Strength Sports?

The 3 real ones: Olympic weightlifting, Powerlifting, Strongman.
Add Bodybuilding who is very close.

Don’t forget the Highland Games. I remember that in the 80s and 90s many of the World’s Strongest Man contestants used to competes in the Highland Games too. Think about Geoff Capes, Bill Kazmaier, Jon Pall Sigmarsson, and many more.

Add the new sensation, CrossFit. Not really a Strength Sport at the pure sense but all around athleticism to the extreme. I have tremendous admiration for the CrossFit athletes who, in my view, are the Fittest Athletes on Earth.

Then the unknown and forever forgotten All Round Lifting. After being THE original Strength Sport and the all time most lucrative one. Since the best old timers circus strongmen (Eugen Sandow, Louis Cyr, Appollon…) became filthy rich thanks to their exploits and showmanship. Todays Strength Athletes are far away from fame and fortune. Apart from Bodybuilding and CrossFit were the very bests can have some relatively interesting purses like $250,000 for the top one. Which is pure shit when you compare it to the more mainstream sports like basketball, football, baseball, hockey, golf, tennis… There ain’t absolutely no fuckin’ money in Powerlifting… There is no money in the WSM too. $20,000 for the 3rd place is a fuckin’ joke!! What about $60,000 for the first place? lol. There is some money in Olympic lifting depending of the country you live in… Highland Games? Maybe a kilt for the winner?!? Anyway, all that to say that by now, All Round Lifting is a marginal and unattractive sport with zero appeal.

With that being said, now let’s see where the real Strength is.

And the better way to get a good overview of each Strength Sports is by comparing the current champion of each discipline.  

Comparing the Champions

Zydrunas Savickas

Nickname: Big Z

Born: July 15, 1975
Birthplace: Birzai, Lithuania
Height: 6’3″ (191 cm)
Weight: 375 lbs (170 kg)

Zydrunas Savickas is one of the strongest man of all time and one of the greatest strongman competitor of all time.  He is the only strongman to have won every major strongman competition.

4 time World’s Strongest Man champion (2009, 2010, 2012, 2014)
2 time IFSA Strongman World Championships winner (2005-2006)
7 time Arnold Strongman Classic champion (2003-2008, 2014)
1 time Fortissimus champion (2009)
3 time Europe’s Strongest Man champion (2010, 2012, 2013)
5 time World Log Lift Championships winner (2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013)
12 time Lithuania’s Strongest Man champion (1998-2000, 2002-2009, 2012, 2013)
10 time Lithuanian National Powerlifting Championships winner (1995-1997, 1999-2005)

Personal records:

  • Squat – 425.5 kg (938 lb) (Lithuanian record)
  • Bench press – 285.5 kg (629 lb) raw
  • Deadlift – 407.5 kg (898 lb) (Lithuanian record)
  • Total – 1,090 kg (2,400 lb) (Lithuanian record)

Done in the gym (personal records as of 2005 according to Savickas

  • Squat – 400 kg
    (880 lb) for 3 reps raw
    with knee wraps
  • Bench press – 285.5 kg
    (629 lb) for 1 rep; 250 kg
    (550 lb) for 3 reps
  • Deadlift – 407.5 kg (898 lb) for
    1 rep no
    wrist straps
  • Deadlift with wrist straps – 442 kg (972 lb)
  • Standing Overhead Press – 200 kg (440 lb) for 5 reps
    without leg drive
  • Standing Overhead Press – 240kg (529 lb) for 2 reps.


