I had the pleasure to interview one of the newest additions to the American Strongman Corporation ranks, the Professional arm of the North American Strongman organization. I have seen this gentleman compete several times and one word sums him up...INTENSE.
Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Vince Urbank, I’m originally from Toms River, New Jersey, but I was stationed at Camp Lejeune N.C. while I was in the Marines. I currently live and train in Jacksonville Florida. I am also currently a full-time student working on becoming a physical therapist. I have trained at Ironworks Gym with Jim Hoskinson and Dondell Blue. I have done some training at Team Samson with Adam Driggers, Brian Carroll, and Clint Smith. However, currently most of my training is powerlifting-style and I train at Team Jax with Lester Estevez, Joe Norman, Sly Crumbley, Jojo Groff, and Tank Tutko.
You were a Marine. So how did that shape you and make you who you are today?
I believe my experience as a Marine has definitely contributed to my success so far in strongman and powerlifting as it is critical to be able to overcome diversity and rise to the occasion and succeed despite hardship. Leading up to winning my pro card I injured a tendon in my right foot on top of moving my entire house because my lease was up on the day of the contest! When I got to the new house our septic system broke and the tubs filled with sewer water. Not to mention dealing with a massive roach and black mold infestation. But sometimes you have to make it happen and not let circumstance own you.
PI or Hollywood?
I am a Paris Island Marine!
How did you get started and why did you choose this sport? You also started competing while still enlisted, correct? Was that tough to make happen or was your command supportive?
I did do my first strongman competition while I was still in the USMC. I was working bouncing at a strip club on my time off from the Marines and my friend (who would later become a great friend and training partner) Billy "Tank" Tutko suggested I try strongman. I found a North American Strongman contest online and went and did it about 3 weeks later. I liked it and kept it up, my command was supportive of me competing as long as I still participated in all PT and training and it didn’t affect my work negatively.
Do you have any other previous lifting experiences or sports you participated in?
I always was athletic and strong growing up but because of a very hectic family life I never had the opportunity to participate in any organized sports as a teenager. I did start doing hardcore calisthenics at about age 13 and lifting by age 15.
You just won your pro card with the American Strongman Classic...has that sunk in yet?
I am very happy to have earned my pro card but I view this as the beginning, not the end. I am looking forward to continuing to progress and show that I can compete with the best. This sport is a marathon, not a sprint. I have been competing in strongman almost three years now but I decided after about one year that I wanted to go pro and take it all the way.
Do you have any advice to the would-be strongmen out there?
My advice would be to train smart and avoid injury. Get plenty of rest and NUTRITION is paramount. Plus if you set a goal see it through even if it takes a lot longer than you expected to accomplish it, there is never any reward in failure.
Any serious injuries and how do you handle them?
I have had a few serious injuries in my life but they were not strongman or lifting related. I view an injury big or small as a setback, but anything can be overcome.
What is your typical training schedule like? Do you train for the events in the competition or just all around strength for the sport?
My typical training schedule is three days per week. Monday press/upper body, Wednesday pull/lower body and Friday squat/lower body. When I have a strongman contest coming up I pull and squat on Wednesday and do events and squat again on Saturday. I always train for overall strength, I also work a lot on hand strength and bending/breaking in my spare time throughout the week. As far as my event training I just like to brush up on the events for a couple sessions when I’m a few weeks out from a Strongman show, this time around I trained events with Andrew Clayton here in Jacksonville, Florida. I didn’t know if I was the strongest dude going into this contest, but I was definitely the angriest.
Favorite event / least favorite?
Favorite event is anything for max or super heavy farmers and heavy stones. Least favorite event is high-rep/footrace type events.
I would like to thank my lovely girlfriend Lindsey Craft for helping so much with my training and competitions, my Mom, Team Jax, Team Samson, Ironworks Gym and Jim and Cori Hoskinson, Andrew Clayton, and anyone else I forgot to mention.
Thanks to Vince for taking the time to answer the questions. Keep an eye out for him!