The Arnold Strongman Classic at the 2017 Arnold Sports Festival

The Arnold Strongman Classic at the 2017 Arnold Sports Festival The Arnold Strongman Classic at the 2017 Arnold Sports Festival
AuthorChristina McLoughlin
Publishedon March 02, 2017

According to the documentary of British Strongman, Eddie Hall, the Arnold Classic is one of the most high profile competitions in the sport of Strongman. Of course the Arnold Classic is second to the World’s Strongest Man competition but it brings the best that Strongman has to offer! This year, we see some familiar faces competing or unable to compete as well as some new faces that are just starting to make a name for themselves. In this article, we unpick what occurs in the Arnold Classic, the high-profile athletes to watch and athletes that could not make the event.  

The Events

Event 1: The Bale Tote

Returning in 2017, the Bale Tote is a Yoke event in which competitors will carry a 589kg/1300lb and 709kg/1565lb Yoke for time and distance. This will be a timed event with competitors having 30 seconds to move the Yoke four metres, if competitors cannot move the yoke for four metres, the event is scored by distance. The Bale Tote will begin at 3:30pm (Columbus time) on Friday March 3.

Event 2: The Timber Carry

Also returning in 2017, the Timber Carry consists of athletes carrying a wooden frame weighing approximately 517kg/1140lb up ramp that is 10.7 metres in length. Much like the Bale Tote, the event is scored by time first, then distance for those athletes that don’t finish the event. According to Rogue Fitness, the Timber Carry has been consistently included in the Arnold Classic since 2002.

The Timber Carry will begin right after the Bale Tote at 4:45pm (Columbus time) on Friday March 3.

Event 3: Rogue Elephant Bar Deadlift

Making its debut in 2016, the Elephant Bar Deadlift is an event which tests Deadlift strength with a unique barbell. The bar weight begins at 340kg/749lb and will continue to rise, much like an Olympic Weightlifting competition. The Elephant bar is a 2.9 metre barbell with a 29mm diameter and a 200 KSI (kilopound per square inch) pressure rating and weighing in at ~30kg/65lb! The event is obviously judged on weight lifted with each lifter having 30 seconds to complete their attempt. Last year Eddie Hall pulled 465kg/1026lb on this bar, hopefully someone can go higher!

The Elephant Bar Deadlift is a must watch event and it begins on Saturday March 4th at 1:45pm (Columbus time)

Event 4: The Bag over Bar

The Bag over Bar event is back in 2017 and works similarly to a keg toss event. Competitors will toss bags weighing 22kg/50lb to 45kg/100lb over a bar that is 4.5m high. The event will be scored on the weight of the bag first followed by the number of times the bag is successfully thrown over the bar. An event where intensity is very low, however, this event will focus on power, the ability to generate force rapidly.

The Bag over Bar event will begin right after the Elephant Bar Deadlift event at 3:15pm on Saturday March 4.

This is how the Bag over Bar event will work:

Event 5: The Austrian Oak

The Austrian Oak returns in 2017 and will be the deciding event at this year’s competition. The Austrian Oak is a traditional log lift event where competitors can choose a 175kg/385lb or 195kg/430lb log for as many repetitions as possible. The event is judged on number of repetitions but here’s the kicker, if they choose the 195kg log and achieve one successful repetition, it scores higher than any number of repetitions done at 175kg. However, if no successful repetitions are done, it seems that they cannot drop your chosen load and they will receive zero points. Strategy will come into play here big time.

The final event of the Arnold Classic will begin at 9:00pm on Saturday March 4.

Athletes to Watch

Brian Shaw (USA)

Brian Shaw is arguably the best strongman in the world at the moment. A 4-time World’s Strongest Man champion and 2-time Arnold Classic champion, Shaw comes into this event off winning the 2016 World’s Strongest Man. Last year, Shaw broke the world record Stone Lift with 252kg/555lb but finishing second to arguably the greatest ever strongman, Zydrunas Savickas. A jack of all trades, the 6’8” behemoth comes into the 2017 Arnold Classic as favourite for his third Arnold’s championship! Check out his world record Stone Lift!

Hafþór Björnsson (ISL)

In doing my research for this piece, every time Hafþór Björnsson is mentioned, the first piece of information is about his acting career, however Björnsson is fast becoming one of the best strongmen on the competitive circuit. He gets better every year and his results in the World’s Strongest Man and the Arnold Classic show that. In his first World’s Strongest Man in 2011 he finished 6th while last he managed second behind Shaw. Likewise with his first Arnold Classic in 2012, he finished 10th while in 2016 he finished 5th. Björnsson looks good to improve on this placing in the 2017 Arnold’s and may even push Shaw all the way. His highlight last year was his world record ‘Weight Over Bar’ with 25kg/56lb thrown over 5.9m, check out the record below!

Notable Absentees

Eddie Hall (GBR)

The Beast! Eddie Hall is absent from this meet after recently competing in Britain’s Strongest Man and planning to compete in Europe’s Strongest Man in April. It looks like he’s thinking of the long game here to be in the best shape for 2017 World’s Strongest Man. Last year was such a great year for Eddie being the first individual to Deadlift 500kg with standard size plates (with straps). Have a look at that iconic moment below. Also check out his documentary ‘Eddie: Strongman’ currently on Netflix.


Zydrunas Savickas (LTU)

Second on the all-time list of World’s Strongest Man titles, Zydrunas Savickas looks to be playing the long game as well as an injury has ruled him out of the Arnold Classic. Savickas was the 2016 Arnold Classic champion beating Brian Shaw by 1 point! He turns 42 this year which makes him 13 years older than Hall and Björnsson, 7 years older than Shaw so he is certainly getting on in age but I would certainly like to see him break Mariusz Pudzianowski’s (POL) World’s Strongest Man title record which currently sits at 5. Check out Savickas dominating the Austrian Oak last year, keep in mind that only one other competitor lifted that weight for one repetition.

Even with Hall and Savickas not competing, the 2017 Arnold Classic will be fantastic to watch! The Arnold Classic begins on Friday March at 3:30pm Columbus time with the Bale Tote event!


Until next time, train hard, train smart and dominate on the platform.


Tim Davies – Team PB Powerlifting

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AuthorChristina McLoughlin
Publishedon March 02, 2017