Strongman style lifting is comprised of total body lifts that have a slight propensity to one body part and encompass the athlete’s core and stabilizing strength. During competition athletes lift during various events for weight, repetitions and/or athletic distance covered, and if you want to know why you should be watching it then read this article. What makes strongman style lifting so exceptional is that it is not as localized and isolated in it’s development of strength as bodybuilding and powerlifting. Total body strength training can be implemented on any level, to any gender, at any intensity, and with this application it can help improve overall bodily composition and real world strength by synergistically developing the body as one powerful unified athletic instrument. In order to truly benefit from this type of training, an athlete must incorporate specific movements once on various days of week that coincide with their training schedule or perform them in a circuit style workout. Isolated, power and volumization lifts are still being utilized but the inclusion of these movements can be invaluable to taking athletic performance and overall health to the next level.
One hindering factor with this style of lifting is the stigma of becoming overly bulky, injured or both. This could not be further from the truth in any regard. While these exercises are paramount to the development of strength, they must be performed with the correct weight and slowly built up. Since these movements are designed to develop the core and supporting muscles of the body, they require the strictest possible form without any imposition of ego or irresponsibility when selecting the weight. The benefits of total body lifting is that there is no unbalanced development of muscles, prevention of injuries by developing the core and supporting muscles, and overall strength that will translate to athletic endeavors and other lifts. With correct weight and thus correct and controllable form, one can improve their overall strength, athletic ability, bodily aesthetics and avoid potential injuries.
1) Clean and Press- This exercise simulates the ‘Log Press’ strongman event which is one of the most daunting and powerful events in strongman. It combines several isolated exercises for one total body motion that will not only strengthen the entire body but equalize the overall strength of the athlete by improving any weak points. As with all total body movements, it is important in this exercise to keep your core tight and use a weight that is manageable. Start slow and focus on form.
First Set- 15 repetitions. Second Set- 12. Third Set- 10. Increasing the weight is optional in the beginning of learning the movement. Slowly increase the weight as your body strengthens.
2) Plate Stack Row- This exercises stimulates the ‘Atlas Stones’ which are known for being one of the final events in strongman competitions. This type of exercise is distinctive because it is an awkwardly shaped object that must be controlled as well as lifted. Keep your core tight, and start with two smaller plates depending on your strength. Build up to 3-4 45 pound plates for the ultimate strongman experience.
Perform multiple sets with the same number of plates in repetition in order to build endurance and then slowly increase the actual weight by manipulating the number and size of the plates.
3) Dumbbell Farmers Walk- This replicates an actual strongman event in which competitors must hold a large mass of weight (without straps) and race for time. In this situation, an athlete with grip and hold a dumbbell and walk a distance with it. The goal is to increase the distance and weight the athlete is able to grip and support while walking. Start off light with a definite distance and build up your grip strength. Do NOT use lifting straps.
4) Dumbbell Crucifix Hold- This will stimulate the strongman crucifix hold which relies upon the athletes ability to support a weight with their shoulders and back, as long as strengthening the core by controlling their breathing and supporting the weight. Start with lower weight such as 5-10 pounds and focus on increments of time. The goal is going to be 1 minute intervals with the weight and slowly build up your strength. Do three to four repetitive sets to increase the time being held and the weight used.
5) Car Push– This event is going to develop the entire body’s ability to support and push a weight in lateral forward movement. Keep your back straight, upper body and core tight, and push with the legs in full deep steps from the bumper. ALWAYS have someone in the car, have the car off, and out of gear. Do not allow the car to go too fast and always have the person inside the car in an attentive state of mind. Focus on predetermined distances that will elongate as you improve. Also, if available, increase the size of the car being pushed.
6) Barbell Walk– The barbell walk stiimulates the ‘yoke walk’ in strongman events and is based on the body’s ability to move foward while supporting substantial weight across the shoulders. The back should be kept straight at all times, the core extremely tight and head upright. Take controlled steps and use a manageable weight and distance that will be increased over time as you strengthen.
– Papa Swole
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