Glenn "The Daddy" Ross
When trying to decide who to use from the many strength icons in history, I kept finding myself leaning towards one man who really is the human embodiment of raw unpolished brutish strength and ugly power. Unlike the pretty, glamorous muscle and fitness models of our metro sexual era, Glenn Ross was, and is often criticised by many for his incredulous size and habits, his belief in his strength, and his stubbornness in not conforming or evolving to what is expected by fitness fanatics and left wing health advisers !
He was arguably the strongest human being on the planet before the rise and dominance of the Lithuanian giant Big Z.
Never really reaching the dizzy heights of his fellow athletes, Glenn Ross was more a freak of nature, and an ogre of power, but all who have witnessed his raw strength in the flesh will never forget the image of a blood snorting 450lb man lifting inhuman weights followed by a bellowing rhetorical question in a strong Irish accent ................ "Who's the Daddy ?!!!!"
Glenn Ross was born on the 27th of May 1971 in County Down Northern Ireland, and like the majority of young boys soon took an interest in most sports and team games until finally settling on a long term relationship with iron in the form of competitive bodybuilding, with the dream of one day becoming a superstar wrestler. Ross found a great flair for putting on lean sinewy muscle, and began competing in 1993 and eventually winning the 1994 novice Mr Ireland at a body weight of just under 100kgs .
Glenn's preparation for the 1996 Mr Universe competition was in jeopardy due to putting on far too much weight in the 'off'season. He hated dieting and it was taking its toll on his body, causing horrific and crippling cramping in his muscles and his body was numbing when at such low body fat. This along with his obsession with food made competitive bodybuilding intolerable.
Whilst working as a chef and bouncer to pay the bills he was invited to do a local charity truck pull and from that he decided to get into the strength sports. He changed his routine and his eating habits and began putting some major bulk on to be more competitive and by 1997 his deadlift alone had climbed to a massive 360kg !!
At this stage Glenn knew that in order to stand a chance with the top lifters of the late nineties he would have to be even bigger and at a height of only six feet would need to get heavier and heavier to match the body weights of the much taller athletes some close to seven feet and weighing up to 26 stone1
He was now eating up to thirty boiled eggs with porridge for his first of six daily meals. His diet mainly consisting of steak, fish, chicken,protein shakes,potatoes,rice, beans, pasta, fruit and at least eight chocolate bars a day!!
Although now married with two children Glenn was now training seven days a week ,four days in the gym and three days on his strongman events. A typical training week looked like this...
Monday- Legs. Squat,45 deg leg press,leg extensions,leg curls,seated calf raises.
Tues-Chest /shoulders/ triceps. Bench press,behind neck press,bodyweight dips,log press.
Thursday-Back/biceps. Deadlift,pulldowns,pulley rows,barbell curls ,dumbell curls
All main exercises are done in 8's 5's 3's and then a double (not quite to failure) over roughly 90mins of high intensity training. With this programme his deadlift climbed from 360 in1997,370 in 1999,390 in 2000,and the elusive 400kg was pulled in 2002.
He was squatting 400kg in just knee wraps ,bench pressing 295kg raw and had a standing military press of 195kg !!! With these lifts he was widely regarded as the strongest man Britain had ever produced and statically the strongest human being alive,he was also now the heaviest strongman in the world.In one year alone (1999)he was 1st in the IFSA UK championship,1st in Northern Ireland's strongest man,and 1st in Britain's strongest man.
His record in competition now looked like this,
United Kingdoms strongest man winner 2004,2006,2007,2008,2010
Britain's strongest man winner 1999,2000,2001
Northern Ireland's strongest man winner 1995,1996,1997,1998,1999,2000
Qualified for WSM 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003
There was no doubt about it, Glenn Ross was obscenely strong ,but his emphasis was on lifting heavy and his mobility events were seriously lacking .This really held him back in the cardiovascular demands of the Worlds strongest man competitions. Often winning the static log press or grip events but losing huge points on the loading medleys or walking with weight and very often collapsing and needing to see the medic after giving his all .
Fortunately for Glenn there was the 'Arnolds' competition this was a more static based competition invented to separate the men from the boys with the heaviest weights ever seen in these strength events.
