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Sunday, 20 April 2014

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North Cumbria farmer bidding to become Britain's strongest man

A Cumbrian farmer with plenty of strength wants to lift a prestigious title.

David Baxter photo
David Baxter

David Baxter, 33, who has a smallholding at Hornsby, near Cumwhitton, is aiming to become Britain’s Natural Strongest Man.

He only took on training for this type of competition last year and is confident of success.

“I have always been naturally strong, so I thought ‘why not’,” he said.

He qualified for the contest at a northern qualifying event in Consett, County Durham.

This saw him complete tasks.

These included the log lift, where he squatted whilst carrying 100kg (15.7 stone), a ‘wagon drag’ which saw him pull a seven and a half ton wagon, and a 200kg (31.5 stone) deadlift.

He finished fourth out of 12 entrants and will have to complete similar tasks at the final, which will be held at the Paradise Wildlife Park in Hampshire over the August Bank Holiday weekend.

David trains five times a week to be able to compete in these events, mainly at Bannatyne’s Health Club, on Kingstown Road, Carlisle, where he uses regular free weights and equipment.

He also has specialist coaching at Spartan Performance, in Consett, from two-time contest winner Jack Levett. His workouts are designed to improve his strength and are extremely heavy.

Because of this they take their toll on David’s body and he has suffered numerous injuries.

“It is a brutal game to be honest,” he said.

His portfolio of pain includes hamstring, knee, wrist and lower back injuries. “I’ve come a long way in such a short time period it is catching up with me,” he added.

David also thinks his work helps him in the contests.

“I’m always flapping around milking cows, I’m burning calories,” he said.

The natural contest tests entrant for performance-enhancing drugs. It has three weight categories and 5ft 6in tall David is in the lowest of these, weighing in at 14 stones. He believes he can break the British deadlift record at the final.

His coach Jack, 33, is pleased with how David has developed and has high hopes for him at the competition.

“There are no guarantees and he’s coming up against a lot of good competitors but I would like to think he is in a good position to do well,” he said.

Jack advised anyone interested in becoming a strongman to make sure they get specialist training.

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