Roughneck: My First Strength and Fitness Competition

by Willie on March 8, 2017

in Daily, Fitness, Goals, Running, Strength Training, Weight Loss

I never thought of myself as an athlete. I’m the kind of person that was always picked last when playing sports. I was the overweight one that no one really wanted on their team. Sports wasn’t really my thing.

When I started running, I still didn’t call myself an athlete. I was just running to be social. I’m not competitive at all. I just ran for the exercise. Even in race situations, I was just running for fun. I wasn’t trying to be the best. I just wanted to finish what I started.

The past seven weeks have been a complete departure from that previous mentality.

For the past month and a half, I pushed my body to higher limits. That pushing started when I decided to sign up for the Roughneck competition.


What is the Roughneck?

It is a strength and fitness competition. It’s not powerlifting. I wouldn’t even call it a Strongman competition. It’s something different.

I would call it a challenge of the physical limits. The competition consists of two divisions: Heavy and Scaled. I signed up for the Scaled division since this was my first competition. Each division has several weight classes depending on the athlete’s weight. I was in the Roustabout weight class.

The scaled division has five events: Farmer’s Carry, Bench Press, Tire Flip, Tire Pull and lastly the Chain & Anchor Pull. Each event last 2 minutes then you have 1 minute of rest before you start the next event.

Why did I sign up?

I signed up for the competition to push myself outside of my comfort zone. I’ve never been an athlete. I’m the guy who just ran and occasionally lifts weights. Since I started losing weight, I wanted to try something different. So, I talked to my friend Damien (he signed up for the Heavy division) and he suggested that I sign up. He said that it couldn’t hurt to try it. I had nothing to lose.

So, I signed up.

Once I found out what the events were, I really thought about my strengths and weaknesses for the event. My bench press was horrible at the time that I thought about signing up. I think I could only bench around 120 lbs. for 12 reps. Seven weeks later, I bench 155 for 12 reps. I still have more work to do on my bench press. I realized my strengths were all in my lower body. So, I really trained on building my legs up more especially my hamstrings since they are a nagging body part.

I spent the weeks building up to the events really working on my weaknesses and improving my strengths. If I wasn’t training with weights, then I was doing cardio. I knew I had a 5K to run before the Roughneck but I was more focused on the competition.

Fast forward to this weekend.

I ran my 5K but I took it easy. My focus was more on the Roughneck than the 5K. I wanted to watch Damien do his run but I missed it. Luckily, his wife, Jes, recorded it. I watched him pull then push a huge Ford F-350 barefoot. Actually, one of his shoes started to come off so he did it barefoot regardless. It was insane!

After waiting for what seemed like forever, I finally did my Roughneck run.

My Roughneck Run:

First Event: Farmer’s Carries


My first event was the Farmer’s Carry. You have to hold to long pipes that have a handle attached to them. You walk up and down as many times as you can while holding the pipes for two minutes. My grip strength isn’t exactly stellar. I went into this event not expecting a huge performance.

I was mistaken.

It was probably one of my best events of the five. I’m not sure how many times I carried but I promised myself I wouldn’t let it go until the 2 minutes were up and I didn’t.

Second Event: Bench Press

The next event was the bench press. You lay on a mat on the ground and you press a steel beam that weighs around 135 lbs as many times in two minutes as possible. I knew I was only going to press this bar at least 12 times.

I got 10 repetitions before I strategically called that event. I wanted to save a little extra rest for the next event.

Third Event: Tire Flip

The next event was the tire flip. This event was another good one for me. I kept flipping the tire as much as I could in the two minutes. I started using the grooves in the tire as a grip to flip the tire more and more. I had to stop a couple of times but I flipped the tire for almost 2 whole minutes.

Fourth Event: Tire Pull

The tire pull was next. I will say that these last two events were tough. The tire had a rope attached on each side. I had to pull a tire attached to a thin rope across a white line as many times as possible in two minutes. It was a challenge. My tire kept getting stuck on the parking lot gravel. I managed to get it across the line twice but this wasn’t even the hardest event yet.


Fifth and Final Event: Chain and Anchor Pull

The hardest event was the last event: the chain and anchor pull. This event was pure evil. The chain supposedly weighed around 135 lbs and an anchor was attached to the end of the chain. A lot of people had trouble with the anchor tipping over which resulted in the anchor digging into the parking lot and getting stuck.

I didn’t have that problem.

The chain was just really heavy and awkward to hold. My quads and hamstrings were on fire by the time I got done with the last event. I got the chain and anchor pass the line twice. I was toast after that.

The Aftermath:

I will say that the Roughneck was an incredibly challenging event. Seriously, I had a lot of fun with it. The whole time during my run I had this mindset to win my weight class. So I pushed myself.

A few hours later, I found that I won my weight class. It was so awesome to actually win my first competition.

The guy who isn’t competitive became competitive.

I was just super happy that I won and that Angela and our friends got to see me compete.

Will I do another one? I’m seriously thinking about it. The next one is during the summer. Until then, I’ll keep training. I’ll keep dropping weight until I hit my goals. I continue being competitive with myself. The guy who never considered himself an athlete is actually an athlete.

Would you ever do a fitness competition?

  • Maryfran Clingan

    So many things to say. First and foremost I have to say kudos for pushing yourself out of your comfort zone!!!! And secondly….you did incredible!!!! It looks Halle going but rewarding and fun!!!!!!

    • The competition was fun but very tough at times. I’m definitely thinking about doing it again in the summer.

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