Loading Medley

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The Loading Medley

The Loading Medley is used within the strongman sport. This event has come with many different names but all are very similar. In some strongman competitions, this event is known as the “Death Medley” or the “Load and Carry”. All strongmen competitions usually include some type of the Medley event. These Medley events in strongman, can be anything from carries, loading, and dragging combined in any way. They are completely exhausting and usually leave the strongman lying on the floor, gasping for air until he can recover.

In the World’s Strongest Man competition, this type of event is known as the “Loading Race”. Five objects, each weighing between 100–164kgs each, are loaded onto a truck flat bed or a similar platform, while the strongmen have to carry objects for about 50ft. The implements used include; anchors, anvils, sandbags, chains, blocks of ice, masts, lobster pots, wine casks and beer kegs.

About The Loading Medley

The loading medley is a generic term for many strongman events. Loading heavy objects such as; anchors, barrels, sandbags and stones, tests both the strongman’s strength and endurance. The event is usually timed, with the athlete who loads all the implements within the fastest time is declared the winner. One of the most memorable loading medleys was during the World’s Strongest Man 2010, where the strongmen had to fetch and load bags while knee-deep in water.

In this event, the strongman needs to have very good conditioning but more than that, the strongman needs to be able to run fast! Not just with weight in his hands, but he also has to be able to sprint back to the next implement. Competitors in this event lose a lot of time running out of gas while sprinting back to collect their next instrument. This is very true when it comes to the heavyweights, but even the big boys need to be able to move fast so that they do not lose vital points. Over the years we have seen countless amounts of times, where a competitor who can press, deadlift, and yoke perfectly, but completely fails when it comes to the Medley Event.

When you see the strongmen competing within this stunning event, it is not the weight of the objects that seem to throw them off. It is usually the shape of the objects, their dimensions, and the terrain in where they perform these events. These event terrains can range from; on rubble, within water, snow or even in sand. Twists to the events have been introduced over the years, challenging these Strongmen in new and ever more inventive ways! The 1992 Loading Race had five 90kg barrels as the loading objects, which the strongmen had to fight their way into a lagoon to retrieve their barrel, before returning these barrels to the dry land. Other variations over the years have seen the strongmen wade through Bahamian sand, to boats in the Ocean, and through Icelandic snow, to retrieve their items to be loaded onto the platforms provided.

Training for the Loading Medley: Training for the Loading Medley is like trying to go shopping with a blindfold on. There are so many different variations to this event so you will not know what to expect on the day of the Medley event. But this can be a good thing, as you will have to train your body to be able to lift, drag and carry many different objects varying in weight, height and size. You will need to condition your body with intensive cardio workouts while carrying heavy objects for around 50ft. Your cardio endurance needs to be on point so that when you are running back and forth, you do not kill your stamina before even carrying the different implements along with you. Some strongmen have stated that no amount of training will be able to prepare you for such past events known as the “Death Medley”, but the harder and longer that you train, the more your body will be prepared for the strain that is caused during these Medley events.

For beginners to this sport, it is advised to build and develop the muscles needed to carry objects (let alone heavy ones) from one place to another. This is why a good cardio program along with some HIIT (high intensity interval training) is recommended. Along with the added cardio, you also need to be able to lift things from the floor and place them back down again without causing any injuries. After you feel that you have the ability to lift the average sandbag or beer keg without any major struggle. You can create a little workout routine for yourself by simple gathering some instruments such as; a beer barrel, a sand bag, some heavy boxes along with some other mid weight items that you can find. Place them all at one end of your training space (preferably a big open space) and then pick them up one at a time and go as fast as you can to place them down 50ft away. Sprint back (do not attempt this on slippery floors) and collect your next item. You can use your imagination and your own body’s tolerance levels to make sure that you are hitting fatigue every time. If you are confident with your cardio level and are just looking to build the strength and stamina, you can set items up at both ends of your space and then as you drop one pick up another, this will overload the muscles for growth and leave you feeling dead beat!


There are no official records for the loading medley. It is generally the strongmen in the best shape (cardio-wise), and with the most will power and determination who wins these events. Here we have a clip of the strongmen Žydrūnas Savickas and Brain Shaw back in 2010 at the World Strongest Man competition, having to wade through water knee-deep while performing in this event:

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