Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Is It Bad If My Knees Click When I Squat?

Powerlifter Versus Strongman: 605 lb AMRAP Deadlift Competition

One of the age old questions within every gym is, “Who’s the strongest athlete?” Or for this specific scenario, “What type of strength athlete is the strongest?” These questions are older than Broses himself and his 10 Commandments of Leg Day.

If you lie awake at night staring at the ceiling pondering the above questions, don’t fret. The Super Training crew are working hard to pave the road and lead the fight in getting to the bottom of life’s hard hitting questions, like…

Who the hell is the strongest type of strength athlete?

Two days ago Silent Mike shared a video on his YouTube channel covering an epic show down between two extremely strong athletes. Silent Mike went head to head versus Maryland strongman Brian Alsruhe. They performed a 605 lb deadlift for as many reps as possible.

The Athletes

  • Name: Mike Farr, aka “Silent Mike”
  • Sport: Powerlifting
  • Max Deadlift: 705 lbs
  • Known For: Co-Host Powercast
  • Deadlift Style (in video): Sumo

Screenshot from Silent Mike YouTube channel. 

  • Name: Brian Alsruhe
  • Sport: Strongman
  • Max Deadlift: 710 lbs
  • Known For: Maryland’s Strongest Man
  • Deadlift Style (in video): Conventional

Screenshot from Silent Mike YouTube channel. 

The competitors are very close in stats…so before watching the video, who do you predict will win?

This my rationale & prediction: Both types of athlete are known for performing supramaximal strength feats, so there’s no bias between them both being able to handle maximal loads. Mike and Alsruhe have similar deadlift maxes, which means they’re a close strength match up and eliminates a strength bias. However, when it comes to moving a heavy weight multiple times, then strongman style training is most similar.

This all being said, I’m taking Alsruhe on this one. I’m sorry Mike.

Final Results

If you picked Maryland strongman Brian Alsruhe, then you guessed right. Up until rep five, both athletes looked incredibly similar in deadlift speed.

  • Mike: 6
  • Alshruhe: 9 (technically 8 if you judge on lockout)

Every strength sport has their list of strengths and weaknesses, so there’s really no way to directly compare the two. It’s still fun to wonder and debate though.

Videos like this are great because they bring two different athletes and training styles together and ask the question: Who’s the strongest type of athlete?

Feature image: Screenshot from Silent Mike’s YouTube channel. 

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James Hobart Won’t Be Competing with CrossFit Mayhem This Year

Matt Sohmer Sets an Unofficial Jr. World Record With 804.5lb Deadlift at 120kg

Powerlifter Gabrielle Tucker Deadlifts 405×3 at 132 lbs

USA Weightlifting, USOC Release Statements on President’s Immigration Order

On Friday, January 27th, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that, among other stipulations, suspends admissions for Syrian refugees and limits the flow of other refugees and entrants from certain countries into the United States.

Uncertainty over the order’s impact and future still remain, and several governing bodies in the sports world — detailed below — have issued statements in response.

Under the order, persons from seven countries are barred from entering the United States for the next 90 days, and the US Refugee Admissions Program is suspended for 120 days. The countries primarily impacted are Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia. On Saturday, a federal judge in Brooklyn issued a stay that temporarily blocks part of the order.

In response to this executive order, Iran vowed to take reciprocal measures which include temporarily barring Americans from obtaining visas to enter their country. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has said any Americans who currently possess a valid Iranian visa will have it honored.

On Monday, USA Weightlifting posted an official statement on their website quoting CEO Phil Andrews. His quote appears below, in part referencing the 2017 World Weightlifting Championships scheduled to take place in California later this year:

“Our view is that politics and sport should be separate. Weightlifting provides an excellent opportunity to interact with our fellow nations from all parts of the planet in a peaceful and cooperative fashion.

At this time, we are still working out what impacts beyond the initial 90 day period that this issue may have, both on Iran’s participation in the World Championships in Anaheim, CA, and on our own team’s participation in the Fajr Cup in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

We sincerely hope to peacefully welcome these 7 nations to Anaheim this November. It is unimaginable to be able to host a true World event without their participation.”

In addition, the United States Olympic Committee issued a statement by Chairman Larry Probst and USOC CEO Scott Blackmun. From the body of the message:

We have been specifically asked about the impact that the executive order could have on athletes and officials coming to the United States to compete. Recognizing the extraordinary power of international sport to bring people together in a peaceful celebration of friendship, excellence and respect, the U.S. government has today advised us that it will work with us to ensure that athletes and officials from all countries will have expedited access to the United States in order to participate in international athletic competitions.


In the world of strength sports, Olympic Weightlifting specifically, there are at least two international events taking place this coming year where the executive order could impact competitors. In March, Iran will be hosting the 2nd International Fajr Cup, an International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) Grand Prix event where world records can be set.

In November, the 2017 World Weightlifting Championships are set to take place in Anaheim, California. 

While March’s Fajr Cup is still over a month away, and the World Championships are toward the end of the calendar year, it’s still unclear what impact — if any — President Trump’s executive order could have on strength sport competition both in the United States and abroad.

In a move from another Olympic sport’s US governing body, USA Wrestling announced early this week that they still plan to send a team to Iran in two weeks to compete in a freestyle wrestling tournament.

Editor’s Note: BarBend is the Official Partner of USA Weightlifting and maintains full editorial independence.

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How to Improve Running Without Sacrificing Strength

Functional fitness typically attracts two groups of people: those who like to lift weights, and those who like to do cardio. So every time the coach writes up a running WOD on the whiteboard, you’re likely to hear two equally distinct responses, one cursing the gods and the other relishing the opportunity to shine. While those in the latter group might be looking at the run as little more than active recovery, the iron junkies among you know that a slow run will ruin your score.

It doesn’t have to be that way, and with the following slight additions to training, you can turn running from a fear to a strength.

1. Fat

Like pull-ups, running is one of those movements that suddenly makes you extremely conscious of of every ounce of fat you’re carrying. This is especially true if the run is longer than a few minutes, after a while it can start to feel like you’re wearing a weights vest. It’s not just the extra stress it’s putting on your muscles and cardiovascular system, though; that dead weight is also putting unnecessary on your joints.

Remember that every stride subjects your foot to roughly 4 times your bodyweight, making that extra few pounds you gained over Christmas ever more noticeable. Fortunately the remedy is as simple as it is effective: make better food choices. As the old adage goes, you can’t out train a bad diet.

It’s worth addressing the elephant in the room, especially as this guide is about improving running without sacrificing strength. You don’t need to be fat to be strong. It can certainly help, but it’s far from a prerequisite. If you need any reassurance on the matter, look at u90kg strongmen, barely an ounce of fat on them, yet they’re often out-lifting many men twice their size. Losing fat to make you a more complete athlete is almost always a good idea for a fitness athlete or anyone who has health and performance as priorities.

