An exhibition car deadlift was part of the 1st Sisters Strongman Throwdown last month. 
wphoto provided
An exhibition car deadlift was part of the 1st Sisters Strongman Throwdown last month. wphoto provided
You’ve broken through the stereotypes and the trepidation and started hitting the weights. You’re getting stronger, and you notice it in your everyday activities. You like the way you feel, you like the things that you can do, and you like the way you look.

Maybe the next step is to enter a weightlifting competition. No way, you say; that’s not me. Maybe you should think again.

Ryan Hudson of Level 5 CrossFit Sisters is a big believer in competition as a way to enhance both the experience and the effects of strength training. He says he doesn’t push his clients to compete — but he loves to provide them with opportunities.

Why compete?

“A lot of times, people get plateaued and they get stalled out,” Hudson told The Nugget.

Training for a competition is motivating — it can add focus and purpose to training. And a lot of times, people hit their best numbers on the platform in competition, simply because the atmosphere of a meet empowers them.

Facing a looming competition can focus a person on hitting a desired weight, too.

“A lot of times, being in a weight class competition where you have to make a certain weight on a certain day is all the motivation they need — the accountability to get there,” Hudson said.

And competing can be a lot of fun. At the end of the day, it’s not about who can lift the biggest load — it’s about pound-for-pound strength and working hard to “actually do something great,” Hudson said. “If you make weight, post a total and have fun, it’s a successful meet.”

The camaraderie that develops among lifters is phenomenal.

“That’s why I want to host these competitions,” he said. “To give people opportunities to throw their hat in the ring and give this a whirl. When people see everybody cheering everybody on and encouraging each other, they want to be part of that.”

The effects are startling and obvious.

“They get hooked on the progress,” Hudson said.

The coach speaks from personal experience.

“That’s where I started 10-12 years ago — I just started signing up for meets,” he said.

With trophies and records to his name, Hudson can look back and say with certainty: “If I’d never signed up for a meet, I’d never have made half as much progress.”

Competition is more accessible than ever before. Take Strongman competition for example. Not so long ago, Strongman — competitions that feature a variety of non-standard lifting and carrying events — used to be the sole province of Icelandic giants like Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, who played The Mountain on the hit fantasy series Game of Thrones.

Now there are weight and age classes and classes for women.

“Smaller guys and older guys and gals can compete in this,” Hudson said. “It’s a growing sport because of that — especially on the women’s side.”

Level 5 hosted its first Strongman Throwdown on July 20. The event featured one of the great traditional events — the Húsafell Stone carry, which originated in Norse Iceland, a log press, a yoke carry, keg-over-bar lifts — and an exhibition car deadlift, using cars provided by Sisters competitor Christy Rumgay.

The event drew competitors eager to test their mettle from all over the Pacific Northwest.

“Everybody had a blast,” Hudson said.

Most folks probably don’t start going to the gym figuring they’re going to deadlift a small car. But you never know. You might surprise yourself. And, ultimately, that’s what strength competition is all about — testing your limits and surpassing what you thought you could do. And having a blast while you’re at it.

Hudson knows: “It brings the best out of them.”