  • Log lift for Max Weight “new world’record” – 227 kg (500 lb) (World record, 2014
    Gians Live Poland, Dolina Charlotty, Poland)
  • Log lift for Max Weight – 220 kg (490 lb) (World record, 2012 World’s Strongest Man, Los Angeles, USA)
  • Strongman Deadlift(with straps) – 442 kg (970 lb) Raw with straps (World Strongman Record, 2011)
  • Apollon’s Axle Press for Max Weight – 215 kg (470 lb) (World Record, 2010 Giants Live, Istanbul, Turkey)
  • Apollon’s Axle Press for Reps – 166 kg (370 lb) × 8 clean and press each rep (World record, 2006 Arnold Strongman Classic, Columbus, Ohio)
  • Giant Wooden Log lift for Max Weight – 210 kg (460 lb) (World Record, 2010 World’s Strongest Man, Sun City, South Africa)
  • Apollon’s Wheels Overhead for Reps – 155 kg (340 lb) × 8 reps
  • Giant Barbell Deadlift for Reps – 320 kg (710 lb) × 10 (World record, 2006 IFSA World Championships, Reykjavík, Iceland)
  • 22 kg (49 lb) Medicine ball for Height – 17 ft (5.18 m) (World record, 2004 Arnold Strongman Classic, Columbus, Ohio)
  • Atlas Stones (heavy set) – 25.65 seconds (World record, 2006 IFSA World Championships, Reykjavík, Iceland)
  • Metal Block press – 150 kg (330 lb) (World record, 2011 World’s Strongest Man, Wingate,North Carolina)
  • Hummer Tire Deadlift for Max Weight – 506.6 kg (1,117 lb) (World record, 2012 Arnold Strongman Classic, Columbus, Ohio)
  • Heavy Super Yoke500 kg (1,100 lb) – 7.50 seconds (World record, 2006 Arnold Strongman Classic, Columbus, Ohio)

Olympic weightlifting
Behdad Salimi

Behdad Salimi  214 kg World Record Snatch

Full Name: Behdad Salimi Kordasiabi
Birthdate: December 8, 1989
Birthplace: Ghaemshahr, Iran
Residence: Ghaemshahr, Iran
Height: 6’6″ (197 cm)
Weight: 360-370 lbs (165-168 kg)
Nationality: Iranian
Education: Physical Education

Personal Bests:
Snatch: 214 kg/470.8 lbs (2011, World Record)
Clean and Jerk: 251 kg/552.2 lbs (2011)
Total: 464 kg/1020.8 lbs (2011)

Medal Record:
2012 Olympic Weightlifting Gold Medalist
2010-2011 World Weightlifting Championships Gold Medalist
2010 Asian Games Gold medalist (205 kg Snatch, 235 kg Clean and Jerk)
2009, 2011, 2012 Asian Championships Gold medalist

Other Comments: He began Olympic lifting at the age of 12.

Training:  “We have had intense training sessions. Two sessions per day and six days a week, sometimes we had three sessions a day. We began training at 6.30 a.m. about one hour before having breakfast. The next session was from 10 a.m. until 12 and then from 4.30 p.m. till 8 p.m. We had hard and extreme training sessions” (, 28 Sep 2010)

(Try to find out who is the current powerlifting world champion and I give you a gold medal if you find it!)
Donnie Thompson

Nickname: The Donster
Weight: 350-385 lbs
Competitive Powerlifting Debut: 1998
Holder of 8 all-time world records in professional powerlifting
– 3 bench press records
– 2 squat records
– 3 total records (First man to Total 2900 pounds. First man to Total 3000 pounds).
Best Lifts: 
* Best Squat: 1,265 lbs
* Best Bench: 950 lbs
* Best Deadlift: 832 lbs

Donnie has a massive best total of 3,000 lbs!
800+ Pound Raw Deadlifter, 2,170 Pound Official Raw Total (no shirt, suit or knee wraps)
Other Comments: Played professional football in the NFL and the Arena Football League for six years from 1987 to 1993.

Phil Heath

Nickname: The Gift, The Next Big Thing

Birthdate: December 18, 1979
Birthplace: Seattle, Washington, USA
Height: 5’9″ (175 cm)
Weight (Competition): 240 lbs (110 kg)
Weight (Off-season): 275 lbs (125 kg)
Neck: 18.5″ (47 cm)
Arms: 23″ (58 cm)
Chest: 54″ (140 cm)
Waist: 29″ (74 cm)
Thighs: 30″ (76 cm)
Calves: 20.4″ (52 cm)

Bench Press: 225 lbs x 46 reps
Competition Debut: 2002
Pro Debut: 2006 Colorado Pro Championships

3 time Mr. Olympia (2011-2013) IFBB Mr. Olympia participation:

  • 2008 Mr Olympia, 3rd
  • 2009 Mr Olympia, 5th
  • 2010 Mr Olympia, 2nd
  • 2011 Mr Olympia, 1st
  • 2012 Mr Olympia, 1st
  • 2013 Mr Olympia, 1st
  • Crossfit
    Rich Froning, Jr.