2. Sprints

I believe the CrossFit Games have bucked this trend as of late, but outside of the highest levels of competition, many functional fitness athletes aren’t doing a lot of long, steady state runs relative to their other training. This is probably in part because they are such a nightmare for both the gym owner and competition organizer alike. As such, you are unlikely to ever come across many workouts with a run longer than 5km; what’s more likely is that you’ll instead be confronted by lots of short bursts of up to a mile. Worst case scenario you’ll be running uninterrupted for roughly seven minutes, of course most of the time it will be a lot closer to 90 seconds or two minutes.

The best way to improve moving fast is to practice exactly that. It doesn’t have to be a lot, to begin with just one fifteen minute session will yield results.

  • 3 x 60m runs at 60%
  • 3 x 50m runs at 70%
  • 4 x 40m runs at 80%
  • 5 x 40m all out sprint
  • Rest as long as is needed to feel you can match the speed of the previous set.

Add ten meters to the length of each set every other week until the distance of your final set is 70m. A word of warning if you haven’t sprinted since school, then you might want to take a little longer to warm up and get the body firing. Otherwise you might find yourself with a nasty hamstring tear.   

3. Nervous System

The better a runner someone is, the more tired they tend to be after a sprint. As counterintuitive as it sounds, all you need to do is keep an eye out the next time “Murph” is written on the whiteboard. After the first run and bodyweight work has come to an end, watch out for the difference between the experienced runners and the rest on that final mile.

The less experienced runners will often call time looking tired and worn down but barely out of breath. On the other hand, their more experienced counterparts will seem more on the brink of death. On the surface this looks like one group simply working harder, but that isn’t necessarily the case. Instead it has to do with your body’s nervous system and it’s ability to push through fatigue on a unfamiliar movement. Research has shown that if you’re unfamiliar with a movement, then you won’t have the sufficient coordination to put down the power you need. Especially when you’re tired, leaving yourself plodding along, unable to command your legs to go faster.

Fortunately this is impossibly simple to rectify; it just takes more running. But instead of dedicating your weekends to hitting the trails or signing up for a 10k, you can make huge improvements by just adding small runs into your daily life. It’s a concept known as greasing the groove, where you practice a movement as much as possible without ever pushing it near failure.

These don’t need to or even want to be long planned runs. Instead they want to be short opportunistic runs, to the shop, to the gym or to work, anywhere that is feasible and within a couple of miles is a perfect opportunity. I appreciate that not everyone has a place for this groove runs, if this is you then make do with 20 minutes before or after the class to get a few laps in, just as you would with any skill work. These easy everyday miles, both sharp tune your nervous system firing while simultaneously gently increasing the amount of time spent on your feet. Bringing us nicely onto our next point.

4. Time on your feet.

The importance of spending more time on your feet might sound more like the sort of propaganda a standing desk salesman might spew than running advice. I read in one of Charles Staley’s books that Russian Sprinters weren’t allowed to start running until they could jump from a 10ft ladder onto concrete without injury. He credited this as nothing more than a rumor but there’s an important message hiding within the tale, your feet like the rest of your body are supported by tiny stabilizing muscles. The difference between your feet and the rest of your body though is that in general we neglect our feet, instead strapping them into overly supportive shoes or just by sitting down for the majority of the day. To build those muscles back up we just need to train them, like any other muscle with a combination of volume and heavy work.

The volume work is easy, walk and stand as much as possible. Barefoot if you can, if not, minimal or flat shoes like Converse are a brilliant alternative. The heavy part requires access to a gym and ideally a bit of strongman equipment. If you have a yoke 5 sets of 40m barefoot walks at bodyweight is a great starting point, if not you can use farmers walks or dumbbells with roughly the same weight spread across both hands. The point of these movements are not to go really heavy or to even be fast but instead to move in a controlled manner making sure each step is completely smooth and pain free. (Note when training barefoot check for sharp debris, I stepped on a nail with 80kg a hand on farmers walks and it hurt).  

Editors note: This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein are the authors and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BarBend. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced exclusively by the author.

Images courtesy of Christo Bland

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The 2017 Arnold Classic Strongman Preview: Athletes to Watch

In just a few short weeks, Columbus, Ohio will play host to the largest gathering of strength sport athletes on the planet. Everyone who considers themselves a serious weight training fan or athlete knows about the spectacle of the of the Arnold Sports Festival and craves the outcome of multiple world class contests. For the strongman aficionado, this year is bigger and more amazing than ever.

Zydrunas Savickas

The event that started it all, The Arnold Strongman Classic, is now the crown jewel in the Arnold Pro Strongman World Series. An invitation only event that is the heaviest contest on the planet will take center stage Friday, March 3 at 3:30. Last year’s champion, Zydrunas Savickas (Lithuania), looks to defend his title against Brian Shaw (USA), Hafthor Bjornsson (Iceland), Krzysztof Radzikowski (Poland), last year’s amateur world champ Zach Hadge (USA), and a field full of stacked athletes. More action will follow Saturday at 1:30 and the finals will be held that night for ticket holders at 7PM.

A completely different style than the World’s Strongest Man Contest is presented in Ohio. The mind-blowing weights shift the athlete’s focus to pure limit strength rather than physical conditioning and athleticism. Many consider the victor of this event to be the strongest man on the planet, and it is easily the most live viewed contest of the year. If you plan on watching, work your way to the stage early, as this standing room only event will be a few thousand people deep by the start.

Not to be outdone, the new class of professional women will kick off the inaugural Arnold Pro Strongwoman contest Saturday morning with the preliminaries starting at 10 AM and then moving to the Rogue Strength Stage for the finals at 2 PM. This contest is host to ten women from all three weight classes and is an earn your way in event. Using a similar format to the men’s contest, the athletes will face off  in grueling tests of strength including the circus dumbbell, deadlift, and crowd favorite; the stones. With a minimum $10,000 payout, you will see motivated athletes on top of their game including Kimberly Lawrance, Kaitlin Burgess, and Brittany Cornelius. Personally, I am looking forward to seeing what the last year of training has done for this new class and expect some world class efforts.

Mike Jenkins (USA), Adam Scherr (USA and WWE superstar), Donna Moore (UK), Mikhail Shivlyakov (Russia), and Mateusz Kieliszkowski (Poland) are all past winners of the Arnold Amateur World Championships and now household names in the strongman world. Athletes looking to get to the big leagues often prep all season long for a shot at winning the event, and with over 175 athletes this year, a star is certain to be born. All corners of the globe will be represented at this event that takes place on Friday starting at 10AM.  

Because strongman is the most athletic sport on the planet — in my opinion — the male and female strongman athletes are one of the Arnold’s highlights. At this level, you must possess strength, power, speed, technique, and an abundance of anaerobic endurance or you won’t make the cut! The finals hit the main stage on Sunday at 1:30 PM.

