The World's
Strongest Man competition

has been held annually since 1977. It is by far the most important competition in the world, In the 1980ís this competition produced various national championships as qualifiers to the upper level. Nowadays every influential country has their own national contest to find the best athlete for the Worldís Strongest Man.

Obviously strength is an important qualification
for competitors. Not surprisingly, powerlifters do well, but competitors must have all-around strength and athletic abilities. Tremendous explosive power and superb endurance are required to cope with the pushing and pulling of different objects required of competitors throughout the competition. Competitions of this type demand such a wide repertoire of capacities that specialized training is required to excel. Heavyweight bodybuilders have sometimes done well, owing to their usually better aerobic capacities as compared to powerlifters.

The composition of competitions
must vary to prevent favoring certain (types of) competitors. For example, if you have two pressing events, you make it easier for Olympic lifters and powerlifters. Qualifying heats must be arranged if there are many competitors.

Usually 10-15 men are invited
to compete in a regular competition, as a larger number would make the competition unbearably long. In major contest like Worldís Strongest Man, qualifying heats and final heats are held on separate days.

A typical
strongman competition consist of six events. The first three events are used to qualify eight finalist for the last three events. There are about fifteen different events established so far. The promoter of a particular competition chooses from among these. Many of these events are adopted from traditional, centuries old contests like Scottish Highland Games and the Basque contests in Spain. Variations of regular powerlifts are used to test pure strength.

Some of the most common events are:

- Farmer’s Walk – Competitors carry heavy "suitcases" weighing about 110kg (245lbs) in each hand for a set distance, and compete for the fastest time. Otherwise, they compete for total distance.

- Car Walk – Distance event. A car with roof and floor removed is carried with harness as far as possible. Usually the load is around 350-400kg 775-880lbs).

- Loading – Timed event. Five heavy object weighing 100-150kg (220-335lbs) are loaded onto a truck bed or onto some kind of platform. The course is about 15m (50ft) long and the objects range from treasure chest, to sacks of sand, to ship anchors.

- McGlashen Stones – Timed event. Five heavy round weighing 110-150kg (220-335lbs) are put on top of high barrels. The course is about 5-10m (16-33ft) long. Scottish tradition.
Truck Pulling – Timed event. A heavy vehicle is pulled across a "finish-line" hand-over-hand style with a 30m (100ft) rope as fast as possible. Sometimes the vehicle is pulled with harness.

- Log-Press/Stone-Press – Strength event. Heaviest possible load is pressed overhead or lighter weight is done for repetitions.

- Hercules Hold – Timed event. A competitor stands in a cable-cross-type machine with 130kg (290lbs) weighted cable handles in each hand. Grip strength is tested for time.

- Stone Lift – Strength event. Heaviest possible stone is lifted to shoulder height.

- Log Throw/Caber toss – Strength event. A five meter long log is thrown for distance or for height over a bar.

- Weight Throw – Strength event. A 15-20kg (33-45lbs) weight, usually a large ingot, is thrown for height over a bar.

- Tug of War – One on one tug of war in a single-elimination tournament. Competitors pair-off based on their current point standing.

- Pole Pushing – One on one pushing Sumo-style ring in a single-elimination tournament. The pole has handles at either end.

- Crucifix – Weights are held straight out at the sides for time.

- Car rolling – Rolling cars over different courses.

- Variations on individual powerlifts. For example, squatting a platform full of children on rails.

Every year the best promoters invent new events that are exciting and hopefully pose less risk of injury to the athletes in this demanding sport.