    Rich Froning The Fittest Man on Earth

    “The Fittest Man on Earth”

    Birthdate: July 21, 1987
    Residence: Cookeville, Tennessee, USA
    Height: 5’10”
    Weight: 195 lbs
    Fran: 2:17
    Cindy: 31
    Grace: 1:20
    Max Pull-ups: 75
    5 km Run: 20:00
    Filthy Fifty: 23:00
    Fight Gone Bad: 504

    Power Clean: 265 lbs
    Clean & Jerk: 335 lbs
    Snatch: 270 lbs
    Deadlift: 525 lbs
    Back Squat: 425 lbs
    Squat Clean: 315 lbs
    Bench Press: 335 lbs

    4 time CrossFit Games Champion (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)

    Started CrossFit: July 2009

    CrossFit Games participation:
    2010 CrossFit Games 2nd overall
    2011 CrossFit Games 1st
    2012 CrossFit Games 1st

    Training: Rich Froning constantly varies his workouts with no particular rhyme or reason and follows basic CrossFit protocol (constantly varied workouts with intensity).  He trains several times during the day, and works out with a variety of exercises ranging from interval training, efficiency and movement drills, and other Crossfit related workouts.  One of Froning’s favorite workouts is the muscle-up, which is performed on gymnastics rings. In a typical training week, he does Olympic and Power Lift 5 days a week and Metcons 6 days a week.

    After his 2011 CrossFit Games triumph he declared: “I had trained five times a day for a year for this event, but the first workout still surprised me,” says Froning, citing the 210m ocean swim, 1500m beach run, 50 pull-ups, 100 push-ups, 200 squats and second 1500m beach run that constituted the first workout challenge.

    Diet: His diet is not as strict as you might think.  He doesn’t really eat that much, and only eats when his body tells him he’s hungry and needs to refuel.  Froning eats the majority of his daily food in the evenings. A typical nighttime meal for Froning would be steak and chicken with a sweet potato or frozen vegetables. He doesn’t follow a specific plan.  During the day, Froning eats simple meals that provide him with the energy he needs to compete. The athlete is a fan of peanut butter, whole milk, and protein shakes

    Rich Froning tattoo on his side: “Galatians 6:14″
    Galatians 6:14 (NIV) May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

    Highland Games
    Daniel McKim

    Birthplace: Columbia, Missouri, USA

    Residence: Kansas City, Missouri, USA
    Height: 6’5″
    Weight: 300 lbs
    College: Northwest Missouri State University
    Occupation: Midwest Rep – Sorinex Exercise Equipment
    Family and Children: Married Natalie and five boys.

    Highland Games Debut: 2004 (the same year he graduated college and married his wife, Natalie) 
    Highland Games Pro Debut: 2007 (after being the #1 ranked amateur that year)


    Collegial Sports (Northwest Missouri State University):
    All American in the shot put
    15-time National Track and Field Qualifier 

    Scottish Highland Games:

    2-time World Champion (2011 & 2013)
    4-time US National
    Champion (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013)

    2-time World Caber Champion (2010 & 2013)
    2-time World Team Champion (2012, 2013)
    2 North
    American Records in the Scottish light and heavy hammer

    Argued as one of the greatest caber tossers in recent history and the best the
    United States has ever produced

    Best Lifts:
    Bench Press: 475 lbs
    Hang Clean: 420 lbs 
    Back Squat: 540 lbs
    Incline: 440 lbs
    Strict Overhead Press: 285 lbs
    Front Squat: 455 lbs
    Hang Snatch: 341 lbs

    All Round Lifting 
    USAWA/IAWA (United States All-Round Weightlifting Association / International All-Round Weightlifting Association)

    Mark Haydock

    From: England
    Weight: 115.5-125 kg (254-275 lbs)
    Age: 40

    2-time IAWA World Champion

    2013 IAWA World Championships  (Promoter; 1st Place; BEST LIFTERS  Mens Open & Mens Overall)
    2012 IAWA World Championships (wasn’t there?)
    2011 IAWA World Championships (Officials; 3rd Place; Best Lifter Awards: Best Mens Open)
    2010 IAWA World Championships (wasn’t there?)
    2009 IAWA World Championships (1st Place; Best Lifter Awards: Open 125 kg Champion)
    2008 IAWA World Championships (3rd Place)

    Mark Haydock is the owner of several IAWA “World” Records in the Men Open (115, 120, 125, 125+kg) categories

