By Paul Mouser
America’s Strongest Man/Woman is coming at us fast, and the roster this year is as stacked across the board as any edition of this show in recent memory. Strongman Corporation & Iron Resurgence have put together an amazing show – 3 events on Saturday 11/7, and 3 more events on Sunday 11/8 and you best believe S. Corp will be streaming the whole deal. Let’s breakdown the biggest women’s division to get this all rolling shall we?
The Middleweight Pro women (82kg/180lbs weight limit) are often the most competitive women’s class at any given competition you may come across in the United States. They are the largest ladies’ class at Nationals every year, and have produced some pros that can hang with the HW women in the world. The roster for ASW includes:
Gabby Burgholzer, 3rd place 2019 Nationals
Liefia Ingalls, former Arnold & WSW champ
Abs Deal, 2nd place 2019 Nationals
Erin Murray, 2019 National Champion
Cori Butler, 2nd place Arnold Amateur Worlds
This collection of iron athletes will face the following challenges:
Circus Bell Press for Reps – 57kg/125lbs
Sandbag Toss over 13ft – 14kg/30lbs x2, & 16kg/35lbs x2
Basket Style Deadlift for Reps – 193kg/425lbs
Arm Over Arm Truck Pull
Husafell Max Distance – 109kg/240lbs
Sandbag Carry & Load – 68kg/150lbs, 82kg/180lbs, 95kg/210lbs, 109kg/240lbs
Let’s talk Circus Bell first! Gabby Burgholzer is an absolutely phenomenal presser, but Circus Bell is perhaps the overhead event most reliant on explosiveness, technical intricacies, and athleticism. Will her pure pushing strength transfer as well to this event as it does for well rounded athletes like Liefia and Abs?
In the Sandbag Toss, look for Abs to shine. Her movements will be efficient, and she’ll have plenty of explosion from the hip. Could Cori Butler sneak up on this event and steal everyone’s thunder? Yep, in fact, she who makes the least mistakes could be the winner here, so it’s anyone’s ballgame.
The Basket Deadlift, which is essentially a front bar machine pull on hinge to my understanding, could be a place for Erin Murray to make up some points. This is not a slight to Erin, but I saw her about a week ago limping badly on an injured leg (calf I believe), so I don’t see her setting PRs on the more dynamic events. On the deadlift however, Erin may be less inhibited by her troublesome wheel.
Arm Over Arm Truck Pull is a tough event to predict, as it incorporates so much of the body, and is difficult to quantify. One pull in one location may look similar to another pull in another location, but those pulls may be separated by an extreme degree of difficulty. We will find out who has been training their grip here I’d wager.
Max Distance Husafell Carry is an absolute classic event and will test the strength of the bodies and the minds of our MW contenders. Every one of these ladies has faced this event before at some point, but only one has obsessed so much over the event that she traveled overseas to conquer the original Husafell Stone in Iceland – Liefia Ingalls.
Sandbag Carry & Load is a grueling yet fitting end to this most epic of contests, and a terrific way to allow these ladies to sort out who is America’s Strongest Woman. Upper body strength is an overlooked aspect of sandbag events, and perhaps the strongest upper body of the bunch belongs to Burgholzer, but does she have strength in the legs and hips to move quickly with a 240lb sandbag at the end of a 6 event show? Butler can do very well here if she’s done her homework with the bags, and I’d wager she has.
At the end of the day it is hard to pick against Liefia Ingalls. Yes I know she’s been out for awhile. Yes I know she had significant health issues. Yes I know the other 4 ladies are powerful athletes that can take any event at any time. The fact remains that you have a former world champion in 2 different leagues both open weight and middleweight that has been on more professional podiums and in more professional competitions than the rest of the roster combined. Liefia could walk on stage with her hands tied behind her back and I would still not count her out of any given event because I’ve seen first hand just insane her power can be. Look for Ingalls to show flashes of brilliance more often than not throughout the course of the show.