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I created this page due to the fact that there are no other Strongman websites in South Africa (that I know of) and that I feel that there is a need for such a site. The sport of Strongman is still in it's infancy in our country and this site is my humble little contribution towards the growth of the sport that I love.

I am not going to make any promises as to when (if ever) this site will next be updated. I do plan on expanding it quite a bit in future but don't hold your breath, growth might come in spurts and only when I feel like it. If you want to be notified whenever I do a major update then please enter your email address into my mailing list at the link on the left of the page and I'll let you know.

I've decided to keep the site very plain and to concentrate on the content rather than the cosmetics. Cosmetic enhancements take lots of time which I feel could be much better spent on bringing you more info. I appreciate your feedback and I was pleasantly surprised about how many emails I've received from all over the world since setting up this web page.

So who are the dudes on the left? At the top of the page is the 2003 South African Champion, David Cooks. Next is Johan van Huyssteen, currently placed 4th in SA followed by Gerrit Badenhorst, the best strongman and powerlifter in South African history. In the black t-shirt is Malone Horn psyching up for a tyre flip. Pulling a deadlift is the 2004 strongest man in SA, Ettiene Smit. Next is highly rated log lift specialist, Stephan Claassen. And who's the fatso wannabe with the suitcases? That's me!

24 June 2010: A whole new idea: SuperLifting

For most of the last decade or so I've been toying with the idea of reinventing powerlifting. Gradually the idea of Superlifting dawned on me. Superlifting is my humble interpretation of what powerlifting in the 21st century should be. The whole premise of Superlifting is to take the best aspects of strongman and apply it to powerlifting.

If all goes well, I'm planning on hosting the very first Superlifting competition during October. Here's a document that explains exactly what I've got in mind. If you'd like to get involved then drop me an email and I'll keep you posted as to how things are progressing. In the meantime, get training!

19 August 2008: SA Top 10 - East Rand Traders

The top 10 athletes from the recent SA Strongman Champs will be competing this weekend (23 and 24 August). This competition has always proved to be a very good show. See you there.

18 August 2008: Results from the 2008 SA Championships

Here's a spreadsheet with the full results. Thanks to Jean-Mari for compiling this. Ettiene Smit once again proved to be in a class of his own and won his fifth consecutive South African Strongman title. Well done, Brother!

Ettiene Smit

 I might be posting some more pictures in due course.

25 June 2008: BigArnie attempts to break the IPF squat World Record

I can't believe that it's been almost a year since my last update! Rest assured that the lack of updates do not mean that I've not been training, though. Far from it. I've spent the last year focusing on my squat and went down to Durban last weekend to check my progress. Here's what's happened:

Last weekend I competed in the South African powerlifting nationals that took place in Durban. Now, I have been South African 125kg+ powerlifting champion seven times before and this time I did not compete for any medals. Instead, I wanted to try and break Shane Hamman's 12 year old world record that currently stands at 457.5kg (1006 lb). As a result, I did not try and play it safe with a light opener. My game plan was to open on 425kg (935lb) using my old Titan suit and then go straight for the world record by taking 460kg (1012lb) on my second attempt in my new Metal King V-type suit.

My preparation for this competition was quite frustrating. Firstly, I did a heavy circa maxima phase about 8 weeks out from the competition. This, although being highly effective, completely destroyed my central nervous system. The result was that I was too fatigued to do almost anything else besides the speed squats themselves. I was constantly overtrained. Secondly, there was a big delay in the delivery of my new Metal King suit that I ordered from Minna in Finland. I only received the suit 10 days out from the competition only to find that it did not fit properly and I had to hurriedly have it tailored. The end result was that I did not have a chance to squat with the new suit at all. In fact, my last suited squat was 13 months ago during the 2007 SA Nationals. I did not do a single suited squat during my entire preparation for an attempt on the world record.

Lastly, I was invited by a Durban-based company to perform a train pull demonstration for their employees during their annual safety day. Unfortunately the date for this event was only 10 days before the powerlifting nationals, which is obviously not ideal. Still, they were offering good money for my services. In fact, my appearance money for this event was enough to pay for my entire trip down to Durban for the upcoming nationals. I had no choice but to accept. So I duly flew down to Durban 10 days out from the Nationals and proceeded to pull a 30 ton railway car for about 30 meters. This was easy enough but unfortunately I sustained a slight left hamstring tear during the pull. I spent the next week getting physio for this. Fortunately the tear was only about 1 inch in size and was not really hampering me but it does play mind games with you when you know that you'll be attempting a world record with a hole in your hamstring as well as a bad right knee that I've been battling with for months.

