The Tampa Bay Strongman Classic took place on a gorgeous sunny day with a cool fall breeze. It was the kind of day Floridians long for all year long. A perfect day for competition at Quaker Steak and Lube in Clearwater, Florida.
Donnie Kiernan founded The Tampa Bay Strongman Classic in 2011 after he returned from a tour in Iraq. It became a yearly event sanctioned by the United States Strongman Corporation. Additionally, it is nationally known as the best strongman event in the Southeast.
Competitor Joseph Brooks had this to say about Donnie and the Strongman competition. “Donnie Kiernan is a good friend of mine who spares no expense at putting on a great show. He partners consistently with some of the finest organizations in the Tampa Bay region to put on a show that is always entertaining and full of competitive, high-caliber athletes from all over the nation. I plan on defending my title for as long as I can while my body is still capable of putting on high quality performances. I invite anyone who wants to come to Tampa Bay to try their hand at this competition. You will have a phenomenal time and you will be able to compete against some of the finest strength athletes you will ever meet.”
It was our honor at Frog Fitness to be a sponsor of the 5th Annual Tampa Bay Strongman. Even more to have our FROG used as part of the competitions medley.
All eyes were on The Frog throughout the day! We made several Frogs available so the competitors could practice before the final competition. Joel Metzger along with the rest of the team worked with each athlete explaining proper form and technique. It was exciting to see the positive response of so many of the Strongman athletes as well as guests.
After the event we had the opportunity to interview several of the winners. They each shared their thoughts on The Frog.
Joseph Brooks, the winner of the lightweight class began competing in Strongman competitions only two years ago. A good friend and former Rugby teammate invited him to dead-lift his Saturn! Afterwards, Joseph became hooked on the sport and went on to compete in the 2015 USS Nationals. Joseph describes the Strongman as multi-faceted placing demands on athletes which require sufficient levels of speed, stamina, and in some cases agility in order to excel in their class. He says, “If you’re a person who likes variety in your training while still prioritizing strength, Strongman is the lifting sport for you. It is less one-dimensional and cut and dry than power-lifting or weightlifting, and that is the appeal in competing in or spectating a Strongman contest.” This Strongman competition marked Joseph’s second year competing in this event. He took 3rd place last year. This year, he then secured a first place victory competing against a former champion of the 220 class. He also competed against several national Strongman competitors, and last years champion. Congratulations Joseph!
When ask his opinion of THE FROG Joseph said, “The Frog is a curious piece of equipment. Equal parts ab wheel and exercise in mobility, it appears to be an interesting tool that promotes abdominal stability and coordinated movement of the upper and lower body simultaneously. It is not a common fixture in strongman events, but what I noticed about the equipment was that it exposed lots of general mobility and abdominal weaknesses in the athletes who were competing. As a piece of equipment, I acknowledge that it is a good way to test out one’s ability to stabilize and utilize the abs while performing simultaneous movements with the upper and lower body.”
Sarah Lanzillo, this year’s heavyweight Champion, spent some time on the FROG before the big event. While in the military her hobbies were basketball and weightlifting. She refers to herself as a “gym rat”! Sarah heard about the Tampa Bay Strongman Challenge in 2015 and signed up immediately. She then took 4th place in her first ever competition! Every Monday Sarah is at Elliot’s Open Gym at Strength Camp Gym in St. Petersburg. She trains under Elliott Hulse. One day he asked her what she planned on doing with her training? She explained that she was looking at Power-lifting and Strongman competitions. He agreed right away to sponsor her for Strongman. Since then, Sarah has dedicated herself to training with the best in the sport, absorbing knowledge from those more experienced than herself. In June, Sarah took first in a Strongman competition. With her Tampa Bay Strongman Classic placement, she has achieved her second championship in a matter of only a few months. She plans to finish out the year participating in at least two more upcoming events. Congratulations Sarah!
After winning her latest championship Sarah had this to say about the FROG, “After Joel showed me how to properly use the implement it became more of a hip exercise for me. In my mind I wanted to keep my back parallel with the ground, tuck my legs under me, and explode from the hips. It was more than just a core workout it was a whole body workout. I truly believe I won that event because of the training with Joel!”
Everyone at Frog Fitness appreciates this opportunity. We could not ask for better endorsements! We know that the FROG is capable of assisting athletes at every level in every sport. It means so much to hear it straight from the athletes themselves!
After the event Donnie shared, “The Frog was mocked, ridiculed, and, most of all, FEARED by the 70 competitors at the Roman & Roman Tampa Bay Strongman Classic at first. Few, if any, had a chance to train on this new implement, so they were showing up blind to the competition. In the end, a newfound respect was earned for the Frog by many athletes, as it exposed weaknesses that have not yet been addressed and even excelled some of the well rounded athletes to a well earned victory.”
Frog Fitness would like to congratulate all the winners and competitors of the Tampa Bay Strongman Classic 2016.
The winners of this years event:
- HW – Kiel Digganaro
- MW – Joseph Hernandez
- LW – Joseph Brooks
- Masters – Chris McMath
- Novice – Michael Hernandez
- HW Women – Sarah Lanzillo
- LW Women – Shamaira Fitzgerald
For a list of all competitors visit this link.
Looking forward to many more events in the future!