Four-time World’s Strongest Man and three-time Arnold Strongman Classic winner Brian Shaw is preparing to compete in his final competition at the 2023 Shaw Classic, scheduled for Aug. 19-20 in Loveland, CO. As the Colorado-native strongman has done throughout his career, he’s offered sneak peeks into his training for the contest. His most recent insight was making a set of flat dumbbell bench presses look relatively easy using a pair of 91-kilogram (200-pound) dumbbells.
Shaw didn’t share anything else about this particular workout, but that set alone showed that he’s feeling good about his prep for the contest. Strongmen don’t normally incorporate bench press movements into their programming because most of the pressing events are overhead lifts. The Shaw Classic will feature a bench press variation, which is why Shaw is adding the movement to his training.
This isn’t the first time that a legendary strength athlete has tested their might against the imposing 200s. The feat was made famous by bodybuilding great Ronnie Coleman when he pressed them, both on a flat and incline bench, for reps during one of his Mr. Olympia training videos back in 2000.
Since then, the feat has also been performed by the likes of strength athlete and fitness influencer Larry “Wheels” Williams as well as 2021 Arnold Classic bodybuilding champ Nick Walker. However, there was a notable difference with Shaw’s set which he pointed out in the caption of the post.
“How many lifters in history who could bench the 200lb dumbbells could actually carry them from the rack and get them into position without help?”
As the video showed, Shaw does essentially performing a short farmer’s walk, unracking the weights and walking them several steps to the bench before beginning his set. The previous athletes who’ve completed the exercise with these massive weights have typically laid into position on the bench while multiple spotters hand the lifter each weight, assisting in the setup.
Shaw also ended the set after the fifth repetition when he clearly had more in the tank and didn’t appear to struggle to completion. In the post caption, he shared that this was a strategic move.
“Just because everyone will comment that I didn’t do more reps… this was a working set and not a set of max reps. It’s ok to just train without having to max out for every video.”
Besides preparing for his final competition as an athlete, which requires a reported diet of around 10,000 calories per day, Shaw continues his work as the show’s promoter, aiming to make the 2023 Shaw Classic the best version of the contest yet. It will be the fourth straight year he puts this show on and he upped the ante by announcing that the winner will earn a new official title — The Strongest Man on Earth.
Shaw made the announcement in a separate Instagram post, revealing he bought the rights from former Fortissimus contest promoter Paul Ohl in order to bestow the title on the Shaw Classic champion for 2023 and beyond. This new title is a part of Shaw’s strategy to make the Shaw Classic an even more prestigious event in the years to come.
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