In the strongman world, the athletes know very few limits. Competitors of all sizes are well represented at every contest. Now, for the first time at the Arnold, Strongman Corporation will host the 2017 Strongest Disabled Man contest. On Sunday starting at 10 AM, athletes who face different obstacles in their daily routine will have the opportunity to push, pull and lift for a crowd of thousands.

The modified events like stones, overhead press, and timed hold will determine this champion and will be a great contest for the fans of the sport. I attended this contest in 2015 at a smaller venue in Ohio and was thoroughly impressed with the quality of lifting exhibited. This event rounds out the largest gathering of Strongmen on the planet.

Make sure to take in as much of each event that you can. The variety of what is offered is unparalleled and can motivate you to train harder or to go out and support your local contests. The entire convention is a crazy setting of like minded people from the world over, and new friends await the camaraderie that strength sports bring. See you in Columbus!

Featured image: Michele Wozniak, Strongman Corporation

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Monday, January 30, 2017

Watch Yury Belkin Finish Five 300kg Squats Weighing ~100 Kilograms

Watch ~75kg Molly Mullikin Deadlift 430 Pounds for Twelve Reps

Watch 16-Year-Old CJ Cummings Power Clean and Pause Front Squat 170kg

Cooper Wage Competed Raw For the First Time and Squatted 380kg Easy

Harbinger Contoured FlexFit™ Belt Review

Harbinger is a company that makes supportive strength gear for multiple types of athletes. Whether you’re a powerlifter, weightlifter, or a recreational lifter, chances are Harbinger makes a piece of equipment marketed at you.

Their straps and belts are what they’re typically most known for, though the Harbinger Contoured FlexFit Belt is unlike many on the market. There’s a contoured design, extra padding, a full width of six inches. When we got ours, I was excited to give this different belt a try. I was curious to see how it would feel with a variety of movements, since it’s contoured, but also six inches thick.

To test this belt I tried it with both power and strength based movements including the deadlift, back squat, clean, and front squat.


This belt’s stability was definitely interesting. It was stable, but at times felt a little overbearing. It’s a mix of both cotton and nylon with padded inserts for extra thickness around the posterior portion. They also have added kidney pockets, or places of extra pad to support kidney stability. I liked the belt for this. Unlike most cloth and nylon based belts, this belt had extra thickness in different areas. This could be a turn off for someone who wants a simple functional belt that’s the same width all the way around.

I found that the extra thickness took a little time to adjust to. After my third lift I was used to the full six inch width covering my back. The belt felt stable throughout each lift and the only time it lacked a great feeling was at times during any form of slight extension. The rigid six inch width made it feel a little odd on the thoracic back. The front and back squat both felt good with this belt, whether it was at the bottom or top of the lift. This belt held and hugged the torso well from a stability point of view.

During the deadlift this belt held my torso stable, but felt odd when I stood at times. Any time I pulled my lats back, the points on the contoured portion pushed into my back. This wasn’t a big issue, but it was an interesting part of the belt. For the clean this belt was stable, but somewhat uncomfortable. I’m personally not a fan of six inch widths, as they’re a little too big for my torso. If you like a wider belt, then this aspect could be a good fit for you.


Much like the stability of this belt, the comfort was different than most belts I’ve tried. The inner portion of the belt is a soft cloth and nylon, which felt good on the body. Even on bare skin from the first use, this belt felt pretty good. Another cool comfort feature of this belt is the rounded edges. I thought that was a cool aspect to compensate for the extra pointed width this belt has. When and if the edges dig into your torso, these rounded sides make it bearable.

The added kidney pads pulled the belt tightly and firmly of side and posterior portion of the belt, which gave it a snug feeling. If you get sweaty and the belt slides at all, then this could feel uncomfortable. With a thicker belt such as this one, placement is key for comfort. The added inserts were also pretty comfortable, even though they made the belt feel ticker.


As mentioned above, this belt is a mixture of cloth and nylon. The outside is a little stiffer and tough, which is similar to other belts with this type of material. On the inner portion the cloth feels smooth and a little more flexible. The buckle is a stainless steel with a single look of nylon holding it in place. Stainless steel was a cool feature, but I felt as though the strap should be a little thicker.

The posterior portion is the coolest part of this belt when it comes to material. In the kidney pockets it feels like there’s multiple layers of stiff cloth. For lifters looking for a belt that’s stiff with a cloth and nylon material, then this would be a good choice. On the other hand, if you’re performing extremely heavy loads and rely on the rigidity of a belt, then you may want to consider a leather belt.


From the times I lifted with this belt, I never sensed any immediate issues with durability. I like the enclosed top and bottom layers of the belt. In addition, I thought the stiffer contoured portion was a nice touch and felt more durable than softer nylons. The stainless steel buckle was also a good part to attest to this belt’s durability.

While there weren’t any immediate durability issues, I did have two future issues I could see going wrong with this belt. First, velcro’s lifespan, this is a material that will degrade as you use the belt frequently. Second, the strap around the buckle isn’t the thickest, which might lead to tearing under super heavy loads.


The cost of this belt was average and starts at $34.99. This is a very specific belt, so it’s hard to compare it to others on the market. While there are other contoured belts out there, this one has added thickness and kidney inserts. For the serious lifter who needs a super rigid belt, then I think there are better options on the market. Although, for the lifters who likes a comfortable, wider belt, then this could be the perfect fit.

Rating 1-5 (5 being the highest)

Stability: 3.8

Comfort: 3.5

Material: 4.3

Durability: 3.9

Price: 3

Final Word

To conclude my review of the Harbinger Contoured FlexFit Belt, it was a different make with multiple aspects I liked and didn’t like. I liked the feeling the cloth had on the skin and how the edges were rounded. On the flip side, the contoured shape took a little getting used to. I also liked the stiffness and kidney pockets this belt has, which made it different than other nylon belts on the market.

All in all, if you’re looking for a comfortable, somewhat rigid belt, then this belt could be the right fit for you.

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19 Year Old Artur Polutranko Deadlifts 300kg (660 lbs)

63kg Jennifer Thompson Benches 317.5 lbs for New IPF World Record

How High Should Your Elbows Be In the Jerk?

Sunday, January 29, 2017

How Strongman Athletes Can Enhance Recovery and Progress Outside Training

In my preceding article I discussed how taking more than just your training seriously could have major benefits to your long term gains. By compounding the interest of proper recovery and minimization of negative habits, your lifts could significantly improve, more so than by just hard training alone. A lifestyle based on success is one that elite athletes around the globe practice and we should examine what they do (and don’t do) to be the best in their game.

As with all aspects of life, there are positive and negative actions. There are few negative habits that everyone “knows” about but never the less should be reviewed to remind us how detrimental they can be.

