The Importance of Novice Competitions/Divisions in Strongman

The Importance of Novice Competitions/Divisions in Strongman

-Matthew Cavalier

This piece is inspired by a Facebook post I saw this week. Apparently, there are some competitors in the sport of strongman who have complained or questioned the relevance or necessity of novice divisions in strongman competitions. There must have been enough complaints that it warranted a response from some well respected members of the community. This dialogue got me thinking about the issue, and I guess I just want to express my opinion on the matter…not that my opinion really matters all that much.


Novice divisions in the sport, in my opinion, are integral to the growth of the sport. For many people who may be interested in the sport, jumping right into the open division can be very intimidating, especially for someone who has little no experience in competitive strength sports. Novice competitions have a relatively low barrier of entry. No one wants to compete against experienced athletes and get absolutely crushed in every event. Novice competitions give new athletes a chance to experience the competitive field while they are developing their skills. Without novice divisions, I think the turnout for a lot of amateur competitions would be significantly lower, and be detrimental to the growth of the sport. There are only so many people who are going to stick with the sport and continue to compete for years. Without that low barrier of entry to spark an interest, the pool of athletes that could someday compete at a higher level will dry up. The necessity for novice divisions isn’t only prevalent in competitive strongman. It can be seen in just about every sport. Baseball is a great example. In relation to the number of baseball players across all skill levels in America, only a tiny fraction of them will ever even have a chance to play in the MLB. However, without the little league teams, the middle school aged travel ball leagues, the high school teams and college teams, the pool of athletes would be able to develop their skill set over the years that might one day end up playing for the New York Yankees would be practically non-existent. Like baseball, strongman needs that pool of potential athletes who can be promoted to the next level, and someday find themselves competing for the World’s Strongest Man.


Another point that I saw someone make that I think is worth mentioning is the overall health of Americans in general. There are a lot of people out there who live a sedentary lifestyle and don’t get nearly as much exercise as they should. Novice competitions give people who are new to exercise in general a chance to do something physical that they might enjoy. Like previously mentioned, no one new to the sport wants to get crushed by veterans in competition. Getting dominated day in and day out will likely destroy someone’s confidence and potentially create resentment to the sport itself. I think it’s important that strongman continues to promote inclusivity to anyone who wants to challenge themselves and their peers physically. If we want people to move and be healthier so that we have a stronger society, we need to allow them to compete at their level.


To you guys and girls who consider yourselves to be serious athletes and don’t have time for the novice people, I get it. I get where you’re coming from. You spend a lot of time and resources on your training, travels and competitions. I understand that this is your chosen sport. Just like an athlete who plays football, baseball or any other sport, this is what you do. However, you need to remember something. A long time ago, that beginner who just pressed an 80 pound ten inch log for the first time was you. There was a time when you didn’t know squat about the sport and how to compete, and quite frankly, you probably got your ass handed to you over and over. I’m willing to bet that you got some help along the way from someone you looked up to. Whether it was a coach or another athlete, I’m going to bet very few of you got to the next level completely on your own. Remember what it was like when you were a kid? Remember the athletes you used to look up to? Let’s say your favorite basketball player was Kobe Bryant, and you had a chance to pick his brain. Wouldn’t it make you feel like shit if he told you that he didn’t have time for you because you were just a punk kid dribbling a ball? So, why would you have that attitude towards anyone who wants to try the sport? Be the role model that they can respect and look up to as they develop. Also, I know a lot of you are parents, and your kids are watching. Make sure they see you treating people with kindness and respect. The world is doing a good enough job tearing itself apart. We don’t need to add to it.


I became a part of strongman for two really significant reasons. The first one is that this is a sport that I feel like I can compete in during a time when sports just aren’t available to me anymore. I’ve come to really enjoy the sport itself. The second reason is because of the comradery that comes with it. I’ve met some really good people over the last few years, and I wouldn’t have done so without competing in this sport. The last thing I want to see is animosity between people who should be encouraging and pushing each to new heights.
Don’t forget that we, the Atlas Strength Shop, will also be hosting our own strongman competition, the second annual Louisiana Strongest Man/Woman on April 1, 2023. If you want to compete, please register through I’m looking forward to see as many of you as possible!



If you are within driving distance of Baton Rouge and need a place to train for your next strongman competition, powerlifting meet or weightlifting meet, check out the Atlas Strength shop for all of your training needs. Send an email to for your next visit. You can also check out our apparel line and programming options on our website. Be sure to like our Facebook page, here, and follow us on Instagram, here. Do you need a high quality energy supplement that won’t leave you with that crashing feeling? Check out veteran owned and use promo code ATLASSTRENGTH at checkout to get 20% off of your order. If you’re like me, and you like to bite down while lifting, you need to protect your teeth. Check out Impact Mouthguards and their custom molded mouth guards. Use promo code ATLASSTRENGTHSHOP at checkout to get 10% off of your order.  But wait? What if you have a glorious Beard?  Check out and use Promo Code “ATLASSTRENGTH” to save 15% on all o your beard care!!

“In a world full of darkness, be the light.”