NOT even six months ago, Murray Joyce could barely walk after suffering a bulging disc in his back at the L4-L5 section.
It meant a painstaking recovery where picking up any sort of heavy weight was a challenge.
On Sunday, he was again setting the bar high when he set two New South Wales state records at the Static Monsters event of the nationwide Strongman competition.
“I lifted 305 kilos on the axle deadlift and 111 on the log, but I only got my first attempt on the log,” he said.
Previously, Joyce had achieved 270 kilograms on the axle deadlift and his best effort on the log was 105 kilograms.
The Static Monsters competition focuses on the two static parts of Strongman.
It remains unknown where Joyce would have placed overall in Australia at the weekend, but he was confident it would be a top five finish.
“I was hoping for 120 on the log but ended up with 111,” he said.
“I was just nervous and it was a bit different to my training arrangements and it didn’t go to plan but they were still pretty good numbers overall.
“While it was a good result, personally I wasn’t 100 per cent happy because I set pretty high standards.”
It was his first competitive event since the serious back injury in June.
It’s not all about not picking up the heavy weight, because once you get the injury you find all the small parts that support the big parts are lacking a little bit.Murray Joyce
He admitted he was told by physiotherapists not to pick up a weight until his injury had healed, so he did his own research.
“They told me I needed to stop lifting for ages and the usual advice that most of them tell you,” he said.
“But I found I was overlooking the little things like the stretching and mobility and explosive movement.
“It’s not all about not picking up the heavy weight, because once you get the injury you find all the small parts that support the big parts are lacking a little bit.
“You get more obsessed with putting plates on the bar than stretching or doing chin-ups or whatever.”
As a result, Joyce now warms up for 45 minutes to an hour before a training session and since that change, there has been no sign of any back soreness.
“It (warming up) nearly is more important than actually lifting, because your strength isn’t going anywhere, but you can lose your mobility overnight,” he said.
It (warming up) nearly is more important than actually lifting, because your strength isn’t going anywhere, but you can lose your mobility overnight.Murray Joyce
“You can have a big session and then overnight all your muscles tighten up and you don’t do anything about it.
“Then you go to lift again and you’re a lot more chance of getting an injury.”
Competing at Static Monsters was part of Joyce’s preparation for the World Strongman in December.
“It will be the first official World’s Strongest Man competition for lighter weight athletes,” he said.
“There has always been a World’s Strongest Man that you see on tv, but there’s never been one for a lighter weight category.
“They’ve already got 270 athletes signed up and I have 30 in my division where the top 10 go through to the second day.
“There’s a cash prize for the winners and I’ve never been in a comp where there has been money before.
“I’ll be absolutely over the moon if I make the top 10.”