Phil Burgess: You are a competitive bodybuilder and powerlifter, how do you find mixing these two disciplines together? I feel powerlifting has given me an incredible base as far as muscularity, and bodybuilding has really helped with sculpting and bringing it all out.
Shawna Mendelson: I train both all year long, except when I am 8 weeks out from a bodybuilding show.
I always incorporate bodybuilding into my powerlifting routines through accessory work, and cardio. In regards to powerlifting, there is nothing like being super strong and powerful and maximizing your body to the fullest capacity.
Hopefully I dont offend anyone with this statement, but Bodybuilding to me is like a beauty pageant with muscle. Shawna Mendelson: I grew up in Southern California, but now reside in New York, on Long Island.
The best thing about where I live is I have the best of both worlds, I have the best city in the world as well as the beautiful beaches. We do train together from time to time, I give him advice on things too he’s always open to listening and giving advice.
Shawna Mendelson: I guess it would be when I won Best Lifter at a WPC World meet for my overall total in my weight class. Phil Burgess: What one thing do you think would help to improve the popularity of Bodybuilding?
I think if Powerlifting was run more like that we would have an opportunity to get more sponsorship and have people become more aware of our sport to enable it to become more mainstream. In Powerlifting, Becca Swanson, Kara Bohegian-Smith, Jill Mills, Shannon Hartnett, Julie Scanlon, Kathy Fields, Laura Phelps to name a few, and of course my teammates Blue Collar Barbell, and my brother Scot Mendelson.
Then I switch gears and get right back in powerlifting mode to start getting ready to compete at the Olympia. Phil Burgess: If you could have 5 people around for dinner from the strength sports world, whether living or deceased , who would you invite and why? Scot not only has the biggest bench press in the world, but he is filled with a ton of knowledge and experience. Eric Adolph is my coach, and great friend I count on him for so many things he always comes through he’s awesome.
I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to meet, train, and compete with all of these people.
Thanks for talking to us Shawna and all the best with your bodybuilding and powerlifting competitions this year. Canadian Strongman Gregg Ernst may not be a name that familiar to today’s current crop of top strongmen.
However Strength is only one part of the equation and Gregg is so much more than that, as you will find out. Gregg Ernst:  I believe that in 1992 when I set the Husafel stone record ,beating handily Magnus ver in his home country with their own historic stone, that was the sweetest it got, at least in strongman.
I dropped close to 50 lbs before I began to move forward again, and by that time, my life had changed enough that I never got back to it.
Phil Burgess: Have you still stayed in touch with any of those guys you competed against in WSM? Phil Burgess:You hold the record for the heaviest back lift with a live weight, two tonnes of oxen I believe? Gregg Ernst: The Oxen and platform weighed 4420 lbs by official scale, I did this at a local exhibition where teams of oxen compete in pulling.
In Lunenburg county where I live, still a few guys use oxen in farm work, so in the culture here its big, over 10,000 people showed up to see me lift them. Also, though, in 1993 , I lifted 2 Ford Festivas plus passengers for a total lift of 5340 lbs ,again witnessed by thousands, judged and witnessed by Terry and Jan Todd, both certified to judge world level powerlifting. Phil Burgess:You also held a record for the Husalfelt Stone Carry of 70 metres which still stands today?
Gregg Ernst:  The reason I was good at the Husafel stone was because on the farm I lifted a lot of rocks, so it was the one event I trained regularly.
Phil Burgess: In World’s Strongest Man what was it like competing against Magnus ver Magnusson, Ted van der Parre and Jamie Reeves, all WSM winners?  What do you remember the most about them? Gregg Ernst:  Magnus, although he mellowed alot with age, when I knew him he was very intense about winning.
Phil Burgess: What do you think about the current top Canadian Strongmen, how do you rate them?


