STAN PIKE – “I WAS BORN TO WORK”

BY DAVE GLASGOW

STAN PIKE LIFTING THE INVER STONE.

IN 2006, I WAS FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO FINALLY VISIT SCOTLAND, THE ANCESTRAL HOME OF MY PATERNAL GREAT-GRANDFATHER, JOHN GLASGOW. THIS HAD BEEN ON MY ‘TO DO’ LIST FOR SOME TIME AND WHEN IT DID COME TO FRUITION, I WAS NOT DISAPPOINTED IN ANYWAY OTHER THAN THE FACT THAT I RAN OUT OF TIME MUCH TOO QUICKLY.

THE THING THAT STRUCK ME THE MOST DURING THIS TRIP WAS THE RUGGEDNESS OF THE LAND, THE TOUGHNESS AND ENDURANCE OF THE FOLKS THAT INHABITED IT AND THE ADMIRATION OF THESE PEOPLE FOR STRONG INDIVIDUALS. IT WAS AT THE WORLD MASTERS HIGHLAND GAMES, IN INVERNESS, THAT I WAS FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO RUN ACROSS AND VISIT WITH ONE OF SCOTLAND’S STRONGMEN. STAN PIKE.

WHAT IMMEDIATELY GETS YOUR ATTENTION ABOUT STAN, WHEN YOU FIRST MEET AND SHAKE HANDS WITH HIM, IS THAT TO DO SO IS AS IF YOU ARE SHAKING HANDS WITH A GRIZZLY BEAR!! I HAVE MET ONLY ONE OTHER PERSON IN MY LIFE THAT HAD SUCH HANDS AS HIS!! THESE HANDS, I FOUND OUT MORE RECENTLY, COME FROM A LIFE OF HARD WORK AND HARDER PLAY.

STAN WAS BORN IN NORTHEAST ENGLAND. HIS LINEAGE IS IRISH, NORSE AND AUSTRIAN. FROM A VERY YOUNG AGE, HE BECAME ACQUAINTED WITH BACKBREAKING, TEDIOUS WORK. THE SON OF A COAL MINER, HE WAS REQUIRED, EVERY DAY, TO PROVE HIMSELF.

“You wanted to be a man, especially in a mining community. You proved yourself being a man by being strong and tough. That was the way I was brought up. The lads that I used to work with were also strong, and part of the joy of the day was getting hold of each other and beating each other up”. – Stan Pike

THE LIST OF JOBS HE HAS DONE IN HIS LIFE WOULD TAKE FAR TO LONG TO PUT TO PAPER, HOWEVER, JUST SUFFICE IT TO SAY THAT STAN HAS HAD TO WORK FOR A LIVING HIS WHOLE EXISTENCE. THE OCCUPATION HE HAS REMAINED AT FOR THE LAST 30+ YEARS IS BLACKSMITHING!! JUDGING BY THE QUALITY OF HIS WORK, ONE WOULD BE TEMPTED TO SAY THAT BLACKSMITHING IS NOT WORK TO HIM, BUT RATHER A CALLING. HIS WORKS ARE, TRULY, REMARKABLE! HE ALSO HAS THE PRIVILEGE OF HAVING A SEVENTEENTH CENTURY FORGE FROM WHICH TO CRAFT HIS WORKS!

HOWEVER, THIS ARTICLE IS NOT ABOUT STAN’S WORK, BUT HIS PLAY!! STAN HAS HUGE ACCOMPLISHMENTS IN BOTH STRENGTH AND AEROBIC ENDURANCE INVOLVING KETTLEBELLS, BICYCLING, WEIGHTLIFTING, MARTIAL ARTS AND THE SO-CALLED ‘MANHOOD’ STONES OF SCOTLAND; NAMELY THE DINNIE STONES AND THE INVER STONE.

STAN PIKE LIFTING THE DINNIE STONES.

ACCORDING TO WRITTEN RECORDS, STAN IS THE OLDEST PERSON TO LIFT THE ‘DINNIE STONES’ UNASSISTED (WITHOUT STRAPS). AT THE AGE OF 58!! THIS IS A COMBINED WEIGHT OF 785lbs.!!

FOR THOSE OF YOU NOT FAMILIAR WITH THE DINNIE STONES, THEY ARE TWO LARGE, IRREGULAR SHAPED STONES THAT, IN ORDER TO LIFT THEM, ONE MUST STRADDLE THEM AND LIFT THEM BY WAY OF RINGS PERMANENTLY AFFIXED TO THE STONES. THE COMBINATION OF STRADDLE, RINGS, WEIGHT AND THE AWKWARDNESS OF THE POSITION ONE HAS TO GET IN, MAKES THIS A VERY IMPRESSIVE FEAT OF HAND AND LIFTING STRENGTH, INDEED!

BY STAN’S OWN ADMISSION, HE STATES THAT SOME MAY QUESTION HIS RIGHT TO CLAIM HE “TRULY” LIFTED THE STONES, AS HE DID NOT COME TO A COMPLETE LOCK OUT AT THE TOP OF THE LIFT. I WILL LEAVE THIS ARGUMENT FOR OTHERS. AS ONE CAN SEE BY THE PICTURE, THERE IS PLENTY OF AIR BETWEEN THE STONES AND THE GROUND. I, FOR ONE, HAVE NO PROBLEM WITH THE VALIDITY OF THE LIFT.