The last thing that bothered me was that I have started having a very hard time getting in underneath the bar. I have found that, as soon as my bodyweight goes over 180kg (396lb), it becomes very difficult for me to get my hands inside the collars. It literally feels like my shoulders are being torn apart when I try and place the bar on my back. I weighed in at 185kg (407lb) and I had to spent almost half an hour during warmups trying to get an empty bar correctly placed on my back. Still, my warmups went well and I felt very strong. I worked up to a 320kg raw (belt only) and that lift literally felt like I was squatting an empty bar. I did not feel the weight at all. Lastly I took a 360kg (800lb) wearing my old Titan suit with belt and no wraps. I found that I had outgrown the suit to such an extent that it made breathing difficult. The plan with the 800lb was to do only a partial squat in order to seat the suit properly. This lift went well and felt light.

I was quite nervous when I took the 425kg opener. I am the current South African record holder at 405kg (891lb) and this would have broken my own national record with ease. The weight felt extremely light being unracked but try as I might, I could not find depth. In fact, I lost control of the bar hovering slightly above parallel and had to be assisted by the spotters in racking the weight. I was very confused. Walking back to the warmup area someone from the audience pointed out to the chief referee that the bar was misloaded. Instead on 425kg, the bar was only loaded to 375kg (825lb). No wonder I could not find depth! Now, according to the IPF's rules, I was to be given my lift over but at the end of the second round. This meant that after my second attempt there would be a 5 minute pause after which I would follow myself. Not good at all.

So anyhow, I took the 425kg again and had a reasonable squat. I found that the Titan suit was throwing me forward and that breathing was very difficult. Still, I squatted the weight but got failed on depth. I had to agree with the referees on this call - even with the proper weight the Titan suit stopped me slightly high. As planned, I called 460kg on my second (actually third) attempt and proceeded to put on my newly-tailored Metal King for the first time. As with all my previous Metal suits, this one went on very easily and felt far more comfortable than the Titan. I got nicely wrapped by my good buddy Dewald and waited for the 460kg to be loaded. The organisers had to swap two of the referees out and replace them with international referees (in order to make the lift legit according to the IPF). My seconds made sure that the bar was loaded properly and I got the "bar loaded" signal from the chief ref.

I would be dishonest if I said that the weight felt light when I unracked it. I could have no doubts at all that there was a big weight on my shoulders. Walking the weight out also proved to be quite a task. Still, my posture immediately felt better than in the Titan suit. I got the signal and filled my stomach with air before descending into the squat. I have to say that, even though this was the heaviest weight I've ever felt (no sh*t!), it still felt very controllable in the Metal. I struck depth and stood up with the weight. It felt very good. The entire crowd was on their feet by this time. I racked the bar only to find that I was given just 1 white light. My spotters said that it was touch and go. It could have gone either way. Some people said that the lift was good (including the one referee, of course) and others said that it was ever so slightly high.

Here's a video that my wife shot:

I still had one more lift to go but worryingly, my eyesight was almost completely gone. Normally when I do a very heavy squat I experience slightly degraded vision for an hour or so afterwards. I would see halos around lights for instance. I think that this is caused by the pressure that the squat puts on the optical nerve. This time, however, the symptoms were worse that ever before. I could hardly identify people's faces. Another huge obstacle was that I had just 5 minutes rest before having to take my third attempt. The officials showed no leniency at all and they timed my 5 minutes with a stopwatch. I was hardly back in my seat when Dewald had to start wrapping again. In retrospect, I should not even have attempted this lift again under these circumstances. Still, with mere seconds to spare I unracked 460kg again. I was really fatigued and almost blind. This time I struck depth though, but got stuck coming out of the hole. Hardly surprising.

The positive thing that came out of this competition was that I now know that I am fully capable of breaking the world record. I guess it is just back to the gym before having another go at it.

27 August 2007: Wrap rolling for the Lazy Powerlifter

Most powerlifters know what a chore it is to pre-roll knee wraps prior to squatting, particularly at a competition where the poor guy responsible for doing this normally ends up getting the best forearm workout of his life. I've seen some manual contraptions as well as other things that fit on a cordless drill to simplify this task but they remain a compromise at best. I've had an idea of how to make this much easier but always lacked the skills to actually build the desired machine.

As luck would have it a powerlifting buddy of mine (who happens to own a machine shop) had a similar idea and he eventually built me a wrap roller that works just beautifully. The machine is fully adjustable for the desired amount of tension and does not cause any damage to the wraps. This machine has proved to be quite a hit at competitions and there's normally a queue of guys waiting to use it!

