Brian Shaw, four-time winner of the World’s Strongest Man title, isn’t afraid of a challenge. But his latest contest was a little out of his usual element: taking on his wife, Keri Shaw, in a five-round workout challenge which took them both out of their respective comfort zones. Keri’s challenges are more aligned with CrossFit workouts, while Brian’s lean into his strongman prowess.
The first challenge consists of one minute of circus dumbbell presses, with the weight of the dumbbells adjusted for each contestant: Keri’s weighs 60 pounds, while Brian’s is three times heavier at 180 pounds. Brian wins the first round, completing 11 full reps to Keri’s 10.
Next up is the second challenge, which is much more suited to Keri: a minute of burpee box jumps. Brian’s box on this challenge is lower than Keri’s, due to his size. “I’m excited to test my conditioning, I’ve been working hard,” he says in the video, referring to his recent quest to slim down and cut body fat, which has involved incorporating more cardio into his workout regime. And it looks like it’s paying off; Brian keeps up with Keri, racking up 11 reps in one minute. Quite the accomplishment, when you remember that for Shaw, just completing one rep involves lifting his entire body weight of around 420 pounds.
“When you’re doing burpees, think of getting off the ground as ‘efficiently’ as possible,” says Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S. “If you focus only on quickness, but you’re not hitting efficient positions, you’re going to leak and waste energy… And you want your feet constantly at a width from which you can jump. So when you lower your torso to the ground, and you’re in that plank, they’re wide. When you leap your feet back towards your hands, they’re wide, too. Do this, and when it’s time to jump, you won’t have to waste any time getting into optimal position to jump—because you’re already there.”
The third and fourth rounds go back towards Brian’s strongman wheelhouse: the tank push, which Brian wins, followed by a loading race, which Keri wins. Finally, in the fifth event, the two compete to be the first to complete 50 kettlebell swings, ensuring that the bell reaches face level for each rep.
“The kettlebell swing is all about hinging at your hips,” says Samuel. “Even more than that it is a move that lets us explosively express what’s called hip extension… This action is crucial to moving and standing correctly, and critical to improving your athleticism (and your squat and deadlift movements).”
Keri wins, reaching 50 reps just a second before Brian. Both spouses had a punishment lined up for their partner, just to add extra incentive to the competition. In this case, Brian has to go through with getting his nose hair waxed—which sounds even more painful than the workout.
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