Interview of Troy Shanks

Troy Shanks is a dual sport strength athlete who trains at the Beaststrong Powerhouse Gym in Tucson, Arizona.  Troy recently hit a 505 bench and 705 lb squat in the gym while training for the 2021 Static Monsters Strongman Contest, at. which he log pressed 330 and 18” axle deadlifted 780 to place second amongst all the entrants at Beaststrong.  I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Troy. 

1. Please tell the readers your age, and occupation.

I am 34 years old and am a Facilities Coordinator.

2. How long have you been lifting weights?

I started out in High School but didn’t start to take things seriously until about 2010. Before that I had no real direction or knowledge of how and why to do things in the gym.

3. How long have you been competing in strength athletics?

My first year competing was 2013, I did a Strongman Comp and a Powerlifting Meet that year.

4. What are your best lifts in Powerlifting?

My last Powerlifting Comp was March of 2021 and I hit S-600, B-418, D-621. I have hit better numbers in comp but in powerlifting I believe, you’re only as good as your last event. Gym lifts my bests for powerlifting style are S- 705 (wrapped), B- 485, D- 675

5. Any best lifts in Strongman style of events or training?

My bests in Strongman style lifts are: Squat- 705 (same as PL, wrapped to parallel), Bench- 510, Deadlift- 765 (Suited w/ Figure 8s), Log Press- 360, Yoke- 1k for about 10 ft, Heaviest Stone to 48”- 434, Truck Pull- 20k pound freightliner, Tire- Flipped a 1k, Lapped a 1300, Log Bench Press (WSM 1984 Style)- 490

There’s a ton more, which is the great thing about Strongman, the type of events is endless.

6. Have you ever done any other type of lifting events such as strict curl, Olympic lifting, bear wrestling, or dwarf tossing?

I’ve competed in Highland Games a few times, never really train for it but love competing in them. Sheaf Toss is probably my favorite event.

7. What gyms do you currently train at?

I train at BEAST STRONG POWERHOUSE in Tucson.

8. Who are your training partners?

My most consistent partner is Joe Young, who has quite the future in Strongman.

9. Can you describe your current training system?

I create my own programming and follow a Progressive Overload, Intuitive style to it. I train what feels right when I get into the gym, could be press, could be pull it just depends on what hurts least. Off- Season is for fixing the shortcomings but I compete so often that I am usually training for events in my next comp. 

10.How did you develop your training system?

I followed other programs in the past but found that I was training movements that weren’t optimal because maybe I had an injury or my caloric intake wasn’t ideal that day/ day prior. So, I wasn’t getting the benefit of the training. I would try to push through these issues just because that’s what was on the menu for the night. I found that listening to what my body was trying to tell me has increased my lifts and has improved my recovery after sessions.

11.How would you train a 13 year old Troy?

My biggest regret in my training history is that I waited so long to start. A 13-year-old Troy would be doing the BIG 3 while focusing on form, he would be doing more explosive movements with emphasis on functionality.

12. Any serious injuries you have overcome?

New Years Eve going into 2020 I had a detached Bicep Tendon. Unfortunately, the story isn’t that cool. It was basically a result of under recovery. Four days of very heavy pull (deadlifts, stones and more deadlifts) lifting without proper recovery. I was loading a Spin Bike in the back of the truck and “SNAP!” torn bicep…….

All the other injuries I’ve had aren’t as serious didn’t keep me from lifting for any prolonged period of time. Minor Pec tears, Piriformis issues, torn rotator cuff, knee issues etc. What I would call “Normal” gym injuries for competitive lifters.

13. What was your rehab like for those injuries?

After the Biceps surgery in early January I took a few weeks off and started Physical Therapy to help strengthen and get my mobility back. I slowly started to increase the weights being handled and had my first comp back July 3rd of 2020. The hardest part of the recovery was the mental aspect, I was so worried about tearing it again that I didn’t do curls for about a year. Oddly enough, I wasn’t too worried about events training, curls just seemed so much more dangerous to me.

14.What is your diet like? Please describe a day of eating as well as a training week of eating.

