Strongman training is the most functional type of strength and weight training, but it somehow escapes attention in a field where functional training is overused (a mix of effective and ineffective methods). The most effective type of exercise you have probably never attempted is strongman training, so it’s time you gave it a try.
Strongman competitions have moved a little bit closer to the public as a result of some strongman competitors finding success on Youtube, TV, and even in movies. These athletes’ enormous personalities and sheer size have helped them gain popularity. Sadly, there are still a number of false beliefs about what strongman training is and how to do it.
Strongman training is a big part of what we do here at Strength Ambassadors, so here’s a really simple Strongman workout plan for beginners to get you started!
What is strongman lifting?
So what precisely is the Strongman sport? It’s presumably very different from what you imagine. Strongman movements actually resemble Crossfit as much as powerlifting, despite the common misconception that it is just about lifting large objects.
That is to say, it has a wide variety of activities that call for athletic prowess as well as absolute strength. Functional strength is the only word that would adequately define what you need to succeed in strongman.
Strongman exercises for beginners
Numerous fundamental motions, ones that almost every athlete can use, are incorporated into strongman training. Similar to other power, strength training, and fitness sports, each strongman event and action demands a certain amount of strength, skill, and tenacity.
Strongman-style exercise can be intimidating to a beginner. However, most athletes will benefit from including these movements in their current training regimen, regardless of fitness level.
The Zercher squat is beneficial for strongman as it’s a front-loaded squat that strengthens the legs, builds core stability, and enhances posture.
From a front squat, the Zercher squat setup is a reasonably straightforward modification. The barbell is gripped in the crooks of the elbows rather than being supported in the front rack position. The action is then the same as a front squat from there.
This exercise is great for boosting quad muscle and preserving postural integrity.
For aspiring strongman competitors, a strong squat and proper posture are crucial for the squat and related exercises that heavily emphasise the legs, such as the Conan’s Wheel or Husafell Stone.
Workout plan: perform 4 sets of 8-10 reps at the same weight (not including warm up sets). Rest 2-3 minutes between each set. Aim to increase the weight a little every session.
Leg, back, and core muscle are developed through farmer’s walks, carries, and other loaded carries. The exercise’s convenience of use and functional foundations enable greater loading with only minor risks, which can promote significant strength and postural development.
Additionally, they are fantastic for enhancing bracing and grip strength, which are essential for any competing strongman. If you don’t have access to Farmer’s Walk handles, you can use heavy dumbbells.
A farmer’s walk or a variation of it is almost always performed in elite strongman contests. No top-tier strongman reached that level with a weak farmer’s walk, whether it be with an object in each hand or in the format of a frame or timber carry.
Workout plan: perform 5 sets of 20m walks (10m out, 10m back), starting with a warm up weight, and increasing the weight each set. Rest 2-3 minutes between each set.
‘Stone’ lift with D-ball
Strongman competitions frequently involve raising objects from the floor to the shoulders, whether they be a weighted ball, a round stone, or other odd objects. Strongman lifts and occasionally oddly shaped objects have many advantages, including improved hip extension, back strength, and grip.
A stone lift entails picking up a stone from the ground and placing it either on a platform or balanced on your shoulder.
Most gyms don’t have a set of atlas stones, but you can replicate the event with a D-ball (which is a heavy medicine ball). To start, place your hands underneath the D-ball as far as possible with fingers spread. Squeeze the D-ball in your arms and lift into your lap, squatting down at the same time. At this point you can take a breather or, if necessary, adjust your grip, as you hold the D-ball in your lap. Next you drive up with the legs, extending the hips powerfully, while simultaneously lifting the D-ball with the arms. Depending on the event, the D-ball is then loaded onto a platform, over a yoke or hoisted to the shoulder.
Atlas Stones are probably the sport’s most well-known strongman equipment and are almost always included in the competition’s schedule. The key lesson from the stone lift is that it emphasises hip extension, a frequently disregarded mechanic that can greatly increase explosiveness.
Workout plan: Perform 3-5 lifts (depending on how heavy your D-ball is), every minute on the minute, for 5 minutes. Warm up first with lighter lifts.
One arm dumbbell clean & press
Unilateral dumbbell clean & press exercise has many advantages. Instead of attempting formal Olympic lifts like the barbell snatch and clean & jerk, which are very technical, you can practise this simpler exercise with a dumbbell. It is a wonderful method to increase explosiveness and develop muscular endurance in the upper body.
Of course, cleans and overhead motions like the log lift and axle press make extensive use of bilateral barbell clean & jerk mechanics. However, concentrating on the one-arm clean & press can significantly increase shoulder strength and work capacity for the heavy dumbbell event, which is frequently the maximum number of repetitions in the given amount of time.
Dumbbells or kettlebells can be used in the one-arm clean and press.
Workout plan: Perform 4 sets of 3-5 reps each arm, starting with a light warm up weight, and increasing the weight each set. To replicate a competition event, warm up and then choose a heavy weight and do as many reps as you can in 60 seconds.
Looking to train Strongman in a fully equipped gym?
Although strongman competitors do move heavy loads and unusual items, the majority of their strength comes from the squat, deadlift, and press exercises. Make these the focal point of your workouts and load them significantly for maximum strength gains.
Come along to our strength building classes to start your journey to a stronger body and mind, or you can find out more about our Strongman training sessions online. Our team of skilled instructors can help you reach your strength goals whether you’re a beginner or an experienced lifter.
You can also subscribe to our YouTube channel for more videos on how to enhance your core strength training!
Strongman workout plan FAQs
Does strongman training build muscle?
Strongman training can help you develop power and muscle. Additionally, you’ll strengthen your circulatory system. Strongman exercises concurrently work a number of significant muscle groups.
Is it better to do more reps or more weight?
High reps with light weight (20 reps+) tend to improve muscle endurance while low reps with heavy weight (1-5 reps) tend to improve strength. Moderate reps with moderate weight (8-15 reps) is best to increase muscle mass. For long-term success, switching back and forth between the options may be the ideal strategy.
What muscles does a strongman work?
Strongman is a full body sport. Strongman exercises simultaneously engage several important muscle groups. The quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, glutes, hip flexors, arms, shoulders and abs are required for most strongman events.