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13 Things You NEED for Your First Strongman Contest (Part III)

Be Ready for Anything at Your First Strongman Competition


Obviously ya gotta have the basics like clothes and shoes, but there are plenty of other things that you should have with you so you are able to capitilize on all the hard training you have done.

I’ve gotten to strongman comps and not been prepared. I don’t want that to happen to any of you, so recently, I started this series, “13 Things You Need for Your First Strongman Contest.”

(Here is part one ==> Strongman Contest & Part II ==> Strongman Equipment)

Below is Part III, the final chapter in this series.

movarrow What did I miss???  If you have any other suggestions, leave a comment below!

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You need to bring your own chalk when you go to your first strongman contest. You just can’t rely on the promoter to have enough available. All the guys competing are going to be using it. Sure enough, there’s always a dude that isn’t happy with a block of chalk so he crushes the entire thing in his hand and turns it to dust. Next thing you know, a strong wind picks up and half the block of chalk blows down the parking lot like a tumbleweed in the desert.

So, this is what you need to do. Get yourself a decent size Rubbermaid container or other plastic container with a lid that snaps on really tight. Stick the chalk block in this container and keep it with you. The container should fit pretty well right into your bag that you take to the contest.

Another thing that we did for years is put a garbage bag inside a pail and then threw the chalk inside the garbage bag. When we needed chalk it was all right there. We could stick our hands down inside the bucket and chalk up real well and since the pail was nice and high, any dust would just get caught in the garbage bag and we would not lose any of the dust down the prairie…

Sun Block

At the very beginning of the day, you should load up on sun block prior to the contest, especially if you are competing outside. The worst thing that can happen during an outside strongman contest is getting sunburned. Sunburn leaves you dehydrated and fatigued – two things that make your strength levels plummet.

I usually competed with a tee shirt on, so I would make sure to cover my arms thoroughly, as well as coating my nose and face. I would also often wear a baseball hat during the contest, so my head was covered. I do not recommend applying sun block to your forehead, especially if you sweat a lot and definitely not if you have water proof sun block. If the water proof sun block gets into your eyes, it can be very difficult to get out of them. I have actually heard of people who have had to go to the emergency room because water proof unblock ended up getting into their eyes and doctors had to use a special solution to get it out of their eyes.


Remember what Terry Silver tells Daniel in Karate Kid Part III. If a man can’t see, he can’t fight. He can’t very well win a strongman contest either.

Change of Clothes

If you are pushing the fluids and pushing your limits, you are going to be sweating your ass off. For that reason, you should have at least one full change of clothes that you can jump into about half way through the competition. I’m talking everything from head to toe – not just a different tee shirt and shorts.

If you are going to be driving several hours back home after the contest like we used to do then you probably want to have another extra set of clothes for the drive back.

Foam Roller

Warm-up is important for being successful at your first Strongman comp. Make sure you warm up the right way. Pack your foam roller, dense medicine ball, or pipe made of cardboard or PVC. This will get your soft tissue right before the comp.

I’ll tell you another reason to have a foam roller with you at a strongman comp. In 2005, I did a backwards truck pull. My quads swelled up so bad from the ridiculous pump, that I couldn’t even move afterwards. In fact, I am convinced that I would not have been able to continue if I had not gotten Rick Walker to stretch me out. I am also convinced that if I’d had my foam roller there, I would have been able to loosen back up my quicker.

Jump Stretch Bands

Get Your Bands at

Again, warm-up is important. You don’t want to head into one of the events cold or you could end up getting injured and being unable to finish the contest. What I would do is carry some purple Jump Stretch Bands right in my equipment bag that I could pull out and hit some reps with to get warmed up prior to the event. I liked to hit squats, good mornings, rows, military press, flyes, etc to get the blood flowing before going out to lift.

Stone Tacky for Hands & Arms

Get Your Tacky at

If the stones are in the contest, then you are going to need tacky in order to keep a level playing field with the rest of the competitors. Everybody uses it. You are going to need it, and you never know if the other competitors are going to let you borrow it or be a prick about it. Get some and keep it in your cooler until just before the stone event. You want it to stay sticky so it helps adhere your skin to the stones. If you leave it out, it will get greasy and will not offer much for improving your grip or speed in the stones.

Spray Tacky for Shoes

Believe it or not, some promoters will allow you to spray your hands with spray tack for stone flipping. They will also sometimes allow you to spray the bottoms of your shoes. We attended one strongman contest held an ice hockey rink. The ice was covered with a very slippery layer of plastic covering, and the competitors could spry the bottom of their shoes to keep from losing their traction in events like the tire flip and keg run.

Tacky Remover


You’re going to need something to get the tacky off your hands and arms after the atlas stone event. You don’t want that stuff all over the rest of your gear, your car, and your girlfriend. Unfortunately, many people do not know how to remove tacky once they are done with it. Don’t scrub for half an hour with soap and water – remove that stuff in minutes with some baby oil gel. Put a generous amount on your hand and rub vigorously over the area with tacky. After rubbing, wipe off with a towel and most of the tacky will be cleared off. There may still be some spots here and there, so just apply more gel.

Once you clean off the tacky with the gel, then is a good time to hit the soap and water. This is good to do in order to make sure that you get all the gel off your hands before the next event. Leftover gel will make holding things very difficult if you don’t get it all the way off, so attention to detail is important here.

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Well, my friends, there you go. 13 total things you need to have with you in your bag when you go to your first strongman contest. Now, obviously this is not and exhaustive list. Many people have already left suggestions in comments in the other two posts, including first aid kits and other things.

movarrow If you have any more suggestions that will help other new strongman competitors in the Diesel Community, please post them in the comments section below.

View Part 1 of this Series: Supply List for First Strongman Competition

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

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You guys really know your stuff, as evidenced by the post on how to do a muscle-up.

Blew me away! Thanks for your comments and thanks for your support!

Until next time, all the best in your training!


P.S. If your first contest has the Atlas Stones for an event, you might want to check out our Stone Lifting DVD. It has everything you need to know to prepare you for “the stones,” including how to apply tacky, various techniques for lifting the stones off the ground, how to load stones and how to incorporate stone lifts in your daily lifting routine.

Check it out here movarrowStone Lifting Fundamentals DVD

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One Response to “13 Things You NEED for Your First Strongman Contest (Part III)”

  1. Bill Jones Says:

    Thanks for all the info. Never knew that about using the baby oil gel. That should save some skin!

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