MANY a South Yorkshire bloke can claim to be an expert when it comes to downing Stones.
But strongman Paul McCaffrey from Barnsley is more of an expert at lifting them than drinking pints of them!
If you’re a fan of strongman competitions you’ll recognise the huge lump Paul is pictured grappling with as an Atlas ball.
The Barnsley beefcake was taking part in the England’s Strongest Man competition - throwing them about like confetti and lifting a blood vessel-bursting four out of five stones onto a podium.
As a result Paul, who is the Drug Free Powerlifting 82.5kg category World Champion, finished fourth in the under 90kg category of the England’s Strongest Man competition at the Salt Ayre Sports Centre in Lancaster.
Not bad when you consider he had never competed in a strongest man competition before.
He says he only entered the competition to fill in between powerlifting events - and now he‘s qualified for Britain’s Strongest Man, which takes place in September.
He said: “I’m hoping that with a little more specific event training I can be pushing for a podium placing.
“There were a total of 16 of us in the competition so I’m pretty chuffed with myself at finishing in fourth.
“Now it’s onto the British competition and I’m pretty optimistic that I will do well.”
Paul says his highlight of the competition was winning the 200kg axle squat with 14 repetitions.
He also came second in the overhead medley event.
Now he’s aiming to lift all five of the giant balls in the British version of Strongman.
Paul, aged 32, who lives in Darfield with his wife Tracy and four-year-old daughter Jess, said: “They are unbelievably big and heavy.
“We use a resin on our hands to make them stick and it does help a bit.
“Lifting all five will be tough but I’ll give it my best shot.”
Paul works as a technical consultant for a software company called Liquidlogic based in Leeds.
He got into powerlifting after an injury forced him to stop playing rugby when he was 22.
He now believes specialised training might help him with come out on top in strongest man events including the farmer’s walk, maximum log lift, 280kg yoke race, 230kg deadlift and the 200kg axle squat.
But in the meantime he will keep up his powerlifting training by pumping iron at the Temple Gym in Wombwell.
Paul said: “Training for strongman is different, but I still intend to train for powerlifting.”