As the four-time World’s Strongest Man, Brian Shaw doesn’t shirk from a fitness challenge. He’s taken on not just your everyday strongman tasks, but history’s greatest mythical feats of strength. He lost nearly 20 pounds in two months as he tried to get his weight under 400 pounds. He even took on his own wife in a burpee challenge—no easy exercise for a man who weighs more than 400 pounds. (Having to squeeze himself into the seats of a small regional plane was a whole different kind of challenge.)
Shaw really stepped out of his strongman comfort zone when he invited former Navy SEAL Sean Rosario into his gym for a pullup challenge. Before they get to that main event, though, Shaw reveals he’s actually set up a four-part competition. The two first square off in a test of grip strength, racing their way through deadlifting progressively heavier weights; one of Shaw’s weights, he reveals, has only ever been lifted by five men.
It’s a close match, but Shaw pulls out the win. The second challenge is a 500-meter sprint on a rowing machine. Afterward both men look winded, but Shaw again takes the crown. Then they finally arrive at the pullup challenge, with Shaw going first. Despite being over 400 pounds, he does manage six reps. Rosario, at 205, cranks out 20—as Shaw says, it’s not an exercise where bodyweight is an advantage.
Shaw’s fourth and final challenge is a cold bath, performed in a hot tub. Shaw explains that he uses this type of session for recovery, alternating between a cold bath and his actual hot tub. He says the back-and-forth creates a mental challenge almost as much as tough as the physical ones. Despite the temperature, both men chat amiably submerged in near freezing water. The final challenge? A draw!
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