I eat relatively normal. I follow a loose version of the Vertical Diet by Stan Efferding. Eggs, spinach and sourdough toast for breakfast. Beef, rice and carrots for two meals of the day. Beef and carbs of some sort for dinner. Pre training, I eat a PB&Jam. My kryptonite is Oreos and Ice Cream, for dessert I will pick between the two, either some Oreos and milk or some ice cream. Barring a dinner out with family or friends, this is the diet day to day.

15. What is a normal week like in taking care of your family, work, and training?

I am a creature of habit so the weeks all look similar, work M-F, Train after work and kids’ sports functions when applicable. We adjust the days we train based on kids’ sports practices and games. Having a family that is also involved in sports and have their own training goals can get hectic sometimes but the outcome for each and the family time that comes from it is well worth it.

16. Your state, Arizona, has a long tradition of strong motherfuckers and bad motherfuckers.Who are some of the baddest mofos you have trained with?

The list is LONG of people I feel honored to have been able to train alongside. Each for pretty much the same reason, they all have a level of drive to be better that is often missing in most lifters.

First, My fiancé, she is an IFBB Pro Figure competitor, She decided she wanted to go for PRO and within a year was back to competing and was awarded her Pro Card in July of 2021. Melissa and Rafe Teich both have a drive unmatched in bodybuilding. All while creating gyms that every lifter can thrive in. CJ Pierce has to be one of the most impressive strength athletes I’ve ever known. As a 198 has entered comps in the SHW class and won! His technique and strength are unreal.

Marshall Zinn in my opinion is the most underrated 231er in the world, I have had the honor to know and compete against him for a few years now. Grant Lapinski, “Arizona’s version of JF Caron” as I have dubbed him. Is one of the most consistent competitors that I have trained with. He competes numerous times a year and improves every comp.

Vinny Clarin who is also a Coach at Beast Strong Powerhouse, he is a Powerlifter and is an Insanely strong one at that. Early 2022 will be Vinny totaling 2000 in a comp. He improves leaps and bounds every off season and has put some serious numbers up. There are plenty that I am forgetting at this time but the level of talent in AZ is overwhelming. 

17. Are you sponsored by any products or company? What can you tell the reader about those products?

I am currently not sponsored but am hoping to pick up a few in 2022.

18. What are your plans to support and grow the sport in the future?

To help grow the sport Beast Strong hosts 3 Strongman comps a year and we have recently started to offer Youth divisions to help get the future competitors started.

19. What are you going to do to achieve your next goal?

Consistent training and proper recovery to stay injury free.

20. What do you do to recover from a bench session?

I will usually do some stretching after a heavy bench session and usually do a pull day the day after.

Nothing too exciting but I find it helps me.

21. Who are some of your friends in the Powerlifting world?

Honorable mentions would be Asa and Malinda Barnes who have done so much to grow Powerlifting Arizona.

22.Any hobbies of interest? What do you drive?

Strongman is a big hobby of mine but outside of that. I enjoy fixing up old trucks, my daughter and I are in the process of restoring a 1977 F150 HighBoy, we just got a 1960 F100 for my fiancé that we have started but have ways to go still. I also enjoy doing home improvement projects. We have redone most of our house but have a few projects the fiancé would like to see done. I enjoy the process of taking things from old and making them better and newer again.

23. Tell the Strength World something that they do not know about you sir.

I’m pretty much an open book, I share most of my story with those who want to listen. If anyone wants to know/ learn more about me, just reach out.

24. Who would you like to thank for their support, fellowship, or inspiration.

First and foremost is my family. The support I receive is unconditional and it is appreciated.

2 thoughts on “Interview of Troy Shanks”

  1. Troy was one of the first people that I found impressive in the AZ strength sports scene when I moved here in 2014. Guy does it all and he’s a class act. Not many of these guys around. Looking forward to seeing all that he does throughout his competitive tenure.

    Reply
  2. Troy has improved immensely in the past few years in both powerlifting and strongman. He charisma and personality are the glue that binds the strongman community together in AZ. He is always around to catch a lift and to help those getting into the sport! This dude is “good people”

    Reply

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