Mark Clegg - Strongman
FEW CAN CLAIM TO LIVE AND BREATHE LIFTING LIKE MARK CLEGG. MARK, 31, SPENDS MOST OF HIS LIFE IN THE PRESENCE OF MEN GRUNTING AND GURNING: IF HE ISN’T WORKING AT THE FAMILY GYM IN GREATER MANCHESTER, HE’S PROBABLY WORKING OUT IN IT.
View Marks M&F Feature >HERE<
Strongman & Olympic Weightlifter Mark C legg
Mark Clegg (UK) is
an earlier Olympic Weightlifter that has converted to Strongman. He
competes in the -105 kg category and has a tremendous strength as he can
deadlift 335 kg and squat 280 kg RAW! In this interview we want to find
out more about Mark and what his goals are.
PAL: Hi Mark, and
thanks for taking your time with this interview. 3 weeks ago you won the
competition ”Northern England Strongest Man -105 kg”. How was the
competition and how were the competitors? Are you satisfied with your
performances in all the events?
Hello, Yes it felt good to become Northern England Strongest Man -105kg
as it was my first win on the -105kg circuit. I placed 6th in last years
Northerns (My first Strongman Contest) so to see all the hard work in
the gym pay off felt great.
The competition was 6 Events and there was 24 competitiors most of which I know very well BUT my main competition was Stuart Hayes, Last years Champion and training partner of WSM competitior Darren Sadler. In the end I managed to win by a 12 point margin which made me a happy man and gives me great confidence going into Englands Strongest Man -105kg in June. My Events on the day were all consistent and I won on the Deadlift 240kg x 13 Reps and Log Lift 105kg x 9 Reps, My only disappointment was making a small stumble on the Atlas stones and taking 2nd place on this Event and this is the Event I like to win the most.
PAL: A bit
historical: What is your background in sports, and what made you start
with Olympic Weightlifting?
When I was very young I participated in karate just for fun and fitness
but I was useless at team sports especially football so my father
insisted on finding me an individual sport. He first took me too a
boxing club but I hated it. Then in 1993 aged 13 he introduced me to
Olympic Weightlifting and In my first competition I weighed 50kg and
Clean and Jerked 20kg. Olympic weightlifting helped me develop my
sporting skills a lot and I went on to throw the Shot Putt in our
regional championships and play basketball for our regional team. I fell
in love with Olympic Lifting and by the time I was 15 I was National
champion, record holder and lifted for Great Britain in the 1995
European Schoolboy championships in Greece.
PAL: It seems you
was a talented lifter already as a youth, and you are noted as the
British record holder in snatch for men under 18 years with 122,5 kg in
the -77 kg category. What is your weightlifting story, and what is your
best lift and competitions?
I still have a British record ? o.k. that’s good , I thought they
would have all fallen by now. I was a good lifter in my Youth I first
Clean and Jerked 100kg when I was 14 years old at 64kg bodyweight.
story is a simple one really, At the time of me starting to get good at
lifting my family didn`t have a lot of money so our family holidays were
stuck here in England at cold seaside destinations BUT me on the other
hand was going abroad all the time when I was 16 I took trips to
Germany, Spain, France and a six week training camp in Burgas, Bulgaria
where I trained in the same gym as Olympic silver medalist Georgi Markov
all fully funded by Team G.B. This to a young enthusiastic weightlifter
like myself was a dream come true.
My best lifts as a
youngster (under 18) were a 130.5kg Snatch and a 150kg Clean and Jerk
both performed at 77.5kg Bodyweight and the Snatch was at the time a
Commonwealth u18 Record.
My best ever total
was achieved in the 2006 European Championships in Poland where I lifted
6 out of 6 lifts 150kg, 156kg, 160kg in the Snatch and 175kg, 180kg,
186kg in the Clean and Jerk to finish with a 346kg total @ 94kg BUT this
only gave me 18th Place. This was the point in my Weightlifting career
where I started to question whether I could ever become a “World
Class” competitior in this sport.
