T Nation

Getting Ready for a Strongman Competition


#1

Hi all.

I'm having my first 3-4 competitions this up coming summer and fall (about one month between each other). First of all I'm going there for getting familiar with competitions and seeking the weak points for myself. Everything overhead is a struggle for me because these goddamn long arms, yet they are good in Atlas stones and I got 355lbs stone to platform finally!

I'm now on 5/3/1 BBB 3-month challenge (2/3months) to get some weight (now BW@ 245lbs) and then one month of 5/3/1 5x5 @ 80%, and after this I will test new maxes. After that I have roughly three weeks to one month before first competition.

So, what kind of preparations You suggest towards the competitions and between them? Like the three weeks before, what to do? Speed (insert a narcotic joke here)? Rest? Conditioning?

Thanks for Your time!

-Ville


#2

Do you know what events are in the comp? Generally, as competitions get closer, I spend less time trying to get stronger and more time trying to get better. The general work leaves my program and I try to train the events as close to how they will be in competition as possible to get ready for it. Using close to (it not heavier than) competition weight has been helpful as well.

Additionally, use this time to make sure you have all the gear you need for the comp. Tacky, chalk, cleats if it’s an outdoor event on grass, rock climbing shoes if there is a truck pull, straps (that are BROKEN IN), wraps/sleeves, no greasy sunblock, something to take tacky off with, etc etc.


#3

I second what Punisher said. 3 Weeks out I am doing nothing but working on getting better at the actual events. The hay is already in the barn (strength wise) but small tweaks in your technique can make a huge difference. Get as comfortable with the implements as possible.


#4

I liked to transition from some kind of split, into more of a full body, Bill Star type routine a couple months before competitions.

I would also try to work in more lifts like power cleans, front squats, bent rows, and of course all kinds over overhead work, while switching away from things like bench press, leg presses or chins. The idea was to lift on my feet more, and be “supported” less.

I also like the full body routine because of the increased frequency over a routine like 5/3/1. Workouts kinda feel more like sports training, like I was getting more conditioned and athletic/explosive.

No disrespect to 5/3/1. It’s an awesome system, but it feels more “general” to me. Like you’d use 5/3/1 as your base routine most of the time, like the in off-season. Then use a more “specialized” routine to prepare for upcoming competition season. Finally, between competitions you’d be doing mostly abs/lower back and event training.

Like a block-periodization plan.

Start doing tons of weighed ab/oblique/lower back work now. Side-bends, back raises with weight behind your head, decline situps with weight behind your head, leg raises with dumbbells between your feet, etc. You need that strong mid-section to get the power from your legs to your arms. Try to work up to like 3 weighted ab exercises a workout.

Work on your push press and push jerk. Use leg drive to blast stuff overhead and long arms won’t matter.

Just in general, get accustomed to moving around, standing on your feet, and using your body in one piece.

What kind of shape are you in now? Will you be better off bulking up to 260? Or dropping down to 231 and going lightweight?


#5

Thanks for your replies!

I know the events in the competitions and every saturday I have events training (5/3/1 for strongman).

Yep all of your ideas were mostly about things I was thinking. I have been improving my Clean (and jerk also), axel lift and circus dumbbel. In the 5/3/1 for strongman there is front squat and incline bench instead of squat and bench press (good for atlas stones and mid-section of body).

Bodyweight-wise, since I’m competing in Finland the competitions are open weight and suitable for beginners. After that (1-2 years) I was thinking to go compete in open class, and this means I need to get my BW up to 275 (I’m 6’5"). There is one competition coming, but I’ll leave it if it’s only for U105kg (I would have to loose some weight and since my current weight is rather lean, it would cost me some muscle/overall performance power).

I checked, can’t recall tho on what site, some str standards for starting strongman (something like 2xBW on squat and DL, 1xBW bench, OH-press and 1,2xBW clean) and i’m atleast there or in some even better.

