Strength is an area where great creativity can be used. While we typically think of writers, musicians or artists when it comes to being creative, there are lots more places where this capability can be used. Strength is one of them.
I’ve been performing feats of strength for about a decade and a half now in the way that the oldtime strongmen did. There was a time when people would pack theaters to see a strongman perform! That is anything but common today but that doesn’t mean the art has died away.
Watch this video showing a few clips from the recent show I did at Camp Maverick as an example.
A HUGE part of performing as a strongman is adequately demonstrating your strength in a way that the layperson can easily grasp.
And that’s why making use of other humans is great. If I did a Turkish getup with a large kettlebell or barbell it would get some applause. But if I do it with a human (even if that person weighs less than said kettlebell or barbell) it becomes much more impressive. To put it another way, most people are more impressed by this than when I lifted a 135 lb. barbell in the getup.
Everyone has an idea of how much people weigh. Besides weights are made to be lifted, whereas humans are not!
It was from this feat that I went into my next one. Not caught on camera, I made a joke about the woman I lifted being light and I should use someone heavier, so I brought up the biggest man in the audience. (Thank you to both Diyana and Craig for participating). Of course, I wouldn’t be able to get up with someone this size but I could “lift” him in another manner.
Much of this crowd had seen mean tear a deck of cards in half. While impressive, it loses its magic seen again and again. So I decided to combine this feat with a bridge support. It is these sorts of combinations that are where creativity can really come in.
Another big part of being a performing strongman is the danger element. Supporting weight while resting on your head where people are worried about your neck snapping makes for a good feat. That is why you can hear a good portion of the crowd screaming “No!” because of the fear they felt for me.
Which is exactly why this made a good closing feat. It was the escalation of weight in humans used, the combination of feats, and the danger element all brought together.
Notice also the finishing flourish of the wrestler’s bridge kick over too. Little things like this can add a lot.
Again, this was actually an easy feat for me compared to the half-ton I’ve supported in the bridge before. But done in this manner it looks much more impressive.
(In case you’re wondering, I placed second in the talent show, beat out by a man singing that had previously worked on Broadway! I’m happy to have scored all 9’s and 10’s and to have had a good time.)
If you’d like to develop strongman as a talent that can be used for shows a great place to start is Feats of Strength: How to Train and Perform Like an Oldtime Strongman. In this video set Bud Jeffries (one of the top strongman performers out there) and I share how to do the basics that all strongmen need to learn, how to train them, and details on putting a show together. Find out more here.