    Abdominal Raise: 30.0
    Barbell Cheat Curl: 103 kg
    Barbell Strict Curl: 65.4 kg
    2 Hands Barbell Clean and Jerk: 137.5 kg
    Right Hand Barbell Clean and Jerk: 77.5 kg
    2H Barbell Clean and Press: 118 kg
    2H Barbell Clean and Press 2″ bar: 110 kg (242 lbs)
    2H Barbell Reverse Clean & Press: 105 kg
    2H Clean and Press on Knees: 87.5 kg
    2H Clean and Press behind Neck: 107.5 kg
    2H Barbell Clean and Seated Press: 102.5 kg
    Seated Press behind neck from Racks: 95 kg
    2H Barbell Clean and Push Press: 128.5 kg
    2H Barbell Clean and Push Press 2″ bar: 125 kg (275 lbs)
    2H Barbell Snatch: 102.5 kg
    LH Barbell Snatch: 70 kg
    RH Barbell Snatch: 80 kg
    Barbell Snatch from Hang: 95 kg
    Barbell Snatch on Knees: 75 kg
    Bench Press – Reverse Grip: 150.5 kg (331 lbs)
    Continental Clean: 150 kg
    Continental Clean to Belt: 220 kg
    Crucifix: 62.2 kg
    2H Ciavattone Deadlift: 227.5 kg
    2H Deadlift: 322.5 kg
    2H Deadlift – 2″ Bar: 275.5 kg
    Deadlift – Stiff Legged: 257.5 kg
    RH Dumbell Walk: 57.5 kg
    RH Dumbbell Cheat Curl: 61.2 kg
    RH Dumbbell Clean & Jerk: 71.4 kg
    LH Dumbbell Press: 55 kg (121 lbs)
    RH Dumbbell Press: 53 kg
    RH Dumbbell Swing: 70 kg
    RH Middle Finger Lift: 110 kg
    ½ Gardner: 65 kg
    2H Hacklift: 305 kg (671 lbs)
    2H Pinch Grip: 90 kg (198 lbs)
    Power Row – Bent Over Row: 140 kg
    Pullover & Press on Back: 157.5 kg
    Pullover at Arms Length: 61 kg
    Reflex Barbell Clean & Jerk: 125 kg
    Reflex Clean & Push Press: 125 kg
    Squat: 300 kg (660 lbs)
    Front Squat: 212.5 kg (467.5 lbs) 
    Lunge Squat: 152.5 kg
    2H Straddle Lift: 312.5 kg
    2H Thumbless Deadlift: 200 kg
    Trap Bar Deadlift: 342.5 kg
    2H Vertical Bar Lift: 182.5 kg
    RH Vertical 1″ Bar Lift: 120.3 kg
    Zercher deadlift (holding the bar with forearms): 235 kg (517 lbs)

    His IAWA British Records (not including his world record listed above

    Jerk Front from Racks: 145 kg
    Bench Press – alt grip: 165 kg
    Bench Press Feet on Floor: 167.5 kg
    Right Hand Deadlift: 210 kg (462 lbs)
    2H Fulton Deadlift: 170 kg
    RH Fulton Dumbell Deadlift: 80 kg
    RH Hacklift: 145 kg
    Rectangular Fix: 37.5 kg
    LH Vertical 2″ Bar Lift: 95 kg
    RH Vertical 2″ Bar Lift: 97.5 kg
    Aston Set: 427.5 
    Olympic Totals: 350 kg (770 lbs)
    Power Totals: 782.5

    Anderson Squat (squatting from the buttom up) 917 lbs
    Hackenschmidt Floor Press 341 lbs
    Peoples Deadlift (Dead Hang/off the rack) 683 lbs
    TOTAL 1941 lbs

    Despite being THE original strength sport, all round lifting (odd lifting) is now an obscure underground unknown bastard sport with zero appeal. The only people with a mild interest for the USAWA/IAWA are people like me who are genuine fans of the old-timers circus strongmen who are doing research for writing an article on the subject. Which mean nobody!

    After checking at each discipline’s top guys stats, even a blind man could tell you that The Real Badass Mother Fucking Strength is in Olympic weightlifting, Strongman contests, and Powerlifting. Gone are the days of the circus strongmen, unfortunately. Now, the Strongest Men on the planet competes in at least one of these three disciplines, the Holy Trinity of Strength.

    2002 ARNOLD STRONGMAN CLASSIC was the Real Deal to show us all who is the REAL strongest man on earth!!!


    Why Olympic lifters are the strongest men in the world? 

    For another insight on the 5 most popular Strength Sports. 
    Read the following: Battle of the Strength Sports by Eric Minor


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