The Super-Secret, Secret to Becoming a Great Strength Athlete

Posted 30 Mar 2011 in Articles

by Matt Dawson, ASC Professional Strongman

I was inspired to write this article by two people who are very close friends of mine. The first is a barrel-chested man that goes the name Ron Slusarski. Ron is my mentor, coach, advisor, training partner, and friend. He was a world class pro strongman in the early to mid 2000s, competing against and training with the likes of Chad Coy, Don Pope, Magnus Ver, Odd Haugen, Brian Schoonveld, and Mariusz Pudzianowski just to name a few. The other is the current, top ranked 300lb amateur strongman in the nation, All-American wrestler, former NFLer, and one of my other training partners and close friend, Tomas Rodriguez. I will get into why they inspired me to write this a little later on in the article.

In this article I will unveil the truly hidden secret to becoming a successful strength athlete. You will be in shock and awe of what I am about to uncover, as this secret has been closely guarded for centuries.

I have heard it a million times. “What’s the secret to a HUGE axle press?” or “what’s the secret to loading that 450lb stone?” or the best one yet… “What’s the secret to getting huge?” These types of questions have come from people in all walks of life. I always hear it being asked by my junior high and high school students, my high school athletes, and people who are just starting to train, which is expected. I hear it on a regular basis from college athletes, average gym rats, and low to mid level powerlifters and strongmen. Every once in a while I hear this question being asked from top level amateur and pro strongmen, powerlifters, and other high level athletes as well. I often see posts on boards and forums, and hear comments about how the most decorated strength athletes will never talk about their super-secret training methods, and if they do, they will always leave out their true key to success…this always makes me chuckle.

Every time I hear these questions a million things go through my mind. Should I tell them about specific lifts, certain rep ranges, technique issues, nutritional requirements, supplements, recovery techniques, or should I direct them to specific books, articles, programs, methods, gyms or websites such as elitefts. There are so many things that go into being a successful strength athlete its almost impossible to list them all…right? WRONG.

Before I unveil the super-secret secret I have to pick on Tomas, whom I mentioned earlier. He is a truly gifted athlete. He was a state level sprinter, football player, and wrestler in high school, a division 1 All-American wrestler and football player in college, spent some time with the Giants and Broncos, and now is right on the verge of turning pro in strongman. With all his success in athletics he still sometimes thinks that there is some legendary, Knights Templar guarded, super-secret secret to becoming a great strength athlete. He once skipped a training session with us and sought out on a quest to seek this answer from Brian Shaw when he was in our area (Northeast Ohio). Unfortunately his quest was thwarted by the evil wizard known as ‘miscommunication’ and was unable to meet up with the mythical man-giant himself.

Our next training session Tomas came back empty handed. “The secret is lost forever” he thought. “What ever will I do?” Little did he know that our coach, Ron Slusarski, who also knows the hidden secret, was going to tell him what he has searched for, for years….

Now comes the part of the article where I too will reveal the super-secret secret to success. Prepare to be enlightened, dumbfounded, and amazed beyond belief. The super duper, hidden for generations, secret to success is…… HARD WORK!

Matt training HARD

Yes, and there you have it. I have unveiled the legendary secret. Hard work. No bitching, no whining, no complaining, just suck it up and deal with it, old fashioned, balls to the wall, hard nosed training. Everything boils down to this. You could have the 50 best coaches in the world, the best protocols, the best nutritionists, the best doctors, the best gym with every band, chain, board, box, implement, or dumbbell you can think of but without hard work none of this will make any difference what so ever.

…and boy did Ron tell him. He told him this secret it a much more edited, fire-breathing, R-rated version, but you get the point. Tomas got the point as well.

Many novice lifters and athletes will not like hearing this answer, and will truly still believe that there really is a super-secret secret to becoming a successful strength athlete. As they grow older and wiser, they will come to realize that they have known this secret for years. There is no replacement for hard work.

Are YOU working hard?

Matt DawsonAbout the author: Matt Dawson is an ASC Professional Strongman, earning his pro card in 2009 after winning California’s Strongest Man. He took 4th place in the inaugural Mr. Olympia’s Strongest Man in 2009, 6th in the 2010 American Professional Strongman National Championships, and recently placed 8th in the 2010 America’s Strongest Man held at the Mr. Olympia. He holds the NAS Axle Press record, and was an All-American shot-putter in college. He is also a high school history teacher and track and field coach in Northeast Ohio.

Posted by Barry

1 Comment

  1. BIG_Ben
    01 April 11, 11:32am

    Great article! This is so true, so many people think there are “hidden secrets” to get big and strong. The only “secret” is to bust your ass day in and day out.

Leave A Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.