Marc Wittrowski is a strongman who I discovered on Instagram while he was playing amateur American football in his native Germany. He’s got a ton of cool pictures and video of himself lifting and carrying heavy loads in a backyard in Germany. A year later, with one strongman competition under his belt, Marc is fully committed to using that backyard gym to improve as a competitive strongman; building a lot of his own equipment and traveling to work with top trainers to improve his technique. Read more about how Marc moves heavy stuff below.
Before we start, what does your Instagram name mean in English?
marcbewegtschwereszeug = marcmovesheavystuff; marc = my name bewegt = moves schweres = heavy zeug = stuff
How long have you been training? Where did you get your start? (your parent’s basement, a commercial gym, high school weight room etc.)
I was playing American Football in Germany for about 5 years.
What position did you play in American football?
I played Defensive Tackle for the first year, changed to Offensive Line for about 3 years. My last season I came back to Defensive Tackle. In the picture below I’m number 76. That season was my last one. I wanted to go on the journey to strength (“wegzurkraft”).
So how did you decide to begin doing Strongman?
During the 2015 season I injured my right knee and right ankle. While in rehabilitation I saw some YouTube videos from “Strength Wars” – the series where 2 athletes compete in strength exercises. From Strength Wars I came to Strongman.
Where in your house is your gym located?
In 2015 I had different bars, some plates, a platform with bench and squat stand in the basement of our house. In April 2016 I got the chance from a good friend to use a part of his garage and his farm for my training for free.
Training for football and training for Strongman are similar but different at the same time. Are there any things that surprised you about the training when you started doing Strongman?
It was hard to train for Strongman and Football at the same time. During the week I trained up to 7 times. Every end of the week I could feel the missing power and concentration. Both sports at the same time is too much for my body. During the season every week is Game Week, I couldn´t really train on a high level with high weights. This is not the way I want to train, so I now I concentrate on Strongman.
You’ve competed since we last spoke. How does it feel to realize your dream?
All in all it was great to compete for the first time. I have learnt my lessons from this first strongman competition. The weeks before the comp I ate too much and while we competed my body felt really heavy and not in the shape that I expected.
I trained the events over and over BUT I was nervous and donÂ´t focus enough at the first two events on the right technique so I lost my power really fast! Overall I had fun, got a new axle-deadlift pr (8x200kg), met new people and realized that I have go back to my garagegym and train harder to be better prepared for the next competition.
marcbewegtschwereszeug (and makes it too!)
Garage gyms often start out barebones. Especially when you do a sport like Strongman where you can’t always buy what you need. What did you start out with?
Strongman equipment is very expensive but I need it for when I compete in Strongman. So I started to build this equipment on my own. All pieces of equipment from my pictures and videos except the Oly lifting bar and the plates are DIY. Building gym equipment is the best part besides the training itself. Because of the limited space I try to build equipment which I can use for different things. It´s a “invite only/private gym” and over the last year a couple of friends came and trained with me in my garage gym and all of them were surprised by the quality work of my self-made equipment.
So where did you buy the Olympic lifting bar and the plates?
The equipment that isn´t DIY is from Strengthshop.de and Ebay.
Okay. So back to how you got started with making equipment.
In the Football preseason 2015 I tried to develop a better punch on the line. So I decided to build a different barbell for bench press. The role model was the Rogue Multi Grip Bar. This worked very well. So the next steps were my DIY Fat pad bench and my DIY squat stand with spotter arms
What have you added to casa marcbewegtschwereszeug since we spoke last?
- I upgraded my squad stand to a full rack. Added suspension bands for squats and benchpress.
- I reworked my yoke (+ added a vikingpress adapter) and build new farmers walk handles with the option to use them for framecarry.
- I added two machines: a lat pulldown tower (option to do T bar rows) and a reverse hyper (option to do rows and dips). At the beginning I never wanted machines but now it´s nice to have them, especially the reverse hyper is a great piece of equipment.
- I added many special bars: SSB, Camberbar, 50 mm Axle, 60 mm Fatbar, Rogue Deadlift bar
- I added a lot of strongman stuff like Apollon wheels, sandbags, atlas stones, logs and circus DB.
- I tried to build my own dumbbells but decided then to buy them. My hex dumbbells range from 10 to 50 kg.
How did you learn to make your own equipment? Have you always worked with metal or did you learn so you could build your own gym equipment?
At my education as an industrial mechanic I learned all the skills I need to create equipment.
So what led you to train where you train? I saw on Instagram that you wanted to leave Gold’s Gym but like you said, Strongman equipment is expensive. Aren’t there other gyms where you could train; you train at CrossFit Amboss sometimes don’t you?
The Gold´s Gym from the IG pic wasn´t my local gym, I trained there while a business trip. At the Gold´s Gym and my local Gym I can´t train the way I like to. At the basement gym there isn´t someone who wants the squat rack, the bar or the plates. I can train 24/7 and when I drop the weights nobody comes around the corner and admonish me that I shouldn´t do that. Sometimes I train at Crossfit Amboss. This is a Crossfit Box managed by two friends. I build up there Rig and have made them 2 Log Press Bars. It’s a distance of one hour driving and they do Strongman classes once a month.
So who is Johannes Luckas and how does he fit into your strongman training?
Johannes isn´t my trainer. The plan is made by me and my friend (Personal Trainer at Crossfit Amboss). It´s inspired by other powerlifting and strongman athletes that I follow on YouTube and Instagram. Johannes Luckas is one of the best personal trainers in Germany. He lives in Berlin this is 300 km one way to my hometown. This weekend in Berlin was my vacation this year. I had two hours with Johannes this year to let him check my deadlift, squats and bench press.
Some people might be afraid to start their own gym because they might not know how to build equipment. What advice would you give to anybody who is thinking about starting a gym in their home?
KISS = Keep It Simple Stupid. Start with simple equipment. Know what you need and make some plans / drawings about it. Don’t be afraid to ask other people to help you. For example my dad helped me a lot; he knows the old school way to form metal.
How is your family involved in your fitness journey?
My mom says every time that I shouldn´t do this heavy things. She thinks that I get too big! My dad is proud that I put hard work into my dreams.
How can people follow your training?
Follow me on Instagramm marcbewegtschwereszeug – I made this for my journey to strength