Episode 29 – Derek Owens – Unleashed Podcast

Powerlifting and strongman training are popular sports in the fitness world. They both require strength, power, and determination. But what is the difference between the two and what is the best way to avoid injuries when you lift heavy stuff?

Derek Owens is the guest in this episode of Unleashed Podcast and he is here to answer these and many other questions. Derek has made the transition from powerlifting to a strongman competitor and has learned tons of valuable lessons along the way.

Derek and Greg McCoy are organizing the 13th Show of Strength soon at Hidden Gym, so if you are from Allen, Dallas, or Plano, make sure you don’t miss it!

He shares that this is going to be the biggest show they’ve had so far. There’s going to be a full-blown strongman competition and powerlifting competition this year with two platforms on the powerlifting show.

Furthermore, there are going to be many different divisions and anyone can have the opportunity to compete, no matter the weight, gender, size, or shape!

Here are some of the questions that Derek and host Yuri discuss in the podcast. 

What are the divisions in strongman competition? 

There are a couple of different ones but mainly they are divided into different weight classes. Within the weight classes, there’re even novice divisions as well as masters divisions. There’re masters 40+and 50+ so there’s an array of weight classes and different divisions that anybody can sign up for.

What are the obstacles that competitors would have to overcome during the show?

Usually, when the show is being created it’s already clear what kind of events there will be. There can be a collection of different types of events from static deadlifts, to some types of moving events. However, in some shows, there can be a mystery event and it does keep a lot of competitors on their toes.

Unlike powerlifting, where the competition is always a squat, bench press, and deadlift, the strongman competition brings a lot of different aspects from different sports. Strongman requires competitors to be not only strong, but also dynamic, explosive, and fast.

Does having powerlifting experience help with strongman performance? 

Absolutely yes! The more static strength you have, the easier it would be to perform the movements. Having a really good background in powerlifting can be a great foundation to be an adequate and impressive strongman.

Lifting heavy for a long period of time takes a toll on your joints. How do you stay healthy in this sport?

I take my recovery very seriously. If I’m not focusing on a competition, I don’t ego lift throughout the whole year. I take it easy and stay really light. Those downtimes allow me to put more into my actual prep and to push myself as hard as I can.

In other words, I focus on recovering just as much as I do on training.

How do you continue to build strength, while lifting lighter and recovering? 

The offseason for me is an opportunity to focus on technique. I drill down my technique and you can’t drill down on any technique going too heavy, right? No matter if you’re doing bodybuilding, powerlifting weightlifting, or strongman, if you’re going too heavy to focus on your form, nothing’s actually going to improve.

So I use these lighter workouts to slow down my movements. I focus a lot of time under tension and I hammer down my technique. This way when I go back into my next strength peak, I’m ready. I’m better than ever, and I don’t have to worry about my form not being there.

Do you also implement some sort of bands workouts during your offseason?

Yes, absolutely. I do reverse banded movements, or even counter banded movements that help increase the tension as you go through it overloading. There’s always a way to go heavier without actually adding more weight. Utilizing bands for deadlifts, squats and pressing is an amazing way to help your body take that leap in the offseason.

Do you want to listen to the full episode of Unleashed Podcast with Derek Owens and learn more tips for powerlifting and strongman training? You can do that on Youtube, Spotify, and Apple.

Stay tuned for the upcoming Show of Strength at Hidden Gym and if you are still not a member of the gym, you can get a free day pass here!