While visiting Ohio for the Arnold Classic earlier this month, former World’s Strongest Man Eddie Hall met up with powerlifter Stefi Cohen, who can lift more than four times her own bodyweight and is renowned for smashing world records in different weight classes.
The pair spent the day training together, and as often happens when you get a couple of strength sports pros together, things got competitive pretty quickly.
They start by doing as many reps as possible (AMRAP) on the overhead press, with Hall pressing 132 pounds (60 kilograms) and the considerably tinier Cohen presses 35 pounds (16 kilograms). Hall calculates that they both manage somewhere in the area of 30 reps each.
Then they move on to a lateral raise variation which involves leaning forward to really work the rear delt. “We’re doing about 50 percent of what we were doing for the overhead,” Hall explains. “50 percent of that weight, bent over, as many reps as you can, basically until you die, stop breathing, or your arms fall off. Ideally I want to see somebody pass out and **** themselves, otherwise that means you haven’t tried hard enough.”
Neither Hall nor Cohen lose consciousness (or control of their bladders), so they move onto a seated barbell press. “I would do four plates, but I’m not feeling it today,” says Cohen, winking to the camera.
Then, just for fun, they work up to a “tough eight” on the Cuban press, which involves keeping the bar close to the body throughout the lift. Emboldened, Hall proposes they end the training session with a strongman-tier superset of front raises, “round the world” raises and overhead presses. “That’s an entire workout on its own,” Cohen protests. “Let’s negotiate this, alright? Let’s talk about this for a second, I mean, be reasonable.”
They whittle the set down to 50 pound dumbbells for the front raises, 110 pounds on the overheads, just 20 pounds on the round the worlds, then up to 45 pounds for an AMRAP overhead press finisher that leaves Cohen sweating and gasping for breath.
Between sets, Hall opens up to Cohen about how he stays motivated in his training, and how he has drawn inspiration from each and every setback.
“I used to get really upset and angry at myself every time I failed, you know, you wind yourself up and say to yourself, ‘why am I doing this, what’s the point?'” he says. “But then [my dad] said to me ‘what if I told you you were only 20 failures away from winning the World’s Strongest Man?’ When you put it in that perspective, all those failures you’ve had, it’s all a building block to becoming the best. At the end of the day, the only way to learn is to fail. So I see all failures as a positive, and just use it as fuel in the fire to get better and keep pushing forward.”
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