I am following Anton since the beginning of his bending journey and it is great to see his progress he made over the last years in nearly every style out there. Everyone knows how hard it is to reach some goals in all the bending styles and Anton did it. Especially on the horseshoe bends he is at the moment one of the best active benders right now and this journey is an ongoing thing for sure. So I am very excited what we will see from Anton in the future.
He started a Horseshoe Bending List with Kerckhaert shoes for every level which is a great move and the benders have a very good progression for their bending progress.
Check out the channels from Anton:
Thanks Anton for the nice interview:
Year of birth:
What does steel bending mean to you?
It's a test of your mental fortitude, strategical ability, pain tolerance and general strength. You won't come far without a good mix of those componants.
When and why did you start steel bending and what does or did your active time look like?
Lets start from the beginning. When I was a kid I really like watching Worlds Strongest Man competitions.
I was skinny and weak. When I was around twelve years old I tried bench press at the school gym for the first time and my max lift was like 15-20kg.
I wanted to get stronger so I bought some cheap equipment that me and my dad set up in his basement.
When I was 16-17 years I started to work out at a public gym, it was there and on strength forums that I discovered both powerlifting and grip training.
I did those two during my school years. I studied to become a Chef.
But when I started working in restaurants, I dropped in weight from 92kg to 68kg in short period of time. I was mostly doing seasonal work.
Long hours, moving from place to place lead to no consistant training for many years.
This all changed 2018 when I left the restaurant lifestyle. First I started working with grippers, got really into that for a while. Got an account at gripboard and started an Instagram for my training.
I felt quickly that I became a part of the grip community. Everybody was super friendly and I saw all this cool stuff that they were all doing.
I saw guys now and then bending steel, and at some point felt that it was time for me to give it a go.
I liked it straight away. Started with only doing double overhand bending.
As time went by I tried out all the other styles. Braced bending and horseshoes came natural to me, and became my favorite styles.
Here is some of my best bends.
12mm at 10''
16mm at 23.5''
20mm at 39.5''
Goliath at 45.5''
SSP#3 22x8 in IMP
SSP#4 22x10 in 1.5'' wraps
Horrido A2 bolt at 6.5'' in one IMP - double overhand
What do you love about steel bending?
Steel bending in the hobby/sport that I devoted myself to the most in my life.
I love the rush it gives me and the long really hard battles that you sometimes lose but always give everything to win.
The feeling of the steel giving up. It's great, and especially if you have failed the same piece of steel multiple times before.
There's so many bars, bolts and horseshoes to go after. There hasn't really been a dull bending workout for me since I started bending over three years ago.
I love the community. Helpful, non macho attitude makes for a great environment to learn and develop.
I think that bending steel does a great job working your mind as well. It has taught me that you can overcome if you just apply yourself.
This can have carry over to all things in life.
What do you hate about steel bending?
Nothing to hate really. But there is one supplier scammer that I'm hoping wont stay in the community for long.
What can be bothersome is dealing with a plateau if there is no steel suited for your current strenght level.
Injuries are never fun, but that is a part in every sport.
How does your training for steel bending look like?
For a bit over a year now I have almost only done horseshoe bending. I'm completely obsessed with it, and the progression has been great with almost no period of stagnation.
At the start of this period I think I could bend shoes up to three times a week.
Now it's usually once or twice a week.
It seems like it's hard for me mentally to train more then one style seriously at the time. In theory I would like to work unbraced and braced bending one time each per week, but I have not yet managed to bring myself to do it.
How does your other training look like (strength or other)?
Right now I don't really do anything else then bending steel.
I got myself some kettlebells recently, which I have been using for warm-up on bending sessions. It's the best warm-up rutine I have had thus far.
I will continue exploring kettlebell workouts, and add regular strenght training to my training. It's a work in progress!
What goals have you set for yourself?
I feel like I want to continue bending steel for many years to come.
I want to be strong in all events/styles and possible become one of the best horseshoe benders.
What was the most impressive bend you ever saw (live or on video)?
I think Alexandr Denisovsky is the one who has done the most feats that has been mindblowing to me. Such a strong unbraced bender in all styles. Barehand, minimal padding and doubles.
For horseshoes David Wigren is a big inspiration. If you look back to 2010-2013 it's obvious that he was way ahead of his time.
Only a few has reached his level since then, and no one with a style as clean as David.
It seems like he is stronger then ever now, and I bet that would show if he came back to shoe bending.
Rapid stuff – choose one
Bolts or steel?
Unbraced or braced?
Singles or doubles?
Chalk or not?
As much chalk as possible!
Beer or water?
Beer, but I prefer red wine
Cordura or leather or both?
Short bars or long bars?
Horseshoes or flat bars? Horseshoes
Chips or chocolate?
Both, and every other snacks
The last words belong to you. What do you want the reader take away? Let us know your poems of steel!
I run an Instagram page called kerckhaertbenders. It's a horseshoe leaderboard with shoes from easy to very hard.
I created this rankings because the only other list for horseshoes is the top-20 list, which is super competitive. Really hard to enter.
So my hopes with this project is to bring a few more guys into shoe bending!
I want to thank everyone who has been starting up bending projects for people to participate in. You bring life to this sport!
Also a thanks to those who been helping me and supported me in my journey.
If anyone would like my help or input I'm happy to do it.