WHICH MAN IS THE STRONGEST
IN THE WORLD?
The question has long been asked, which man is the strongest in the world? Paul Anderson was considered to be that man in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Bill Kazmaier claimed that title from 1980 to 1982. Today we have the Met-Rx World’s Strongest Man to determine our champion. What determines which man is the strongest in the world, and how does a person train to be that man? This page explores and answers those questions and more!
In the 1950’s Paul Anderson dominated the world of strength by lifting weights that other mortals didn’t dare to dream about. For example, when he began to lift weights, the world record for the Squat was around 550 pounds. In only a few short years he was doing over 900 pounds regularly, and eventually was credited with over 1100 pounds! Paul mainly competed in Olympic lifting and was the first man to press 400 pounds overhead. This was all done at a time before steroids and special lifting equipment. Paul didn’t even wear a lifting belt! He won a Gold medal in the 1956 Olympics, and traveled the world putting on strength exhibitions. When he was around, you knew which man was the strongest in the world.
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Bill Kazmaier made his way to the forefront of the strength world by lifting enormous weights in Powerlifting. During that same time frame he entered and placed well and the relatively new World’s Strongest Man contest. This competition gathered the best from several different strength sports together to compete in a wide range of events.
These events were designed to test absolute strength in a few different positions, as well as speed, agility, and endurance. In 1980, Bill Kazmaier won that contest and in 1981 he won the Superheavyweight World Powerlifting Championship and set a world record of 661 in the Bench Press! Remember, there were no Bench Press shirts at that time. Bill just wore a T-shirt. He followed that up by winning the World’s Strongest Man contest in convincing fashion again, and when asked which man is the strongest in the world, he was quoted as saying, “I believe I am the strongest man who ever lived.” Kazmaier won the contest again in 1982 to make it 3 years in a row before the promoters stopped allowing him to compete, to give other athletes a chance to win. This went on for a few years, and when he was allowed to compete again, he still placed well, but was now past his prime.
I actually met Bill Kazmaier at a Strength Exhibition in July 2001. He invited me to try to bend a ¾ inch steel bar into a horseshoe shape in front of a large crowd. I did it, thanks to a whole lot of adrenaline pumping because of this awesome opportunity. The picture below shows me talking to Bill afterward. I am the one with my back to you.
The current breed of strongmen that are competing to find out which man is the strongest in the world, are guys like Jesse Marunde, Mariusz Pudzianowski (3-time winner), Zydrunis Savickas, Dominic Filiou, Travis Ortmayer, Don Pope and the current champion for 2006, Phil Pfister.
In determining which man is the strongest in the world, the promoters of the Met-Rx World’s Strongest Man have created an organization called the International Federation of Strength Athletes or the IFSA. Several countries have organized their own branches attached to the parent IFSA. In the USA we have ASA, the American Strongman Association. We also have the amateur North American Strongman Society. If a legal resident of the United States wants to become a professional strongman, he or she must first win a qualifying contest sanctioned by NASS.
In Strongman, the contests still have various events to test absolute strength, strength endurance, speed, agility and skill. So far, each contest I have done, has had some different events than other ones, and there are still some events I have not tried yet. There are some events that have become staples, and events are becoming a little more standardized to help determine which man is the strongest in the world. Events like the Farmers Walk, the Tire Flip, the Log lift, and the Atlas Stones are common. Many people make or buy some of this Strongman training equipment to give them an edge, or just keep up with the competition.
I love strongman because there are such a wide variety of ways to test your physical and mental strength and toughness. There is something primitive about lifting huge stones and logs, and being able to move them quickly and powerfully. Strongman training allows you to display strength together with athletic ability and coordination. Because of the variety of events, there are not many ways to hide weaknesses. You must be well rounded in your overall strength and ability to place well. That way, you really can know which man is the strongest in the world. Strongman is the ultimate strength sport!
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You can find contest updates in the world of Strongman and Weightlifting at Ironmind.com .
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