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13 Things You NEED for Your First Strongman Contest

Bill Kazmaier, Legendary American Strongman Legend

Strongman is a great sport.

Each year, more and more athletes join the amateur strongman ranks in hopes of becoming a champion and perhaps even receiving their Pro Card. At one time, it was my dream to compete with the best in the world on the grand stage of the World’s Strongest Man championship, or the Strongman Super Series championship.

I can still remember the first contest I competed in. It was in Revere, Massachusetts and it was organized by CJ Murphy and Bob Jodoin of Total Performance Sports.

Pete Aagard, Smitty, and Me – Morning of Our First Contest at Total Performance Sports

We knew very little about the sport and participating in the contest was more of just an opportunity for adventure than a shot at a new career. We had no equipment so we had to do the best we could with stuff we had lying around. Plus we had no idea about proper preparation for the day of the event.

I actually feel with our limited experience, our training went pretty well and Murph and Bob were very helpful in getting us in competitive shape for the contest. Unfortunately, there was still a ton to learn about some of the things we needed to have with us the day of the contest.

By writing this, I am hoping to give you some information you can use for the day of your first contest to help you be successful.

You may think that some of these tidbits are pointless, but I can assure you, they will make a huge difference. You’ve been working for months to get into shape and be as strong as you can for this show. All of this will help to assure you success.

And remember – this is your first contest – all the rest of the competitors have probably done this before. Some may know more about technique. Some may know more about strategy, and some may be in a bit better shape than you. That’s giving away a lot of experience. Why give away any more?

The day of the contest, the time is over for building strength – you are as strong as you are going to get and you have done an outstanding job in your preparation. Now it is time to make sure that day of the contest you have all the bases covered. In this multi-part series, I am going to give you 13 things that you MUST HAVE WITH YOU on the day of the contest to make sure you do your absolute best.

1. Tons of Drinks

It is important to keep yourself hydrated at the strongman event. Even small amounts of dehydration can result in losses of strength, stamina, and cognitive ability. When we were training for our first contest, the dude that won the light weight category the previous year told us to bring as much fluid as possible. He said he brought a gallon jug filled with water and that wasn’t even close to enough to keep him fully hydrated, but his preparation was good enough for him to win that year.

You’ve worked for months to be in top shape for the show. Don’t sacrifice all that by forgetting fluids. Buy a bunch at the Dollar Store or the gas station, and take it with you to the show. Don’t just get Sports Drinks. Mix in some water. In my experience, if I drink too much pure sports drinks, I get acid reflux and you don’t want that if you have to bend over to pick up stones or to pull a bunch of reps in the deadlift.

If you are susceptible to acid reflux, then grab some antacids like Tums or Rolaids while you are at it…

2. Ice Chest / Cooler


Nobody wants to drink piss warm water during a strongman contest, so bring a decent sized cooler with you. The night or morning before the contest, go get at least two big bags of ice. Throw a layer of ice in about two inches thick. Then throw in a layer of drinks, then another layer of ice, then drinks, and so on. It is better to have more drinks than you need during the show. If you have extra, you can drink them down after the show to recover and keep yourself feeling human while you travel home.

3. Wrist Wraps

Wrist wraps are important for strongman because you want to fortify each joint that is working in order to make sure you are able to properly express your strength and power through that joint. Even if you haven’t been using wraps in your training working your way to the show, go get some. Wrist wraps will secure your wrist, making you stronger, as well as protect you from injury.

Remember, the overhead lifts are usually the first lift at the contest. If you decide not to wrap your wrist and in your rush to push out as many reps as possible, and end up tweaking you wrist or getting injured, you’ll be feeling it the whole way through the contest. Wrap ’em up, stay strong, and get through all the events without any painful distractions.

Okay, there’s three big ones for you to keep in mind for your first strongman competition.

View Part 2 of This Series: What to Take to Your First Strongman Competition

View Part 3 of this Series: Supply List for First Strongman Competition

Sign Up for More Strongman Training Tips

All the best in your training,


P.S. We have a great DVD on Atlas Stone Training, Stone Lifting Fundamentals. We’ll tell you everything you need to know about excelling at stone lifting and being prepared for your first strongman contest or your next! Start lifting atlas stones today: Stone Lifting Fundamentals.

How to Bend Nails | How to Tear Cards | Strongman feats of Strength | How to Build Your Own Equipment | How to Lift Atlas Stones | The Sh*t You’ve Never Seen | How to Implement Sled Dragging for Athletes

Want more on Stone Lifting. Check out these posts:

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6 Responses to “13 Things You NEED for Your First Strongman Contest”

  1. Doug Says:

    Jedd good article so far can’t wait for the next set of tips

  2. Bill Jones Says:

    Good info. Love the Kaz pix. He did the foreward to my book. (Shameless plug):

  3. brent Says:

    I have a dedicated first aid kit in my gym bag and highland games tote. advil, tape, chapstick, tums, immodium, new skin, capsacin, and some kind of sinus or cold meds. It all fits in a little zip bag. since I have a seperate kit for each sport they always stay where they belong and I never find myself without. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve let guys borrow stuff because they show up with nothing.


  4. Chad Kovach Says:

    Thanks for this article Jedd!!

  5. Jedd Says:

    Chad, thanks for dropping by and posting.

    Brent – outstanding list. I think it is a very good idea to have that stuff already packed and ready to go so that you don’t have to go and gather it all back up every time.

    Bill – have you ever done a guest article for us? A good one on nutrition would be great for our site.

    Doug – thanks man. They’ll be coming every few days so stay tuned.


  6. Bill Jones Says:

    Nope…haven’t done one…yet

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