Tucked behind a Bradenton residential home in an unassuming metal structure, you will find one of the cooler strength gyms in the Tampa Bay area.
Asgard Training Center is a strength gym that has a little bit of everything to offer, but is a special stomping ground for the local strongman community. I have been wanting to mess around with strongman for awhile now, so I was amped to go check it out!
When you first enter the neighborhood in which Asgard is located, you might think you’re in the wrong place.
How could this nice & neat little neighborhood possibly be hiding a hardcore gym with a bunch of giant dudes flinging around odd objects? It seems implausible, but then you happen upon a sign that confirms that you are in the right place and directs you behind one of the homes.
Owner Bryce Johnston is somewhat of an equipment collector, and the 2 structures that comprise the gym showcase the impressive results of his collecting. Vincent was in heaven when he got to Asgard- he is a BIG Nautilus fan, and Asgard had no shortage of Nautilus equipment.
Whats more impressive than Bryce’s collecting is his technical knowledge of the equipment.
At one point during our visit, a cable on on of the machines popped. Now, I have been a cyclist for a very long time, and anything involving cables is my worst nightmare. When I have cable issues, I concede that it is something too complicated and infuriating for me to deal with, and I just hand it off to a proper mechanic at a shop. Not Bryce. He said, “Sorry about that! No problem, be right over.” He grabbed some gear, went over, and fixed the machine in no time at all. I’ve never seen a gym owner that is able to properly fix their equipment when it is something more involved that tightening bolts, so I was super impressed!
As I previously mentioned, I was there to check out the Strongman stuff.
The first things I encountered were the Atlas stones. I was not brave enough to try and grapple one, haha! I’m gonna be honest, I can’t even remember all of the strongman specific stuff he had- there was so much and I was very overwhelmed! However, the one thing I did zero in on was the “wagon wheel” deadlift. This is a basic deadlift, but instead of standard plates you would use wagon wheels or something of similar diameter (in this case, 70 lb Rogue bumper plates). This reduces the range of motion and focuses more on the lockout portion of the lift, so it’s great if you need a stronger low back or hips… or if you compete Strongman!
I started loading the bar and got to it. A few other people were working in with me. I had already deadlifted twice that week, so my body was fried on this particular lift. Despite a 385 conventional deadlift max, I only hit a 305 with the wagon wheel that day. It was disappointing, but that’s what happens when you overtrain! I stepped aside, grabbed the camera, and watched the boys get to work.
Full disclosure, I have no idea how much the boys lifted that day.
All I know is- it was a lot. Vincent is ridiculously strong, especially for a bodybuilder. He’s probably gonna be mad I didn’t consult with him about his numbers prior to posting this but oh well!
Before we left, Bryce showed me the kegs and I vowed to return and try to throw them.
I haven’t gone back to do that yet, as I’m still tangling with this back injury. But mark my words: I will haphazardly fling kegs around the field in front of Asgard as soon as possible. He also has some cool merch, so we snagged some shirts on the way out.