Arnold Strongman USA Competition on Santa Monica Pier raises money for real-life action heroes

Arnold Schwarzenegger congratulates Brian Shaw, two-time Arnold Strongman Classic champion and four-time World’s Strongest Man

As a young man, action film icon turned California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger chased the Mr. Universe title and his destiny one powerlift at a time at the original Muscle Beach, just south of Santa Monica Pier.

On Saturday he returns to the pier as host of the Arnold Strongman USA Competition, a strength competition donating all ticket and merchandise proceeds to the Santa Monica, Cal Fire and Ventura County firefighter benevolent funds in the wake of the state’s devastating wildfires. Area firefighters will also join in on the action, competing for the title of “World’s Strongest Firefighter.”

The main competition features 10 professional strength athletes from Eastern Europe to the Western United States competing for a slot in the national Arnold Strongman Classic. Feats of strength include an antique firetruck pull on the pier, a 400-pound sandbag carry, a 385-pound log press and Atlas stone-to-shoulder lift — both for maximum reps — and a last man standing deadlift that starts at an incredible 700 pounds.

Co-hosting with Schwarzenegger will be “American Ninja Warrior” host Matt Iseman, Thor Bjornsson (aka “The Mountain” from “Game of Thrones”), and former Arnold Strongman champion Brian Shaw, who’s won the Arnold Strongman twice and the World’s Strongest Man competition four times.

Says Schwarzenegger in a statement to The Argonaut: “I’m proud to bring the Arnold Strongman Series to the Santa Monica Pier, right next to the original Muscle Beach. I can’t wait for L.A. to see the most powerful men on the entire planet lifting the most unbelievable weights — all to benefit our brave firefighters.”

— Joe Piasecki

The Arnold Strongman USA Competition happens from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday (Jan. 19) at Santa Monica Pier. Doors open at 11 a.m. Tickets are $15 advance at or $20 at the event. VIP seating is $100, or $300 including a photo meet-and-greet with Schwarzenegger.