In 2005 Ross competed at the Arnold's and for me,displayed the greatest feats of brute strength ever seen, not just in one event but he stole the show in three of the six events !!!
The first feat of strength was the Apollons axle. A 166kg (366lb) non revolving 2" handled barbell that was made to resemble train wheels made legendary by the famous historical strongman Louis Apollon Uni. This was to be lifted from floor to overhead as many times as possible .
"The Daddy" rocked up looking mean as hell in an all black shorts and sleeveless tshirt covered in chalk and bandaged at the knees and elbows in 'Irish' green knee high socks. He used an unusual technique of ripping the enormous weight of the floor and catching the bar in the crook of his elbow, and like a fork lift truck just hoisted the weight to shoulder height smashing his chin,and then awkwardly worked his left hand under the bar into a pressing position but once he got it there he didn't use any leg drive at all but instead just pushed the bar into the lockout position using solely deltoid power.
Repetition number two was even more ridiculous as Glenn's hand spacing was completely off, and he had one hand in the centre position and the other near to the collar, but with true power and ignorance he, proceeded to strict press the weight overhead!On the third rep Glenn ran out of steam during the pressing of the weight and dropped it crashing to the ground ,unbelievably he then returned to the lifting position and threw the weight to his enormous shoulders and painfully and slowly with a rep that seems to last forever ,pressed the weight strictly to lockout. ............."who's the Daddy ?"came the cry from the behemoth !!!
The Hummer Deadlift was next, this was a 14ft bar with enormous 4x4 wheels on each end ,a handle of 1 3/8" diameter and an 11" height to pull from . Ross was the last man out and stomped up the platform stairs with contempt,Glenn had wanted to attempt 1000lb on this his final lift,as his last lift 933lb looked like a warm up , but sense got the better of him and he took just enough to create an incredible new world record of 977lb . Glenn destroyed it with bags of strength to spare and screamed his trademark call whilst pacing up and down the platform acknowledging all the crowd in front of him and then plodded to the waiting TV crew and announced in his deep Northern Irish accent "Breaking world records is what the Daddy's all about .And when it comes to the deadlift ,I'm the Daddy !!"
The Inch dumbell press was was a replica of the heaviest dumbell used by the legendary English strongman Thomas Inch.The Inch was 172lb in weight and 2.47" in diameter.
Ross went at it like a man possessed and without using any momentum from his legs strict pressed seven clean reps on his right arm with the 78kg dumbell .He then returned the bell to the platform before lifting it up to his left shoulder inan attempt with his left hand.To every ones surprise the bell hesitated on the way up,drifted back and was then dropped...."no lift" called legendary strongman and referee Odd Haugen.After a small pause to catch his breath Glenn then picked the bell back up to his right shoulder and began to press it but it again began to drift back downwards, but in an incredible display of just who had the strongest shoulders on the planet Glenn dug his heels in and pressed even harder against the force of gravity and defiantly muscled the weight to arms length.Almost beyond belief Glenn's ninth rep with the Inch dumbell was a carbon copy of his eighth rep and again he muscled it out!! Those two repetitions have been widely discussed by strength historians and fans ever since as being one of the greatest feat of pressing power of all time and rightly so in my opinion.Ross then put the bell down picked it up with his other hand and managed his 10th and final rep in style.Proudly beating his chest ,stalking the platform and high fiveing the rapturous crowd Glenn turned ,slammed his massive hands into his even more massive stomach and shouted with pride to all those who had ever doubted his abilities......................"Not bad for a fat bastard eh ? !!!!!!"
Glenn Ross still lifts now, and in his first ever powerlifting show, the Irish senior powerlifting champ achieved a raw 1000kg total in shorts and a tshirt, and dreams of attaining someday an 1100kg raw powerlifting total. He won the Masters WSM winning the log press and getting 12 repetitions on the 320kg squat(double the amount of reps achieved by the competitor in second place!!)
He is owner of Daddy promotions, an events and festivals promoter and founder of the United Kingdom Strength Council ,he still trains, cooks ,decorates cakes!! and does charity and fund raising .
By Jay "Ursus" Pateman
DESIGNED BY STRENGTH ATHLETES
FOR STRENGTH ATHLETES