Jon Bond: The ‘Strongman’ of The Arnold Classic Asia

It’s over – The Arnold Classic Asia has been and gone, showing some of the strongest, most sculptured and most dedicated athletes in the world competing in a battle to be crowned as an ‘Arnold Classic’ winner. The exhibition held over 200 competitors from more than 30 countries and Jon Bond, gym manager and personal trainer for Ultimate Performance Hong Kong, was one of those competing in the strongman event.

After the intense build up, it was time. Read on to find out what it’s really like to compete in such a world class event and hear how it went for Jon.

How Did The Competition Go?

This is a difficult one to answer with all of my injuries. If I’m honest I was just happy to be able to start. I achieved a personal best with the yoke carry, the first event but pulled my bicep again in the process.

I managed to finish 2nd in the first event but that was the beginning of the end – I completed 3 out of 5 events. I can’t help but wonder how well I would have done if I was free of injury and healthy. I felt really good on the day so I guess frustrated is the best word to describe how I felt about the result.

Sadly You Were Injured, What Happened?

The first tweak of my bicep was in the ‘Yoke Carry’ and next up was the ’90kg Log Lift’. During the warm up I felt ‘okay’ and the first competitive rep felt light, so I threw more power into the 2nd rep and ‘bang’.

“I felt a sharp pain and a loud pop – I knew, this time, it was serious but I didn’t want to give up at this stage.”

I moved on to the ‘210kg Deadlift’ and again, the first time round felt light but with each rep, I actually felt like my arm was going to tear off. I got to 3 reps and had to call it a day, I knew my competition was over. As it turns out I’d torn my bicep’s distal tendon from the bone…so that kinda explains the pain but even then I hated giving up, it’s just not in my vocabulary.

How Was The Atmosphere?

The support and the atmosphere was awesome – strongman truly is unique.

“Never before have I seen competitors cheering on their rivals.”

Because you know exactly how it feels you can’t help but support everyone else. It’s always nice to win and that will always be my aim in any competition but I found myself getting behind all of the guys, pushing them to achieve their best result possible – I loved this part of the sport.

How Was It Meeting The Other Competitors?

It really was incredible – everyone is there to win but each competitor is so supportive of each other. I was expecting a lot more ego throughout the competition but I can honestly say there was none at all.

The atmosphere between the competitors really took the pressure off, I couldn’t speak highly enough of each and every person involved.

How Does The Competition Work?

There are 5 events that run throughout the day:

Event 1:

300kg Yoke Carry for 20m

190kg Famers walk for 20m

with a 90-second time cap

Event 2:

90kg Log Lift Max Reps in 1 Minute

Event 3:

210kg Deadlift Max Reps in 1 Minute

Event 4:

400kg Tire Flip x 2

100kg Sandbag Load x 2

Medley for Time

Event 5:

110kg Atlas Stone Max Reps in 1 Minute

For me, all that is going through my head is ‘control’ – we are lifting a lot of uneven objects and the biggest bitch in strongman is losing control of the weight or dropping it. If you do drop, you either have to waste a load of energy picking it up again or you miss a rep and again…waste energy, so all I focus on is keeping a controlled pace and to not waste energy.

“I don’t even think about who to beat – don’t get me wrong, it’s good to have a target but when I’m competing it’s basically ‘me vs me’.”

How Do You Feel Now It’s Over?

The whole experience was amazing, I really do love the Strongman Competition. I can’t say it was everything I had hoped for sadly. If I was healthy I would have been aiming for the top 2 in my division without a doubt.

If you are into your lifting, I would 100% recommend this sport – it will be the most fun you have lifting weights and I will definitely be doing it again.

What’s Next For You?

Surgery! Unfortunately, I need an operation to reattach my bicep this week and after that, I will have a few months of recovery before I can train properly again.

The thought of not being able to train is killing me and will probably test me more than any sport or training has ever done. It’s just another challenge though so I’m not finished yet – I will come back from this bigger and stronger and more importantly, a better person. We will see what the future holds when I’m fit and healthy again but one thing I will guarantee is that I’ll never give up…training will always be a big part of my life.