The biggest, most successful strongmen in the world don’t go it alone. The champions often train together—from Eddie Hall to Martin Licis to Hafthor “The Mountain” Björnsson, they’re always pushing each other to get stronger. Four-time World’s Strongest Man winner Brian Shaw and Rob Kearney are two of the latest strongmen to get together for a session—which of course they recorded for all their fans.
Kearney is getting ready for the Arnold 2020 Classic next month, and went to Shaw’s home in Colorado for a training session focused on deadlifts. His goal for the competition: 1,000 pounds, a huge load only managed by an elite few, like Hafthor Björnsson and Eddie Hall. For this session with Shaw, Kearney is working on one of his last big pull sessions on the elephant bar before the competition.
Kearney starts ‘light’ at 325 pounds, then quickly ramps up to 415 pounds and 505 pounds, pulling 3 reps each.
Shaw is also training, but his man focus is on Kearney. Before Kearney takes on reps at 595 pounds, Shaw gives him some advice.
“You have a lot more in the tank… I can see it,” says Shaw. “The contest, the crows the atmosphere, start to visualize, every rep is perfect now. get that all in your head. see it and feel it. nice and tight, lock it in,” he says as Kearney reaches 685 pounds. “Stay tight.”
“Set yourself. Big breath, nice and tight,” says Shaw as watches Kearney go up to 775 pounds.
After the lift, Kearney and Shaw discuss how he’s feeling about the bar.
“With this bar, it’s a misconception that bar does not flex a lot. It’s just because when you load more plates, the visual effect…it’s 14 feet long. It just looks like it’s bending further than it actually is,” says Shaw.
From there, they guys get into a back-and-forth pull montage. Shaw also does his own 545-pound lift, while Kearney goes to 825 pounds, then 885 pounds. Eventually, Shaw hits 725 pounds and Kearney gets to 935 pounds.
“It’s good man. Coming off the floor, it’s exactly what you’re going to have to do. Just be ready for a little bit of grind off the floor… If you’re even in the mid upper 900’s, you can be strategic about what calls you make,” he says. “Obviously 1,000 is a heck of a mark and will probably get you in that top 3 or 4. But if 980 or 975 is going to get you another point or two, boom.”
Shaw gets up to 815, then 865 pounds himself at the end of the video.
“With the guys at the Arnold, it’s going to be very competitive in that mid-900 range. It depends on who can get to that upper 900, closer to 1,000, or pull 1,000,” says Shaw. “And that would be awesome. I know that’s in the back of your head, pulling 1,000.”
“Absolutely,” says Kearney.
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