Also I wish that I had taken the time to put together an event when at a couple of times in my career, I had the strength to exceed 6000 lbs in the backlift. Phil Burgess: Finally, what one tip would you give to any new people to the sport of strongman? I did, and most of my competitors wished that they were, but they were afraid that someone else would cheat and they would lose. Just shaking the hand of strongman Mike Burke was an awesome experience due to the size of them, which explains his amazing grip strength.
However the real strength he showed in this event was of competing with a painful injury, then qualifying for World’s Strongest Man 2012. Phil Burgess: Your performance in qualifying for World’s Strongest Man was even more impressive, in that you injured yourself mid-way through the competition! What happened? Mike Burke: I was warming up for the keg carry and felt a pop in my ribs when I was picking up the keg. I went to my doctor when I got home and he said I probably tore something in between the ribs. Phil Burgess: Your wife Maree was there to support you in Melbourne, how important is her support to your performances? They have a big show every year called the Cherry Blossom festival which lasts for 15 days.
Phil Burgess: Some would say that you are the luckiest strongman, as you train with Brian Shaw.
We actually have a small crew where everybody gets along very well and we push and support each other and I am happy to be a part of it. Thanks Mike for your time, and we look forward to watching you progress into the 2012 Worlds Strongest Man final series. Who is PALL LOGASON you may say, but I think that you may continue reading when you realise that he is one of the best RAW powerlifters in the world with RAW TOTAL of  1025KG (2050lb). He has also won the 2010 Icelandic Loglift Championship and in came 3rd in 2011 Iceland’s Strongest Man, which is great achievement, for a Powerlifter who does Strongman competitions for fun.
Phil Burgess: Is there something in the Icelandic Water which helps produce so many strongmen for a small country? Phil Burgess: In 2011 you did a 400kg raw squat, which is an Icelandic record, do you think you will be able to take this to 450kg in the next two years?
Phil Burgess: How do you train for Powerlifting?  Do you use the conventional progressive overload approach? Phil Burgess: How many times a week do you train and how long are your training sessions?  You mentioned a 4 hour training session?
Phil Burgess: Do you ever compete equipped or do you only do RAW comps and what are your feelings about equipped meets? Pall Logason: I have competed equipped, and probably will again someday but I still hate that those shirts and suits have destroyed the sport of powerlifting. Pall Logason:  For 2012, I just want to have fun doing strongman and give powerlifting a rest for the year. However my long-term powerlifting goals are to have the best raw squat and best raw total ever (for now at least, haha). Check out these GREAT ITEMS to IMPROVE YOUR PERFORMANCES – CLICK on the PICTURE to find out more. I’ve missed 400lbs from the ground a bunch of times, but have hit it out of the rack. My deadlift is around 675-700lb, although I haven’t maxed out since 2 weeks prior to the Europa when I pulled 660lb. Phil Burgess: Are you finding in the US that there are more and more people competing in the under 105kg class? Phil Burgess:  What does it mean in practical terms, turning professional, i.e do you get paid etc?
Phil Burgess: What is the biggest lesson that you have learnt from competing and training as a strongman? Phil Burgess: In the sport are there any other athletes who you look up to, or have inspired you? Carlos Reyes:  I am originally from Bridgeport, Connecticut but relocated to Stratford, Connecticut in my mid teens. Phil Burgess: Finally, training for Strongman and competing can easily take over your life, how do you maintain balance between work, family and strongman? Strongman Chris Gearing recently secured a 3rd place finish behind, Laurence Shahlei and Terry Hollands at Britain’s Strongest Man.


Whilst at first some people may be surprised at his result, just taking a look at his pedigree in strength sports points to a bright future in Strongman. I am  6 foot 2 inches (1.87m) and weigh 25 stone (159kg) and have been competing in Strongman for one and a half years. I have always been atheltic, and at the age of 13 I started training in Shot Putt, after I realised I had a talent for it at school. When I was 23, I began powerlifting and won British titles and came second in the World Junior 140kg+ category. I always wanted to do Strongman from seeing it on the TV as a kid, and at around 24 began training properly for Strongman with my friend Sean Kennedy.
In the early days, Steve Winters guided me and lately Paul Woods (ex UK 105 champion) has been a big influence. My training partner, Sean Kennedy and of course, my mum and dad, have also helped me to get where I am today. Chris Gearing: I train in the gym 2-3 times a week and practice for events 2-3 times a week. For the Giants Live competition I focused on my stamina and my grip and also making sure my deadlift was on form. Chris Gearing:  Well my favourite event is Super Yoke because although I may not look it, I am quick as well as strong! In regards to competition day superstitions, I always wear the same lycra shorts, which I have had since my shot putting days. I can control my nerves well from years of having to compete, including listening to the same playlist of music to help me relax. Chris Gearing: I don’t count calories and I dont take any supplements, my mums cooking is good enough! Chris Gearing: I havent officially qualified for Worlds Strongest Man yet, and my 2012 goal is to compete in the finals of WSM.
Zydrunas Savickas inspires me the most however, because of his consistency and longevity in Strongman. We wish Chris all the best for 2012, and look forward to watching him compete in the finals of World’s Strongest Man 2012.
I think they both work hand in hand with each other up to a certain point in your training cycle. I’ve learned a lot from him throughout the years, he is a great mentor and an amazing supporter. I need to be harder on stage, hopefully this will be the year that I really make those improvements. His knowledge and coaching skills were way beyond our time, he was always there for everyone as a coach and friend. 1993 ,at a bodyweight of 345lbs ,and stronger than ever before by a fair bit, I began having intestinal problems, that actually turned out to be lactose intolerance, but it took a couple years to fully resolve. This is the most weight officially lifted by a man ever, once you sift through stories of Anderson and Stout Jackson.
I wish when carrying the Husafel stone, that I had turned and carried it back the other way when I reached the end of the course. The deadlift was 5 hours later that night and by then it was so sore I felt that I should rest it and try to finish the show the following day.
Or do you have in you head a placing which you would see as respectable for your first attempt? I watched my training partner, current ASC Pro Mike Mastell, compete at the Europa in 2010 to try and win his pro card. I was fortunate to begin my strongman career in the presence of 3 ASC Professional Strongmen, and they each left a huge impression on me with their incredible feats of strength. I went on to compete in the World Under 18s, World Juniors, European Juniors, and won a silver and a bronze at the Commonwealth Games under 19s in Australia.
I’m no Zydrunas Savickas but I try my best and usually that comes with a good result.
I was training as an Olympic weightlifter at the time, but didn’t quite love it and wanted to seek another avenue to pursue in strength athletics.



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