Strongman Corporation Nationals is again in Davenport, Iowa this year on October 28 & 29, 2016. Last year i saw and spoke to a lot of competitors, who it was their first trip to Strongman Nationals and let's just say they had that "deer in the headlights" look in their eye. I have compiled a bunch of tips and tricks to help prepare you for this years nats. Little things that are often over looked, but important things that once you get to Iowa you wish you would have thought of it sooner.
- Book your airline and hotel ticket early. If you have never booked airline tickets before, the longer you wait, the more expensive they will get the closer you get to your travel date. Also the host hotel, the Radisson, is worth the stay. It's a simple walk from the hotel to the convention center.
- You want to fly into MLI airport. It is in Moline, IL and if you stay at the Radisson, they have a shuttle that will take you to the hotel. Another money saver so you don't have to rent a car. Your only other options would be to fly into Chicago or Des Moins, but you're looking at paying car rental fees and then a solid 2 hr car ride. For sheer comfort and convience alone i would recommend flying into MLI.
-Definitely pack everything you need on game day in your carry on bag, but remember the airport only allows you 3 oz in carry on liquids. You can pretty much guarantee they will screen you for protein powders and chalk, but i take them all the time when i fly. Just make sure they are easily accessible so they can check your bag and you can get on your way.
-The contest is Friday and Saturday, with weigh ins being Thursday, i would try and fly in early Thursday or even Wednesday depending on your weight cut situation. There are not a lot of food markets right around the convention center. I know guys made trips to walmart and such last year. Plan accordingly so you are not stuck with out food at any time during your weekend in Iowa!
-Ok you made weight Thursday and let's focus on game day Friday and Saturday now. The contest starts early Friday morning and there are 3 events Friday. DAY 1 - Circus db press for reps, axle deadlift off tires, and Yoke walk first day. I would highly recommend getting your hands on a Bartos db for practice, just might have to tweak your set up a little. The round globes on the end are just a different feel than your normal cylinder looking plate loaded db. Axle deadlift are using same axle's from Arnold, so they will be powder coated and have plenty of grip for your straps to bite down on. Not sure how inflated the tires will be, but remember to be careful when lowering the apparatus, if tires are inflated too much, could bounce high and knock some teeth out! The yoke is also a Mike Bartos piece of equipment. I have not personally worked on that one yet. Reports i have got are that it's slightly wider than a Rogue yoke if that helps you prep. DAY 2 - Tombstone (hussafel stone) Carry and Keg/Stone of Steel medley are your two events for day 2. Let's focus on the tombstone first. I've carried it now a bunch of times. If you can get a hold of Jeff Henderson and order one asap that would be my first and foremost suggestion! The stone is just like a tombstone. Definitely awkward to carry and I would highly recommend getting your hands on this before the contest. Last event is Keg 60 foot carry, Keg 40 foot carry and Stone of Steel 20 foot carry. The kegs aren't bad, as long as you are conditioned and ready for them going into the show. The Stone of Steel carry isn't too bad either, that is as long as you've tried a stone of steel before the show! Liquid chalk seems to work well. Make sure you have some near you when you get to that last leg of the medley. Also choose your footwear carefully. Last year there was a sandbag medley. The floor is polished concrete and will get slippery. They did have wet towels to wipe your shoes on before you stepped onto the competition floor last year. I would highly recommend utilizing this if they have it this year or bring your own.
-During the contest, if you are staying at the Radisson, sometimes there is downtime between events. A simple walk back up to your room and a quick nap could be just what the coach ordered if you had a bad event. Sometimes if you had a bad event and a change of atmosphere could help you get back on track quick.
-Afterwards make sure you attend the banquet. It was really nice last year. I got to sit with many team mates. Guys and girls i coached all year. Got to share stories and see some awarded trips to Arnold, etc. Just a nice experience to end the weekend.
I hope this little walk through of things i noticed last year and things i would recommend this year helped some of you. If you have any additional questions i missed, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org