My Fascination With Strongman Competitions + 2022 Arnold Strongman Classic Recap

It wasn’t until recently that I became fascinated with strongman competitions. I already knew about the sport from a while back but didn’t follow it closely. Perhaps because of my interest in strength training today, I’m now developing a much deeper appreciation for the sport and all the incredible athletes that train for it.

Just last weekend, we spent hours watching the 2022 Arnold Strongman Classic competition. There were a number of familiar names and faces, and a few that I watched for the first time. I was quite saddened I didn’t get to see my favorite strongman Mateusz Kieliszkowski, who had to bow out of the competition due to an injury. I’m sure he would have dominated certain events like the Monster Dumbbell, Timber Carry, and Stone to Shoulder. In his place was Bobby Thompson, who himself delivered an incredible performance.

The competition was held for two days, March 4 and 5, at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Ohio, United States, and there were five events in total competed in by 10 of the world’s strongest men. Each event had a different winner, which was a fantastic show of various strengths.

In the end, crowd favorite and the anticipated winner Martins Licis was hailed champion. Oleksii Novikov took second place, and Luke Stoltman and Bobby Thompson tied for third. Rob Kearney finished fifth, an incredible achievement for the underdog and lightest strongman competitor. Unfortunately, strongman veteran JF Caron had to withdraw due to an injury he incurred in Event 3. He finished last.

Below is a rundown of the events and the final results.

Event 1: The Double T Squat

A new event for the Arnold Strongman Classic, each competitor had three attempts to squat their heaviest weight. Caron won the individual event after squatting a max of 966 pounds. Kearney followed with a 961-pound lift, and Licis placed third with a 956-pound lift.

Event 2: Monster Dumbbell for Reps

For this event, a single 275-pound dumbbell had to be lifted from the floor to overhead for as many reps possible within 90 seconds. Novikov crushed the competition with 7 reps total. Kearney came in second after hitting four reps. Luke Stoltman, Evgeny Markov, and Licis managed 3 reps each and tied for third place.

Event 3: Austrian Oak

In the third event, each athlete had three attempts to lift their max weight. Luke Stoltman emerged victorious after successfully lifting 470 pounds. Trey Mitchell took second place with 460 pounds, and Thompson took third place with 450 pounds.

Event 4: Timber Carry

This event saw competitors try to carry an 880-pound Timber frame up a 35-foot ramp within 30 seconds. Maxime Boudreault bested the competition after completing the carry in 8.41 seconds. Licis finished the carry in 10.03 seconds and took second place. Novikov placed third with a distance of 30 feet and 10 inches.

Event 5: Stone to Shoulder

In the last event, the athletes had to lift Odd Haugen’s famous “tombstone” from the ground to a stable position on their shoulders for as many reps possible within 2 1/2 minutes. One point is earned for placing the stone on the lap, 10 points on the chest, and 100 points on the shoulder. Licis ended the show with a bang after completing the stunt twice and scoring 200 points. Novikov secured second place by scoring 110 points, while Thompson bagged third place with 100 points.

Final results:

  1. Martins Licis (USA) – 41 points
  2. Oleskii Novikov (Ukraine) – 37.5 points
  3. Luke Stoltman (Scotland) – 30.5 points (tied for third)
  4. Bobby Thompson (USA) – 30.5 points (tied for third)
  5. Rob Kearney (USA) – 28.5 points
  6. Maxime Boudreault (Canada) – 27 points
  7. Trey Mitchell (USA) – 21.5 points 
  8. Tom Stoltman (Scotland) – 21.5 points
  9. Evgeny Markov (Russia) – 21 points
  10. JF Caron (Canada) – 14 points (withdrew due to injury)

It was an absolute thrill to watch these elite athletes compete in this year’s Arnold Strongman Classic. I’m looking forward to watching the 2022 World’s Strongest Man competition in May and seeing great strength on display once again. Until then, I hope all strength athletes recover well from the fatigue and injuries, and I thank them for the inspiration they bring!


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