An american who is bending out of england at the moment is Austin Seitter, who is also one of the guys who need just a very short time from a beginner to a man who bend big bars every week.
Austins improve skyrocking fast and I am very interessted where all this goes. Looking forward to your future bends, big man.
Thanks Austin for the interview:
Year of birth:
UK currently though I’m from Illinois in the USA
Cray cat dad
What does steel bending mean to you?
It’s pretty fitting that the bending cult exists because to me it’s a legitimate form of prayer. When I’m bending I do it in front of my statues of the gods and I’m demonstrating my strength and devotion to Thor and when I push myself into setting a new PR or a new certification, I give my thanks and make a promise to keep moving forward. There’s also the mind over matter aspect of it and just constantly pushing my body to ignore pain and pass my limits.
When and why did you start steel bending and what does or did your active time look like?
When I first got into bending I was fresh out of high school and was a competitive strongman. I had been trying to be the youngest guy to get my pro card and when I was trying to get ready for the Odd Haugen Classic I injured my back training atlas stones. I still wanted to do strongman but I had to figure out a way to do it that wouldn’t mess with my injury and after digging into the history of the sport and seeing that steel bending was not only a WSM event back in 1982 and 1977 but it was also a staple back in the days of circus strongmen. After reading about some of their feats I decided to give it a try and see if I could replicate them or see how much work it’d take to replicate them. Being self-taught, it took years to get any good at it but learning the technique and figuring out leverages was all part of the fun for me. When I first started out I was bending rebar on my head or in my mouth, rolling up frying pans, chest expanding chains, and bending some really small nails with dish towels but then I found out IronMind nails and wraps and it started me down the rabbit hole of learning the proper technique for more standardized bending. Having been focused on a variety of strength sports throughout the years, bending was always more of a side hobby/party trick so I didn’t make a whole lot of progress on it until these last couple years when I decided to bring it back to my main focus. I only train it once a week just so I can heal up between sessions but since I started training like this my progress has skyrocketed.
What do you love about steel bending?
There’s a weird, almost primal satisfaction from taking something meant to hold heavy machinery or buildings together and feeling it melt in your hands. Also, that feeling of taking down an especially difficult bar or when a bar that used to feel impossible becomes a warmup just cant be beat. It’s hard to think of the words to describe the feeling but its extremely addicting.
What do you hate about steel bending?
The only thing I hate about steel bending is the time it takes to heal between sessions. Especially after a really solid session where I got really close to finishing a PR bar or learned a way to improve my technique its really frustrating that I have to slow down and stop bending for a few days.
How does your training for steel bending look like?
I limit myself to once a week now to focus on constant progression and give my body time to heal for the best results each time. I don’t really have a set routine for my training though so I pretty much just follow the dopamine and obsessively push myself to bend harder and harder bars and bolts or just bend whatever I know I can do faster. Usually, I’ll do 1 or 2 warmup bends before getting to the harder stuff and those warmups are done as fast as I can possibly do, and it usually gives me a pretty good indication of how the rest of the session will go so if the warmups feel like nothing I get a little ambitious and attempt some certs or PR bends. The training itself is feel based but the progressions are all incremental based on ratings and length.
How does your other training look like (strength or other)?
Anymore I train grip passively every time I workout just based on my handle selection for each exercise but I have 1 dedicated grip/steel bending day a week which anymore is almost solely focused on steel bending and grippers. Aside from that I sort of just train whatever isn’t sore and follow the dopamine toward my goals.
What goals have you set for yourself?
I’ve got a ton of goals laid out for the next few years but specifically for this year I intend to certify on the 10.9, the Nanook bolt, and do some of the ECGB drill rod and nail certs. I have a pretty extensive list so those are just a few of the bigger ones.
What was the most impressive bend you ever saw (live or on video)?
Its hard to pick 1 when there are so many insane bends happening lately. Like seeing Derek Graybill crush the 6” 12.9, Phil McMahon doing the 10.9 double underhand, or Alex Guiha take down the TOAB under certifying conditions. The list could go on but those are just the first 3 to come to mind.
Rapid stuff – choose one
Bolts or steel?
Unbraced or braced?
Singles or doubles?
Chalk or not?
All the chalk
Beer or water?
Cordura or leather or both?
Short bars or long bars?
Horseshoes or flat bars?
Chips or chocolate?
The last words belong to you. What do you want the reader take away? Let us know your poems of steel!
It has been so cool watching steel bending gain some traction, seeing so many new people get started, and so many slowly finding themselves initialed into the bending cult. I would like to thank those supporting this community whether it be the online stores, ratings, certifications, competitions, or even just helping with exposure and peaking new peoples’ interest. Throughout the years I’ve noticed that, though it’s pretty small, the bending community is overwhelmingly positive and supportive of each other and that’s freakin awesome. I love seeing the pool of talent continue to expand so thank you.