In July 2018, Gen-Tec Nutrition athlete and champion strongman Jordan ‘Biggie’ Steffens successfully pulled an 80-tonne Qantas 737, just weeks after pulling 155-tonne train. We speak to him about his recent record-breaking events and what he has coming up in the future.
First of all, congratulations on your recent plane pull. Can you tell us all about the event and the inspiration for it?
Thanks so much! Well, I guess as a strongman it’s always a dream to pull a plane, as it is the most extreme looking event that we do. I had pulled a 155-tonne train about four weeks earlier so the turnaround was very quick but was a dream come true.
The plane pull was to raise money for Craniofacial Australia. Is this charity close to you?
Yeah, it was in aid and support of Craniofacial Australia, which was something I knew little about at the start but as I spoke to more people about it, it became a lot closer to home. [Founder] Professor David David has reached so many people’s lives and a lot in my own circle, I had no clue. I also didn’t know that my mum had dealings with the professor with her work in dentistry. It’s amazing that this man has been involved with so many people and saved so many lives. Prof David retired after 44 years and is the world leader of craniofacial and it was a fitting send off to him to show how much he is appreciated and respected that I pulled this plane for him. He is a great man well respected and it was my honour to do this for him.
Your next big challenge is to attempt another world record, originally set by Australian Strongman Legend Grant Edwards, to pull a 204-tonne train. Can you tell us about this world record attempt?
On 28th October at the National Railways Museum, Port Adelaide, we will be attempting to break a long-standing world record that was set by the legendary strongman Grant Edwards back in 1996. I want to bring back some show and fun to strongman to break the stereotype and just help out as many people as I can — plus I would love to have a world record!
This attempt will be a 204-tonne train, which is over 3 tonnes heavier than the train Grant pulled back in 1996.
Wow, and this will be overseen by Guinness World Record officials?
Yeah, I hope so. I emailed Guinness so we hopefully can make it official but you know unofficial will be OK — BUT I want that record!
How do you go about training for events like this? What does a regular week of training look like?
Well, this will take special training as you do need a level of fitness to pull a train, as its a long time under load. But also, you need a lot of strength. Body weight can be helpful to but I have about six more events this year, all very different. My training at the moment is covering all bases:
AM: Olympic and Sqaut
PM: Deadlift / Back
PM: Bench Press
PM: Olympic and Squat
How much of your training is regular weight training vs. strongman-specific movements?
Depends on what event I am getting ready for. Any Olympic comp, I would only train oly movements. But strongman I would train two days per week. The rest just gym work and all the exercises in the gym would be to build strength and my weak points. Strongman is such an open sport with so many different lifts you just have to be strong 24/7 and ready to go anytime.
You have competed in strongman, powerlifting and Olympic weightlifting. Has being across these different disciplines helped you when competing?
Strongman helped my weightlifting and made me a much more confident lifter and a strong lifter — no pun intended. But I wouldn’t be the strongman I am without all the years of weightlifting I did as a kid: power, speed and timing, all thanks to Olympic Lifting.
How do you balance the different disciplines in terms of training?
It’s VERY hard to fit everything into a program as there is only so much you can do. But we all have weaknesses and they’re the most important things to work on. As I was saying before, you need to prep well and know your events and make sure you prep for those events and push your weaknesses in those events and never forget: a strongman is always strong.
When are you next planning to compete in a strongman event?
I am enjoying the strongman style events I am doing at the moment, demos and shows over competitions BUT I will be in Russia in November to defend my weightlifting title at the Klokov Power Weekend, which is a few weeks after the train pull. So it’s non-stop at the moment and I really can’t wait for every event I do.
How are your Olympic lifts coming along?
My Olympic lifting is coming along well and I am looking to push hard leading into Russia at the SnPro and I really hope to hit some big PBs. I would like to go back to back; it will definitely be an uphill battle — but I like a challenge!
How can people support you in your latest endeavour?
Follow me on Insta and FB as I always update on my events and who I am working with. On the 13th of October I am doing an engine carry for brain cancer and would love as much support as I can get for that event.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I would like to thank everyone for their support! My team, sponsors, family and friends: without you I would just be a big dude pulling a train! I really appreciate the love and support.