Monday Bacon: ‘Ahmstrings

An interesting conversation went down last spring while we were shoveling roasted reindeer into our bellies after the last session of the Iceman contest in Ruka, Finlandia. One of the younger Strongman was bemoaning that his deadlift hasn’t gone up for quite some time and what should he do? J.F. Caron, Canadia’s Strongest man and one of the strongest deadlifters around, without missing a beat of the fork filled rudolph meat says, “Squat.” Again, the youngster stated that he hasn’t really seen a transfer of a big squat to a bigger deadlift. Between MY reindeer feast bite and a sip of Karhu beer I say, “Then you’re not squatting right.” Huh? youngster says.

Me again (J.F. was in mid chew), “Yes. Put the bar lower on your back and bend over more when you squat.” That was met with kind pessimism until J.F. was finished chewing and said ‘Ya, she’s right. You need stronger ‘Ahmstrings’ (Hamstrings for those who don’t speak Quebec’n english.) Ahhhhhhh…’Ahmstrings.

I am motivated to have strong ‘Ahmstrings. First off, I’m 46 and on my 40th birthday I remember a former friend telling me that I hope I’ve appreciated my nice legs because they’re about to go to shit. WHAT?!? I’ll fight that one as long as possible. I squat, heavy-ish for me and then back off sets for my legs. Also, leg strength is a perk for this throwing stuff, duh. I haven’t figured out how to use all of it but when I do, I’ll be fine. For example,

the Caber. I work my way down the log and when I feel my back is in good pulling position and my ‘Ahmstrings are fully loaded, I pick. A quick shout out this last weekend from one of the best, Katie Steingraeber (who has ‘Ahmstrings to the nth degree), to push my shoulder into the log made it that much better and my picks are feeling strong. I may not be all the way down to the ground to pick it but if I were, then I’d have to lower my ass to the point where my ‘Ahmstrings are now slack. Uhhhh, no thank you. The LAST thing I want to do is have loose ‘Ahmstrings and hope they tighten up while I’m picking the log without tearing. Which is the biggest motivator around for me, avoid injury. My pick feels good (push the shoulder in, that was key) and I’ll keep practicing what to do with it AFTER the pick. But slack my ‘Ahmstrings? Nope. Not gonna happen.

I’m going against conventional wisdom for a Caber pick but I’ll keep practicing and working out keeping the log straighter and hopefully turn more. Time will tell. In the mean time, I’ll keep pulling and squatting in a way that keeps my ‘Ahmstrings strong…and looking good…as long as I can.

This is the saddest moment of my life.

Ed White while re-entering his spacecraft after his space walk. The first American to walk in space.

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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