The Crossfit Effect - Preparing for the unknown and unknowable in Strongman.
For some, the idea of a 'mystery event' in a strongman comp strikes fear into the very heart of competitors. In a sport that can already be daunting to get a start in, or progress to a higher level, having a whole event that you can't specifically prepare for can be scary. What if it's something you can't do? Or can't do well? Well there is a solution, but we have to take a page out of little brothers and sisters in Crossfits book for the answer. Train EVERYTHING!
In case you happen to be reading this, and ARNT a CF L1 trainer or higher, Ill fill you in on the 3 principles of Crossfit; constantly varied, functional movements, conducted at high intensity. I regularly suggest that Strongman fits these 3 categories more so than CF itself these days, but that's something for another day. The one of these three I want to discuss is the first, constant variance.
CF regularly comes under criticism for this concept, producing 'Jacks of all trades, masters of none'. People from the outside looking in seem to focus on things like 'crossfitters are shitty oly lifters, shitty gymnasts and don't have good technique when heavy lifting' rather than that everyday people are trying sports they would never have considered before. Regardless, general physical preparedness, being ready for the unknown and unknowable are crucial ideas in CF both in and outside of the gym.
Regularly in Crossfit competition, competitors will show up not knowing ANY of the events, so they attempt to at least become somewhat competent in as many as possible, to narrow the chances of being caught out at a comp. They still work on key strength elements, and their 'fitness' overall, but having some pistol squats, ring muscle ups, reasonable partner carry technique, hand stand walking and being able to run on sand or swim for distance can be very handy to have up your sleeve. We should do the same as Strongmen and Strongwomen (not the running and swimming part though...)
Not only can having experience in lifting and moving all kinds of heavy things save you in a comp with an unknown event, to me it's what makes Strongman what it is. The whole sport shouldn't be able to be boiled down into the same 5 or 6 events, and the choice of whether it should be for reps or max. To be truly strong, one should be able to move anything (within reason of course).
If you are worried that the mystery event could be something you will perform poorly on, by the same roll of the gamblers dice, what if it's something that is quite obscure and you end up excelling at where others fail? Free points! It's a mystery event, the result doesn't always have to be bad.
The principal elements of Strongman are paramount, but working on your versatility is not only useful but fun. Don't be afraid of the unknown, got and put your strength to the test and move something/anything/everything!