Brian Shaw's battle against a Navy SEAL -

Unlikely encounterBrian Shaw’s battle against a Navy SEAL

Have you ever imagined a big guy like Brian Shaw doing pull-ups? Since his fans repeatedly asked him to do it, and because Brian has always been promising it, you probably actually did try to visualize this bizarre picture. You may have been wondering if this unlikely and almost perverse image could ever be more than a fantasy, but during a small unofficial strength contest the fourfold World’s Strongest Man held in his home gym against his friend and former Navy SEAL Sean Rosario, one can observe the natural wonder of a 200 kilogram (440 pound) heavy giant doing exactly that. And this wasn’t the only surprising moment of this entertaining event…

The contest Brian Shaw and his buddy Sean Rosario entered consisted of four disciplines with the first discipline being a grip strength medley. In this challenge, different objects of increasingly heavier weight and increasingly difficult handling had to be picked up one after another. Surprisingly, Shaw didn’t win this by lengths but only very closely since he accidentally dropped the “blob”, and Sean only had to give up when he tried to pick up the slam ball but couldn’t hold it. One has to remark though that Brian doubled the weight of his objects to guarantee halfway fair preconditions. Nonetheless, the ex-Navy SEAL’s performance was quite impressive, given the fact that he competed against a fourfold World’s Strongest Man winner.

The second discipline was a 500 meters rowing contest which, again, was won by Brian. This discipline was all about speed, so at first glance, the outcome may seem stunning too, since one may assume that an exercise primarily concerned with speed would not be well-suited for an athlete as massive as the sympathetic strongman. But Shaw basically just had to power through his way by using his strength and weight – both properties of which he clearly possesses a lot more than Rosario. Brian clocked in at 1,14 minutes (which was just 4 seconds less than the world record in his age class) while Sean needed 1,33 minutes

One of the strongest men in the world against a former Navy SEAL: Who’s going to win this battle?

Now, the third discipline was finally Sean Rosario’s sure bet: the pull-up challenge. No matter how hard we try to force our imagination, in no possible universe a fit man like Sean Rosario who weighs not even half as much as Brian Shaw (93 kilograms or 205 pounds vs. 200 kilograms or 440 pounds) wouldn’t win this! And indeed, he did. But despite the outcome being very foreseeable, there was nevertheless a pretty exciting component to this challenge, namely the long-awaited redemption of Brian’s promise that he’d show his fans how he would do pull-ups. And he succeeded in doing so! He not only managed to perform one but six reps. This is a noteworthy performance for an athlete of his weight. Yes, Brian’s pull-ups looked like the big effort they were, with Brian using a lot of leg drive to get his chin (barely) over the bar. But do we really want to be picky here? This achievement in its impressiveness notwithstanding, Sean beat him by 14 reps and therefore came in as the winner with 20 reps.

The fourth and last discipline was not so much about athletic performance as it was a psychic challenge: the cold tub. As Brian explains in his YouTube video, he uses the cold tub as mental training and as recovery method alike. For this contest, a stay in the tub for five minutes was arranged. Whoever would jump out of the tub before the five minutes were up would lose. Since the strongman is familiar with the cold tub and the former Navy Seal accustomed to similar challenges through his drill in earlier years, a tight outcome was to be expected. Consequentially, this challenge ended in a draw.

Even if this competition in Brian’s awesome home gym was all about unadulterated fun, we must admit that it was nothing less than exciting to watch. Not only was the grip strength challenge an unexpectedly close race but, above all, one of the world’s strongest and heaviest athletes demonstrated us that he actually is able to pull-up his own bodyweight for full six reps. It remains to be seen what kind of other entertaining stunts Brian’s gonna pull off on his channel in the future…



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