  • Drinking alcohol. This powerful diuretic can slow muscle recovery. The athlete should keep drinking to a minimum. Never, ever get drunk, as it can take days to fully rehydrate.
  • Lack of sleep. People love to say they require less sleep than the recommended seven or eight hours. You are wrong and should go to bed. Younger athletes would do better with even more sleep each night.
  • Crummy nutrition. This can run the gamut from not eating enough to actually eating too much. There are pros that can help you with this, as well as a multitude of phone apps. If you struggle here, it is more likely a lack of discipline and psychology. The science is everywhere, and most of it is free.
  • Can’t follow directions. You can’t stick to the reps on your program, do a 4 hour climb of a mountain on your rest day, or skip your conditioning. While this may be cool for recreational athletes, don’t expect to take home the gold this way.

By eliminating the negative and training hard, getting your gram of protein per pound of body weight and sleeping eight hours at night you are off to the right start. These are the standards nearly everyone follows and assumes they are covering their bases. Frankly that’s good for the beginner, but what else can the intermediate or advanced athlete do for recovery? Plenty!

Strongman training is some of the most demanding on the planet, and there are a multitude of options for recovering faster allowing you to increase training volume, intensity, and frequency.


Everyone loves a good massage. It relieves stress, improves circulation, breaks up scar tissue and decreases muscle soreness. And that’s just scratching the surface. One of the biggest things you can do is get massage done regularly, as often as you can afford it. Since it can be an expensive investment,  I have traded massage therapists for training. If you can’t do that, go as often as you can afford. I would recommend at least once per month.

If you can’t afford a professional, a significant other can help or trade with a training partner. If none of that is available, this is a great solution for your legs for around ten bucks:

Contrast Showers

While it may not be the most comfortable post session practice, athletes seem to love dunking themselves in ice baths. Even super cold cryotherapy tubes are being marketed to speed recovery. A much simpler and cost effective solution are hot and cold showers popularized by the East Germans for their Olympic athletes. By jumping in the shower post session and running hot water for one minute and cold water for 30 seconds, you can effectively help move the lactate from your muscles. There is a lack of evidence showing ice baths do this more effectively and they are much more inconvenient. Consistency with these are the key and from my personal experience are difficult to beat.

Visualization and Goal Setting

See my previous article on this topic for a further review, but for a basic recap I would immediately start doing the following today:

  • Write down short term, intermediate and long range goals and review them daily.
  • Keep them to yourself and only share them with your coaches. Broadcasting them on the internet and to friends actually works against you.
  • Before your training sessions, close your eyes for a few minutes and play out the key moves for the day in your head. See yourself doing them correctly and better than ever before.

Cool Down and Mediation

Time is your most precious resource, and you only get so much of it to spend. Begin recovering as soon as you put the bar down for the day by letting your body destress. Drink your recovery shake and find a place in the gym where you can sit (or go to your car but don’t turn it on) and relax. Make a few mental notes about what you did well and what you could have done better.

Close your eyes and let your body get back to normal. You can just sit and relax or start your favorite form of meditation. Personally, I recommend the Wim Hof method. Athletes like Laird Hamilton are big believers in the system and the breathing techniques are easy to learn. The National Academy for Sciences found: “Healthy volunteers exhibited profound increases in the release of epinephrine (adrenaline), which in turn led to increased production of anti-inflammatory mediators and subsequent dampening of the proinflammatory cytokine response elicited by intravenous administration of bacterial endotoxin,”.

Just make sure you are fully awake and ready to drive when you are finished with any form of relaxation or mediation. The last thing you want is to be tired from training and groggy when driving.


Do you really need an excuse to nap? I hope not. I would consider this a must for athletes who run multiple sessions per day. My programming is deeply rooted in the Bulgarian system of frequent sessions and napping was essential to their success. Just 15 to 20 minutes a day can have an immediate effect on your progress. Besides, it will improve your entire life, so why not?

Understanding that a comprehensive approach is mandatory for success is paramount for the best athletes in any sport. By making smart recovery choices you begin to travel down the road to becoming the champion you have always wanted to be. Do not let all the effort you put into lifting become a waste of time by not fully recovering from those sessions!

Editors note: This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein are the authors and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BarBend. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced exclusively by the author.

Featured image: Michele Wozniak, Strongman Corporation

The post How Strongman Athletes Can Enhance Recovery and Progress Outside Training appeared first on BarBend.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Harbinger 4″ Padded Leather Belt Review

Harbinger is a company known for supportive strength gear. Their equipment can be found in most gyms, regardless of the strength sport. Weightlifters, powerlifters, and even recreational gym goers have been known to use their equipment to support their strength goals. In addition, their equipment often comes in multiple styles to ensure everyone’s needs are matched (leather, cotton, nylon, etc).

We were excited when we received the Harbinger 4″ Padded Leather Belt. This belt is most similar to other Olympic weightlifting belt styles, and I was curious if it held up and felt the same as fully focused weightlifting branded belts.

To test this belt’s feeling and security I performed strength and power focused movements. These included the deadlift, front squat, power clean, and squat clean.


This belt has a similar make and construction to other weightlifting-focused belts. The material (leather) feels similar to other belts I’ve tried. I would describe its thickness as middle of the road for leather belts. It bends and flexes, but it felt stable and stiff at the same time. It wasn’t the stiffest leather belt I’ve tried, so low-bar squatters and elite powerlifters may sway towards a more rigid option.

One of my favorite tests for weightlifting belts is how they hold the torso in the bottom position of the front squat. I performed front squats with paused, holds at the bottom, then relaxed my torso as if I was about to miss a lift. A stable belt will help support an upright torso to an extent before totally collapsing (flexing forward). This belt, like many other weightlifting belts I’ve tried, performed well in keeping my tall torso position.

When I tried this belt with Olympic movements such as the power clean and squat clean, there was never an issue with mobility. I didn’t have to sacrifice stability in different postures due to a limiting belt. The front of the belt is made skinnier to accommodate for Olympic style lifts. I liked the double prong buckle, as it provided a little extra stability for my abdomen.


This belt had both comfortable and uncomfortable aspects. In terms of comfort, I liked the added pad on the back. It provided a little extra cushion when pulling the belt tight, and it hugged the back well. Some belts that lack the added pad, especially in weightlifting styled belts, may show issue with hugging the body perfectly. The inner portion of the leather was also softer than the external, which felt pretty comfortable when making contact with the body.

When it comes to uncomfortable aspects of this belt there were two that stood out. First, there was a little pinching on the front of the belt where the leather overlaps. Lifters who lift shirtless may find this as a turnoff. Second, since it’s a medium thickness, there was a little pressing in the ribs on the first few uses. Both of these are to be expected with newer leather belts. Once the belt began to get more worn in, I found both of these aspects began to fade each lift.


