July 26, 2014

Odd Haugen the ‘Vise Grip Viking’ Interview

July 26, 2014
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Last week we had the honor of sitting down with a strength legend, his name Odd E. Haugen or as he is commonly known as ‘The Vise Grip Viking’.

Odd was born in 1950 in Tingvoll, Norway, he was always fascinated with those possessing strength from a young age. At the tender age of 10, Odd began to lift weights made from wood, metal and any other items that could he could use, to achieve his dream of becoming strong.

As Odd grew up, this fascination of strength and training has taken him on an amazing journey through many sports from bodybuilding, American football and strongman, and his journey is not yet over.

At the young age of 64, Odd Haugen is still heavily involved in strength sports and also his new sport of MAS Wrestling, this is what the ‘Visegrip Viking’ had to say.

Odd Haugen Vise Grip Viking Interview

Hello Odd, thanks for spending time to chat with us today. Can we just start by saying that you possess an enormous amount of experience and knowledge in various sports, strength training and fitness; can you tell us some of your sporting achievements to date?

ODD: Your welcome, well my strength sports experience spans more than five decades, I started lifting weights at the age of 10 and competing in bodybuilding and weightlifting at age 17. I have won the Norwegian National Championships in Bodybuilding, Junior Weightlifting and Powerlifting; The US National Championships in Strongman, Armlifting (grip) and Masters Powerlifting; and World Championships in Armlifting (grip) and Masters Powerlifting.

I was also signed as a player to the Washington Redskins and San Francisco 49ers during the early 1970’s. Later on in my life I competed in ‘The World’s Strongest Man’ in my 50’s.

Odd Haugen Worlds Strongest Man

PHYSIQUE BOSS: WOW! That is a very impressive list of achievements there Odd. You mention that you competed in Worlds Strongest Man (WSM), but a lot of our readers may not realise that you were in your 50’s at this point. How did that feel competing against men half your age and how did they take it?

ODD: To be honest I felt like that I was treated like a contemporary of my competitors, even although my chronological age was 20-30 years their senior. There is great camaraderie amongst Strongmen and I was a part of that team.

PHYSIQUE BOSS: That is really nice to hear about your experience of WSM. Regarding your training, do you find that the way you train now, is different than you did, say 10 years ago?

 ODD: Yes of course, my training is always evolving and dependent on circumstances and training partners, but the core has not fundamentally changed over the years. I love my training.

PHYSIQUE BOSS: Everyone has a favorite exercise, what is yours and why?

ODD: I don’t think I have a favorite exercise or event, I hate and love them all!  My training in the gym is focused around the Squat and the Deadlift in their various forms.

Odd Haugen Interview

PHYSIQUE BOSS: Odd, how many meals a day do you eat and do you follow any particular ratio when it comes to Carbohydrates, Proteins and Fats?

ODD: I eat three “normal” meals, but snack all day on whole fruits, yogurts, nuts, and sometimes bars.  I tend to keep my macro nutrient intake is about 30% Protein, 50% Carbohydrates, and 20% Fat, these ratio’s work fine for me.

PHYSIQUE BOSS: Quite a healthy diet there Odd, so tell us how do you motivate yourself now, when it comes to training and competing?

ODD: (Laughing) Oh, that is easy I do NOT want to become weak and frail!

PHYSIQUE BOSS: I don’t think there is any chance of you becoming weal or frail Odd. Tell you us more about supplement brand?

ODD: First & foremost, dotFIT® is a research and development company for evidence-based sport and fitness programming. Our programs and products are delivered by sport, fitness and health professionals, therefore everything including recommended supplements must meet strict scientific criteria and legal committee rules including 3rd party testing procedures.  If we make it, it works!

Odd Haugen Mas Wrestling

 Ok Odd, MAS wrestling. What is MAS wrestling and what is the History behind it?

 ODD: I have always been interested in any test of strength as well as forms of combat.  I essentially “stumbled” on to MAS wrestling when looking for man-on-man challenges to incorporate into my strongman competitions, and I instantly fell in love with it.

 MAS wrestling in its modern form is the National sport of the Yakut People of the Russian Federal Republic of Sakha, and the International MAS Wrestling Federation is headquartered in Yakutsk, the capital of Sakha.  I have since discovered its equivalents have deep roots in Scottish culture (Swingle Tree) and Norse (Viking) culture (Kjevletrekk) going back more than a thousand years.  No wonder I was attracted to this sport.

Odd Haugen Mas Wrestling

PHYSIQUE BOSS: A lot of history behind MAS wrestling and in countries known for their tests of strength. So are there any techniques involved or is it just based on pure grip and strength?

ODD: MAS wrestling is simple, grab (the stick), pull, and win!  But yes, there’s significant amount of finesse, technique besides a tremendous amount of functional strength.  In my opinion it is the best single test of functional strength and a very good training tool for other sports requiring high level of functional strength such as rugby, wrestling, grappling to name a few.

PHYSIQUE BOSS: We think MAS wrestling is going to be huge, are there any Fitness expo’s that will be holding MAS Wrestling?

 ODD: In the US, it will be featured in the Odd Haugen Strength Classic with the FitExpo Northern California in July and also in the Mr. Olympia Week-end in Las Vegas in September to name a few.  Your readers can follow the link here to see the 2014 schedule of MAS events: http://maswrestlingusa.com/2014-schedule-of-events-mas-wrestling-usa

PHYSIQUE BOSS: That’s great news, your link of events will be great for our readers Odd. We saw MAS in action at this year’s Arnold’s Sports Festival in Columbus, Ohio and must admit we were very impressed. Will it be a new sport at the Arnold Sports Festival in the future?

ODD: Yes it defiantly be a new sport at future Arnold Sports Festivals, as the organisers came to watch our event and they were so impressed, that they want us back in 2015.

PHYSIQUE BOSS: Have you any plans to bring it to the UK, as there is rumor that Glenn ‘Who’s the Daddy’ Ross will be including it in some of his upcoming shows?

 ODD: Yes, Glenn will be promoting MAS in the UK and it was featured in the Irish Strength Expo in Bangor, Ireland this April just gone.

PHYSIQUE BOSS: Well Odd, our final question to you is that out of all the strength athletes over the last 50 years, who in your opinion would have to take pole position?

 ODD: It has to be Zyndrunas Savickas, he is the strongest man that has ever lived.

And that completes our interview with the great Odd E. Haugen the ‘Visegrip Viking’. I think that we can all learn from reading what great athletes like Odd have gone through to get where they are today and what motivates them.

So next time we are sitting at home trying to motivate ourselves to go to the gym, when we are laying on the bench at the gym trying to get that last rep out or trying to get that last 5 minutes of intense cardio finished, just think to yourself of Odd Haugen who at 64 can still train and compete in MAS wrestling and strength competitions, I think that is an inspiration to drive us on.

To find out more about Odd, MAS wrestling or dotFit, please follow the links below




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