It is normal for us to see two strongman athletes getting together for some training, as everyone excels in different areas and can give the other man some advice. Four-time WSM champion Brian Shaw is no stranger to that, having trained with many elite strongmen in the past. This time, he paired up with one of the strongest deadlifters in the world, Gabriel Peña, also known as the Texas Titan. On February 14th, Brian shared the video of their training session on his YouTube channel.
Brian Shaw was at one time the best deadlifter in the world, but after his hamstring injury, he never got back to his best. However, he is still one of the strongest in the world, so finding a training partner who can match him is difficult. Luckily for Brian, Gabriel is an excellent deadlifter, having done a raw triple with 900 lbs (408.2 kg) in training, and also pulled 1000 lbs (452.6 kg) for a single in training.
The pair did the workout in Brian’s home gym in Colorado. Before starting the session, they had to do some warm-up and readiness. It consisted of:
- Single leg RDLs with a dumbbell
- “Back Attack” – weighted back extensions
Their warm-up lasted for about 15 minutes, which was enough to get some sweat going. Following that, Brian Shaw called his coach Joe Kenn to make sure of the workout plan. Joe Kenn answered, and wanted to praise Gabriel for his strength and power, before starting the session.
For the first set of the session, they loaded up 2x 45 lbs plates on each side, alongside some heavy chains hanging from the middle of the barbell. Joe Kenn was on facetime and gave Brian pointers. He insisted on lowering the hips down and pushing the chest up. The deadlifts were also paused, which makes it a lot harder.
Although it is unknown how much they ended up pulling because the chains carry a lot of weight, they were progressively upping it while doing a 15-rep EMOM (every minute on the minute).
“It is something that I very much need to work on, and I can feel that the starting position coming off the ground is what we are trying to emphasize,” said Shaw.
Brian also explained that even though there is a lot of time left until the 2022 WSM, these are the times to get better, both in strength and technique.
Following the paused lifts, the two strongmen moved on to “vert pull” deadlifts, which concentrate on the eccentric phase of the lift. They did the exercise on a special machine, which even Gabriel has not seen yet. Vert pulls were done off a 4-inch block with a “T” shaped bar built into it. The bar was there to make contact with their shins, which prevents their knees from tracking forward over their toes. Gabriel was ready to try the exercise, as it could benefit his deadlift abilities.
“I haven’t used it before, but if it’s another way to fortify my deadlift. You know, I have got big goals in the deadlift, so I’ve got an open mind and am ready to learn.”
Although they focused on the eccentric phase of the lift, both guys were extremely explosive in the concentric phase too. With this type of exercises, they cover a lot of the events that are used in strongman competitions, as it has a huge carryover. For the last exercise of the day, the pair did some speedy yoke walk sets.
“It was great to have Gabriel for the deadlift work, being a great deadlifter. It is a very important thing to have alongside me… That is what it is all about. Getting better together,” said Shaw.
Brian will not compete in the 2022 Arnold Strongman Classic, as his primary focus this year is the 2022 World’s Strongest Man, scheduled May 24-29, set for Sacramento, California. The events and the roster for the 2022 WSM have not been released yet, but all the previous winners have a lifetime invitation, meaning that Brian’s place is secured. The only thing that is revealed is the place and date of the competition, but Brian will definitely be one of the favorites to win it once again. It is safe to assume that Brian wants to get his fifth win and equal the record set by Mariusz Pudzianowski.