For the most part this is your standard leather belt. The leather feels like other belts I’ve tried with a tough external layer, and softer internal portion. I liked that there was a little give to the leather itself. It allowed the belt to hug my torso well, while allowing full mobility. The added pad also allowed the belt to have a little give on the posterior portion. The pad was 2-3 inches and was about a centimeter off the belt and enclosed the whole back portion.

The inner layer feels like a leather/cloth combo that’s been brought down to provide comfort on the body. It wasn’t the softest material I’ve tried, but it’s important to remember that this belt is made to provide support during power movements and it’s leather. For someone who wants a softer belt, or a more forgiving material, they may want to look at other material options like nylon.


This belt felt durable from its first use, and it has a few key components that I really liked. The buckle is a stainless steel and the leather that encloses it feels thick and is overlapped. There are also four bolts that holds this overlapped leather tight, which gave the buckle a durable feeling that some belts lack. The buckle itself is a stainless steel double-prong, which complimented the extra leather overlap. A future potential issue I could see is the inner layer of leather becoming worn from excessive sweat and wear and tear.


This belt was on the lower end of costs for this style of belt starting at $21.99. Most leather belts with this style will be a little more expensive, so this could be a good option for the casual weightlifter. For someone who’s a little more serious with their weightlifting, then they may prefer a thicker, higher-end belt. For the price, I felt this belt was good for recreational lifters as well, even if they do other lifts than power-based movements.

Rating 1-5 (5 being the highest)

Stability: 4.1

Comfort: 3.6

Material: 3

Durability: 4.3

Cost: 4

Final Word

The Harbinger 4″ Padded Weightlifting Belt was your standard leather belt that caters to multiple types of athletes. I liked the added pad for comfort and enjoyed how well it allowed the belt to hug my torso. This belt would be a great option for the casual weightlifter for the price. Although, serious athletes, especially weightlifters may prefer a higher-end belt. In addition, I did find a few comfort issues with the belt in regards to how it felt on bare skin.

In conclusion, this belt was a great leather weightlifting belt option for both the recreational lifter and even for someone who’s a little more serious.

The post Harbinger 4″ Padded Leather Belt Review appeared first on BarBend.

BREAKING: Eddie Hall Wins Four-Peat at Britain’s Strongest Man

PharmaFreak Greens Freak Greens Powder Review

With promises like one scoop delivering the antioxidants of a dozen serves of vegetables, the greens powder industry seems intent on replacing the multivitamin. Made from the freeze-dried or light-dried remains of fruits, vegetables and herbs, the powders can provide a very concentrated dose of vitamins and minerals, but their benefits are prone to exaggeration.

I tried the top-selling greens powder on Bodybuilding.com and one of the bestsellers from Amazon, Greens Freak, to see how it stacked up. Check out my review below.

Greens Freak Ingredients

The branding strongly emphasizes the presence of spirulina and chlorella, two types of algae, and each serve also contains a combined 1.5 grams of alfalfa, barley, and wheatgrass.

Because the amount of the product is so small and concentrated, there’s minimal fiber, but while that aspect won’t improve your digestion there are five strains of probiotic bacteria, which are linked to digestive health.

There are some three dozen other ingredients that receive less emphasis from the company, including apple pectin, sprouted brown rice bran, bee pollen and royal jelly, parsley, beetroot juice (labeled as a “red super food”), green tea extract, and bromelain. I tried their green apple flavor, which is flavored with “natural green apple flavor,” stevia, and peppermint leaf extract.

Greens Freak Carbs

The packaging doesn’t actually come with a breakdown of macronutrients or micronutrients, just the ingredients it contains and the RDI of each. Of course, the USDA has not set a recommended daily intake of apple pectin, milk thistle, and every single other ingredient in the product besides Vitamin E, so the RDI has an asterisk under each one.

According to MyFitnessPal, one serving contains thirty-five calories, two grams of protein, five grams of carbs, two grams of fiber, and no fat.

Is Greens Freak Gluten-Free?

No. The packaging is misleading in this regard. You can see on the front of the tub “Greens Freak gf.” The “gf” just stands for “Greens Freak,” not “gluten-free.” Nowhere on the packaging does it suggest that it’s free from gluten, and barley (one of the ingredients) is a known source of the stuff.

Greens Freak Benefits

The benefits of the star ingredients, spirulina and chlorella, do tend to be exaggerated in some circles but they’re great sources of iron, zinc, and antioxidants, and they appear to help improve immunity as well.

The alfalfa, barley, and wheatgrass, contain vitamins C, E, K, and B-vitamins, plus they contain a lot of chlorophyll, which can be beneficial for blood health. (Think clotting and wound healing.)

The five strains of probiotics are perhaps the strongest addition. They’re useful for a host of reasons: this beneficial bacteria can improve digestion, fat loss, inflammation levels, and possibly even our susceptibility to depression and anxiety.


I tried the green apple flavor, though vanilla chai is also available. I’ve tried a lot of greens powders (my mom stockpiles them like there’s an imminent apocalypse), and this has the best taste I’ve ever tried. Greens powders have a well-earned reputation for tasting like dirt (they’re mostly ground up vegetables and seaweed, after all) and while I’d never call this product delicious, it’s far more palatable than most and it’s probably the best taste you can expect.


When there’s no macronutrient or micronutrient breakdown on the packaging, it gets a little hard to maintain credibility as a vitamin and mineral supplement. Sure, many of the ingredients are known to contain Vitamin C and iron, but how much vitamin C is in a serving? How much iron? There’s no way to know. MyFitnessPal says one serve delivers 36% of the RDI of Vitamin C and 17% of your iron. That’s a decent amount, but far less than a dedicated supplement and perhaps less than a multivitamin. But of course, it’s hard to know where MyFitnessPal gets their data from.

The huge number of times the meaningless words “superfood,” “super grain,” and “detox” appear on the package also harm the product’s credibility.

PharmaFreak’s main selling point isn’t so much the vitamin content as the ingredients themselves and the probiotics and antioxidants they deliver. These are important components of any diet, they’re found in plants (or can result from eating them), and this product contains them in spades.


At thirty dollars for thirty servings, it’s moderately-priced. Compare that with $97 for thirty servings of Athletic Greens ($3.23/serve), $35 for fifteen servings of Onnit’s Earth Grown Nutrients ($2.30/serve), $50 for 90 serves of Sun Warrior’s Supergreens ($0.55/serve) and $52 for a hundred serves Amazing Grass’s Green Superfood ($0.52/serve).

Rating Out of 5

Ingredients: 4

Taste: 5

Effectiveness: 3

Price: 3

The Takeaway

For a product that many see as a multivitamin supplement, it’s hard to look past the fact that there’s no breakdown of the vitamins and minerals in the product.

But the fact is that some people focus a little too much on vitamins (which aren’t very hard to get from food) and not enough on probiotics and antioxidant density, which can be harder to consume in high quantities. If you’re eating a well-balanced diet, this product can certainly help fill in your nutritional gaps. But don’t take it as a replacement for eating plants.

