Who is Rauno Heinla?
Born June 7th 1982 in Tartu Estonia
Length 183 cm
Weight 134 kg
2017 Arnold Pro Strongman South America 1st place
2017 Arnold Pro Strongman South Africa 3rd place
2017 Arnold Pro Strongman Australia 4th place
2016 Arnold Classic competition South Africa, Hong Kong and Spain
2015 World Deadlift Champinsip 3rd place result 435 kg
2015 SCL Finland 3rd place
2014 SCL Lithuania 1st place
2014 SCL Estonia 1st place
2014 SCL Vaasa 3rd place
2011 Giant Live Finland 3rd place
2011 SCL Lapland 4th place
2011 Competing in Worlds Strongest Man North Carolina
2010, 2011 Estonia vs World 1st place
2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015 Estonian Strongman 1st place
Rauno Heinla builds his way as pro strongman to fulfill his dreams
It's not hard to recognize the real strongman in everyday life - he just is such big grown and mostly warmhearted man who seems to be ready to move the world. One of them is from Estonia, Rauno Heinla.
Rauno's road to the top started already from childhood. He started weightlifting and powerlifting already at age 10 and he started strongman sport in 2000. He has set his goal to become one of the ten stongest men in the World and to compete in Arnold Classic, USA.
On Rauno's right hand there is a tattoo that says "You Want It? Then Fight For It." That's what he has done his whole life. He says that really important is the will power, this sport has had a many men who have come and left.
Strongman is a great man
Rauno confirms that it's good to be a strongman because it benefits to be big and strong. In world competitions he is one of the most lightweighted - in strongman sport most of the men weight 145-200 kg.
Rauno says "I've done this sports since 18 years old, before that I used to do weigthlifting and powerlifting". His first bench press took place when he was 10 years old. He started to compete in strongman sport by the help of a PE teacher Margus Pärsiku.
Rauno remembers well the first strongman competition - "My weigth was only 85 kg and had to carry two cases in both hands for 40 meters. Cases weighted 86 kg. Eventually I carryed them one by one because I couldn't do more."
For now, Rauno weighs 135 kg, his record weight is 142 kg, then there's one his college who weighs 200 kg(2015).
"Weight doesn't matter to become successfull strongman. Weight and length may be advantages, but not allways" he says. It is after all a big men sport.
An injury that still affects
For now, in Estonia Rauno is in the lead in this sports and on a good level in world-class. One of his goals is to become one of the World Strongest Man finalists, and the other goal is to be one of the three strongest men in the world.
Until the age 30, Rauno's health was great, but then he had a serious injury - in Kõrveküla, Estonia competition. His right achilles tendon broke. Doctors said that he just has to recover from it, but it was incompetent decision because his leg swelled and started to rot. One doctor decided to remove 10cm from Raunos tendon. This decision turned out to be unnessecary. But the remaining part of the tendon did wonders - it recovered and Rauno's foot is working well. Rauno has had a lot of rehabilitation and now he can compete again. He knows he has to be really careful.
"Thanks to will power and six surgeries I got well". In this sports injuries are often to happen and in competition seasons are more important muscel tearings.
Strongman lifts, carries, pulls...
Rauno says his favorite event is deadlift for reps, stone lift and squat. In deadlifting he is one of the best, it shows how many times he can lift one specific weight. "My personal deadlifting record is 440 kg" he says. "Off seasons, when we train, we don't take really huge weights. But in competitions we have to be in shape, because then the weights are on maximum. Deadlift is most important part of the competition. And you have to have strong shoulders and legs to lift 150kg log on repeats."
Rauno says that the worst moment in his career is ofcourse the injury in Kõrveküla Srongman competition, where he damaged his leg. But one of the greatest competitions is Giant Live competition in Finland, 2011, where he got the 3rd place and got invited to WSM.
"To begginners I dare to recommend that don't ever give up. It's good to become a strongman because this is the sports that you can practice even when you are 50 years old" says Rauno. He brings 50 years old Mark Felix as a perfect example. Mark Felix showed that even at the age 37 he could start with this sport and rise to the top.
The trainings are consistent
Rauno says that the training basis is the gym and particularly strongman exercises you have to practice at least once a week and on seasons even more often, five times a week. Every exercise has its own technique, so only raw power isn't enough and you have to train your posture etc. You can always ask for advice from more experienced strongman, they are happy to help.
"When other men come home from work and start to rest, then I will take my sports bag and go to training" says Rauno.
Rauno is mostly motivated by the winnings - especially SCL stage winnings in 2014 in Lithuania and sixth Estonian title.
He also notes that he doesn't survive only from strongman career. There are too few competitions that afford a winning prize and you have to rely on sponsors. World-class winners get about 50-60 000 dollars.
According to www.rammumees.ee in Estonia, there are 18 active strongmen, one of the well known is Rauno Heinla's good friend Lauri Nämi.
More about Rauno through media
Strongman may eat anything. Rauno believes that he is a bit different strongman because he doesn't eat as much meat as he likes milk products.
