Here’s what a professional strongman keeps in his gym bag

Elite strongmen are larger than life characters. They often tower over non-strong civilians and weigh at least twice as much as someone they will pass on the street. Their livelihoods consist of lifting heavy cartoon-like weights off the ground, moving gargantuan heavy tools from place to place for a period of time, and pushing the limits of what the human body is capable of in terms of strength.

The equipment and fitness equipment that strongmen use to help them perform jaw-dropping feats of strength are essential to protect their joints, skin, hands, health and general well-being during training. training and competition. Two-time Scotland’s Strongest Man (SSM) Andy Black took to his YouTube channel on June 17, 2022 to share the clothes, fitness gear and accessories that are in his gym bag . Strength Shop sponsors him, but his explanations of why he carries what he does in his gym bag are nonetheless insightful. Check it out in the video below:

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Andy Black’s sports bag

Here’s everything Black takes with him when he hits the gym or the arena to compete:

Warming up and mobilizing are vital for a competitive strongman. Despite the World’s Strongest Man (WSM) moniker sought after by all athletes, most events in the sport are over for time, including Loadout Races, Medley Events, Farmer’s Carries and the Stones of the Atlas, to name a few. The importance of ensuring joints are warmed up enough to lift such heavy tools with an adrenaline rush as the clock ticks cannot be underestimated.

While Black often does deadlifts or squats in Nike Jordan shoes, he also travels with a pair of climbing shoes. It might sound strange, but many strongman events are often held outdoors, and having shoes with stiff traction helps when the pitch is full to prevent slipping and possible injury. He will wear climbing boots for events like the Truck Pull or Conan’s Wheel.

The knee, elbow, and wrist sleeves are pretty self-explanatory. When performing a deadlift, squat, or any other hip hinge, it helps to support the knees, since the weight they lift is usually around 800 pounds. Likewise, for overhead press events like the Log Lift, Heavy Dumbbell, or Viking Press, maintaining elbow support protects against injury. Any tool that involves downward pressure on the wrists, whether it’s a log or a bar, can significantly strain the wrists. The wraps help maintain alignment of the wrist with the forearm to avoid impinging on the joint.

[Related: Check Out Robert Oberst’s New Strongman Diet]

Black recently moved away from weightlifting belts in favor of a Slingshot Under Belt with a Slingshot Velcro Belt on it. The benefit of this combo is ample support for his core while setting himself up for big lifts without hampering his hip mobility and lateral movement. It’s a subtle but essential nuance when performing mid-range challenges like a Super Yoke.

Elite strongmen almost certainly have some of the toughest grips on the planet – Hercules Hold world record holder Mark Felix might have the strongest grip of any active athlete alive. However, strongman weights lifted from the ground on dumbbells, axle bars, or frames holding cars or other obscure loads often flirt with over 1,000 pounds, if not more. Lifting straps remove grip as a limiting factor when attempting extremely heavy lifting so the posterior chain can support the weight of the load.

Speaking of those heavy loads, that’s a lot of potential pulling on the skin if there’s unwanted friction. Talcum powder prevents this potentially bleak future from becoming a reality by keeping the sweat at bay. Additionally, the powder can help remove the stickiness used to lift the Atlas Stones. Tacky is also in Black’s bag. It may come as a surprise, but tights are not standardized in elite strongman competition, so athletes can use whatever tights they prefer. Black uses Spider Tack because he likes how stringy and sticky it is when lifting rocks.

Unlike weightlifting, where there are different divisions for lifting raw or equipped, strongman has no such thing. The only thing that matters in a strongman’s maximum lift is lifting the maximum weight. Therefore, strongmen often use a combination lift when possible to get more weight out of the group at lockout during a deadlift. Black wears a single layer suit. The same concept applies to knee pads. While strongmen often wear sleeves when squatting, during a max squat event like the 2022 Arnold Strongman Classic, many strongmen opt for the stiffer option of knee pads.

Black suggests that having a mouth guard helps improve his lifts. Although research on this is inconclusive, Black notes that the feeling of having a mouth guard to bite on helps his big lifts. Sure to take advice from one of the best in the world on this subject until science clarifies it further. (1)

[Related: Konstantine Janashia Withdraws From 2022 Giants Live Strongman Classic, Replaced by Maxime Boudreault]

2022 Strongman Classic

Black recently competed in the 2022 WSM contest in Sacramento, California. He was one of two reserves in the competition alongside Jerry Pritchett. The day before the start of the qualifying group stage, Pa O’Dwyer of Ireland withdrew from the contest and Black received the call that he would step in as O’Dwyer’s replacement. Black eventually finished fifth in group one and did not reach the WSM final.

The two-time SSM Champion will return to the strongman competition floor on July 9, 2022, at the Giants Live Strongman Classic 2022 at the Royal Albert Hall in London, England. Several of his fellow WSM 2022 competitors will face off in London, including WSM 2022 bronze medalist Oleksii Novikov, Evan Singleton, Maxime Boudreault, Mitchell Hooper, Mark Felix, Rob Kearney and Adam Bishop. We’ll see if Black can turn the script around and step onto the podium.


  1. Miró, A., Buscà, B., Aguilera-Castells, J., & Arboix-Alió, J. (2021). Acute effects of wearing bite-aligning mouthguards on muscle strength, power, agility, and speed in a trained population: a systematic review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(13), 6933.

Featured Image: @andy_black on Instagram

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