The post PharmaFreak Greens Freak Greens Powder Review appeared first on BarBend.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Elisabeth Akinwale Talks Body Image and a Problem with With “Strong Is the New Sexy”

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Behind the Scenes with Slovenian Strongman Matjaz Belsak

At 24 years old, most of us were lucky if we’d even discovered the free weights section of the gym, let alone started lifting in there. Matjaz Belsak, though, isn’t your average 24 year old, nor is he your average human. He’s one of the best strongmen in the world and he keeps getting better.  

Starting off in powerlifting at a young age, Matjaz caught national attention in the strength world when at only 17 years old, he broke two national records. His 220kg squat, 130kg bench, and 255kg deadlift were even more impressive as it was only his first year of competing. It didn’t take long for the young Slovenian to leave powerlifting behind as he stumbled upon the marvelous sport of strongman. Wasting no time, he was hard at work training on the awkward implements of strongman before he’d even turned 18.

Soon after beginning training, the aspiring strongman was lining up alongside the strongest men Slovenia had to offer and besting them, winning the title of Slovenia’s Strongest Man in both 2014 and 2015. Holding such prestigious titles at such a young age predictably drew a lot of attention, and by 2015 Matjaz had earned himself a regular spot on the international stage. He started competing regularly in both Giants Live and Strongman Champions League.

The only place competition left on the strongman bucket list was the World’s Strongest Man, and in 2015 Matjaz took his meteoric rise in the sport to its logical conclusion. He competed at World’s Strongest Man in 2015, less than a year after his first ever strongman competition. In a tough group alongside legends of the game, Eddie Hall and Mike Burke, Matjaz struggled. He failed to get out of the group stages, although his third place in such a tough group was an indicator of things to come.

A year later, and Matjaz got a little closer to becoming the Strongest Man in the World. Breaking out of an equally tough group, he got his first taste of a WSM final. Sadly his 9th place finish wasn’t the fairytale ending he was looking for. Will he be able to best it in 2017?

The post Behind the Scenes with Slovenian Strongman Matjaz Belsak appeared first on BarBend.

Old Training Footage Shows 77kg Lu Xiaojun Deadlifting 270kg Beltless

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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Indonesia Just Gave Free Houses to its Weightlifting Medalists

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63kg Powerlifter Jennifer Thompson Just Benched 325 lbs

There are a few lifters who seem to possess super human strength, and Jennifer Thompson definitely ranks in that category. Thompson is 43 years old, stands at 5′ 5″, and competes in the 63kg (138 lbs) weight class.

She’s best known for her crazy impressive bench press strength. Yesterday, Thompson shared a video on her YouTube channel that highlighted her most recent personal bench press PR. She was visiting Liberty University’s football training center when she crushed her new PR 325 lb bench.

The most impressive part of this bench was the brief pause and speed. From what it looks like, this bench could have counted in competition, but that’s up for viewer discretion. The speed off her chest was also crazy. The lift honestly looked pretty easy for her.

Thompson’s bench is her claim to fame, but her other lifts are just as impressive. From her personal site she has her best competition equipped and raw lifts listed. For equipped her best lifts include a 403 lb squat, 331 lb bench press, and a 396 lb deadlift, which gives her a 987 lb total.

Currently, Thompson appears to compete primarily in raw competition. Her best raw lifts in competition include a 325 lb squat, 308 lb bench, and 446 lb deadlift, which gives her a total of 1,079 lbs.

Thompson has been competing in powerlifting since 1999, and has more first place finished than we can list. For example, she’s taken first in the IPF Classic World Championships for the women’s 63kg classic weight class the last four years. This past year, she set a new IPF 63kg women’s bench world record with a 312 lb press.

In addition, Thompson holds the IPF world record for the highest total in her weight class, which is 1,069 lbs. She set this in May of 2016 at a weight of 135 lbs.

Thompson’s new bench PR of 325 would break the IPF women’s classic world record easily in competition. Could 2017 be the year we see Thompson put up 320+ in competition?

Feature image from 132poundsofpower YouTube channel. 

The post 63kg Powerlifter Jennifer Thompson Just Benched 325 lbs appeared first on BarBend.

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Monday, January 23, 2017

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Eleiko Olympic Weightlifting Belt Review

Eleiko is a company based in Sweden and is most often recognized for their barbells and plates. They also make supportive strength equipment, which includes belts, sleeves, knee wraps, and straps. When it comes to supportive gear, they’re best known for their equipment that supports Olympic weightlifting.

The clean white Eleiko leather belt may be one of the most recognized belts on weightlifting platforms, so when we received ours there was a build up of excitement to give it a try. Since it’s a belt made for weightlifters I tested it with the power clean, front squat, back squat, and deadlift. In addition, I also used it for low-bar squats to see if it could be used by strength athletes in other sports.


This belt is stiff and leather, which gave it a great feeling of stability. Compared to other leather belts, this belt felt a little more rigid. For a weightlifter, I really like the extra rigid feel this belt provided. A common reason for failing or missing lifts in weightlifting is excessive forward lean. The rigid nature of this belt helped resist forward feelings when I was lifting. I also like the two-pronged buckle, as it hugged my abdomen tightly and securely. The front is skinnier than the posterior portion of this belt, so the two-pronged buckle helped compensate for the lack of thickness.

When I performed Olympic lifts with this belt it never felt limited in my range of motion. I could move freely without issue, while feeling stable with the stiffer leather. Both the clean and front squat felt great in this belt. The thicker back helped me avoid forward lean and helped keep my posture tall and long.

Since this is a belt made for weightlifting, I also tried it with a low-bar squat to see if it could be used by other strength athletes. When low-bar squatting, I liked that this belt held me stable, even though it’s less thick than typical powerlifting belts. I think this aspect was due to the rigid design this belt has. One thing that may turn off some lifters is how the leather feels on the body. It’s stiffer, which means it takes longer to break in and may cause some discomfort on the ribs during the first uses.


The comfort of this belt was hot and cold. I really liked the dimensions of the belt; it’s 10cm in the back with an added pad. That’s around four inches thick, with about a 2.5 inch pad across the posterior portion. This pad felt great on the back when pulling the belt extremely tight. I also really liked that I could move freely with the belt. There was never an issue with limited ranges of motion, which made this belt a comfortable fit in multiple lifts.

Another aspect I liked was the overlap of the leather strap under the two-pronged buckle. This created lack of pinching and feeling of metal on the skin. The soft inside portion of the leather helped avoid excessive rubbing friction too. The stiff leather on the top and bottom of the belt was a little uncomfortable at first and I did experience a pinching on my ribs.

Also, this belt might not be ideal for those who like to lift shirtless. They may experience some chafing and pinching from the newer leather until it’s broken in.


