Interview with Strongman Simon Cowdrey Interviewed By Ben Tatar - January 2009
Simon Cowdrey has started the sport of competing as a strongman at the start of 2008 but what an impact he has left in the sport during his first year. His interview will inspire you to become a strongman competitor and teach you what it takes to be strong. He is full of brilliant advice and his strongman spirit is contagious. Let's meet Simon Cowdrey.
CRITICAL BENCH: Simon, welcome to Critical Bench. Before we get started, what is your height and weight?
My height is 6ft and my weight is 102kg
CRITICAL BENCH: What are your great feats of strength?
My great feat of strength was my 130kg axle clean and press that I did at my first competition. Also, at the Seven Valley Strongman Challenge I did a 160kg atlas stone lift.
CRITICAL BENCH: Simon, you use to train as a bodybuilder. What made you decide to train like a strongman instead?
When I first started training 10 years ago I trained as a bodybuilder. A year ago I was losing interest in training and a guy who had some strongman gear offered for me to give it a try. This was something that I always wanted to try. When I was a kid I would always watched it on TV and thought that I would love to do that someday.
CRITICAL BENCH: Now here you are, a STRONGMAN. What are your favorite things about being a strongman competitor?
My favorite things about being a strongman, hmmm. I enjoy the challenge of a full day of events. It takes you to your limits and beyond. I also enjoy the crowds roaring for you to lift a huge amount of weight and I also enjoy the kids that come and cheer you on looking at you like you're a hero.
CRITICAL BENCH: How many days a week do you train for strongman events?
I train events twice a week making sure I cover every aspect of my next comp.
CRITICAL BENCH: How do you train events?
I train events like I train in the gym. 3 sets of each event, train your grip strength like a man possessed and train your core as every event works uses your core muscles.
CRITICAL BENCH: What do you do for training in the gym?
In the gym you need to train stuff that will help your events. For example, to improve your stone lifts you need to get front squats in your routine. Train smart and stick to compound movements like squat dead lifts, bent rows and military presses.
Simon Cowdrey BSM U105 08
CRITICAL BENCH: Being very new to the sport of strongman at a competitive level, how do you feel about your performance in your first year of doing strongman?
I only started this sport in January 2008. My first comp was the Seven Valley Strongman Challenge where I competed with a back injury and finished 4th out of 30 athletes. My next comp was London's strongest man where the same back injury stopped me from competing in the dead lift and cost me points. I finished 6th out of 20 guys. Then I tried a comp in the less than 105kg category which meant I would not have to compete against 24 stone giants. It was England's Strongest Man under 105kg, top 6 athletes quality for Britain's strongest man under 105kg. My back injury was better and I finished 4th place which put me through to Britain's strongest man under 105kg. There were 6 athletes from England, 3 from Scotland, 2 from Wales and 2 from Ireland. It was the heaviest comp I had done and I only had a month to prepare. I finished 6th place. I was very disappointed with this but some guys I know said it takes a good few years to get your strength up and what I have done in my first year was awesome.
CRITICAL BENCH: What are your plans for strongman in 2009?
I am looking at becoming the 105kg champion in 2009 as long as I stay injury free. My strength is increasing all the time.
CRITICAL BENCH: What is your advice for the future generation of strongman who might be reading your interview?
For the future generation of strongmen I would say get some good advice from the top athletes on training and proper form. Try some power lifting first as this will help build a good foundation and listen to your body. If you feel strong then lift it. If you don't, then drop the weight and practice your explosive power.
CRITICAL BENCH: What would you say is your most hardcore strongman story?
My most hardcore strongman story was at the Britain's strongest man comp. After I had lifted the 120,140 and 160kg atlas stones my training partner was yelling at me to run to the tire and flip it but where I had strained so much on the 160kg stone I could not even see the tire as there were so many stars in my eyes. I got there in the end though..lol
CRITICAL BENCH: Away from being a strongman what do you enjoy doing?
Away from strongman training I enjoy spending time with my family! Taking the kids swimming. Strongman is a life style, you have to live it, eat it, breath it and sleep it. It is a full time job itself. I spend a lot of time away from home training and it puts a strain on family life. So every spare second I get I spend it with the family!
CRITICAL BENCH: Strongman is one of the toughest sports. Have you have to overcome a lot of injuries?
I have had to overcome the plagues that are injuries! I will never compete in a comp again if I am injured. At the moment I have damaged both patella tendons, a cracked rib, tennis elbow and have an upper back problem. However, you just have to keep on training; injuries are just part of being a strongman!
CRITICAL BENCH: What are your future goals?
My future goal is to make it to the 105kg worlds.
CRITICAL BENCH: What is your diet like and supplement plan like?
CRITICAL BENCH: What breed of person does strongman?
You have to be a certain bread of person to be a strongman! Like a construction worker would make a good strongman as he is used to busting his butt at work!
CRITICAL BENCH: What makes you happy?
Hitting personal bests at the gym makes me happy and aiming to beat it again makes me keep going.
CRITICAL BENCH: What goes through your head before you hit a big lift?
Before I hit a big lift I am very quiet thinking in my head about what I'm going to do. I think about ripping the bar off the floor with such power that it will fly 20ft in the air!!
CRITICAL BENCH: As far as strongman goes, why do you want to be the best?
I want to be the best for my kids. I want to stand victorious on the battle field and my kids to look at me and say that's my dad up there, he is the best!! That's what drives me. After all the sacrifices I have made at home by not seeing my family much this is the repayment I give to them so they can say it was worth it!!!
CRITICAL BENCH: What will you remember the most about your strength journey?
I will remember most about my strength journey is that every time I have needed help and I asked the top strongmen for advice they have always helped me. The strongman community is small but the guys never let you down. They are always there to help.
CRITICAL BENCH: Simon, are you very well known in your Country for being a strongman competitor as strongman is well known down there? Do you have any sponsorship?
As it is only my first year in the sport and I have achieved this much already. I am very well known on the under 105kg circuit! Everyone is looking at me for some BIG results in 2009. I have picked up sponsorship from LAmuscle.com
CRITICAL BENCH: I think this interview will inspire and help many others. It has been awesome talking to you and we wish you all the best. In closing who would you like to thank?
In closing I would like to thank Laurence Shahlaei, Nick McKinless, Dale Norris and Rob Frampton. They have all given me advice on training. Also my training partners Ian Whiting and Darren Dixon. Of course I am thankful for my family that I love so much for their continued support! Without that I would not have made it so far.