Written by Team Juggernaut
Robert “OB” Oberst earned his ASC pro card at the Dallas Europa after about 14 months of training and competing in strongman. He won an invite to America’s Strongest Man at the Olympia in Las Vegas which was in just over a month. I thought a little insight into what the experience of being the newest Pro strongman and jumping right into a big pro show like that would be interesting.
First here are some videos from Robert’s performance at America’s Strongest Man. You can check out his other videos here Robert Oberst Youtube Channel.
Kalle: Hey OB, first off congratulations on making the podium at Americas Strongest Man. I know it is disappointing to not hear my voice but I promise to call soon! I know you were a little undecided on whether it was a good idea to compete so soon in your first pro show and with the injuries you got in Dallas. What was your biggest concerns about competing in your first pro show and how do you feel about jumping into the pro ranks so quick?
Robert: Thank you and yeah you better call! Well, I cracked a rib early in the first day of the Dallas Europa and fighting through that was very painful. I could never have done it if it wasn’t for all your help. Thank you for that. After that I wasn’t sure if I would be able to prepare for ASM or even be able to compete at a level that would be acceptable for me, but I got home and started working right away with my sports doctor at Athletic Performance and quickly decided I would give it a shot. I honestly felt horrible until just about a week before heading to Vegas for the show, but my numbers were still close to what they were so I just kept going. My training partner Garrett helped me out a lot. We would do a 5 hour event day and he wouldn’t let me load weights or anything, because he knew how I felt and anyone who is ever done event days by themselves knows its a freaking workout just setting up and putting everything away.The other thing on my mind was I had no idea how I compared to other pros. I wanted an accurate gauge to where I was whether it was good or bad. I know I have a lot to learn and I love finding a weakness and beating it into submission Now you can bet your ass I’m in the gym just itching for my chance to show what I can really do.
Kalle: The first event was a Last Man Standing Log Press which you broke the American Record on with 445lbs. Way to make a statement! Can you go over how it felt during warm ups and the attempts leading up to 445?
Robert: Warming up was actually a little different for me, because the way the event was I knew I was going to have to put up a lot of reps, so I just hit two light warm up presses and counted my first 4 presses as the rest of my warm up. The attempts leading up to 445 were really good. I felt great and strict pressed 300-380. I wanted to show off and strict press 400 but I figured it would waste too much energy. When I got to 445 I was very confident. There was only one other competitor left and after watching him hit 430 I knew it was over. I actually made a few mistakes cleaning the log and it ended up sitting on my throat at the top. I started to black out and knew I just had to get it off my chest and I could lock it out. So I popped it up and struggled for a second then locked it out and held it for a second to make sure everyone knew I had control
Kalle: I know lots of people are curious what you do for your overhead strength, I know some of the crazy numbers you hit in the gym. Would you care to share some of how you train your press and some of the gym numbers you’ve put up on bench, etc?
Robert: I get that question a lot and everyone wants to know whats my “trick” to pressing. All you have to do is watch my YouTube videos to see I don’t “trick” the weight up. No split jerk no ducking under the log no tricks. My “trick” is I work my shoulders like a mad man. I make sure I do everything in the gym the right way. I don’t bounce the bar off my chest when I bench I don’t call something a lockout unless I lock it out and I don’t train for the recognition of hitting numbers in the gym. I want numbers in shows. That’s why you don’t see me post on Facebook where my deadlift is at or how much I curl. Kinda feels like I have been on this soap box for a while so…
I do feel military press is way more beneficial than incline and bench press is also very underrated in this sport. Also triceps cannot be over worked in my opinion. My upper body day in the gym has never been less then 4 hours and I always go home wishing I had hit a few muscles a little more.
Kalle: I think it ended up with 16 total competitors. Some big names including former Americas Strongest Man Winners, and People that have competed at Worlds. How did it feel to compete as a pro? Was there anyone you were excited to compete against?
Robert: Competing as a pro was definitely a faster pace. I also found out the hard way how precious every single point is. I was in a very strong second and in Burks ear all day telling him I was coming for him until I zeroed the car and fell to third. You will never see me zero a car again EVER! I was exited to compete against all those guys. I’m a fan of this sport and very thorough in my preparation so I have watched countless hours of YouTube over the last year and watched these guys probably more then they watch themselves. I have watched entire shows in languages I couldn’t even guess, because I want to learn from the best and competing against those guys I watch like a groupie was pretty cool.
