Former Navy Seaman Austen Alexander has undergone a wide range of fitness tests since leaving the Army, from physical screening of Navy SEALs to Army Air Assault, which tore his hands. In the most recent video on his YouTube channel, Alexander undertakes a series of strongman events with the guidance of Captain Dan Hughes, an elite athlete on the US Army Warrior fitness team.
The first event is the log press, which consists of a few different movements; Alexander must first clean the log up to his chest while standing up before lifting it above his head. It is a test of explosiveness as well as of strength.
The second round is the circus dumbbell, an oversized weight used pretty much exclusively in strongman events: Austen is able to use both hands to lift it, then stack it over his shoulder before leaning on it. ‘press and hold it over with one hand. Hughes trains Alexander through the moves using a female version of the circus dumbbell before putting him to the test with the men.
Test number three is the yoke, a timed and weighted carryover. After Hughes demonstrates the correct technique, Alexander tries it himself with 375 pounds on the frame, then increases the weight to 475. “I can see how having big traps can help you here,” he says. “I’m not going to lie, I felt like rubber bands were clicking on my back.”
The fourth and final strongman event is the Atlas Stone Elevator. “You don’t want to squat all the way,” Hughes tells Alexander. “You want more of a hip hinge, like an RDL, and less like a squat.” Alexander lifts the 160-pound stone with relative ease, while the larger circumference of the 220-pound stone offers more challenge… but he still gets a passing grade.
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