A Tribute To Jesse Marunde
I never got to physically meet Jesse. The one time we were near each other geographically it just didn’t work out for us to physically meet. But I had great respect for him. Those of you who may not know – Jesse was a very young man who was at the very top level at competitive strongman both in the US and across the world.
He died recently during a workout in an unexplainable way. It is incredibly unfortunate and my heart goes out to his family, his wife Callie, and his children. Even though there are no real words that may help them feel better, I would still like to express my sympathy for their loss. My belief and hope is that one day we will see Jesse again and that during the short time he was here he did inspire and encourage many people with his life.
Even though I did not physically meet Jesse I did know him. I spoke with him several times by phone and email. A genuinely nice guy. As this is a strength based portion of this website I thought I would recount some of his more incredible strength feats and some of the training that I learned in speaking with him. Some of which I believe has lead the forefront of the strongman world.
Some of Jesse’s feats:
- Behind the neck push jerk – 5oolbs
- Performed 12 clapping pull ups at about 300lbs bodyweight
- Closed the #3 lronMind Gripper – either hand for reps
- Squat 400lbs for 20+ reps
- Lifted a 464lb stone to a 6″ box
- Farmers Walking 400lbs per hand
- Pinch flipped two 55lb plates
- Snatching over 300
- Deadlifting over 700
Things I learned from Jesse:
I discussed training with Jesse and I always like to pick up the secrets, intelligent hints and interesting concepts that the top-level guys are into. Here are some of those things:
1. Jesse came from an Olympic Lifting background and was incredibly strong but was really an athletic type of strongman. So he did things in training to both take advantage of his strengths and build his weaknesses into strengths.
2. Although Jesse for the most part squatted like an Olympic lifter (narrow stance, etc.), he added wide stance and box squats to help his hip power for stone lifting and take some pressure off his knees as well as prepare for the strongman squat events that have become popular recently. He found the hip power necessary for loading the really huge stones that he became great at.
3. Again taking advantage of his strengths Jesse worked on perfecting push jerks with logs and other strongman implements. While at the same time working on his military press strength another example of working strengths and weaknesses together.
4. Because his emphasis was competitive strongman and his goal to win the World’s Strongest Man Competition he set a majority of his training up around working the actual events. That means incredible levels of functional strength as well as technical excellence at the actual strongman events.
5. I believe Jesse was one of the first to really apply a conjugate theory of training to strongman events. That means instead of the old way of just grabbing whatever odd implement was around and training it however it dictated he training the events with scientific precision.
6. One of if not the first to use the above mentioned training style with stones. This illustrates this style of training well. Instead of simply going out and training stones in the regular loading style he would dedicate one day to speed loading with moderate weights, another to max weight loading, another to repetition loading and multiple combinations in between to become one of the top stone lifters in the world.
7. Jesse liberally added other styles of lifting and movement to create an active rest period from heavy training. As well as build the unique strengths that other styles can give you. Examples might be kettlebell circuits that he used as well as periods of lighter or bodybuilding style training to continue to stimulate the muscle and condition, but allow joint repair.
8. Powerful emphasis on natural, basic foods as well as balancing building up your toleration to load along with the need to recuperate. In other words finding a disciplined balance in training.
9. Combining both weights and strongman into the same routines and even sets to build over the top conditioning, nervous efficiency and lasting high-level strength.
These things will give you training food for thought and maybe some inspiration to achieve some of what Jesse achieved in his strength career. Maybe some of you might even get to where he did – top competitor every year in the pro-strongman ranks. Pay attention to the things I learned from him.
It is once again a tremendous tragedy for the strongman world. Let us continue to pray for his family and remember Jesse fondly. Learn from his work and carry on his tradition of strength.
Let’s also remember that no one is promised tomorrow so make sure, as I’m sure Jesse did, that those you love know that you love them. And that you know the real important things in life – relationship to Jesus Christ.