So to conclude the ~three weeks before competitions:

-ABS
-Concentrating on weaknesses (everything what goes over head)
-Leaving the actual strenght training more a side
-Gear to tip-top condition (sleeves, supports, etc.)
-Olympic lifts (I’m lucky to have Finland’s strongest man and some powerlifting legends in the same gym on saturday to help me)

thanks again!

-Ville


#6

I feel like I got trolled in reverse!

If you’re training with Jouko and Janne you don’t need my advice.

You’re living in strongman heaven!

If you tell me that you also workout with Heini Koivuniemi I may die from jealousy!


#7

Heh,

Not with Jouko and Janne, but some “lesser strongmen” like matti uppa.


#8

Oh yeah, something else to consider.

Get some lawn chairs/foldable chairs and a cooler of food. My very first comp I only had the cooler, and had to sit on it in between events. You won’t want to be standing all day, and laying on the floor/up against a wall sucks. I’ve only been to one comp where we were provided chairs, and it was pretty baller, but not the norm.


#9

Another thing about strongman comps is warm ups can be pure chaos. Both yokes in my recent shows were done completely cold (700lbs). Highly recommend you get your warm ups in and stay alert.


#10

[quote]strongmanvinny wrote:
Another thing about strongman comps is warm ups can be pure chaos. Both yokes in my recent shows were done completely cold (700lbs). Highly recommend you get your warm ups in and stay alert.

[/quote]

Well that sucks. Yep so food and alot of drinks/carbs/bcaa

I think I have one foldable chair somewhere laying around.

How you warmed up if there is no warming up weights? Strong rubber band (squats, biceps curls etc)?


#11

I might be unique, because I barely ever warm up anyway. I might warm up for whatever the first event is if the implement is available, but otherwise I just dress warm and move around a bit.


#12

[quote]WilhodFIN wrote:

[quote]strongmanvinny wrote:
Another thing about strongman comps is warm ups can be pure chaos. Both yokes in my recent shows were done completely cold (700lbs). Highly recommend you get your warm ups in and stay alert.

[/quote]

Well that sucks. Yep so food and alot of drinks/carbs/bcaa

I think I have one foldable chair somewhere laying around.

How you warmed up if there is no warming up weights? Strong rubber band (squats, biceps curls etc)?[/quote]

Interesting you ask that. Most guys didn’t do shit before stones. I chose to do something, though.

I took a barbell with 135 and just performed some stiff legs into a clean grip front squat. I felt that was the best thing possible considering they weren’t letting any of the smaller stones be used as warm ups.


#13

Okay thanks for the tip!

I’ll borrow or buy somewhere these really strong rubber bands to warm up biceps, back and legs.

Hopefully it’s nice wheather when the competition is, it would suck to do stuff when it’s raining.


#14

Oh yeah! Forgot one thing to ask.

Since I’m having 3-4 comps in summer/autumn and they have about 1 month between each other, what should I do between comps? Continue my original 5/3/1 training or what?

Thanks in advance!

Ville


#15

When I went a month between comps, I transitioned the skill work toward whatever the next comp required. I still had some basic strength work in there, but I wasn’t really pushing the weights that hard. It was more about just using that month to get better.


#16

Okay.

I did somekind of program for me for the last three weeks.

Some speed deadlifts with bands, technique grinding (light) with overhead movements, few heavy yokes and logs.

Percentages are around 50% (doing speed work coz I need more explosiveness).

AND ABBS! Suitcase carry, abs with cable, crunch on bench w/ weight etc.

Also some biceps work, since all the comps have truck pull or seated pull with rope.

And some distance with yoke and farmers.

That should do the trick, pulled deadlift with 450lbs x 5 very easy (stopped to 5 because of BoringButBig 5x10 reps). All the comps I’m attending have deadlift (last man standing) with 440lbs and increase with 44lbs. Current calculated max is 560lbs.