My first trainee at PTC Perth, Ryan joined the first clinic I ran there, in March 2015. The year prior to this I was running clinics at Genesis Bentley, so Ryan is not my first trainee ever, but he's definitely committed the most time to the sport, and last year had gained enough weight to no longer be mixing it with the under-105s. He'll be tackling some heavyweight events at the ASA strongman comp in April. Ryan doesn't like to big-note himself and prefers to set his own pace a lot of the time, while still doing the required training. He counts among his best: nine (nearly ten!) reps of a 75 kilo log and a 230 kilo deadlift with both a standard barbell and axle.
The name came about the day Steve said it while I had been thinking it. Alex's strength has improved exponentially in the time he's been training strongman, yesterday clean-pressing a 100 kilo log - his previous 1 rep max - five times. He sustained an injury which set his deadlift progress back a little, but he's on track once more to crack 250. It looks like that lift is going to happen on comp day too. More to the point; he's pretty to watch. As a coach, he makes me proud to know that the techniques he employs he learned from me. And as a competitor, he makes me wonder what the hell my problem is.
I've had the opportunity to teach some tricks to a few already-conditioned athletes in the last couple of years, and watch them go on to dominate in competition. People like WA powerlifter (and unarguably this state's strongest woman), Kat Becker, Crossfit virtuoso John Champion, and now Steve 'Wonderboy' van Steytier. His nickname is more of a working title... I still think we can come up with something more wonderful... and amusing. His recent effort with a 100 kilo log just confirmed my statement that he is, pound for pound, the strongest human I've coached. It is
disappointing that my phone ran out of disc space before capturing the eighth rep. But he is yet to do his first comp and is already eyeing the loadings at the Arnold's under 80 kilo strongman nationals. I have no doubt at all that he will make it there.
Only once in a while does a natural talent this big come along. When it does, you have to accept that you're coaching someone who, in a couple of years, will beat you at your own game. Kong has been training strongman for less than a year, was in a completely untrained state when he first came to a clinic, and on day one clean-pressed a 105 kilo log. He has also, as of yesterday, exponentially increased in strength and proved it with a 100 kilo log clean-press for 5 reps, before moving on to a 350 kilo yoke walk for 20 meters and 130 kilo per hand farmers walk for 15. Last year he won WA Strongman's heavyweight novice division at their qualifiers in October. This year he's ramping up to compete in the big league. Well, state-side at least. But, if he sticks with it, the time will come when we'll all have to acknowledge Kong as king.
Carl is a veteran who didn't learn a thing from me. He was already a part of the WA Strongman crew when I met them all mid-2011. Tails of his exploits and amazing strength have been written previously here and here. Like me, Carl has detached a biceps tendon recently and is out of contention. At least this year.
Mathew is also not competing in April due to other commitments, but has offered his assistance for a couple of hours on the day. A school teacher and new father, Mathew is the laissez faire member of PTC Perth strongman. But he's still getting stronger in spite of himself, and one day he will compete. At this rate, though, probably not for a while.
when he started he was in what people more knowledgeable than me would call an 'untrained state'; in need of some basic mobility work to get him to a 'trainable state'. Well, now he's almost there. If he commits himself, like the rest of the team, he will also be a formidable athlete in a couple of years. I have no doubt. Utilising his untapped potential is my newest and possibly greatest challenge, as a coach.
Jeremy Hogg, the - Professional Heavyweight The first time I met Jeremy was at the Pit in mid-2013, I think. He was wearing a deadlift suit and pulling 300 for some slow and lazy reps. He's in his mid-40s now and hasn't been training strongman for quite a while. He spent some time in Tasmania for work, where he reignited a passion for swimming and went on to win races against people half his body weight.