Article by Bryan Barrett
The 2015 Worlds Strongest Disabled Man was held in Iceland last month on the 16th of June. The event is organized by four time World’s Strongest, Man Magnús Ver Magnússon, and Arnar Már Jónsson. The competition is divided into two separate divisions; Wheelchair and Standing. The Standing Division is for developmentally disabled competitors and it includes all the usual strongman events only scaled down. The Wheelchair Division is very similar but the events are tailored to competitors who are in wheelchairs; for example, atlas stones are loaded from one drum to another, hand-over-hand truck pull, Hercules and crucifix hold, and log press from a seated incline position.
After seeing a video on Instagram of Cody Colchado, 2015 World’s Strongest Disabled Man Standing Division, I had to sit down with him and ask a few questions.
After watching your video of the atlas stones at “WSDM”, I was astonished by the amount of preparation, focus and trust it takes to complete this event. Can you talk about what is going thru your head and the role of your Coach Flip Silva Jr?
During the atlas stones, I was focused on finding the stones and the drums. My coach Flip helped direct me to the stones and banged on the drums so I could find them. I was intensely focused on my technique, hips down, get my arms around the stone and hands underneath and watch my breathing. Once I lifted the stone, I needed to concentrate to find the drum because I did not want it to fall on my feet.
After being crowned “World’s Strongest disabled Man”, last month in Iceland; give us a couple of highlights of your trip.
I got to meet other competitors who struggle daily with a disability like mine, but who continue on.
I was impressed with the professionalism and respect that the meet director, Anar Mar Jonsson and Magnus Ver Magnusson and the others involved treated us with. Everyone helped and encouraged each other during the competition. That was one thing that was different than any other competition I have ever been at.
Another highlight was going to see Magnus Ver Magnuson’s gym and how proud they were of their sport, strongman. We saw his trophy case full of trophies and the equipment he had to train with. It was an honor to be there. I felt he accepted us as an equal.
The majority of the strongmen/women were introduced through ESPN airing the World’s Strongest Man; how and/or who introduced you to the sport
I first saw the sport in California at Universal Studios. In 1977, I saw Lou Ferrigno and Franco Columbu, then at Magic Mountain in 1981 Bill Kazmaier. I was astonished by their size and strength.
After competing in power lifting for over 25 years, I became interesting in Strongman; being disabled we are not allowed to compete due to liability issues. It was Flip Silva, my coach who found the North American Disabled Strongman Competition in Ohio and got me ready to compete.
Give some insight to the starting strongman community on a typical training day? What are some obstacles you face in training that most take for granted?
During my training, I needed others eyes and feedback. I am not able to see what obstacles are in my way and needed my coach to help me familiarize myself with the objects and with the techniques required for each event.
I needed to consider my experience and background in power lifting, my age and the amount of time needed to prepare for the six events. I used my knowledge in lifting and my education, a masters in kinesiology to come up with a training program.
I broke up my workouts to four times a week, worked on different muscle groups and focused on the intensity level because strong man requires a different mindset than power lifting. I needed to work on strength, power, and muscle endurance in order be prepared for unexpected variables and events.
You are “The World’s Strongest Disabled Man”, and inspire many; someone new to the sport ask, “What are the characteristics of a champion?”
The characteristics needed are determination, discipline, desire, sacrifice, and passion. You also need to command the zone, or harness your aggression and anger when needed.
All the lifting is basically the same; it’s what you put into it. You need to have a passion and faith, because if God’s not in it, you’re not going to win it.
Too many novice competitors expect instant success, there is nothing wrong with coming in 4th place. Many quit when they win one or when it gets too tough.
You are an inspiration to many in the Starting Strongman community, we appreciate your time and wish you the best in the future.