Robert Oberst Opens Up About Retirement Plans After The 2023 World’s Strongest Man

Oberst will give strongman’s most prestigious event one more go before he calls it a career.

Robert “The American Monster” Oberst has been a fixture in competitive strongman for nearly a decade. By late spring next year, the American athlete will hang up his lifting belt for good.

On April 16, 2022, Oberst shared his plans for the coming year on his YouTube channel. Amongst a plethora of updates, Oberst announced that he will retire from competitive strongman following the 2023 World’s Strongest Man (WSM).

Off Into the Sunset

Oberst hasn’t competed since he tore a tendon in his shoulder in August 2021. That injury knocked him out for the remainder of last year’s season. It is also why he won’t participate in the 2022 WSM this May. He admits losing this opportunity isn’t easy. 

“It’ll be hard to sit this one out,” Oberst said in the video. “I will be back next year. I will be back competing in the 2023 World’s Strongest Man. Then, after that, I’ll be done.”

Oberst didn’t mince words in explaining why he wanted to walk away. It’s understandably challenging to give up an endeavor from such a sizable portion of his life. At some point, the physical risk outweighs the reward.

“It’s time for me to thank God that I haven’t beaten up and torn up more than I already have,” Oberst says. 

Indeed, while Oberst’s recent shoulder injury is one of the more significant ailments of his career, it doesn’t mean it stands alone. The nature of professional strongman — in lifting variations of incredibly heavy weights, repeatedly — can be demanding on every aspect of the body. That sort of attrition can add up over time.

This’ll be my riding off into the sunset, guys.

While still strong and able-bodied, at the age of 37, Oberst might not want to subject himself to those rigors anymore. Instead, as he discusses, it’s time to look ahead to the next ambitious phase of life. 

“I’m building a ranch I am super excited about,” Oberst says. “I’m basically gonna spend my time out there. We’re gonna have hunting, and training, and courses for kids.”

A Monster Career

Before he was a strongman, Oberst played Division II college football at his alma mater, Western Oregon University. Once he graduated in 2009, he tried his hand at the NFL but couldn’t gain traction with any team. Oberst then shifted to bouncer work at nightclubs in San Francisco. There, one of his friends told him about the merits of strongman competition.

The rest was history. 

Oberst first burst onto the professional scene as a 27-year-old in September 2012. He’s been a regular around the central strongman sphere ever since. Here are some of the more notable results of Oberst’s career to date, according to Strongman Archives:

  • 2012 America’s Strongest Man (ASM) — 3rd place
  • 2013 All-American Strongman Challenge — 3rd place
  • 2013 ASM — 3rd place 
  • 2013 WSM (Final) — 9th place
  • 2014 ASM — 2nd place 
  • 2015 Arnold Australia (AA) — 3rd place
  • 2017 International Strongman Federation (ISF) ISF1 — 1st place
  • 2017 Giants Live World Tour Finals — 6th place
  • 2018 WSM (Final) — 8th place
  • 2019 Giants Live World Tour Finals — 9th place

One Last Ride

After sitting out most of the 2022 season, Oberst will likely have to fare well in at least one Giants Live event over the next approximate year to qualify for the 2023 WSM.

Right off the bat, the strongman will compete at the 2022 Giants Live World’s Strongest Nation (WSN) on November 26, 2022, in Liverpool, England. There, Oberst will serve as captain of Team USA. 

While Oberst hasn’t offered any more detail on upcoming competition plans, he does have a bevy of potential options. In addition to the WSN, Oberst could consider The Giants Live Open on August 6, 2022, in Cardiff, Wales. There’s also the Arnold Strongman UK in Birmingham, England, on September 24, 2022, and the Giants Live World Tour Finals on October 8, 2022, in Glasgow, Scotland. 

Whatever path Oberst does end up choosing, this likely won’t be the last time we see the American athlete. Between his upcoming ranch and YouTube channel with over 338,000 subscribers, Oberst will assuredly stay busy and visible in retirement. Before those days arrive, he’ll have to see what his final strongman hurrahs hold in store. 

Featured image: American Monster Productions on YouTube