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      Meet a champion strongman

      Twenty-seven-year-old Dana Skytta grew up in Michigamme. After being a member of the track and field team at Lake Superior State University, Skytta has become hooked on a new type of athletic competition.

      Dragging a chain might not be an exercise you see at a gym every day, but using that kind of equipment is key to Skytta's daily workouts.

      "It's like a drug, it's addicting," said Skytta.

      Strongman workouts have been the focus of Skytta's fitness life since 2009. He first got involved after he saw a poster for an annual U.P.-wide competition that happens every year in Crystal Falls. And last month, he took first place in the 200 lbs. and under division at the North American Nationals competition in Mississippi. Watch a YouTube video of the competition here.

      The champion is now certified to train others who want to participate in strongman workouts. He leads classes at Advantedge Training. The facility is the first place in Marquette to offer this form of fitness.

      "In strongman, there's five to seven events, and they're always different," Skytta explained.

      With the help of Jim Butler from Crystal Falls, Skytta has built up quite the collection of workout equipment, from kegs to large tires to cement boulders. The various shapes make grip strength very important.

      "If you can't hold on to it, you can't pick it up," Skytta said. "That is probably the biggest limiting factor to a lot of the events."

      Advantedge co-owner, Brian Claus, just started training with Skytta two weeks ago.

      "It's real-world strength," said Claus. "It's for guys and girls who want to develop strength that is functional in everyday life."

      Skytta trains people who are on a variety of levels.

      "I've got a couple of different classes going," he said. "One is our Advantedge Strong Club. That's for anywhere from beginners to guys or women who just want to get back into shape."

      "It's just a great way to change up your training," Claus added, "if you're looking for something to kind of spice up your training or add some additional strength components."

      Skytta said his next sanctioned contest is coming up in April in Detroit.