mass wars

MASS Wars… a showdown of strength!

What does your Saturday afternoon usually look like?

A lot of us spend the hours in the pub or SU, drink in hand watching the rugby/football/basketball/ice fishing/chess matches (delete as applicable) with a pint of beer/cider/wine in hand, staying toasty warm away from the dark and wintery outdoors. One cold and dark Saturday in November though, a group of dedicated athletes from universities across the UK gathered in a gym in Vauxhall, London to test their strength against each other. Welcome to the first ever MASS Wars!


18 athletes from 7 universities competed in the 3-heat event this 25th November 2017 in a 4-hour physical battle, to decide which is the strongest university in the UK. Women and men competed in ‘light’ and ‘heavy’ categories based on their 1-rep max capabilities in 3 heats to see who could complete the challenges in the fastest times.


How fast do you think you could do a circuit of:
  • 10 reps overhead press 40kg,
  • 15 reps rack pull 140kg
  • 10 x 20kg weighted dips
  • 20m 60kg seated rope sled pull


Well, Michael Tennant did it in the fastest time of his men’s second ‘heavy’ heat 1 minute 35 seconds! He went on to win his category for the first ever MASS Wars; read more here about how he prepared for the competition.


mass wars

Michael in beast mode

Fear not, the women were just as fearless and put on a great show of strength in their heats. Jessica Gordon-Brown smashed through her heats to win the ‘heavy’ women’s heats. Colin Chua and Catherine Law won their respective ‘light’ categories. Overall Team MASS Reading proved to be the strongest university in the competition. Go Team!


Jessica in action

The heats were a combination of strength exercises to show the strongest of the strong! The heavy/light categories meant that students were competing on a level playing field, but battling it out head-to-head to win the round. Check out the ‘parkours’ for each heat in our post here.

David Bissell, MASS Founder and all-round fitness fiend was the MC and host for the event and brought his usual panache and positive attitude to make this a successful first MASS Wars.



David with the winners!


We’ve learned a lot and have so many ideas for the next Wars, so that it is even bigger and better than 2017! Want to take part in the next event? Then keep up to date with our blogs and social media posts for more info. If you’re not yet a MASS society member, what are you waiting for? I’m sure you can beat Michael and Jessica or Colin and Catherine, the next time around… will you take on the challenge? So… next time you feel tempted to stray towards a pint on a frosty Saturday afternoon, why not head to the gym instead? Those barbells won’t lift themselves…

Special thanks to The Foundry gym in Vauxhall, which played host to the Wars and proved to be a fitting setting for this inaugural MASS Wars. Thanks also goes out to our sponsors @maximuscle! 

Follow us on Instagram and stay tuned for the next MASS Wars! @masswars


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