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The AS Calendar and qualification - an in depth look

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The AS Calendar and qualification


Do you want to be crowned Australia’s Strongest Man or Woman? It’s fairly simple – you have to be Australia’s Strongest Man or Woman firstly, and this is how you get there.

For the first time, in 2024 all classes, including Masters, have an AS title to fight for, at 3 massive Meatstock Festivals. 2 day competitions, 8 events (1 day and 5 events for those old timers 😉 ) all aspects of our sport will be tested to crown the winner.

To get your name on the list, place first or second at one of our 7 state qualifiers.

If you didn’t take 1 or 2, you aren’t out of the race yet. We allocate points to the next 5 place getters, 3rd to 7th (5 points down to one point). At the end of the season, the top 3 point scorers in each category will also get an invite to the title show. 

It’s really that simple, although there are some technicalities that come along with that, which I will list and do my best to explain below. It’s important to understand our vision for the direction we want to take AS’s brand of Strongman, it’s not something that can be easily fit into an insta graphic, and it’s something we spend a great deal of time and effort forming, so if you have got this far, please read on, and gain some more insight into what we are doing, and where we are going, and to a lesser degree, why some of these technicalities exist. As I have done in previous articles, there may be a couple of hard truths in the following information, if this feels a little personal as you are reading, know that comments are never directed at individuals, but as someone that see’s and communicates with many many people in the sport across the country and the world, at all levels, they will be observations based on fact rather than passion or emotion.

Our primary ‘goal’ or mantra so to speak, should be obvious in our company name. Strongest. We are trying to find the strongest athletes in Australia. But that isn’t as simple as ‘put on ASM, winner is strongest’. That is the thinking of a by-gone era. As Aristotle once said, or was it Ronnie Coleman? I’m sorry, I get my philosophers mixed up in my old age – In order to find, you must first seek.

To truly find the strongest competitors, we have to be looking. Everywhere. Widen our search, expose Australia to our competitive sport, to hundreds of thousands. So, add ‘growth and expansion’ to our goals list.

So if our two primary goals are competitive excellence and growth, it may seem at first glance like the two would work against each other in the world of competition. Using extremely simple terms –

1 – make competition heavy enough to find the best, no one new can get a start

2 – make competition accessible to everyone, we dilute the meaning of ‘Strongest’

This is where the balancing act begins.

And that balancing act begins with how we have structured the calendar of events we associate the AS name with –

Novice competition – a place for a competitor to compete for their first or second time, with appropriate weights, in a fun environment without the daunting prospect of being towelled up by a veteran.  

Free for all competition – the widest range of competitive level competitions, to allow competitors to build skills and strength, compete at a level that is suitable to them, or veteran athletes a chance to just compete and have fun. These comps aren’t part of a qualifying process, they are just competitions – show up, enjoy the sport you train for, and try to win!

State competitions – things are getting a bit more serious now, our state competitions serve a number of roles to our calendar. In most cases, they crown the strongest men and women in the state. For that to happen, we hold a relatively high event weight minimum in order to challenge competitors. It’s for this reason, we use these competitions as our qualifying process for national titles. There is a few things I would like to note at this stage –

State comp’s aren’t for everyone at every stage of their SM career, maybe this year it’s just beyond your skill and strength level. Aspire to be there next year, do FFA comps in the meantime, get to the comp to watch and support.

If you look at the weights and say ‘I can do this, but I can’t win’ – do it anyway! Be PROUD you are strong enough to get on the board. Our long term plan is to build our sport large enough that people have to fight for places at state level comps.

Go to win the title, not just to qualify for a bigger show. Part of our long term drive for these state competitions is to build them into something we have only previously reserved for top level competitions. Bigger crowds, proper live streams, prizes, glory! Train for these comps to win them for glory, and not just a qualifying spot for the title show.

Title shows – the big ones. You have to qualify to be there. They are a heavier comp again than the state comps. The very best in the country are all stacked up. When the best is crowned, they qualify to compete at the world championships, OSG.

To expand on some points above, we are putting plans and processes in place with the next 10 years in mind, with the expectation of us growing our community into thousands or tens of thousands of both competitors and people interested in the sport. Big-future thinking is driving here-in-the-now thinking.