"Nutrition is as important as workout. Proper nutrition gives a lot to results because I am training with big weights, so my body needs a lot of energy to recover. I'm a bit choosy when it comes to food, because I simply don't like many foods. Mostly I like minced meat foods and the main protein sources are milk products"
When many men have to get themselves angry before the competition to get better results, then there's Rauno - he is naturally nervous person. Before the first event, he is so nervous that it makes him nauseate. But after the last event he is completely calm.
An overview of one competition
Medley. First Super Yoke 400 kg weighing frame on the neck, then cases in both hands-150 kg and finally 125 kg weighing sand bag. The Conan's Wheel: 350 kg tote in circles.
Weight holding in front. The only required exercise in Champions League: 30 kg weighing cylinder hold in straight hands.
Stone lift. Six stone balls, the lightest 100 kg and the heaviest 215 kg, pushing them on the platform.
Stairs. Three iron cases (225, 250 and 275 kg) lifting one by one up from stairs.
Interview with Rauno Heinla: What does this man do at the end of April 2015?
You have said that your goal is to participate in Worlds Strongest Man finals and to become one of the strongest man in the world. Have these goals changed?
My goals have only increased, the Worlds Strongest Man finals are really possible. If I had been able to compete this year in this competition that took place in this April then I would propably got to finals because the events were very suitable for me. I really hope to get invited there next year. My expectations are really high.
And someday I would like to compete in Arnold's contest. This is the second largest competition after the Worlds Strongest Man, regarding to weights and awards even number one.
Your daughter has shown herself as really good sports girl. In which sports is Marie-Elise rising?
My daughter(born in 2007) is very athletic, I guess she got that from me. For one year she did athletics but then she started to like bending and dancing, so she went to gymnastics. Her flexibility has advanced really fast, she even learned splits before the training.
Sports is important all year. Rauno's daughter participates in Kõrveküla triathlon in summer and in winter she likes snowboarding.
What is your position in Estonia and in world?
In 2014 I was the strongest man in Estonia, new competition is still coming, so I'm still the strongest in my country. At the end of last year I proved that I am at world-class level, when I won SCL Lithuanian and Estonian stage. I dare to say that I am a world-class strongman. If I compete then only with the purpose to get on the pedestal, not the last place. At the moment my results are really good.
I recently made a video about my deadlift to get to the World Deadlift Championships that takes place in this summer. I am not that famous person that I could hope to get the invitation so I have to deadlift over 400 kg. The one who lifts more has a chance to get to the competition of the World Deadlift Championships. So I made a pretty good result by deadlifting 440 kg. I'm sure that nobody passes this because these men who coult pass this result are already in the list of competitors. With this result I could have had 3rd place last year. Surely I hope to get even better results. World record is 462 kg, this is not very unreachable for me.
Do you have some limits that would make you concider to say goodbye to sports for good?
Definetly no! Unless I don't get any new injuries then my plan is to continue with this sports for long time. This year I competed with 49 years old man, so I still have plenty of time.
What are your upcoming competitions?
June 13th in Finland first SCL competition, July 11th World Deadlift Championships in England and European Strongest Man competition.
In June also Vastseliina Strongman takes place, it is also Estonian Championship. I hope to become the six time title holder, then I would be the only man in Estonia who has hold this titel so long.
At the moment nothing more comes to mind, but in autumm I hope to compete in Champion laegue. Propably in October also in Latvia, because last time I won that.
Who are the biggest competitors to you? In Estonia And in world.
Estonian competitor, but first of all my training partner, is Lauri Nämi. We workout together for bigger goals. It's complicated to do strongman sports alone.
In world I find many competitors, I rather would not point out them. But everything is possible and everyone is beatable.
What does Rauno Heinla's daily life look like?
Right now I do a lot of trainings. Five times a week a gym and twice a week bicycle.
My goal is to get the best in this area. I also started to instruct the trainings. It is really good for doing my own sports and you never know, maybe one day I will become a trainer. Afternoons I spend with my child. Usually I don't watch TV, sometimes only some movies from web. But if some television channel shows some strongman broadcasts then I record it and watch it several times.
What do you have in common with regular Estonian family man and how are you different in ordinary Estonian man?
Makes me think... It is easy to differentiate us. Strength, ofcourse, I am stronger than them, mostly bigger too. But otherwise I am still usual guy. I'm doing housework. I go to the sauna at leas three times a week, but I don't drink beer there like ordinary Estonian guy does. I prefer Coca-Cola. And I try to be as good father as possible.
How your damaged foot feels?
I can feel my leg injury till the end of my life. One leg is thicker than the other and after the competitions it still hurts. Some activities are limited for me. For example I can't play football because after that my leg hurts very hard. But I want to progress and I wount stop doing my sports, It doesn't matter that sometimes I feel the injury.
Interviewer Jüri Kukk
- March 1-4 Arnold Pro Strongman World Championships Columbus, Ohio USA
- March 16-18 Arnold Pro Strongman Australia Melbourne, Australia
- April 20-22 Arnold Pro Strongman South America São Paulo, Brasil
- May 18-20 Arnold Pro Strongman Africa Johannesburg, South Africa
- July 7-8 Festival Hommes Forts Warwick Warwick, Quebec, Canada