Here's a short video of me demonstrating just how easy wrap rolling can be if you are lazy enough.


27 August 2007: SA Top 10 Invitational 2007 - Upington, Northern Cape

We are again having our bi-annual SA Top 10 at the Kalahari Kuierfees on 7 and 8 September. The top 10 athletes from the recent SA Championships automatically qualify. I hope to post more details soon.

26 August 2007: SA Strongman 2007 Final Results

This year's SA Nationals proved to be a very successful show with a high standard of competition. Still, there could be only one champion and for a fourth time in as many years Ettiene Smit was crowned SA's strongest man. I was particularly impressed by how much Ettiene's static strength has improved and he almost pulled a 405kg deadlift!That's a massive lift in anybody's book. Ettiene will shortly be leaving for Korea to represent SA at the 2007 IFSA Worlds. I personally feel that he is now ready to break into the Big Time. Good luck, Ettiene!

I'm still in the process of compiling a full report of SAs 2007 but you can find the results in this spreadsheet. Yours truly decided not to compete this year due to the inadequate amount of time between the SA Powerlifting Champs and this show and I had to settle for being the referee.

13 June 2007: SA Strongman 2007 - Preliminary Details

I was amazed to realise that it has been more than seven months since I last did an update over here! There has been lots of things happening on the SA strongman scene since then.

Firstly, this year's SA Strongman Championships is scheduled for the 14th and 15th of July at the Hillfox Value Centre in Roodepoort, Johannesburg. This is the same venue where the very successful SA Championship of 2006 was held. The first day will be open to all athletes while the top 10 guys from the first day will go through to the Sunday's final. The events are as follows:

Saturday 14 July:

  1. Hand over hand pull
  2. Yoke walk - 400kg
  3. Loglift for maximum weight - 125kg starting weight
  4. Medley - Tyre flip + Africa stone
  5. Farmer's walk -160kg

Sunday 15 July:

  1. Truck Pull

  2. Deadlift for maximum weight - 260kg starting weight

  3. Wheelbarrow

  4. Atlas Tones

More details to follow. Here's the full entry form should you wish to compete. Please note that entries close on 30 June. Like last year, the entry form is in Afrikaans and I really don't feel like translating it right now... Email me if you don't understand.

I have to say that I am very impressed by the standard of the new upcoming talent on the South African strongman circuit. There are a number of gifted athletes that are now progressing through the ranks. It is always very satisfying to watch young athletes mature into professional-level strongmen.

Secondly, be on the lookout for TV coverage of the 2007 SA Team Strongman Championships that took place in Boksburg during April. This really was a most successful competition. I'll try and post here if I get more details about broadcast times. In fact, I might already be too late for the first round of broadcasts but the local networks tend to rerun these things over and over (normally at 3am!) so it is bound to come round again in that case.

Lastly just some feedback on my personal progress. I have finally been able to fully recover from the lower back injury that I sustained in January 2006. I am very much indebted to HP Erasmus, my chiro, who managed to sort me out. I recovered to such an extent that I was able to compete in the annual Loskop Strongman show During December of last year. Predictably I got my butt kicked by Ettiene Smit but I was able to place in a strong second place which I was very satisfied with after such a long layoff.

I also managed to compete in the 2007 SA Powerlifting Championships on 26 May in Johannesburg. Unfortunately my preparations for this comp were severely curtailed by a very bad case of bicep tendonitis on both arms. Still. I was pushing PRs in the gym and went there just to see what I could do on the squat.

I opened raw on 300kg (just to get a lift in) and then jumped to 420kg - my own current SA record is 405kg. The squat did not feel good and I lost my balance coming out of the hole. No lift. For the third attempt I again took 420kg and performed what felt like very nice squat. Alas, the IPF judges thought otherwise and red-lighted me for depth. This 420kg would have beaten the best squat in the world for 2006 (415kg). What's more, I honestly felt like I had at least another 20kg in me. In order to avoid being called biased, I'd prefer to post this little YouTube video for you to judge for yourself.


Anyways, this setback did not deter me too much and, God-willing, I'll be back in powerlifting competition soon.

I still need to make up my mind on if I'm going to compete in this year's strongman nationals. I'm really eager to go but I don't know if there is enough time to get ready before 14 July. We'll see...

4 November 2006: SA Top 10 Invitational - Auto Africa

We are hosting the SA top 10 invitational strongman this weekend (4 and 5 November)at the NASREC centre in Johannesburg. This event forms part of the 2006 Auto Africa Motor Show. This was made possible through our two main sponsors namely MAN Trucks and of course Auto Africa.

The events lined up for today  are log lift, truck pull, Conan's wheel and hand-over-hand.