We are making good, incremental progress, but we are not there yet. Our national community is in the hundreds, not the thousands. So the balancing act of competition continues.

Two determining factors quantify the strongest in our view – be strong enough to get on the board in competition AND be the strongest on the day (beat all your competition).

The first expectation is easy for us to set in competition, we make the comp heavy enough. The second is much harder for us to control and build – who shows up. My one wish is to see a minimum of 6-8 competitors in EVERY CATEGORY of EVERY COMP we put our name to. The pundits will say it’s because we want more revenue, but it really isn’t. The best competitions to watch, run, compete in and talk about later are those with full categories. Proper competition. Someone really is the strongest on the day. As a competitor, you SHOULD WANT THIS. You put too much effort into training, diet, dollars, time away from family to show up and do essentially another comp run-through against yourself.

Our sport is small, it’s growing, but it’s still small. There are only so many competitors at a strength level to contest these higher level competitions at the moment. We are changing that, but that comes with time. It’s for this reason, in the 2023 season, we condensed our line up of state competitions. More opportunities isn’t always the answer. It is if you intentionally seek out sparse competition, but can you really claim to be the strongest if you aren’t challenged by anyone? I would prefer to come 5th out of 10 over 1st out of 1 every day of the week. Sure, I didn’t podium, but I beat 5 other guys. If it’s just me, what even am I?

The proof is in the pudding, the 5 of our 7 state qualifiers that have run so far have all seen over double the amount of competitors when compared to 2022, some have tripled. Many new faces, many returning faces and many veterans, all stacking up against each other.

But there are still ‘quiet’ categories. We don’t want this. The competitors who ARE showing up in these categories don’t want this, it’s not fair on them. We are working on ideas and concepts to change this in the coming years. What we aren’t doing is adding more comps at the same level, or MORE weight classes right next to classes that are already like ghost towns, how can this magically make more high level athletes? And we aren’t dropping the weight standards to entice more people to them either – our athletes are proving they have what it takes on the world stage in all categories (which is super exciting), and I would like to think our structure and standards has had a small part in that. It won’t be those things, but I can guarantee we are on it – this is what we do. It’s all we do.

So we finally get around to the technicalities. What happens when there are only one or two competitors in a category? What happens when minimum standards aren’t met? What happens when people zero events. If it seems like we leave these area’s a bit grey, we do. Hard and fast rules in such a broad topic will almost always result in someone missing out, or even someone getting in who maybe shouldn’t, ‘because the rules said’.

We have the technicalities in for good reasons –

you need to be hitting minimum standards at state comps to be considered for title shows, because those comps will always be heavier! If you are struggling to get to a minimum weight at state level, it’s going to be even rougher at the title show. We want you to be able to get on the board there, not get slammed.

If you zero key events, and don’t have any (or very little) competition to reference against at that comp, we don’t have enough data to show you are good enough to be going to the title show. It’s not personal, of course we want you there, but if you haven't shown you can be the best, we just don’t have enough to go on.

If you place after someone that has already qualified, you need to show that you were at least within striking distance of that competitor to be given the qualifying spot they are doubling up on. You don’t get it automatically.

As mentioned above – if we have 6-10 competitors, at every comp in every category: great! Most of the technicalities go out the window. If you can win in a field of 10 while zero’ing event’s, you deserve to be going through, as you were still dominant enough to score higher than everyone else with a 0 in a column.

But until then, we rely on the technicalities to ensure that only the strongest are getting through if normal conditions aren’t met, with enough wiggle room that we can judge each scenario on it’s merits and grant a spot if we deem it appropriate. It’s never a popularity contest – decisions will be based on other event results, level of competition or overlooking some minimum requirements in a scenario where we got them wrong (we do sometimes, especially in newer categories or events where we don’t have much reference data to go on.)


There it all is in a nutshell

  • How you can qualify to be considered the strongest, and how we make sure you are the strongest when you get there.
  • Places to compete if you are either brand new to the sport, or aren’t quite ready for high level competition yet.
  • Some background on how we are condensing competition to ensure people can actually compete against others while we build a sport big enough that EVERY comp is a true showdown.

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