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Best Routine for Strongman?


I'm looking for a routine to use to develope strength in core lifts for strongman. By this I mean, I'm looking for a program that will increase my overhead press, deadlift, squat, and power clean. Would Chad Waterbury's "Strength Focused Mesocycle" be any good for bringing up these lifts?


Hit me with a PM showing me how you'd set it up and your training history - with how much is involved in strongman, often times major adjustments to prewritten programs have to be made.



Throw in barbell rows as one of your core excercises also. They're essential for things like stone lifting, log cleans, and stability during farmer's walks.

The routine I use personally is Westside based with some adjustments to address the strongman events, such as clean and jerks instead of benches, etc. You also will need to address conditioning alot more than you would a normal powerlifting routine.


Why do you want to be strong in those exercises? Those aren't strongman events.


Uh... the only two that aren't (usually) directly are OH presses and cleans. Those two lifts have a high degree of specificity for strongman if you don't have a log or a tire.

A squat and/or deadlift is pretty common...



A squat is not a common event in strongman. Possibly if you are at the elite level, but MOST local NAS competitions will not have a squat event.

As for the deadlift, yes it is more common. However, many competitions will have the bar raised several inches and/or you deadlift from a device.

My point is...he should be using those exercises to get better at common strongman events.

When he said:

"I'm looking for a routine to use to develop strength in core lifts for strongman."

The answer is: Do the events. And squat, OH press, deadlift, clean, etc. Use those exercises to get better at the events. If he does strongman, it really doesn't matter what he can power clean.


Machine - I don't know what you guys have equipment - wise out where you are, but up in NY Squats and Deads are fairly common events. I'm not a pro by far, but I've always found that you need to do those core lifts to even think about competing at a respectable level. Practicing the events is essential also, but the core and base strength need to be there.


Kroc, I agree, squats and deadlifts are very useful at becoming stronger and will have tremendous carryover to strongman events.

I've checked out a lot of competitions on NAS and few have max squats as an event, none have max cleans, and most deadlifts are raised. This is not to say that he shouldn't do these. I think my problem was more with his wording. He shouldn't be stressing over his max squat/deadlift/clean numbers b/c more often than not, he won't have be doing those in competition.


Would they not build the raw strength that is the foudnation of Strongman and necessary for every other event?


I have to agree with Machine. Besides Nationals I have never heard of a squat in a contest.

Squats are a great exercise and should be done, but the goal should be to use squats to improve strongman, not to find a routine to improve squats. I think that squatting for reps is a bit more important than a max squat for training.

As for a routine I do think a routine of the basic core lifts is great, with specific stuff to target your weak links plus a lot of event work to become a better strongman. Its going to be damn tough to ever be decent at the sport without access to events.



Where did I say they wouldn't???

Exactly. DKing is right. That is why I wrote above:

Tell me this...

Why is it that I've seen a national champion strong woman flip a 675 lb. tire for sets of 5 yet she only deadlifts 400 and power cleans 185??

Whereas a training partner of mine, who is new to strongman, could not flip that tire yet he deadlifts close to 500 and power cleans 225.

Get it?


I do generally agree, although I have seen a good many with deadlift events, though sometimes on a funky apparatus with a car/tires. You do tend to see these more in the northeast for some reason.

You're right, the max numbers put up in these lifts usually doesn't matter much. I myself only pull around 400 but can get an 700lbs tire over. Leverages are a bitch.



I think you all misunderstood me. I meant that I would like to focus my gym work around increasing my 1RM in the squat, deadlift, OH press, and power clean. I did not mean to imply that these are events that I am expecting to have to compete in. I just meant that for my gym work, I wish to use those 4 lifts as the specific movements to base my strength foundation on.
This isn't something I pulled out of my ass. Total Performance Sports develops strongman routines that are basically westside based, but OH press replaces bench. I'm just not responding well to high intensity training routines and I'm looking for something more volume based.


Well I assumed right.

Funny you mentioned Total Perforamance Sports.

"Training to increase 1 rep max on the three lifts (squat/deadlift/bench) is not the best way to go for strongman competition."

That's taken straight out of an article written by C.J. Murphy, owner of TPS.


More reps are pretty much a requirement for strongman training. Even if a core lift does show up at a show, it's usually rep - oriented about 75% of the time because it's alot easier to set up than us calling our poundages. That's not to mention that all events usually have a 1-2 minute time limit, so the endurance is needed much more than in powerlifting.


I think that cleans and overhead pressing are essential in strongman training, when speaking of "gym" work.

Most strongman competitions have log press as an event, in that event you have to clean the log and press it overhead. The movements are similar, so there is some carryover. Of course if you can get a log to practice on that would be better, but in lieu of having the strongman equipment try to get close to it.

I think that you should also do some zercher lifts as well, to help you with stone lifting and conan's wheel stuff. I found that hammer curls helped me with cleaning the log as well. Also, for the stones, if you don't have any to play with, try taking a bunch of plates and lapping them and hoisting them up above shoulder height to help with stones. Heavy barbell walk arounds to simulate the yoke event is a good idea, plus it gets you used to having heavy loads on your body which is a good thing for strongman.




Here's a quick list of the excercises I use in the gym and some of the events I've found it helps over the years.
Core exercises:
Clean and Jerk
Barbell Rows
Pull ups

Zercher's from the bottom - Stones, Logs, and Conan's wheel

Front Squats - Presses, tires, stones, truck pulls

Dumbell Press w/log grip - Log and Viking Press

Dumbell and t-bar rows - Any item that needs to be picked up

High rep leg presses (25 reps MINIMUM) - Truck pulls

Shrugs - Farmer's and anything else with the grip

Reverse Hypers - Deads of any kind

1,2, and 3 minute windsprints - All event endurance, ONLY on Squat and Dead day, otherwise there recovery will not be enough

Rep schemes vary depending on the show. Core exercises go between 5 reps and singles (once a month at the MOST), assistance work is between 8 reps and 3, unless noted otherwise. Windsprints suck, but are essential if you want the endurance to finish your events. In addition, I do some type of ab work anytime I'm in the gym, 5 days a week offseason, 6-7 when preparing for a show (I do events 1-2 times a week the last 8 weeks before a show).


By the way, the guys from Mass (TPS) and the upstate NY guys are pretty much the most knowledgable guys in the Northeast as far as strongman goes. Off the top of my head, they've produced at least 5 or 6 pros (both light and heavy) in the last two years.


I will disagree with you there.

Art McDermott and Liane Blyn, now at PPC East in Wilmington, MA, have probably one of the best gyms and strongman facilities in the country. When it comes to knowledge, these are two of the best in the game and have been around a very long time. They (the gym) have also produced more pro's and national champions.


Mr. McDermotts gym looks very nice and they know their shit, but TPS is also a great resource. And they have a cool web site.