Another Tool in the Competition Tool Belt
One of the biggest and most inspiring evolutions I have witnessed at CrossFit Empower is the growth in the breadth of members that have chosen to test their fitness in competition. The number of Empower members participating in the CrossFit Open and CanWest Games expands every year. For many of our competitors, the initial leap of faith in themselves has not been insignificant. But in every instance, those athletes have been rewarded with a heightened sense of pride, accomplishment, resilience, camaraderie, and fun.

Stones and Strength
Given the many benefits of competition, I thought I would share an upcoming event I will be competing in that offers a fun, local, accessible opportunity to test one’s fitness; Squamish CrossFit’s Stones and Strength strongman event.

There are not a lot of easily accessible strongman events. They are usually just heavyweight competitions. The beauty of the Stones and Strength event is that it is open to a variety of weight classes:
Women: 130; 145; 160; 160+
Men: 170; 185; 205; 265; 265+

These weight divisions dictate the weights athletes are expected to lift. For example, here are the stone load weights from a past Stones and Strength event:

Women 130: 90-108-112-122-125
Women 145: 90-112-122-125-135
Women 160: 112-125-135-150-170
Women 160+: 125-135-150-170-185

Men 170: 135-150-170-185-200
Men 185: 170-185-200-220-240
Men 205: 185-200-220-240-250
Men 265: 200-220-240-250-270
Men 265+: 240-250-270-290-315

Note: Don’t let these upper limit weights discourage you. As linked the video of a past Stones and Strength event shows, a fair portion of competitors do not progress through all the stone weights.

This year’s Stones and Strength event will be held on Saturday, May 9, 2020 in Squamish. Registration will go live at 12:00pm on Thursday, March 12, 2020 and will remain open until the event is sold out. The competition entry fee has yet to be confirmed. Last year’s fee was $80.

I will follow up with more details through Empower’s social media accounts as more details are officially released. To give you a sense of what you can expect, Stones and Strength has historically comprised four events/movements scheduled throughout the one-day event. Past movements have included:

Viking Press
The Viking Press implement is a device that utilizes a leverage system. An athlete will grab either a straight bar or parallel handles that are attached at the end of either a lever system, or a landmine apparatus. This then extends down to the fulcrum or pivot point, which typically is situated at chest height or lower.

Hercules Hold
The Hercules Hold requires the athlete to hold up two weight for as long as possible. The two weights are attached to chains which in turn have handles for the athlete to grip. The athlete stands in the middle, takes hold of a handle in each arm before the pillars are released – pulling the athlete in opposite directions. The athlete who can hold onto the pillars the longest is declared the winner.

Triple Carry
The Triple Carry is a medley of yoke, mooring bit, and bucket carries.

Log Press
In the Log Lift, the athlete must take the log from the floor to overhead. Unlike a conventional barbell overhead lift, the log is cumbersome, making it difficult to get into the correct position to press. On top of this, a log requires a neutral grip, something that will seem unnatural to the uninitiated. In competition the log press is usually for maximum weight, most repetitions within a certain time, or as a medley of overhead lifts.

The Toss is a test of strength and explosiveness. The competitor must throw a number of kegs or sandbags, sometimes of increasingly heavier weight, over a specified height. The quickest competitor to get all the objects over the height wins.

Conan’s Wheel
Those familiar with Arnold Schwarzenegger’s first Conan the Barbarian movie will recall the scene where Conan is chained to a work wheel. The Conan’s Wheel has a steel arm with weight attached to it. This event is a loaded carry. Competitors must support the weight and walk with it as far as they can in 60 seconds.

Stone Load
The Stone Load is traditionally the last event in any strongman event. For this event, participants have 60 seconds to lift five progressively heavier stones over a fence.

CrossFit Squamish Strongman Seminar
Jesse Bifano, co-owner of CrossFit Squamish, hosts three-hour Strongman group sessions. These sessions can include work with atlas stones, logs, kegs, farmers carry, yoke walk, Husafell Stones, axle bars, grip tools, and nail bending. These sessions act as “field trip” for other CrossFit gyms. A weekend field trip would be great for those like me wishing to prepare for competing in this year’s Stones and Strength event, those preparing for the CanWest games which has seen several odd object movements programmed in the competition, or those in our community simply looking for something fun and novel to do with their Empower members. Did I mention A Frame Brewing and Backcountry Brewing are within walking distance?

The per person cost of the seminar will range between $15 and $30 (plus tax) depending on how many people we recruit. The trip will be contingent on reaching a 10 person minimum. I am looking to book a Saturday in March or April. As we hit critical mass, we can arrange carpooling.

Interested in Stones and Strength and/or a field trip to CF Squamish for a strongman seminar? Send an email to [email protected] or register on the sign-up sheet posted on the bulletin board.