I now coach my
younger brother Shaun Clegg he is 17 and he is a very talented
weightlifter , He weighs in at 74kg and can Snatch 120kg and Clean and
Jerk 150kg. This kid could go all the way to the Olympics.
PAL: Now you have
got into the sport of Strongman in the -105 kg category with big
success, and it seems you have being competing for only a year or so.
What made you go with Strongman? - Have you now fully retired from
I finally decided to retire from National and International competitions
in 2007 because I realized that I was never going to achieve what I set
out to do, which was win international Medals. So although I may lift in
a charity competition YES I have definitely retired from International
Lifting - Strongman is my future.
In 2008 I joined a
Strongman Forum called Sugden Barbell to catch up with a very good
friend of mine called Andrew Littler and he convinced me to come and
compete in some competitions he was organizing where Strongmen and
Olympic Weightlifters go against each other on the Floor to Overhead (
where the rules are more relaxed, you can press out, continental clean
even have multiple jerk attempts) and Deadlift. It was a great success
and in my first competition I was against WSM competitor Mark Felix and
he lifted 160kg and I did 182kg BUT on the Deadlift I lifted 285kg and
Felix lifted 400kg and I was amazed at his strength, never in all my
life had I seen a stronger man than this But I still out lifted him on
the floor to overhead lift and since this day I thought I would love to
compete in Strongman. I started to get more and more interested in
Strongman -105kg and started following online journals of the -105kg
boys on the Sugden Forum. Then March 2009 I entered the Northern England
PAL: Who is Mark
Clegg and what do you do besides training? (Background, Home town, Work,
Hobbies, Family, etc.)
I work in my gym Olympic Sports Gym in Ashton – under – Lyne near
Manchester and each day I work 9-12 then train 12-2 and then return to
work at 2-5 so I am very lucky to have this arrangement and it works
really well for me and doesn`t interfere with my family life. I am very
lucky to have a supportive girlfriend “Lisa” and I have a step
daughter called Georgia (8) and then two sons, Jake (3) and Adam (1).
The boys always make me smile when training hasn`t gone to plan and
having a family is far better than winning any strongman competition. I
am NOT a guy who does nightclubs and partying , I prefer to be a family
man and my number one ambition is to bring up my sons the best I
My hobbies are to go
to the local quiet pub with my training partner u90kg Strongman Kev
Stuart and talk training over lots of beer ;-). This is normally where
our programs for competition build-ups are constructed.
PAL: You are now
qualified to compete in “England Strongest Man -105 kg”. Last year
you made 5th place in this contest (47 points), and the last year
winner, Paul Wood (with 79,5 points), who also got 10th place in the
World Championship seems like a big challenge to defeat. What are your
plans for this year competition, and what do you think about your
Yeah its true, Paul Wood dominated both the Uks -105kg and the Brits
-105kgs. He is the best -105kg competitor in Britain at this point,
without doubt. I will try my very hardest to catch Paul this year and if
I can not then I’ll try again and again. The -105kg standard in this
country is getting better and better every year and some of the new guys
are going to be immense in a few years time But it doesn`t worry me, I
have my own plan and i`m very confident I can achieve my aim and
PAL: What is your
short- and long term goals for Strongman, and what keeps you motivated?
I`m motivated by the feeling you get when you win a strongman
competition, its amazing I have only won two competitions so far The
Northern -105kg Champs and St Ives Strongest man 2009 where I was
against Dutch Strongman Alex Moonen who has now moved on to the
Strongman Champions League and has just competed in FIBO Strongman
Germany. We had a real battle and I managed to beat him and now I’m
going to watch him on Eurosport competing against Misha koklayev, Travis
Ortmayer ect. Makes me proud.
My short-term goals
are to win Englands Strongest -105kg and Uks Strongest -105kg and my
long-term goals are to do what i didn`t think i`d ever do at Olympic
lifting and Gain a medal at the Worlds -105kg.
