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Farm preps this pro

Carl Foemmel has never shied
away from the heavy lifting. “I’ve always had excellent strength,” says the
fourth-generation farmer from Chile, Wisconsin.


“When I was young, I never
watched TV. I purchased a plastic-and-cement weight set at Fleet Farm and
worked through the entire book daily. Even at 3 years of age, I picked up a
50-pound block of salt and loaded it onto the cart.”

At Marshfield High School,
he lifted weights, playing nose tackle for their state champion football team
his junior year.

Today he farms with his dad,
Tim, and grandfather, Forrest. They share equipment and a dairy calf enterprise
with Carl’s uncle, Dan, and two cousins.

Rising To The Challenge

In 2005, Foemmel and a
friend at the gym saw a poster about the World’s Strongest Man competition.
Foemmel, who is 6 feet tall, weighed 240 pounds at the time. “My friend said
there was no way I could do that – everyone was so much bigger than I was,”
Foemmel says. “I decided to take on the challenge, and I never looked back.”

To prepare for competition,
Foemmel worked out at a local gym six days a week, putting in 18 to 20 hours.

He entered a contest in
Madison with 20 other contestants. He placed third. At New London that year, he
placed seventh out of 30 individuals.

This was followed by six
other competitions. In 2006, he won the heavyweight division at the nationals
in Louisville.

He needed a more customized
workout, so he and Pastor Gerry Zehrung renovated a 20×25-foot garage, heating
it with a wood stove. He works out there four days a week for three hours per

“This is a quiet place and
has all the proper equipment,” Foemmel says. “I can go at my own pace, do as
many reps as I want, and focus on the various events.”

Sanctioned events include:

• Giant farmer’s walk
(moving 380 pounds in each hand) for 200 feet.

• Giant dumbbell is pressed
overhead (lifting 200 pounds) with one hand.

• Lifting atlas stones
(weighing 250 to 500 pounds) to a 56” platform.

Not surprisingly, Foemmel
has torn his bicep and pectoral muscles.

Last month the 29-year-old,
295-pound farmer competed in the first round of World’s Strongest Man in Los

“It’s a great way to stay in
shape,” he says. “It takes dedication and self-discipline, improves your cardiovascular,
and fits the physical activities of farming. I plan to compete as long as
possible. My goal is making it to the World’s once.” 

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