Kalle: Being fairly new to strongman and to a lot of the events what event were you most worried about going in? What event surprised you the most on how good it felt? Which one surprised you with how much it sucked?
Robert: Leading up to the show I was worried about the dumbell and car deadlift because I didn’t have the equipment to prepare for them like I wanted to. I wasn’t really surprised, because I expect myself to succeed, but the dumbell went well. I hit 235 and took third in that event. I think zeroing the car pretty much took the cake for suck. There is no excuse for missing a lift in a show PERIOD. I just wasn’t strong enough to lift it
Kalle: What is your next competition and goals for 2013?
Robert: My next show is the LA Fit Expo and I have already started preparing and cant wait. From what I hear there is a couple events that I’m really looking forward to. My goal for 2013 is to get to Worlds Strongest Man and I will get there. I would love to compete in the Arnold and over seas. I know I just have to put in the work and destroy the Fit Expo and that will point me in the right direction. I’m really exited to be able to do an Odd Haugen show, that guy is one of the cornerstones of this sport. I plan on putting on a great show
Kalle: What was the Olympia experience like? Do you think doing Big shows like Nationals, The Arnold, and the Dallas Europa along with playing football at a high level prepared you well for it?
Robert: The Olympia was cool, it was the closest to the Arnold crowd that I have seen and I love competing in front of big crowds, Playing football in front of packed stadiums and on national TV definitely made me more comfortable, but I was never really nervous competing for spectators. I feel if I’m prepared then what is there to be nervous about? I am also very good at not over thinking, I see good lifters blow lifts that are easy for them simply because they are thinking too much.
Here are some questions submitted through Facebook for Robert…
Chip Manuel: OB comes from a football background right? It would be cool to hear the Pros/Cons of coming from a football background, a la mike jenkins.
Robert: In my opinion football is the best sport to put you on the right path in strongman. Yes even better then power lifting. (I bet people are gonna love that) I have faster feat and a better mentality from football. Theres a large trend of weak minded people in or around this sport and most of them act tough online, but wont look you in the eyes at a show. Those are the same guys that brag about a 400 log in training, but cant hit 350 if anyones watching. The one and only con from coming from a football backround is we dont deadlift in football. We power clean and snatch. I had a lot of problems with deadlift at first as do most football players, especially those who played as long as I did.
Brad Baldwin: I’d love to know what a big boy like that eats in a day.. Also would be cool to know his split
Robert: My nutrition has changed a lot in the last week. I thought I was eating clean, but now I know what clean eating is. I eat a lot of chicken and fish. Its kind of a no frills diet plan, but Im not looking at food like I use to. Food is all part of the work I put in for shows. Its not easy, but IF WINNING WAS EASY LOSERS WOULD DO IT
Kalle: To add on to this I know you just started working with Nutritionist to the Strongman Stars Nathan Payton. I know you can’t share all of the details but what has been the biggest change so far on your new diet plan and what are your goals working with Nathan?
Robert: The biggest change to me is I miss pizza! Anybody who knows me knows I’m a pizza enthusiast. My wife Kristin has been amazing helping me prepare food and everything else that goes along with the changes in my preparation. There is no way I could do this without her. My goals with Nathan are to be as strong as possible as long as possible. I want to finish shows strong. I had a big problem with gassing out at ASM and I don’t plan on letting that happen again.
Brad Baldwin: What’s the best pick-up line to use on the ladies?
Robert: That’s Kalle’s department.
Zack McCarley: Awesome! I’d love some talk on log training for us lesser “mortal log pressers” 😉
Robert: Like I said earlier just destroy your front deltoid as often as possible and when you cant lift your arms, wait a few minutes and do more. Also training with different guys helps a lot. I needed help with my deadlift so I got with Ken Brown and he fixed my pull Eric Peterson and Chris Carroll helped me more then I could ever explain. Dave Standifer has and is turning my weaknesses into strengths. Zack you are more then welcome to come down to Athletic Performance Fresno and train with us. That goes for any athlete who want to get better, give Dave Standifer a call at Athletic Performance and come to work.