LIFTING a colossal 400kg - which is about the weight of a horse - would seem like an impossible task for many men.

However, it is a weight Ben Brunning, 31, has managed to deadlift when he has competed in strongman competitions which push his muscles to their limits.

Ben, who lived in Dovercourt until he moved to Wales, can also squat the weight of an adult lion and overhead lift the weight of two fully grown kangaroos.

But lifting weights on this scale has taken Ben eight years of intensive training and strict meal plans which are crammed full of protein-rich foods for muscle gain.

The hard work has been paying off as Ben has been crowned Wales’ Strongest Man for the past three years running and also secured first place at the Official Strongman Games European Championship this year.

And now Ben has qualified to compete in the World’s Strongest Man competition in 2020.


Ben, who stands at 6ft1ins and whose family still live in the town, said he has always been a competitive person.

The former Dovercourt swimmer and rugby player, has tried and enjoyed numerous sports over the years including kayaking in South Africa and white water rafting in India.

He said: “When I was young I played rugby in Harwich and I then started kick boxing.

“I was offered to fight for England but I decided to study instead.

“I studied outdoor education and travelled around the world kayaking and then ended up moving to Wales.

“I went to the gym to keep my weight down for kayaking and my friend was always lifting weights, and so I decided to start weight lifting.

“I was soon out-lifting my friend in the gym and I thought I would give competing a go.”


Ben’s first competition was called Champions of the Future in 2012.

Despite the event being his first competition, Ben came first and then competed in Wales’ Strongest Man the same year.

Although he was not crowned as Wales’ Strongest Man until 2017, Ben has retained his title ever since.

If he wins the competition next year, it will be the longest anyone has held the title.

Ben, who weighs 23 stones, said he has overcome a series of both mental and physical challenges during his years of training.

“I have become much larger in stature and mentally, competing has changed me,” he said.

“It has changed from a hobby to something I want to take up full-time.

“There are a lot of things I have sacrificed for the sport, like my time at home and time with friends for my strongman career.”

To stay in physical shape for the World’s Strongest Man competition next year Ben needs to continue eating about 4,500 calories per day.

To keep up the calories, he eats eight high protein meals a day.

“World’s Strongest Man is a three-day competition,” Ben said.

“But you never really stop training in the run up to it.

“I stick with doing squats, deadlifts and overhead lifts week in week out.

“But when events come up I have a lot of additional training which includes lifting sandbags and carrying metal logs.

“I can deadlift 400kg, overhead lift 190kg, and squat 350kg.”


Ben will be the first Welsh competitor since 1995 to qualify for the competition.

He said: “My ambition is to become the World’s Strongest Man. For 2020, my goal is to get into the final of the competition.

“I hope I can get the World’s Strongest Man title in about three years. It would mean everything to me and right now there is nothing I want more.”