, getting the blood flowing, and generally keeping the athletes in as prepared-a-state as possible for the events was the order of the day. Working an event like this is interesting because you see so much that you WANT to treat. You see things that could use a bit of loosening, an imbalance that needs correcting, but you know that the competitors are used to their bodies being like this, and are in the right shape and state of mind to compete. As a massage therapist, the only thing you can do at this stage is assist them in whatever they need, without causing any structural change to the way they are put together. Even some over-enthusiastic STR might adversely affect their performance, so it needs to be kept very vanilla, but still very effective. Quite an ask.

Just as a quick aside, there were a variety of warm ups going on at the beginning. It seemed that each "gym tribe" seemed to have their own idea as to a good warm up. That's fine, but what interested me, was that within each gym, all the athletes, no matter what their size or shape seemed to be doing exactly the same thing - there were no specific warm ups for specific people... In the same way, during these warm ups, although some of the exercises were being done "mindfully", there were an awful lot that were being done almost "just for show" as if to fool the body into thinking it was being warmed up - whereas in fact, it wasn't. It drew me to think how I warm up for runs and lifts and rides etc, and that I do much the same thing. Warm ups aren't really taken all that seriously as it isn't the "proper thing". However, I think that we would all benefit from being as serious about warming up as we are about the rest of the sport.

Sorting out Hip flexors
A final aside on the warm ups - it would seem that during the warm up it is an excellent time to see and assess muscle shortness, tightness and asymmetry in athletes, and how it affects the tissues. There were more than a few imbalances across the floor which could be sorted out quite quickly, and I suspect which would help generate more power in a number of the competitors... But I digress...

The events soon began, and the over 90kg guys went first. There were some real beasts who took part - but the variation in body size and shape was enormous across both weight categories.

A big shout out has to go to Z. Every time the tyre was flipped by the contestants, and they had sprinted to the end, he had to come out and flip the tyre back up and roll it back into place... That's about 25 flips more than any of the contestants had to do. I suppose at least everyone had the opportunity to see how to do it with correct form...

Throughout the rest of the day treatments were sporadic, but frequent. Not just competitors, but spectators came for treatments as well - which was excellent.
As time went on we saw a lot of backs to be warmed up, a whiplash victim (not from the competition, I must hasten to add), tight hamstrings, tight hip flexors (psoas and Rec fem), sore shoulders, arms, and a couple of injuries which kept some people out of the competition.

Liam stamping his authoriry on the medley
I have to say that those who were injured and made the sensible decision not to compete were most sensible, and I'm impressed by their level-headed-ness. Just because you can push yourself through injury to compete, doesn't mean it's a good idea, especially if it means a long lay off afterward.

The PA for the event was certainly getting up to speed as the events gathered momentum - ably provided by Ross from My Protein, all the wit and humour you would expect from someone given free reign on a microphone!

As the day progressed, the over 90kg cat was generally being dominated by S&P goer Liam McCrea - proving just how strong he was with 14 reps on the log press - and from that point on never really looked like losing the lead.

Joe showing good form on the sled pull
The under 90kg was turning out to be quite a battle between Joe Lightfoot, and a gent (Bryan McMahon) from Spartan Performance Gym in Newcastle. A battle that continued head to head right up to the last event.

As the time went on, more and more spectators gathered, and there was an excellent atmosphere for the final medley, especially the under 90kg, which was won by another S&P faithful- Joe Lightfoot, a man, it has to be said, that has a LOT of power without actually looking "stacked". A most impressive athlete and a very worthy winner.

It was great to catch up with Joel Snape from Mens Fitness, with whom I did the Gym Jones workshop with at the end of last year. He travelled up from London to compete, and was perhaps one of the furthest travelled athletes of the day. There were another couple from London, and a few, as I mentioned, from Newcastle.

The lunch and cakes provided, and were consumed with much gusto. I noticed that the malteser bars had gone with in a matter of minutes of turning up. All proceeds from donations for the cakes went to charity, and they were excellent cakes as well. I must apologise for not knowing who made them, but whoever you are, thank you! It was also great to meet Stellios from Soma Fitness- based over in Altrincham, and Mark at Mens Health. (Good to see Paralympian Mark Churm cheering on the competitors as well - a real inspiration.

A Youtube vid has also popped up of the event (I'm not going to embed it as it would take a long time to load on some computers- including mine)- and there is a brief moment where you can see Lynne treating a competitor in the top left of the screen. The video gives a good general impression of the day- Enjoy.

Overall a good turnout for an excellent event. Thanks guys.

Sorting out a spectators neck issues. Oh- just because Lynne isn't in any photos doesn't mean she wasn't there. She was the one behind the camera, and must have hidden it when she was treating...

No comments:

Post a Comment