Sunday's events will consist of tire flip, farmer's walk, forward carry and atlas stone.

The top fourteen athletes in the country have been invited and we are expecting a really good crowd. Hope to see you there.

20 August 2006: Ettiene Smit retains his SA Strongest Man title

Predictably Ettiene walked away with the top honours for the third year in a row. This is getting boring :) Well done, Ettiene! I'll be posting the full results and some pictures here in due course. Here's Ettiene pulling a powerlifting-perfect 350kg deadlift. Yours truly is the fatso loser in the left background.

26 June 2006: Details of the 2006 SA Strongman Championships

The official SA Strongman Champs for 2006 will be taking place in Randburg on 15 and 16 June. Details and entry forms are available over here. Please note that this document is in Afrikaans. If you are desperate to decipher it, then mail me and I'll translate for you. Sorry, I didn't feel like re-typing the whole thing. Entries are open to all athletes and will be closing on 30 June.

3 April 2006: Getting back into things

I was forced to neglect lower body training after my back injury in January but it seems to have healed nicely and, God willing, April should be my first "proper" training month of 2006. See my training log for details.

19 February 2006: Gerrit Badenhorst resigns as Chairman of SASU

We were all very saddened to receive Gerrit's resignation. Gerrit wants to make it clear that his only reason for making this decision was due to time constraints. He is still 100% committed to the success of the South African Strongman Union and will stay involved in all aspects of the sport of strongman. Bad news indeed.

On a personal note a long overdue update: My training went well after getting back from the Commonwealth Powerlifting Championships early in October. I took things easy for the rest of 2005 (high volume, light weights) and only started lifting heavy again in January. All was going well and I even managed to crack a few PRs in the gym when I blew my back out a few weeks back while deadlifting. It doesn't feel like anything snapped. Rather, it feels severely inflamed. Reluctantly I'm having to take things easy for a while. I'll be resting the whole of next week and if things don't feel better by next Friday then I guess I'll have to go and see the quack.

15 August 2005: Back in the gym after the SA Powerlifting Nationals

Please check my training log for a brief summary of how things went. I'm pleased to say that I got a 405kg on squat for a national record but missed my other goal of 1000kg by going 982.5kg (2161.5lb).

Another opportunity has crossed my path: I've been offered a spot in the SA team for the first Commonwealth Powerlifting Championships to be held in the UK in September. The deal was too sweet to pass by so I've decided to go. This will obviously intrude on my strongman preparations for the SA Invitational as well as for the United Strongman Series but I guess you can't have your cake and eat it. I'm still fully committed to my strongman career.

30 July 2005: Details have been announced of the SA Invitational Top 10

This competition is held every second year at the Kalahari Kuierfees in Upington. If you scroll down right to the bottom of this page you'll see my review of the previous occurrence of this competition in October 2003. This year the competition is to be held on 7 and 8 October and the events are as follows:

  1. Farmer's walk over 50 meters with 150kg (330lb) per hand.
  2. Overhead weight toss with 25kg (55lb) for maximum distance.
  3. Log lift with 125kg (275lb) for maximum reps in 75 seconds.
  4. Box squat with 220kg (484lb) down to a box for maximum reps in 75 seconds.
  5. Forward hold with 30kg (66lb) for maximum time.
  6. 120kg (264lb) and 140kg (308lb) loading event onto 1.7 meter platform.

The top ten athletes from the 2005 SA Strongman Championships have been invited to compete. I'm personally very much looking forward to this competition. Come to think of it, this show was the very first individual strongman competition that I competed in way back in October 2001.

23 June 2005: I got invited to compete in the United Strongman Series (USS)

I have been approached by officials from the USS who invited me to compete in their international competitions. I have given their offer much thought and have in principle decided to go for it. However, I have told them that I would only be available from 2006 as I would like to concentrate on my powerlifting career for the rest of this year. I know, everybody tells me that I'm stupid: the USS pays for everything AND have good prize money. Still, I have realised that I am currently in the best (powerlifting) shape of my life and, God willing, I plan on putting up a big total before the end of the year.

14 June 2005: Ol' BigArnie squats 400kg (880lb)

Tonight I achieved a lifetime goal: I squatted 400kg (Eleiko weights and bar). It was done in the gym as part of my preparation for the upcoming SA Powerlifting Championships. Unfortunately this is a bad camera angle but the suit stopped me about 1 inch high (according to IPF judging criteria). I reckon that I'd need about 410kg to make depth. The lift was explosive and solid. Right click here and choose "Save target as..." to download a video clip of this squat.

