Photo by Andre Laird.
When it comes to fitness and strength training, five Huntington men are taking the sport to a new level.
The group, known as "The Tribe: Huntington Strength Athletes," consists of Aaron Snider, Nate Falcone, Gabe Rice, Scott Smith, Bryce Davis and Chris Schuman.
Snider, the team leader, says the name means a lot to the group.
"The definition of tribe is a group of individuals who come together for a common purpose," Snider states. "We all have different personalities and backgrounds, but the sport is what brings us together."
Snider has been competing in Strongman competitions since age 18 and the idea for the group was spurred from a conversation with Falcone.
He recruited Smith and Rice to join the team, and Davis and Schuman followed shortly thereafter.
"I started to watch the World's Strongest Man competitions in 2000 and got interested in the sport," says Schuman. "I attended an event last year and was even more impressed and gained a new appreciation for the sport."
After posting pictures from his trip on MySpace, Schuman says he was contacted by Snider about joining the group.
Davis, who was previously friends with Snider and Falcone, says the men encouraged him to join and have continually pushed him to become better.
"We train using both conventional and unconventional methods," states Snider. "We have a workout program that we pretty much stick to."
The routine consists of four days of regular workouts at the Parkview Huntington family YMCA and one day of event training of three to four events.
"Our workouts at the ‘Y' are similar to how a power lifter trains, working on lifts like you see in the Olympics to gain strength," adds Snider. "Event training focuses on proper form and techniques using objects that are usually found in Strongman competitions. It would be too much on the body if we trained any more than our current routine."
Snider says since the group was formed each member has seen improvement.
"I previously trained with Aaron for a bench press competition," says Smith. "I had my best performance during that event and that's why I joined the group."
"What we do on event-training day complements what we do in the gym," adds Rice. "We have fun but we do take what we do seriously."
He adds that the group sometimes has spectators on event-training days because of the odd assortment of items they use to train with. Items include round stones, a large tractor tire and water-filled kegs.
"Our goal is to continually prepare for events that may come up," says Snider. "We want to always be in competition shape."
The Tribe recently competed in the Leprechaun Challenge in Fort Wayne, placing third overall and second place in the open division, from a field of seven teams.
"We took first place in the fire truck pull contest," says Rice. "We pulled a fire truck weighing about 33,000 pounds up a five degree slope."
Schuman also had the fastest time in the "Keg Walk."
Snider adds that the competition was tough.
"There were teams there with professional power lifters as well as a team of firemen," he states.
The group plans to compete in team competition in Fort Wayne during the Three Rivers Festival later this summer.
"We also plan to enter individual competitions, such as bench press contests, as they come up," says Snider. "That's why we try to stay competition ready at all times."
Snider adds that plans are in the works for a Heritage Days contest hosted by The Tribe.
"We are still in the development stages, so nothing is definite right at this point," he says. "Sponsorship opportunities are also available to anyone interested."
He adds that currently the group is entirely self-funded.
"We are grateful to our fans, friends and family for always supporting us and traveling to our events," says Smith. "They are always there cheering us on."
He adds that his mother, Margarie Smith, has allowed the team to train in her garage during the winter months.
"We are always looking for new members or anyone interested in training with us," Snider states. "Our workouts are applicable for almost any sport. The tire lift for example, is a great exercise to help a linebacker explode off the line from the squat position. There are exercises that are good for volleyball and baseball as well."
He adds that there is science behind the way the group trains and that measures are always in place to ensure the athlete's safety.
"We take what we do very seriously," Snider states. "We have fun, but when it comes to making sure we are accomplishing our goals and staying healthy and safe, we are serious about that."
He adds that the workouts are designed based on advice gained from professionals in the sport.
Falcone says athletes of all ages and sports are welcome to join the team to work out.
"It has been a dream come true for me to be able to participate in a sport I love and respect," states Schuman.
Davis adds that there is much more gained than just strength.
"The sport develops mental toughness as it pushes you to new limits every time," he says.
For more information on The Tribe, visit the group's MySpace page, at www.MySpace.com/ HuntingtonStrongman1 or call Rice at 402-8637 or Falcone at 530-7101.