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A Blog Post

Training for a strongman show.

It’s worth pointing out that this is how I plan to train, it’s not a traditional strongman training regime, it’s certainly not how Mark Felix or Terry Hollands train, but it is how 1st timer/old timer strongman aspirants can train to ensure improvement and safety.
Train with what you know and with what you’ve got. There is no point ditching all your training and all the strength and skills you have achieved in the past, god knows how many, years you’ve been heaving iron. Train with what you know – stick to the same basic exercises that you’ve been doing, just get better at them. Look, every single thing that the human body can do is a combination of  8 simple movements; squat, lunge, bend (or hinge), horizontal push/pull, vertical push/pull and twist. So a farmers walk is squat and bend to pick it up and then lunge to then walk it down the road. Hitting a forehand in tennis it a complicated mix of lunge, twist and horizontal push all done at warp speed. If you try to get stronger in all the basic movement patterns and do some strongman event training then you will be as well prepared as possible.

The events that you get in a strongman competition are many and varied but can include log press, conan’s wheel, farmer’s walk, sled pulls, stone lifts, yoke carries and a whole load of other grueling challenges. They do have 1 thing in common though, apart from being very heavy, they are all awkward to perform. It’s the awkwardness that can humble a usually strong gym user and have them crying into there protein shake. What strongman specific training does is harden you to the living hell that is trying to pick up objects that refuse to be lifted.

In my opinion, as a long time gym trainer entering his/her 1st strongman competition then 75% of your training should be heavy squat/bench/press/deadlift and 25% getting used to the strongman lifts.
What I plan to do is to focus not only lifting heavy but also lifting fast. The greater my speed the greater amount of power I’ll produce and the quicker I’ll be able to apply 100% of it.
Strong man training also hammers your body into bloody rags of despair, so recovery is vital. There is no way I could train every day and hope to survive. I plan to do 3 big workouts a week (Mon/Wed/Fri) and 2 shorter sessions with the emphasis on conditioning and fitness – you need to be really fit to do strongman stuff, honest. That is coupled with the diet and supplement protocol thet I outlined here.

This is what I plan to do:
Squats – this will be performed as a ramp. Start with a light weight and perform the reps explosively, add some weight and repeat. In between sets I’m going to do some squat jumps, again done explosively. Also there is a progression of squatting exercises as the weight goes up and up. Start with overhead squats, as the weight gets to the point where I can’t do the exercise fast/well, change to zerchers (king of awkward squat movements) that gives way to regular squats and then on to partials. All done for speed and good technique.

To finish off the session throw in some heavy sets of good mornings and front squat holds. My event training on this day will farmer’s walks.

Conditioning – sprints/ pad work/kettlebells/sprints. Work hard and for no longer then 30 mins.

Pressing, bench and shoulder. Ramp up the weight like Monday’s workout but with jerks, bench, partial bench and partial seated press. In between sets do some explosive throws. Accessory exercises to be swiss bar clean and press (or log press if you’ve got one), sandbag carries.

Like Tuesday but different.

Deadlift ramp – go from high pulls to regular deadlift to farmer’s deadlift. Then do some chin ups and Kroc rows. If I can still feel my hands at this point I might grind out some more farmer’s walks.

Week 1 – sets of 3 reps
Week 2 – work up to a 1 rep max
Week 3 – a higher rep bodybuilding week
Week 4 – sets of 5 reps
Keep focusing on getting stronger and everything else will take care of itself. Obviously this is for a non-strong man attempting to survive his 1st strongman show. If you are a competitive strong man then stick with what you already do – but don’t neglect your big 4 lifts.
Yours in massive anticipation,

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