The Arnold Sports Festival. The ultimate conglomeration of all things health and fitness. An annual weekend in March where all the strongmen, bodybuilders, amateurs, pros, supplement companies, and the like gather together in Columbus, OH to show off years worth of work. This event, as you might guess, is named after Arnold Schwarzenegger and was established in 1989. The International Federation of Bodybuilding & Fitness (IFBB) holds it every year, and it is the second most prestigious event for professional men’s bodybuilding, behind the Mr. Olympia contest. With so many things happening in this event over three days, its hard to keep track, so here are a few key features to hone in on from the busy weekend.
Above is Brian Shaw, a world-renown strongman completing the Hummer Tire lift at the Arnold Strongman contest in 2016. The total weight was a ridiculous 1140lbs. At 6′ 8” Shaw used to play collegiate basketball (couldn’t tell by looking at him), but gave it up when he fell in love with the weights and hasn’t looked back since. Shaw won the Arnold Strongman Classic, making this his third victory. This also puts Shaw in third place in history for most wins.
Cedric McMillan rejoices as he is crowned the champion of the Arnold Classic contest for bodybuilders. This is his first time winning the event and for it, he received $130,000 in prize money and the trophy presented by Optimum Nutrition. The Arnold Classic is a hallmark of professional bodybuilding. While all that compete in this contest must already be registered with the IFBB as professionals, those who win generally go on to either continue winning and eventually perform at the Mr. Olympia level. If McMillan uses the momentum from such a win correctly, at 25 years old he could have a long and successful career in front of him.
No one is exempt from the fun of the Arnold Sports Festival. The 8th Annual 50+ Dancesport occurred this year. This is a wonderful contest for adults 50 and over who want to strut their dancing skills, whether as novices or professionals and show that age is just a number. With over 500 in attendance, this event keeps growing as more people strive to take better care of themselves as they age.
The Arnold Sports Festival is not just for adults. There is a teen challenge for those athletes who work hard and are impressive. In addition, there are numerous other events such as pro wheelchair bodybuilding, martial arts, boxing, women’s competitions, and almost anything else you can think of. I have never been to the Arnold Sports Festival, but someday I would love to. Strongman lifts are my favorite event, so I would just nerd out if I saw Brian Shaw and Eddie Hall lifting up enough weight to total the weight my car.
Overall, the Arnold Sports Festival is the biggest single event in the fitness arena due to the number of participants from all disciplines of fitness. This marks the 28th year the festival, and it is going strong.