The 2023 strongman season hasn’t exactly gone according to plan for Tom Stoltman. Not only did the former two-time World’s Strongest Man (WSM) champion (2021-2022) lose out on a legendary “three-peat” to Mitchell Hooper, he came in sixth place during the 2023 Arnold Strongman Classic (ASC) and was the runner-up at the 2023 Giants Live Strongman Classic (GLSC) by a razor-thin half-point margin. Now officially without a professional strongman win in over a year, Stoltman’s victory drought is the longest of his career since he initially broke through with the 2021 WSM title, per Strongman Archives.
On July 20, 2023, Stoltman shared a glimpse at how he’s preparing to climb out of his recent competitive rut. The athlete posted an Instagram clip where he completed an 800-kilogram (1,763.7-pound) leg press. The eye-opening strength feat was all the more impressive, considering Stoltman affixed resistance bands to his machine and implemented pauses between reps for additional challenges. The lower body training session is part of Stoltman’s wholesale preparation for the 2023 Shaw Classic (SC), taking place on August 19-20, 2023, in Loveland, CO.
A Car Leg Press is one of the 2023 SC’s most eye-catching events, which is presumably what Stoltman’s preparation in the clip is connected to. In the 2022 edition, competitors were tasked with performing maximum reps with a 907-kilogram (2,000-pound) car loaded upon a custom-built leg press and the winning performance was 8 repetitions.
Based on his Instagram profile, Stoltman does not usually make it a regular habit of showing glimpses of his preparation in advance of contests. In fact, most of Stoltman’s posts feature competition highlights, photos, and collaborations with his older brother, Luke, a fellow professional strongman. With Stoltman is elaborating on what’s happening behind the scenes, the athlete is seemingly veering off script and showing he might mean business at the 2023 SC.
This would align with Stoltman’s reflective stance after the conclusion of the 2023 WSM, where he came up 4.5 points short of another historic title. In the aftermath, the strongman explained he “gave everything he had” and was “proud” of his performance, but it ultimately wasn’t enough for a win.
The 2023 SC will be Stoltman’s debut at the growing contest organized by four-time WSM champion (2011, 2013, 2015-2016) Brian Shaw. Should Stoltman win in his debut, he will not only have toppled other noteworthy competitors like Hooper, 2020 WSM winner Oleksii Novikov, and two-time reigning SC champion Trey Mitchell, but he will also have earned the title of “The Strongest Man on Earth.”
That would be quite the way for Stoltman to rebound after a “slow” first half of 2023.
Here’s an overview of the full roster for the 2023 SC:
2023 Shaw Classic Roster
- Trey Mitchell (United States) — Reigning two-time Champion
- Brian Shaw (United States) — 2022 runner-up
- Mitchell Hooper (Canada) — 2022 third place
- Tom Stoltman (United Kingdom)
- Luke Stoltman (United Kingdom)
- Oleksii Novikov (Ukraine)
- Bobby Thompson (United States)
- Adam Bishop (United Kingdom)
- Graham Hicks (United Kingdom)
- Pavlo Nakonechnyy (Ukraine)
- Thomas Evans (United States)
- Maxime Boudreault (Canada)
- Kevin Faires (United States)
- Aivars Šmaukstelis (Latvia)
- Evan Singleton (United States)
- *Gavin Bilton (United Kingdom) | *Replaces Mateusz Kieliszkowski
Here’s a rundown of the events of the 2023 SC:
2023 Shaw Classic Events
- Log Medley
- Max Hummer Tire Deadlift
- Wheelbarrow and Arm-Over-Arm Medley
- Bag Toss
- Car Leg Press
- Atlas Stones
- Standing Bench Press
- Fingal’s Fingers and Power Stairs Medley
Including Shaw, Hooper, and Novikov, Stoltman is notably one of four current or former WSM champions vying for the 2023 SC title.
The year 2023 hasn’t gone how Stoltman originally envisioned, but it’s not too late to salvage and make it memorable. This strongman superstar isn’t going anywhere any time soon, and this leg press could be evidence of the tremendous power he’ll showcase at the 2023 SC.
Featured image: @tomstoltmanofficial on Instagram