Strongman training is no joke. I’m sure you’ve seen it before: the big burly men flipping absurdly large tires, shoulder pressing hundreds of pounds, and deadlifting over three times their body weight. Again, no joke. How does one get that freaking strong? Well, it’s called strongman training for a reason folks.
The training has massive carry over to real-world strength, simply because of the exercises and their functionality. Even if you’re a bodybuilder, powerlifter, or you just want to look good and get strong, I believe you could benefit from adding in some strongman training to your daily workout routine. This doesn’t exclude you ladies reading this of course! Let’s take a look at some strongman training, along with the fun part: their diet.
There a plethora of exercises used by strongmen to get them prepped for their competitions, but these are the basic movements along with their variations.
The deadlift is a staple in many powerlifting and bodybuilding routines. Strongman training is no exception to this, not in the least. There will generally be at least one deadlift variation in each strongman competition, such as the conventional deadlift, axle bar deadlift, car deadlift, deficit deadlift, and 18 in. deadlift (pulled from a higher position). You don’t have to train for every variation, but you should be deadlifting at least once a week.
Pressing movements are another staple in strongman competitions. The more you can press, the better off you’ll be: it’s that simple. The variations include but are not limited to: the log clean and press, the axle bar clean and press, the circus one-arm dumbbell press, and the Viking press. I’ve found that most people tend to stall on increasing their pressing power, so include more variations/volume into your training. Include heavy pressing at least once per week.
Watch out! Loading events can be a good way to get injured. You’ll be picking up heavy – and awkward – objects and setting them down onto a platform. These objects can cause injury pretty easily due to their awkward shape… it sure as hell makes them a lot harder to carry. Here are some prescribed exercises: Atlas stone carry and sandbags.
Pick up a heavy object, and move it. Simple enough right? Not so much. Again, most of these items will be awkward to carry, and extremely heavy. There are a lot of carrying events, here are a few: Tire flips, yoke carry, farmers carry/hold, Zercher carry/Conan’s wheel, keg carry, and sandbag carry.
People love pulling events. I mean, who doesn’t want to see a huge guy pull a plane or truck around? I do. And that’s exactly what these exercises are. Pretty self-explanatory for the training, but if you don’t have a truck you can pull around, find a sled at your local gym.
The Strongman Diet
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you already know – Strongmen eat A LOT. If you simply type into google “strongman diet plan,” most sites will pop up a diet that is almost always above 5,000 calories. This is what we’re looking for. If you plan on competing as a strongman, you need FUEL and lots of it. Think you’re gonna get huge on 1,200 calories per day? Think again. I know your stomach will probably want to kill you, and the toilet will second that, but you need to get in the calories necessary to fuel your training and strength. Here’s a sample diet plan I whipped up.
✓ 1 cup of oatmeal
✓ 1 banana
✓ 8 eggs
✓ 4 slices whole grain bread
✓ 4 cups cooked white rice
✓ 12 oz of grilled chicken breast
✓ 1 medium avocado
✓ 2 scoops of Thewhey
✓ 1 cup of oatmeal
✓ 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk
✓ 2 bananas
✓ Two tablespoons of peanut butter
✓ 600g russet potato
✓ 2 cans of chunk light tuna
✓ 1 bagel
✓ 2 cups of Greek yogurt
✓ 2 apples
Total Calories: 4,986
And this would be on the lower end! Most strongman competitors eat much more than this. Work with your diet and see what works best for you, and adjust your calories up and down as needed.
Take Home Message
Even if you don’t compete, I believe you could benefit from adding in some of these exercises into your routine. And if you do want to compete, congrats! Being a strongman competitor is no easy task, and is a hell of a lot of hard work. I have mad respect for those guys pushing, pressing, and pulling hundreds upon thousands of pounds. If you feel up to the challenge, go for it! As always, stay strong.