My other goals are
to do BIG gym lifts. I beleive in 5 years i will do 370kg Raw Deadlift
and 320kg Raw Squat along with 180+kg Log Lift - All at 105kg
PAL: Like myself (an
Olympic Weightlifter converted to Strongman), I find events involving
explosiveness beneficial (tire flipping, log lift, stones, apollons,
etc.), and events concerning walking/carrying as more challenging. What
are your experiences about turning weightlifting in to strongman?
Exactly the same as me, I have really struggled with moving events. In
my first competition it took me 55 seconds to get a 300kg Yoke to 20
metres good enough for 18th place. Also Farmers Walk, Duck Walk and
similar events have proven very tough BUT every week I practice and
practice and Now my 20 metre Yoke is up to 380kg and my 20 metre Farmers
Walk is up to 150kg per hand so i`ve only just really become good enough
to win overall titles. Last Year I won the Log Lift and Deadlift in
Englands Strongest -105kg and I won the Deadlift in the Uks Strongest
-105kg BUT my inexperience cost me any chance of even gaining top 3
spots. This year will be different, I`m still NOT amazing at the moving
events BUT I am at least competitive at them and hopefully my RAW
strength will help me to higher finishes.
PAL: The last
question: What is your secret to develop such an incredible strength
that you have? In weightlifting we are taught to train with high volume,
few repetitions, and work our legs and
I still do use a lots of Weightlifting methodology and use sub maximal
weights for multiple singles e.g I`ll maybe do 140kg Log 5 x 1 then the
week after 145kg Log 5 x 1 and so on .. I also do crazy Strongman
methodology like I may on the Deadlift go 120kg x 1, 170kg x 1, 200kg x
1 then 250kg x maximum reps.
The training I do probably would only suit an ex Olympic weightlifter because of the high Intentisy and I recover extremely fast. I know my body really well and have been self taught since I was 17 years old, The stuff I do wouldn`t suit most people in my opinion BUT any-one who would like to follow my training journal can on http://www.sugdenbarbell.co.uk/forum/Season-2-!-5099
PAL: Finally, is
there anything you would like to add?
Yes, I speak to Norwegian Nils Kjetil Sande and i hope you guys can sort
out a system where your u105kg Champion can get an invite to the Worlds
-105kg, He`s a good strongman.
Thanks Very Much
Again, thank you for
the interview, and we wish you the best of luck for the future!
Mark is a former British Weightlifting Champion and Commonwealth record holder, having competed in the European World Championships from Thailand to the Dominican Republic. He held the U18’s 77Kg Snatch record at 122.5kg since June 1998 a record that had stood for 12 years until this year, when his young brother Shaun took that record. Mark retired from National & International Competition in 2007.In 2008 Mark moved on to Strongman in the U105 category and on his first competition he out lifted the experienced lifter Mark Felix and has never looked back. In March 2009 Mark entered his first major strongman competition the Northern England 105 kg Championships and later that year St.Ives Strongest Man 2009 both of which he won and a great start. Since then Mark has gone on to compete in more strongman. Mark is now hoping to win England’s strongest man and then to conquer the World Championships.
Marks YouTube Channel – Olympic Dragon
Mark Clegg Dominates Northern U105 Championships
12th April 2010 - Link
Yesterday saw the Northern U105 Championships held at Salt Ayre Sports Centre, Lancaster. The competition was run by Ben_F with many other Sugden regulars helping out. The competition featured a very strong line up, with only 7 qualification spots up for grabs. Mark Clegg took home the title after winning with a 12 point gap over Stuart Hayes. Sugden old boy Jonny Mills came in third with a strong all round performance including two event wins.
Marks Fav Videos
Mark, in his own words
"These are my personal best strength achievements ... BUT I'm proud of everything I've done."
"These are the ones that mean most to me"
105kg Millennium Dumbell One armed lift
200kg Atlas Stone
151kg Shoulder Stone