This belt is constructed with genuine leather and is a little stiffer than standard leather belts I’ve tried. There’s not a lot of give when bent, which could be a good or bad thing depending on your belt preferences. I liked that the inside portion of the leather is a little softer than the exterior. This made it feel soft, but sturdy, which is an essence a lot of belts have a hard time doing. The white leather was also a cool feature, I thought it made the belt look very clean and recognizable.

While the white leather gave the belt a clean look, there was an issue that came with it. For your first few uses you may experience a little shedding of the belt. All leather belts tend to do this, but the white leather makes it a little more noticeable. The two-pronged metal buckle was definitely a positive. The metal is made well and isn’t skinny, which can give buckles a cheap feeling.


From what I experienced this belt showed great signs of durability. I liked that it has thick double stitching around the outside. This made it feel compact, and will prevent early wear and tear from fraying outsides. The buckle has two-loops and four pretty heavy metal attachments. I don’t see potential breaking of the buckle under strenuous loads, which some belts can have.

While this belt is durable, it can be a nuisance to break in. For someone who wants an extremely comfortable belt right off the bat, they may sway towards a different belt.


The price of this belt starts around $49.00, which is a little on the higher end for this style of belt. Yes the price is higher, but this belt is made very well and constructed for Olympic lifting. For athletes who are looking for a belt that’s designed to support weightlifting, then I feel as though the price is very fair. On the flip side, the recreational lifter who uses a belt for generic lifting purposes might find better options that cost less.

Ratings 1-5 (5 being the highest)

Stability: 4.1

Comfort: 3.5

Material: 3.8

Durability: 4.3

Price: 2.5

Final Word

I enjoyed using the Eleiko Olympic Weightlifting Belt for multiple types of exercises. Whether I was weightlifting or powerlifting, this belt held my torso tight and never limited my range of motion. In addition, the stiff leather and thick metal buckle gave the impression that this belt will last a while. For someone who needs a belt for generic lifting purposes, then this belt may not be the best choice as it’s price is a little high. Also, lifters who exercise shirtless or hate the feeling of leather on the ribs might not prefer this belt style.

All in all I enjoyed the Eleiko Olympic Weightlifting Belt whether I was performing power or strength focused movements.

The post Eleiko Olympic Weightlifting Belt Review appeared first on BarBend.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

When, Why, and How You Should Wear a Weightlifting Belt

Weightlifting belts are a common practice across most strength, power, and functional fitness sports. Whether in competition and/or training, lifters are seen belting up while squatting, cleaning, deadlifting, carrying, and sometimes even snatching.

In this article, we will offer a lifter some key pointers on how to select, wear, and use weightlifting belts throughout their training. Additionally, we will discuss why a lifter will benefit from training beltless prior to using a belt, and why neglecting one’s beltless abilities could result in a weaken training effect while using a weightlifting belts

Why You Should Learn to Lift Beltless

Personally, I feel many lifters rely too much on belts in their training, neglecting their bodies natural ability to create and harness intra-abdominal pressure (I have been guilty of this too). However, in the event a lifter is competing, such as in powerlifting or weightlifting (clean and jerk, as many coaches and athletes do not prefer snatching in belts), the implementation of a weightlifting belt can significantly increase one’s performance provided they have taken the time to develop sound bracing and breathing mechanics while training beltless. Additionally, if a lifter is concerned about the spinal integrity of a lift due to previous injury, a belt may be a good option, however one could also question why they are training with a load in which they are not fully confident in their abilities in the first place (let’s save this one for another day…).

That said, for normal training days with loads under 85% of RM or so, I often recommend training belt-less so that the bracing and breathing capacities can be developed and strengthened. Lifting belt-less will also demand athletes to become more aware of creating maximal tension in their setups and execution of a lift. Generally speaking, I recommend using a belt when maximal strength, power, and/or loading above 85% of RM is the primary focus.

Why Use a Weightlifting Belt

A weightlifting belt can be used as a tool to increase intra-abdominal pressure and to aid a lifter in stabilizing the spine during lifts. Much like a lifter bracing correctly, a lifting belt can add additional support in such events that require maximal rigidity and tension in the torso. It is important to note that a weightlifting belt does not replace or protect against poor technique and improper bracing during a lift, and each of those should be at the foundation of both beltless and with a belt training.

Choosing the Right Thickness

Weightlifting belts come in all shapes and sizes, materials, and thicknesses. Two main aspects when looking at thickness of a weightlifting belt is to determine the correct amount of belt needed and/or allowed by your governing body in your respective sport. Thickness of a belt refers to how thick the belt is from the aerial view, while the width refers to how “tall” the belt is on your torso. Often, a thicker belt will offer more rigidity of the spine, which could be beneficial for heavier, less dynamic lifts, such as squats and deadlifts. In turn, a very thick and rigid belt may interfere with more dynamic lifts like the clean and jerk. The width of a belt should be fit to an individual’s torso, with it resting over the abdominals and lower back, still allowing movement of the upper torso. If the belt is too wide or too skinny, a lifter may get pinching and/or rubbing of the skin, which can affect maximal comfortable during a lift. Coaches and athletes should experiment with a wide array of weightlifting belts to determine what width and thickness is ideal for their situation.


How Tight Should It Be

Generally speaking, a lifter should tighten the belt so that they are not able to stick their hand between the belt and the skin, yet loose enough to allow for abdominal bracing and expansion. In the event a lifter wears the belt too tight, it may impede their ability to brace their abdominals and limit breathing, which can weaken the training effect of a belt. Conversely, if worn too loose, the belt may move around and/or off not enough support, negating why it was used in the first place.

Determine the Positioning on the Torso

Positioning of the belt can be a highly personal subject. Generally speaking, a lifter should place the belt so that is covers the majority of the abdominals and erectors, typically an inch or two above the pelvis. If worn too low, the belt may cause discomfort while rubbing on the iliac crest (top of the pelvis), and if too high can create pinching and pressure in the lower abdomen. The key is to be able to fully contract and expand the abdominals, obliques, and erectors as if pushing out against the belt in order to create maximal intra-abdominal pressure and support.

How to Brace While Wearing a Belt

Whether a lifter chooses to use a belt or not, they need to learn to develop proper bracing and breathing mechanics for submaximal and maximal lifting attempts. Without proper bracing and breathing abilities, a belt will serve only as a band-aid rather than an effective supplemental training tool. In the video below, Chris Duffin discusses the finer points of abdominal bracing and breathing.

Final Words

Lifting belts can be an effective training tool for powerlifters, weightlifters, and fitness athletes if and only if beltless bracing and breathing abilities have been developed. Coaches and athletes should build a stronger core stability base, confidence, and perfect movement without the usage of belts in training so that when a lifter does use a belt during near-maximal or maximal lift attempts he/she will be able to harness the true potential of training with a belt, rather than over-relying on a belt for rigidity and support.

