By Shukin on 5/20/2013 Back to Articles
“What’s the point of competing if you don’t give it your all?” An interview with Michael Burke
Strength Crew is grateful to have had to opportunity to interview World’s Strongest Man competitor, Michael Burke. Michael lives in Aurora Colorado, is married with two children, and trains alongside WSM Brian Shaw. In composing my interview I reached out to our Strengthcrew.com forum members for questions they would like to hear Michael’s thoughts on. We hope to continue to check in on Michael from time to time and get his thoughts and feelings on a verity of subjects as his career progresses.
First off Michael, what got you in to training for strongman?
I had joined a gym to rehab a football injury. I ran into a group of guys who did strongman and started training with them.
Wow, you just kinda fell into it. How did you come about meeting your training partner WSM Brian Shaw?
One of the guys I met at the gym I joined introduced me and we have been friends since.
What did you do to transition to strongman as far as training, diet and conditioning are concerned?
For training I watched and learned, ask questions when I had one. My diet changed only because I started to eat more.
We had several questions regarding grip training, is this something you train separately?
I just recently started training my grip and that was to break the world record in the axle deadlift. I have always had a decent grip, which I feel I owe to swinging a hammer all my adult life.
I was at this years Arnold and watched you compete, when you attempted the Austrian Oak, you nearly fainted, could you tell us what went wrong and how you changed your approach for future log press events?
Well I didn't nearly faint I pretty much passed the f!@# out. Lesson there is don't set the log to high on your neck it cuts off the blood flow.
It was pretty craze to watch, I have tremendous respect for you for coming back out and continuing to test yourself. I watched the Arnold Brazil videos and noticed you really go for broke, giving it your all to the point of near collapse, how and when did you develop this mind set of leaving everything on the platform?
For me it's the only way to compete. I want to do my best and see how it stacks up against the rest. What's the point of competing if you don't give it your all?
Does this worry your family?
My wife worries a little I think but she is behind me all the way.
Michael, how do you prep for a strongman comp as far as training goes? Power lifters have their methods, like cutting volume, and taking openers, and such, how does one peak for strongman?
I would say it is probably close to the same. When I train for a show I don't do 100% all the time I work up to it. I will do 100% three weeks out then back it off and when I compete I will always try do better than what I did in training.
What do you feel is the most common injury in the sport and how do you avoid it?
Bicep tears are very common. I don't train mine because most things we do in strongman tax them anyways. Mine will start hurting pretty bad if I specifically train just them.
If you were competing and it came down to one event to decide the winner, what event would you want it to be?
I have had pretty good luck with the stones and the dumbbell so either one of those would be good for me.
Would you mind telling us about your new venture with Brian Shaw, Strongman Academy?
Strongman Academy is all Brain's doing I just get paid to look good.
Haha, I guess we have to ask Brian. What is next for Michael Burke?
Let's see, I am going to Budapest at the end of June to do a Giant’s Live. I am going to San Jose at the end of June also to try to keep my grip world records. And then to Canada in July. And hopefully onto WSM.
We wish you the best in all those competitions.Do you have any sponsors or websites you would like to mention here?
Titan has helped me out with some gear. They make great custom suits. I am working on a supplement sponsorship but cant say until it comes through.
Thank you so much for taking the time to field some of our questions, perhaps I will see you at this years World’s Strongest Man and we are able to talk more, perhaps even on video. We wish you and your family the best this year and years to come, thanks Michael.