Keep It In Front

We spent a gorgeous, sunny day last weekend outside Springfield, IL for the May Highland Games. It was the first time competing this year without the long johns and UnderArmour cold weather wear. Delicious.

I turned the caber for the first time which was an absolute blast! On my first pick, it was getting away from me when people kept yelling, “Pull it in! Pull it in!” SRSLY. It was the equivalent of screaming “Activate your shoulders!” while attempting a PR press. I kindly (I hope) asked that instead of screaming to do something I know I need to do, scream how. ‘Move back’ etc. An action I can do. It worked. My second pick was golden (thanks to Katie Steingraeber’s advice to squeeze the log with my neck) and away I went.

Getting set again

I have to say, the brief moment between getting to the bottom of the Caber and picking it is equal to getting to a start position and having the gun go off. It’s GO TIME. Fun stuff!

The stone throws went okay, slow and steady improvement is what I’ll take. I didn’t use the spin on the open stone since I didn’t feel I’m getting it down and still using my legs but I hope to have a session or two with Sara Hilgers this summer to nail it down. I PR’d with the slide but STILL got beat by one of our Junior competitors! He was cool.

I worked hard on the distance throws to keep the weight where it belongs and had a spectacular fall out of the trig on my first heavy throw, followed up by SUPERSTAR! pose that would’ve made Mary Katherine Gallagher proud. We gotta have fun, ya know. I PR’d my light distance throw by a couple inches from Minnesota and I’ll take it. I’ll always take a PR.

Our last event was the WOB. We had just enough time to sit around while waiting for the gents to finish up, that getting a bit stiff; tired; and frankly less motivated than I would have preferred was predominant walking over. We opened at 8′ and I decided to come in at 11. Yes, the day will come when I need to bite the bullet and come in at 12′ but not this day. I started jumping around and trying to fire up when the crew was going at 9’… then missed my first attempt. Uh oh. I moved out a little bit on my next throw and it was fine. 12 was fine. Then the dreaded 13′. I hadn’t hit 13 since March and I was a bit pissed off a bout it. Thankfully I hit it and went for a PR of 13’6″.


Things are a bit fuzzy here. I don’t think I hit 13.6 on the first throw but I don’t remember. I DO know that when I hit it, I immediately looked at the judge and gave him the thumbs up. As in, “Higher. We’re going higher.” My first throw at 14 wasn’t close, I remember that. My second throw had the height but didn’t go over. I asked the head judge if I should move out. He said no but went on to say that he noticed my arm veered off to the side a little bit. Keep it out in front when I toss. That’s all I thought about when I was winding up, keep it in front, and over the bar it went. I think I was more relieved than happy in that first moment, but happiness quickly took over.

The first thing I did (other than getting a happy hugs and kisses from the Bigg man, that goes without saying) was profusely thank our judge, Neil, for his cue. It was spot on and one I’ll remember going forward. Keep it in front. Word.

Overall it was a wonderful day and I got to spend time again on the field with Games friends Adele and Anita who were also in Springfield in March.


  My second place sword went to the Oz man who worked his arse off shagging all day and in general, will treat it with lots of TLC.

Springfield sword


Germans who wish to use firearms should join the SS or the SA-ordinary citizens don’t need guns, as their having guns doesn’t serve the state.

Heinrich Himmler

Training Log

About tosabarbell

For training opportunities at tosabarbell, call or text Juli at 320-296-9313. e-mail to At tosabarbell, I build relationships cultivated in a strength and learning environment. There is no 12 week magic pill program to strength but rather a lifetime commitment to be the very best and most useful human you can be. tosabarbell is a private, home grown gym with three lifting platforms; squat rack; prowlers; throwing implements; bars, bumpers and everything else needed for an effective strength and conditioning program. Straightforward barbell programming including the Olympic lifts; sound (read: not fancy bullshit) diet advance for weight gain or loss; and strong coaching will ensure you will meet your goals such as becoming stronger, more explosive, and better conditioned. I have been coaching teams and athletes for over 30 years. I grew up participating in various sports at various levels but was always drawn to those that require strength training. I have multiple local, national, and world records in the sports of Weightlifting and Highland Games Heavy Events as well as a combined total of 5 World Championships. My 5 years of training and coaching under Mark Rippetoe provided a wide range of influence from some of the top strength & conditioning and throwing coaches in the country. I will strongly encourage tosabarbell athletes to compete (and prepare you to do so.) However, tosabarbell is also for those who wish to be stronger and go through life feeling better. Matt WanAt is a retired Professional Strongman who competed frequently with Strongman Champions League in Europe. He played a year of D1 football with Iowa before concentrating on his Chemical Engineering degree in Iowa City. He is a native of Wauwatosa and still remains a staunch supporter of Tosa East. This blog will be a mixture of strength notes, coaching and nutrition tips, personal shit; bacon delicacies, and a whole lot of fun.
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