Army vet­eran and am­putee strong­man Mark Smith em­bod­ies the true mean­ing of strength. Fol­low his lead

Men's Health (UK) - - In This Issue -

Bri­tain’s strong­est dis­abled man teaches you how to lift with mil­i­tary pre­ci­sion. Load it on

Be­ing wounded on ac­tive duty is un­lucky. Sur­viv­ing tours in Bos­nia, Iraq and Afghanistan, then los­ing a leg on a Cana­dian fir­ing range is un­luck­ier still. Not that Mark Smith, a 10-year vet­eran of the Gre­nadier Guards, is bit­ter. “I’ve al­ways wanted to tell the lad who shot me there are no hard feel­ings,” he says.

It was in the mil­i­tary hos­pi­tal ward that Smith re­fo­cused his am­bi­tions. “I was around blokes who didn’t mope,” he says. “They just wanted to walk and run again.” Smith spent ev­ery free mo­ment in the gym, and this led to a brief ca­reer in body­build­ing. “When you’re train­ing, you don’t feel dis­abled,” he says. Af­ter a year, Smith be­came more in­ter­ested in the prac­ti­cal ap­pli­ca­tions of strong­man train­ing. He only re­ally faces dif­fi­cul­ties on legs day: a Smith ma­chine is es­sen­tial for squats, while con­ven­tional dead­lifts are a no-go. “I’m an above-knee am­putee, and my pros­thetic leg can’t take heavy weights,” he says. Es­pe­cially not the kind of weights he’s lift­ing.

Smith was crowned Bri­tain’s Strong­est Dis­abled Man in 2016 and 2017 and won dis­abled strong­man events at the Arnold Clas­sic in 2017 and 2018. Work­ing out was the foun­da­tion for both his phys­i­cal and his men­tal re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion. Though your ad­ver­si­ties may not be so se­vere, Smith’s lessons for reach­ing your goals are univer­sal: sur­round your­self with pos­i­tive peo­ple, don’t sit still, keep mov­ing for­ward – and pick up some heavy things, then put them down again. That’s an or­der.

THE MO­TI­VA­TOR Mark Smith, for­mer lance sergeant, Gre­nadier Guards, and two times Bri­tain’s Strong­est Dis­abled ManIN­STA­GRAM@mark­smith_ dis­abled­strong­man 175kg BENCH

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