AS A SIDE BAR, STAN HAS LIFTED THE FAMED “INVER STONE” (AN EGG SHAPED, RATHER SMOOTH STONE OF 265#) SO MANY TIMES THAT HE IS ON A FIRST NAME BASIS WITH THE STONE!!

TRAINING FOR THE MONUMENTAL TASK OF THE LIFTING OF THE STONES WAS BY WAY OF A BASIC PROGRAM OF CONVENTIONAL WEIGHT LIFTING AND KETTLEBELL WORKOUTS. HIS WORKOUTS ARE TO THE POINT, WITH NOTHING FANCY ABOUT THEM. HE TRAINS AS HE WORKS. HARD AND STRAIGHT FORWARD. BELOW IS A SAMPLE OF HIS SYSTEM:

WEEK ONE

MONDAY

KETTLEBELL WARM UP

CONVENTIONAL DEAD LIFTS 5 X5

HACK LIFT

STIFF LEG DEADLIFT

DINNIE RING DEADLIFTS (BEING A BLACKSMITH, HE MADE HIS OWN RINGS THAT HE USES ON A REGULAR OLY BAR.)

GRIP WORK

WEDNESDAY

KETTLEBELL WARM UP

INCLINE PRESS 5 X 5 TO MAX

SEATED SHOULDER PRESS/OLY BAR 5X 5 TO MAX

SEATED DUMBBELL PRESS 10 X 10 WITH MODERATE WEIGHT

GRIP WORK

FRIDAY

REPEAT MONDAY’S WORKOUT

WEEK TWO

MONDAY

REPEAT THE SHOULDER WORK OUT

WEDNESDAY

REPEAT THE DEADLIFT WORKOUT

FRIDAY

REPEAT SHOULDER WORKOUT

STAN PIKE LIFTING THE DINNIE STONES AGAIN!

WITH THIS SYSEM, HE IS HITTING THE DEADLIFT WORKOUT TWICE A WEEK ONE WEEK AND ONCE THE NEXT, ALTERNATING WITH THE SHOULDER WORKOUT. HIS GRIP WORKOUT IS DONE AT EACH SESSION WITH “HOLDS” AND WRIST ROLLER BEING THE BULK OF THE WORKOUT.

FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO USE KETTLEBELLS, STAN IS AN AVID ADVOCATE OF THE KETTLEBELLS. HE AND HIS GOOD FRIEND, BOB BEAUCHAMP, WROTE A MOST EXCELLENT BOOK ON THE HISTORY AND PROPER USE OF THE KETTLEBELL. HE IS RECOGNIZED AS THE PERSON WHO “RETURNED” KETTLEBELL USAGE TO THE U.K. AND GIVES CLINICS AND DIRECTS COMPETITIONS ALL OVER BRITAIN.

FINALLY, I ASKED STAN WHAT HE CONSIDERED TO BE HIS FINEST ACHIEVEMENT. I WAS PLEASANTLY SURPRISED BY HIS REPLY!!

“I don’t consider anything I have personally done to be of any significance at all, I am only pleased to be still here doing what I do.  I have plans for some other stuff as I get older.”  – Stan Pike

WHAT A FANTASTIC, REFRESHING ATTITUDE!! I SEE STAN AS A GUY WHO IS NOT AT ALL SATISFIED WITH HIS ATHLETIC ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND, IN HIS OWN MIND, HAS ONLY BEGUN TO SEARCH HIS OWN BOUNDARIES AND LIMITATIONS.

“I believe if you lie back and let life take you over, it will and you’re not going to get anywhere. I’ve always pushed myself to the limit but now I’m approaching 60, it’s starting to hurt a little bit.” – Stan Pike

THE SKY’S THE LIMIT, STAN! GO GET IT!

SLAINTE!!

What’s your Reward?

by Thom Van Vleck

Thom Van Vleck hoists his reward, a free beer at the Inver Inn in Scotland after hoisting the Inver Stone

We all lift for a variety of reasons. And at some time we’ve probably had someone question our sanity for the things we do! I mean, really, why would a grown man travel half way around the world just to put on a kilt, and lift a 265lb Stone, just to get a free beer? I must mention that there is a tradition that if you lift the Inver Stone, you get a free beer and so far I know of at least 4 USAWA members who have done it. Why would someone travel across the country, or even across the ocean….just to do a Bent press and maybe win a small award of some type.

I should point out that I also competed in the Master World Championships in Highland Games in that trip in Inverness…..but I don’t know if that makes my trip any more sane. All I got for that was a medal and two shot glasses (although, they have come in handy!)

Some people lift, or compete in athletics, because of money. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that….I might have done the same thing had I been good enough. Some people do it for the personal challenge and could care less who sees them break a record. Some do it for glory. Some do it for attention (I’ve been accused of that a time or two). There are probably many more reasons. Often, the reasons change over the years.

My point is that it seems when I have my priorities straight, when I have a goal, and when I know what my reward will be…..I seem to make greater progress. Having that clear image of the reward can help with great gains. My Uncle Phil Jackson used to say to me that the only time Success comes before Work is in the dictionary.

That free beer meant a lot to me. What’s your reward?