Paul Smith has become one of Britain’s best and most improved strongmen over the last few years. He is a regular at Giants Live contests and has developed a reputation for hard work and consistency in both his training and competition results.
At under six foot and 300lb in bodyweight, Paul is relatively small for a professional strongman, but his tremendous all-round athleticism belies his stature, and he is able to regularly defeat much larger competitors. Paul is a World’s Strongest Man competitor and current UK’s Strongest Man.
Paul is from the city of Sheffield, and has recently married his fiancé, Shannon Smith, who is herself a champion strength athlete; she was the 2021 World’s Strongest Woman in the lightweight division and a two-time England’s Strongest Woman.
Smith began lifting at fifteen, having grown up getting involved in boxing, athletics and even parkour. He has experience in weightlifting but began training for strongman at sixteen and entered his first novice contest a year later. He admits that he came away from that contest with a somewhat bruised ego and would train for sixteen months before his next contest. During this time, he played rugby and thought seriously about which sport to focus on, eventually settling on strongman.
Paul has always relied on his athleticism, technique, and competitiveness to bring him success in competition. He has the knack of besting men who can boast much larger gym numbers in most of the main lifts. In 2016 he finished runner-up to America’s Nick Hadge at the U23 World Strongman Junior Championships. He lost by just 2.5 points, with Iron Biby and Tom Stoltman finishing behind him. The following year he went one better and took the title, beating Lithuania’s Martyns Brusokas.
2018 was a big year for Smith: He finished 5th at Britain’s Strongest Man, his best placing to date, winning the front hold against 2017 World’s Strongest Man Eddie Hall. He also made an appearance at World’s Strongest Man, with a last-minute call-up as a reserve lifter. Over the next few years, he would continue to put in solid performances, particularly at a domestic level; Smith has won four England’s Strongest Man titles!
Most recently, Smith’s form seems to have had a resurgence; in 2022 he placed 5th at The Strongman Classic, placing second in both the Farmer’s Walk and the Hercules Hold. Earlier in the year he won the UK’s Strongest Man title, defeating Louis Jack and Gavin Bilton by a comfortable margin. In addition, he was able to repeat his 5th place finish at Britain’s Strongest Man and finish an impressive 2nd at the English Strongman Champions League contest, losing out to Aivars Šmaukstelis.
In June of 2022, Paul Smith won UK’s Strongest Man, in Milton Keynes – his best senior victory to date. Of the five events in the final, he was able to win both the Squat for Repetitions and Sandbag to Shoulder, placing second in the Arm Over Arm pull and Block Press. He dominated the contest, finishing 7.5 points ahead of Scotland’s Louis Jack and a further half point beyond the Welshman Gavin Bilton’s total.
Paul’s next competitive outing will be the Arnold Classic UK and he will then make his debut at the Giants Live World Tour Finals in Glasgow on the 8th of October. He will be aiming high – a podium finish will get him back to World’s Strongest Man, which is a major goal for him.
Having been involved in strongman for a decade, Smith is only halfway through his twenty-year plan. Previously he has been focusing on more general athletic development, but the next phase of his training will see him make a determined effort to increase his size and weight. His ultimate goal is to win World’s Strongest Man.
Paul is active on Instagram under the handle @paul_smith_94 and keeps his 13.5k followers abreast of his training and contests with regular videos and pictures. He is also on Facebook as Paul Smith Strongman, as well as YouTube.
Paul’s Giants Live performances from this year will be aired on UK television’s Channel 5 over the Christmas period. He will have appeared at Britain’s Strongest Man, as well as the World Tour Finals.