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Hercule
08-01-2003, 01:51 PM
I started this discussion quite a while ago over at FI, and got a lot of great answers and insight.

The World's Strongest Man contest is probably one of the best ways to test overall strength. There are many competitors all of different size, and different training styles. Which training style do you think is most effective in winning at the WSM. Here is an example-

Say we took Gary Frank(world's strongest powerlifter) and Vasily Alexiev, in his prime, (or another top Olympic lifter) and pitted them against each other in a WSM contest. Neither man would have any prior training in any of the events. Who do you think would win?

What I am ultimately getting after, is what training style would be best? Olympic? Powerlifting? Or Both?

I didn't include a bodybuilder because it was pretty much unanimous at FI that he wouldn't be near as strong or athletic as the other two guys.

PowerManDL
08-01-2003, 02:22 PM
I'm gonna have to go with Alexeyev. That man was unbeatable.

Hercule
08-01-2003, 02:37 PM
Let's make it even more specific. Here are the eight disciplines they will be competing in-

Super Yoke
Farmer's Walk
Log Press for Weight
Tire Flip
Deadlift for Weight
Airplane Pull
Atlas Stones
Medley

Blood&Iron
08-01-2003, 02:39 PM
I don't think one training style would confer that much advantage over the other. What would help someone is training the movements in question, which tend to emphasize cardiovascular fitness and endurance as much as anything (things which OL'ing and PL'ing do not) In fact, I think a bodybuilder (depending on his training regimen) might have some advantages in this regard.

PowerManDL
08-01-2003, 03:08 PM
Regarding cardiovascular fitness and general endurance, I think you'd be pretty surprised at some of the stuff the Soviet OLer's could do.

Alexeyev in particular had some fairly impressive secondary skills from his weightlifting training. The more I read about that man, the more I think there's very little he wouldn't have been good at in his prime.

chris mason
08-01-2003, 07:56 PM
An interesting hypothetical. To me, it brings up the question of how do we really test brute strength as all movements are coordination specific to some extent. Terry Todd et al. have attempted to fashion a contest with a valid comparison in mind. They try to structure the strongman contest held annually at the Arnold Classic in such a fashion as to mitigate the advantages a lifter from one of the 3 main disciplines (strongman, powerlifting, and Olympic lifting) would have in a given event. So, for example, they don't use a standard deadlift movement. They use the wheels of a Hummer attached to a 9' bar. The idea being to throw off the powerlifter enough as to mitigate his advantage.

Now, to your specific question.


Super Yoke--- This one is too tough to call for me. Alexeyev had a fantastically strong lower back and a huge gut to rest the yoke on. I think that Frank might have the more powerful elbow flexors (biceps etc.) with which to help support the yoke, and he too has a very powerful lower back.

Farmer's Walk--- I will go with Frank on this one. I think his grip may be better with his 900+ lb deadlifts, thus allowing him to hold the weight better. He is also a former football player, so he must have a decent ability to run.

Log Press for Weight---Alexeyev all the way. Unprecedented overhead pressing power. Heck, he could overhead press almost as much as Frank can bench (with a bench shirt at that!).

Tire Flip---I will go with Alexeyev here, explosive power to really rip the tire off of the ground and flip it.

Deadlift for Weight--- Frank wins. This man is a stellar deadlifter and trains for the movement.

Airplane Pull--- I call this a tie.

Atlas Stones--- Ooooo, man, I think I will go with Frank on this one. The only reason is I think he might have a bit more power in those arms.

Medley---Again, very close, but I give the nod to Alexeyev. I think his stamina might have been a bit superior at his peak.


Of course this is all a guess, but fun to try:) .

Hercule
08-01-2003, 09:45 PM
Excellent reply Chris! I completely agree with you in each event. However, I would almost bet money that Alexeyev would win in the Airplane pull, simply because of his explosive strength that an olympic lifter would develop. I think he would be able to get it moving faster than Frank, but I guess we will never truly know.

Xg74
08-01-2003, 11:07 PM
What events are in the medly though? That could be a determining factor, although a small one.

Hercule
08-02-2003, 09:41 AM
It depends. They usually have a different one every year. Lets say, loading a Cannonball and a Maltese Cross into a sled, then dragging it back down to the starting line. I can't remember exactly how much each item weighed.

Delphi
08-02-2003, 09:53 AM
Is Alexeyev still alive?

PowerManDL
08-02-2003, 09:55 AM
Last I heard yeah, but he's nowhere near his prime shape.

Delphi
08-02-2003, 10:06 AM
http://www.geocities.com/Colosseum/Field/7342/Alxv.html

PowerManDL
08-02-2003, 11:13 AM
That guy's got a page on Serge Reding too.

He was the only man that ever scared Alexeyev, if that tells you anything :)

chris mason
08-02-2003, 11:17 AM
Unfortunately Redding died very young in the mid 70s. I think he was only 33 or so.

PowerManDL
08-02-2003, 11:18 AM
Yup. He would have been a hell of a record-breaker if he'd lived.

Meat_Head
08-02-2003, 12:07 PM
I had a video of him breaking the 517 clean and jerk record. It was amazing, the jerk wasn't really a jerk at all, more of an old school olympic press. I'll try to find it...

chris mason
08-02-2003, 01:15 PM
That is because it was the clean and press. The press used to be included in Olympic lifting. It was eventually dropped because it was felt the movement allowed for too much of a possibility of cheating.

