Get Your Sweat On Series: Stout Barbell

Over the decades, fitness trends have come and gone. Today, people are pushing to be more than a number on a scale or look a certain way. They want to be strong. If you’re a fan of lifting weights like I am and want to delve deeper into strength sports, you should check out Stout Barbell.


Founded in 2011 by John O’Connor, the gym caters to athletes training for sports like powerlifting, strongman, and the Scottish Highland games. Whether you’re a seasoned lifter looking to compete or a newer weight slinger wanting a challenge, Stout Barbell is the place to train.

So, which strength sport should you try? Here’s an overview of the most common sports among Stout members:

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Stout Barbell member Chris Noble deadlifting at a Powerlifting meet (where he won his weight class!).

Powerlifting: This sport tests your maximum strength in three lifts: the Squat, the Bench Press, and the Deadlift. You have three attempts at each lift to progressively increase the weight at each attempt. Competitors are placed in divisions based on weight, gender, and age. Powerlifting is great for fairly new lifters to get their feet wet!


Owner John O’Connor doing the log press at a Strongman competition.

Strongman: You may have seen the top Strongman competitors pulling semi trucks on the World’s Strongest Man. Don’t worry; you won’t have to do this at your first competition. Strongman tests your speed and strength with events like log press, tire flips, atlas stone loading, farmers holds, and many other unique events. Some events are done for maximum distance or repetitions in a certain time frame or completing an event in the fastest time. Like powerlifting, strongman competitors are placed in divisions based on weight, gender, and age.

(Oh hey, that's me!) Rachelle Reinking doing the hammer throw at a recent Highland games.

Stout Barbell member Rachelle Reinking (Oh hey, that’s me!) doing the hammer throw at a recent Highland games.

Highland games: If you threw shot put and discus or just love wearing kilts, the Scottish Highland games might be the sport for you. The goal is maximum effort in events like hammer throws, stone throws, sheaf toss (grab your pitchfork and throw a stuffed burlap sack for height), weight throws, and the caber toss (a giant telephone pole you try to flip). Classes are divided by age, gender, and ability level.

Stout is the only gym in Fort Wayne that houses a variety of heavy athletics equipment, including atlas stones, car deadlift, throwing implements, and specialty bars. So, no matter what your sport, there’s something for everyone’s training! Even if you don’t choose to compete in anything, there’s more than enough equipment to keep your workouts fresh and fun when you’re in a fitness slump.

Stout Barbell member Rob Logan carrying the Conan's wheel at a Strongman competition.

Stout Barbell member Rob Logan carrying the Conan’s wheel at a Strongman competition.

New to lifting? Members are more than willing to help you out. John regularly trains people new to Strongman on Saturday mornings. If you’re willing to learn, they’re willing to teach. We all started somewhere, so don’t be afraid to ask seasoned lifters and competitors questions about their sports.

Most competitions the members get involved with are out of town, but Stout has hosted some powerlifting meets, as well as push/pull meets as fundraisers for fellow lifters who hit rough times. Stout is much more than a place to go and lift.

Stout Barbell member Rob Logan says, “We’re a community, we like to take care of our friends and our families, and we act as if we are a family here, even though we’re just people who come together to lift weights.”

If you’re over the commercial gym scene, Stout Barbell is the place for you. Memberships are $40 per month with a $35 equipment fee with your first monthly payment. To learn more or come see the gym in person, call John O’Connor at (260) 402-3561. Check out updates on Stout’s Facebook to see upcoming events.

Stout Barbell

2429 W. Main St.

Fort Wayne, IN 46808


Author: Rachelle Reinking

Actually, it's pronounced like "Rachel." Don't worry, everyone does it.

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