To put this lift into perspective: It would have been the fourth biggest squat in the world in 2003 (2004 rankings not available yet) and would have earned me a bronze medal at the 2004 IPF Worlds. This is also the first 400kg squat in South Africa that was done with IPF gear and under IPF conditions. My thanks go to my training partners who believe in me more than I do myself! I couldn't have done it without you guys. Check my training log for details. Praise the Lord!

Minor update 17 May 2005: Link to Ettiene Smit's Website

I found out today that 2004 and 2005 SA Strongman Champion Ettiene Smit has set up his own website. Nice work, Ettiene. Click here to have a look.

Meanwhile, my preparations for the 2005 SA Powerlifting Championships are going very well indeed. I am consistently pushing lifetime bests on all the power movements. God-willing, I'm looking forward to breaking all my personal bests at this comp. Check my training log for more.

Update 10 May 2005: Results of the 2005 South African Strongman Championships

As promised, herewith the full results of this fabulous competition in which yours truly once again competed. Click here to read my full review. I dedicate this to the memory of my mother who was always my biggest fan.

28 April 2005: The SA Strongman Champs took place this past weekend

This was one of the biggest and best competitions ever held in South Africa. I plan on having the full results uploaded very soon. Also, this will be my first update at my very own brand new domain. Welcome!

Update 22 March 2005: Gerrit releases a CD

Even though this site is all about the sport of strongman I thought you might find this interesting: Gerrit Badenhorst, the icon of South African strength sports has launched a singing career. In order to promote his first CD, Gerrit has set up his own web page over here. This CD contains a track called "The Strongman Anthem". Gerrit says that he welcomes orders form around the world. Go have a look.

And on a much more humble and personal note: It brings me great pleasure to announce that I have cracked the 300kg (660lb) barrier on the good morning. Last week I took a 305kg right down to parallel and back up with good form. What's more, there's still something in reserve. This has been a long-time goal of mine. Check my training log for more.

However, this sport has taught me that as soon as you start thinking that you're strong someone is bound to come along and put you right back in your place. Benedikt Magnusson from Iceland is a case in point. Benedikt is a 21 year old powerlifter who has just deadlifted 400kg (880lb) for a set of four reps in training. WOW! Check this link for more info.

Update 3 March 2005: Review of the 2004 South African Strongman Championships

At last! I got a good set of pictures thanks to Andrew from Muscle Evolution Magazine. The standard at this competition was very high. Click here to read more about SAs 2004.

Another thing: A total of 23 strongmen have entered for this year's SA Finals! Wow!

26 January 2005: Details about the upcoming 2005 South African Open Strongman Championships have just been released

Click here to get the details about the venue and the events for this year.

On the subject of SA Champs: The reason why I have not posted a full review of the 2004 SA Champs  yet is because I've not been able to obtain a decent set of photos of this competition up until now. I have reluctantly decided to go without the pictures and just upload the review as is. Watch this space...

Update 16 September 2004: The 2004 SA Strongman Championships

I am currently busy writing a review of the 2004 SA Champs that took place on 28 and 29 August in Johannesburg. I'll be posting the full results here soon. Just to wet your appetite, we have a new South African champion, namely Etienne Smit. The man was in a class of his own! Well done! As always, Dave Cooks was right up there and came in at a strong second place.

Update 2 September 2004: The 2004 South African Powerlifting Championships

Last month, I competed in the SA IPF Powerlifting Championships. If you are interested in finding out how I fared, then click here.

Update 16 March 2004: Added another site to my links page and updated my training log

I recently had a hard drive crash which caused me to lose quite a bit of stuff, hence the fact that my training log was not updated for a while. I also added a reciprocating link to the SLOVENIA STRONGEST MEN website. Definitely worth a look.

Update 16 January 2004: Added my personal training log

I've never been good at keeping a training log, often to my own frustration. I've decided to try and change my habits this year. Follow the link on the navigation bar or click here.

Minor update 3 January 2004: Revised the "about me" page and added some pictures. Also added another link

A few people emailed me asking for some pictures. Why would anybody want to look at someone as ugly as me?! I also updated my links page with Trevor aka MaxPower's excellent Strength Discussion Forum.

Update 31 December 2003: The 2003 Menlyn Mall Strongman Competition

This is my first major update since starting this site. I recently competed at a non-sanctioned strongman competition that was held at a shopping mall in Pretoria. Read about it here.

Update October 10, 2003: THE 2003 SA CHAMPIONSHIPS

The finals of the 2003 South African Strongman Championships took place at the Eiland resort in Upington, Northern Cape, early in October 2003.  Click here to read my full review of the competition.


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Page last updated 6 September 2008