Strongman training is an old school strength training method that’s making a strong comeback. It involves lifting heavy objects, lifting them overhead, lifting them from the ground to over your head again and again. And, of course, dragging heavy objects such as sleds or kegs for long distances.
Strongman training can help develop strength and power in all the major muscle groups of your body. It’s ideal for athletes who compete in strongman competitions or other strength-based sports like powerlifting. It’s also great for anyone interested in lifting heavy loads or getting strong fast. Unlike weight lifting, strongman training develops strength endurance which means you can lift heavy loads for longer durations at a high intensity without feeling fatigued.
This leads to faster gains in muscle mass and strength. Most importantly, strongman training helps you lift more weight than weight lifting does because of the numerous muscle groups it works at the same time.
What is Strongman Training?
Strongman training is a strength sport that focuses on training the body to perform strength movements with heavy weight.
In strongman, athletes lift, drag, press, or carry odd-shaped implements not found in the commercial gym. These implements challenge their body strength and endurance, which improves their overall strength and conditioning.
Like other strength sports, strongman training involves exercises like squats, deadlifts, and bench presses.
However, strongman training also includes exercises such as farmer’s walks and farmer’s carries that target more advanced strength attributes of grip strength and shoulder stability.
#1 Deadlift – The King of Strength Training Exercises
Deadlift is one of the core events of strongman competitions. The deadlift event involves deadlifting a heavy barbell off the ground while squatting and then performing an overhead squat.
The deadlift can come in various guises, including max lifts, lifts for max reps in a time frame, pulls from different heights, axle deadlifts, etc.
Training for deadlifts outside of competitions can include various heights, partial exercises, using fat grips or an axle bar, training with a double overhand grip, and taking creatine to increase strength and power.
Besides training at home, deadlifting at the gym should be done with intensity and precision to improve your deadlift strength.
#2 Tire Flip – Build Explosive Strength
Tire flipping is a strength and conditioning exercise that involves flipping a large tire over. It is a popular exercise among athletes, especially those involved in sports that require explosive strength, such as football, strongman competitions, and CrossFit.
To perform a tire flip, you begin by standing in front of the tire, with your feet shoulder-width apart. You then reach down and grab the tire’s underside, using an underhand grip. You should keep your back straight and your chest up, engaging your core to maintain stability. From here, you explosively drive your hips forward, using your legs and back to flip the tire over.
Once the tire is flipped, you can either jump over it and flip it back, or continue flipping it for multiple repetitions. Tire flipping is an effective full-body exercise that targets the legs, hips, back, and shoulders, as well as the core and grip strength.
#3 Thick Dumbbell Press – Build Power and Muscle Mass
The Thick Dumbbell Press is a variation of the traditional dumbbell bench press, where thicker handles or grips are used on the dumbbells. This exercise is designed to challenge your grip strength and activate your forearm muscles while also working your chest, shoulders, and triceps.
To perform the thick dumbbell press, you begin by lying flat on a bench with your feet planted on the ground. You then grab a pair of dumbbells with thicker handles than usual and lift them off the rack, holding them with a neutral grip (palms facing each other).
Next, you lower the dumbbells to your chest while keeping your elbows close to your body, and then push them back up to the starting position. It’s important to maintain proper form throughout the exercise, keeping your back flat against the bench and avoiding arching your lower back or flaring your elbows.
The thick dumbbell press is an effective exercise for building upper body strength and increasing grip strength, which can benefit a wide range of activities and sports. It can be a challenging exercise, so it’s important to start with a weight that you can safely handle and gradually increase the weight as your grip strength improves.
#4 Sled Drag – Increase Strength and Endurance
– Sled dragging is a strength training exercise that can improve leg strength and endurance, as well as mental fortitude and work capacity.
– It involves overhand pulls with a rope and often leg drive against a base.
– The heavy sled pull has been observed to compare performance outcome, within exercise comparisons, and between exercise comparisons.
– Anthropometric measures have been assessed and correlated to performance in the truck/vehicle pull.
In strongman competitions, athletes perform different types of pulling exercises on sleds. These exercises include deadlift, squat clean, barbell yoke walk, yoke walk with barbell, yoke walk with dumbbells, log press, farmer’s walk, axle walk with dumbbells, keg tosses and tire flips. All of these exercises have their own unique benefits and drawbacks for strength training.
#5 Farmer’s Walk – Master Your Grip Strength
– Farmer’s walks can help to build grip strength.
– For the farmer’s walk, it is important to use weights that are 90-95% of your one-rep max. This will ensure that you are training your grip in a challenging but safe manner.
– The farmer’s walk tests strength, endurance, and balance. As you walk with dumbbells or barbells at your sides, focusing on strong leg movements and keeping your back straight will help you get a good workout.
Yoke walks require powerful bracing, a strong core, and stability. This type of walk requires you to hold dumbbells or barbells at waist level while walking slowly on a flat surface. By practicing farmer’s walks, you can work on strength, balance, and endurance in your body.
How can I maximize my strength gains from my strength training workouts?
If you’re looking to maximize strength gains from strength training workouts, then there are a few things you should consider doing.
First of all, utilize Progressive Overload principle for training which means gradually increasing the stress put on your body during workouts. This will help you get stronger at a faster rate.
Secondly, rest and nutrition play a critical role in muscle recovery and growth. Make sure to get adequate rest and nutrition in order to heal back stronger than before.
Thirdly, consider a 12-week muscle-building workout program that focuses on building strength through Olympic lifting, core and accessory work, classic strength training, and conditioning pieces. This program can be adjusted according to your body type and fitness level.
Finally, look into a 6-month combination of various strength programs if your goal is to build mass. A combination of strength training exercises like deadlifts, squats, bench press, and pull-ups can have an incredible impact on your strength building goals.
By taking these tips into consideration and following a progressive strength training program that’s tailored specifically to your needs, you can maximize gains from strength training workouts!
Let’s Sum Up
All strongman exercises are meant to push your body to its limits and build strength, endurance, and power. However, training for strongman competitions demands more than just lifting heavy objects. You need to practice squatting, deadlifting, pressing, and other exercises regularly to improve your strength. Also, working on your grip strength is essential as it helps you pick up the weight easily. But most importantly, you need to practice these exercises regularly and be consistent in training if you want to succeed at strongman competitions.