Team BSS is located in Boardman, OH, right outside of Youngstown. As you walk in the front door, you’re greeted with battle axes and swords; trophies from the gym’s members, which includes bodybuilders, CrossFit athletes, powerlifters, and strongmen. Heading back into the gym, it opens up into a large facility decked out with some of the best equipment.

When I showed up, strongwoman Ashley Lawrence was already warming up. Ashley has been a strongman competitor for quite some time and is currently training to defend her title as national champion at the USS Strongman Nationals this coming June. She was soon joined by her sister, and co-owner of BSS, Brandy Schumaker, who owns the gym with her husband Shawn. Both of the Schumakers are strongman competitors, with impressive competitive careers themselves.

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Shawn, who does a lot of coaching out on the floor, also had a group of CrossFitters training to get ready for the CrossFit Games Team Series next year. Shawn has integrated a full day of strictly strongman movements into their training, which they say has helped them tremendously with their CrossFit events, especially the bodyweight movements. Kristen Anderson, who competed at regionals last year said that strongman training has, “made us more well rounded, explosive, and ready to handle anything they throw at us.”

Another multi sport athlete, Mark Jones, who came from a football background and played at Youngstown State, was at Team BSS training for USS Nationals as well. Mark competes in strongman, CrossFit, and bodybuilding. Mark and Shawn, who is also a former competitive bodybuilder, both attribute a dramatic change in their physiques to strongman, noting how much muscle mass they gained in their legs and back after training for a few years.

Shawn is also the United States Strongman Ohio State Chairman, holding and overseeing several contests in the Ohio area annually. He has been putting on competitions for quite a while, and is known for holding well-run contests. He works tirelessly with his wife, and the rest of the community at BSS, to bring people in and introduce them to the sport of strongman. His laid back demeanor and impressive knowledge of training make him very welcoming to new people looking to get into the sport. If you’re ever in the Youngstown area, I highly suggest stopping in to check out this training facility. You won’t be disappointed.

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