Meat_Head
08-02-2003, 01:55 PM
Originally posted by chris mason
That is because it was the clean and press. The press used to be included in Olympic lifting. It was eventually dropped because it was felt the movement allowed for too much of a possibility of cheating.

I thought the press was dropped 50 or 60 years ago. The video I had was only about 30 years old. Either was its damn impressive. He cheated but not insanely. Much more impressive than a jerk in my opinion.

chris mason
08-02-2003, 07:19 PM
No, in fact, Alexeyez has the unbroken record (which will stay that way unless the lift in reinstated) of ~521 lbs (I can't remember exactly).

I agree, amazingly friggin impressive! A 512 lb incline bench press without a shirt is utterly amazing, but pressing the weight while in a standing position is something else all together!

Meat_Head
08-02-2003, 11:02 PM
Originally posted by chris mason
No, in fact, Alexeyez has the unbroken record (which will stay that way unless the lift in reinstated) of ~521 lbs (I can't remember exactly).

I agree, amazingly friggin impressive! A 512 lb incline bench press without a shirt is utterly amazing, but pressing the weight while in a standing position is something else all together!

I saw Alexeyez's 521 to a while ago. His form was beautiful.

Paul Stagg
08-04-2003, 06:23 AM
Originally posted by PowerManDL
Regarding cardiovascular fitness and general endurance, I think you'd be pretty surprised at some of the stuff the Soviet OLer's could do.

Alexeyev in particular had some fairly impressive secondary skills from his weightlifting training. The more I read about that man, the more I think there's very little he wouldn't have been good at in his prime.

Everyone shoudl read the paper by Tom M. over at elitefts.com about how the soviets trained thier young 'uns. I'd agree with PM - I'd bet Alexeyev was a fantastic overall athlete.

And that's what it takes to win WSM.

benchmonster
08-04-2003, 08:35 AM
Hmm, interesting debate. Unfortunately, we will never know for sure.

One thing tho, Jeremy. I disagree that the WSM is a good test for who is stronger. I think personally that it is a terrible test for finding out who is strongest. The way they have structured the contest for the past 10+ years has put way too much focus on who is the best hard cardio athlete and far too little focus on who is actually strongest for a one rep max on any given lift.

Frank and Alexiev are not and were not endurance athletes, and WSM has evolved into a test of endurance almost as much as strength. Guessing whether Garry or Vasily would do better dragging an anchor is just pure guesswork, as is guesses about farmer's walk, medley's or any other cardio exercise.

IMHO, you might as well be guessing which of them would do better in the Tour de France, or which could run a marathon faster.

But things like deadlift for weight, overhead presses, squats, and other such pure strength events are great fodder for debate, and also, a very good test of pure strength.

Deadlifting, Garry is King. He has recently held the all time heaviest deadlift with a 931, which was broken right after that with a 933, which Garry broke, I think, only to have Andy Bolton take it back with a 939. Vasily does not win the deadlift.

Any kind of overhead press, you have to give the nod to Alexiev, assuming they are allowed to do an olympic dip, which sometimes is not allowed in the giant log. Log press for reps, Alexiev kills Garry, the giant log on a pivot, with no olympic dipping allowed, goes back more to pure power rather than technique, and Garry has a bit more of a chance, but likely still does not beat the king of the overhead lift.

Both men were fantastic athletes. Garry Frank was one of the best shot putters in USA college history, and also played pro football, before becoming the strongest powerlifter to ever live. Alexiev came out of the fantastic soviet system, and was innovative in his training and also a fantastic athlete.

If the debate comes down to what is better for power olympic lifts or powerlifting then I think it is quite clear. Powerlifting is much better for overall body power, while olympic lifting is clearly the king for creating explosiveness especially in the legs and back.

B.

chris mason
08-05-2003, 03:52 PM
Well, the WSM isn't exactly a cardio event, let's not get carried away. All of the events take tremendous power. In the events that require agility and some muscular endurance the most powerful men may be at a bit of a disadvantage. I think Gerrit Badenhorst was a prime example of a man with superior brute strength who never won because he was not as good in the agility/endurance type of events.

The strongman show put on at the Arnold every year tries to address this by including events which are based upon pure brute strength.

As to Alexeyev winning a pressing contest if allowed to dip, I think he wins either way. When he pressed ~521 there was no leg dip. It was a press, not a jerk. I really don't think Mr. Frank would be able to touch that.

Again, you would have to find events with did not suit either man's style of training in order to determine who had the greatest amount of overall general body power. In their own events, each would win. Put them in unfamiliar territory and then it gets interesting.

benchmonster
08-06-2003, 08:26 AM
Agreed Chris,

When I say a cardio event, I am talking medleys, and carry and load events. Events where it is the cardio system that slows down a lifter and makes him fail, rather than his muscular power or lack thereof.

In my statement above I was referring to a one rep max exercise as not being a cardio exercise, but an exercise for reps or a loading or carrying event was what I referred to as a cardio event. Not pure cardio for sure, but more like "hard cardio" type of stuff.

But yes, it would be very interesting to see them in events that do not favor either lifter.

B.