Editors note: This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein are the authors and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BarBend. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced exclusively by the author.

Featured Image: @mikejdewar on Instagram

The post When, Why, and How You Should Wear a Weightlifting Belt appeared first on BarBend.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

American Dr. Kyle Pierce Voted Ghana’s Sports Coach of the Year

The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) is reporting that Dr. Kyle Pierce has been awarded Coach of the Year for the entire West African country of Ghana, as voted on by Ghanaian sports fans. Pierce and Ghana’s weightlifting team received awards from two institutions: the Ghana Sports Fans Awards and the Sports Writers Association of Ghana Awards.

Pierce is widely known to American Weightlifting fans as the Head Coach and Director of the High Performance Center at Louisiana State University, Shreveport. He has been the meet director of many national events for USAW during this time, and several Pan American Championship events have been held in his facility. In addition, he is the coach of Kendrick Farris, a three-time Olympian for USA Weightlifting.

Since 2014, Pierce has been a central figure in developing Ghana’s Olympic Weightlifting Program. He initially went to Ghana as part of the Olympic Solidarity Program and he trained 27 coaches. He has served as the head weightlifting coach for Ghana at several prominent international competitions, including the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Scotland and the 2016 African Championships in Cameroon. In Cameroon, Pierce helped Ghana earn 1 men’s spot at the Olympic Games in Brazil, where he served double duty as the Head coach of Ghana and athlete Christian Amoah as well as coaching Farris on Team USA.

Most recently, Pierce has led the Ghana National Weightlifting Team to the 2016 Commonwealth Championships in Penang, Malaysia, this past fall, where they won two gold medals, one silver, and a bronze medal. This was their most successful international competition in recent memory.

Ghana is the 2nd country in 2016 to award Dr. Pierce with a coach of the year award. On January 6th of this year, USAW awarded him with the Gayle Hatch coach of the year award for 2016, which is awarded to the coach of the top male athlete in USAW.

Other award winners from the Ghana Weightlifting Federation at the Sports Writers Association of Ghana (SWAG), which is voted on by all Sports Journalists in the country of Ghana, included:

  • Christian Amoah was voted the Male Weightlifter of the Year.
  • Ruth Baffoe, a bronze medalist at the African Championships, was awarded Female Weightlifter of the Year.
  • Richmond Osarfo, a 17 year old youth athlete who placed 10th at the 2016 Youth World Championship, was voted for as the Sports Discovery of the Year
  • GWF President Ben Nunoo Mensah was awarded The Sports Federation President for the Year 2016.

Featured image: IWF.net. Dr. Pierce is second from the right in the second row.

The post American Dr. Kyle Pierce Voted Ghana’s Sports Coach of the Year appeared first on BarBend.

Friday, January 20, 2017

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Harbinger 4″ Nylon Lifting Belt Review

Harbinger is known worldwide for their supportive strength gear. Their supportive gear covers a variety of needs including powerlifting, weightlifting, bodybuilding, and recreational lifting. Chances are you’ve seen their equipment in a gym at some point during your lifting career.

Their belts are made from multiple types of material and are thus meant for multiple needs. When we received the Harbinger 4″ Nylon Lifting Belt, I put it through a variety of tests. Nylon belts are known for their versatility, so I tried this belt with both power and strength exercises. The movements I personally tested this belt with were the back squat, deadlift, clean, and front squat.


This belt felt similar in stability to other nylon belts I’ve tried. I like the 4″ width as it allows you to seamlessly adjust the belt from low to high on the torso if need be. The strap is three inches thick, which allows you to pull the belt tight with a lot of overlap. Personally, I liked the thicker strap, it held the belt securely across the abdomen. Some nylon belts have thinner straps and compromise belt stability.

When I performed cleans I felt stable with this belt, even at full-depth of the catch. In addition, this belt held me firmly during any form of squat I did. A test I like to do for belt stability is to flex at the torso in the hole of a squat. Instability in belts will result in the weight collapsing forward, but this held resisted and held my torso neutral.

Something to note about this belt is that it is nylon. If you’re a powerlifter who wants a stiff, rigid belt, then this may not be the best choice for you. Nylon won’t hold the body as firmly as leather during lifts such as the low-bar squat.


Lifters who tend to choose cloth and nylon based belts tend to enjoy the comfort they offer. This belt has a softer inner lining, which I really liked. The inner lining is a noticeably softer material than the outside nylon. Personally, I love to lift shirtless and this belt felt comfortable on the skin. The metal buckle never made contact with the skin, so there wasn’t any scratching or chafing.

An issue I did encounter was excessive sweating when I was going through a workout shirtless. The belt moved a little bit, but not too much. Someone who wants a very secure belt that doesn’t move easily, may find issue with this, especially if it’s on their bare skin.


The material of this belt was interesting. As stated above, the inner lining is a softer cloth, which is forgiving on the skin and doesn’t pinch as much. The outside is a tougher nylon and feels secure. There’s a stainless steel buckle that provides an added sense of security. I really liked how the strap holding the buckle is well-sewn.

The velcro strap is three inches wide and provides ample strap to wrap and pull tight with. I never experienced an issue when it came to the velcro pieces making contact with each other. While there was ample velcro, a possible potential issue could be the velcro itself. Velcro does have a lifespan and this belt won’t be the best choice for those looking for a lifetime belt.


This belt felt durable upon my first lift with it. I liked that there was double stitching throughout the whole outer rim. It provided a firm feeling that snapped back when I tried to bend the belt. Another aspect I liked about this was the stainless steel loop that connects the velcro strap. Metal will be less prone to early wear and tear from heavy stress, as opposed to a plastic or synthetic loop.

The outside of the top and bottom of each belt has a little extra material covering them. This was a cool aspect that protects the belt from early fraying or coming undone. This belt has durable characteristics, but it’s important to keep in mind that it is nylon-based. A nylon belt will eventually show signs of aging, along with the velcro.


The price for this belt starts at $16.99. This price falls right down the middle for a versatile nylon-based belt. I felt this price is fair for the recreational lifter or someone who needs a firm, durable belt. It won’t last a lifetime, which could steer away lifters who need a belt to last a longer period of time.

Rating 1-5 (5 being the highest)

Stability: 3.8

Comfort: 4.4

Material: 4

Durability: 3

Price: 3.5

Final Word

The Harbinger 4″ Nylon Lifting Belt was a good belt when it came to versatility and comfort. I liked the different materials that cover the interior and exterior portions, plus the stainless steel loop. The price was also fair for what this belt offers, whether it be for the recreational or serious lifting. One thing to note is that this belt does contain a lot of velcro, which does have a lifespan and should be a consideration.

All in all, this belt provided the versatility and comfort a shirtless lifter might want from a versatile belt.

The post Harbinger 4″ Nylon Lifting Belt Review appeared first on BarBend.