Easter weekend brings New Zealand’s Strongest Man Competition to Auckland, the biggest event on the New Zealand calendar and one Cambridge local intends to defend his under 105kg New Zealand Strongman title. Tod Foster, a personal trainer at Get it Fitness which operates out of UniRec, the gym on the University of Waikato campus, says he is looking forward to the weekend ahead and putting all his training to use to compete in front of thousands of Strongman enthusiasts.
This year Tod aims to not only defend his title, but also achieve personal bests in each of the events which test strength and stamina; from pulling 14-tonne trucks, to carrying a 160kg anvil for maximum distance. “I’ve improved a lot since last year, but at the end of the day there’s nowhere to hide, if you’re not putting in the training it’s there for everyone to see and you’ve only got yourself to blame. The competition keeps you honest. I’m ready to enjoy myself and am looking forward to a fun two days of competition,” Tod says.
The national event has been running for 30 years and has become more and more popular attracting around 8000 spectators. Success in this event means it is a stepping stone to qualify for bigger competitions off shore against a more international audience. Lately Tod’s been training six days a week to be in great condition for the event with weight training, conditioning, cardio and Strongman implement handling. “I love that you can always target a weakness which means you always have something to work on. There are a lot of attributes which need attention before a competition so there is a focus on functional strength,” Tod says.
Strongman events derive from the traditional Scottish Highland Games and have evolved to become a weightlifting-based sport where the athletes compete in several events involving different aspects of mental and physical strength, speed and endurance with competitions requiring strength, speed, and good physical conditioning to be successful. Tod says the focus on functional fitness means there are huge benefits for everyone who chooses to train in this way. “Whether I’m helping people to train for Strongman or simply helping people get more mobile out in the garden, the positive impact on people who choose to train in this way is that they get a great full body workout. Specific strongman training focuses on functional strength and movements, as opposed to standard gym based training. Competitive strongmen increase their levels of strength using common gym exercises including squats, deadlifts, rows and overhead press. Grip strength, anaerobic power and explosiveness are also essential in strongman training. It’s not just about strength, but anaerobic power, muscular endurance and aerobic fitness,” says Tod.
Date: 2-6 April 2015
Location: ASB Showgrounds, Auckland