T Nation

Help with Program


Hey everyone,

I need some guidance. I want to be better in the following disciplines:

  1. Deadlift. Need to improve my max.
  2. axle clean and press, need to improve my clean. I can press anything that I get up to my shoulders. Need to improve both max and repetitions.
  3. farmer’s walk. Need to improve my max
  4. Loading.

I was thinking about deadlifting twice a week because my deadlift is my glaring weakness. Could you help me create a Programm out of this? I have enough time to train 4 times a week.


I wrote up how I approach strongman training on my blog. If you search “Mythical Strength” “My Strongman Training Program” on google, you should get the result.

Lift 4 days a week, conditioning 2-3 times a week.

Deadlift Day
Bench Day
Squat Day
Press Day

You can use ROM progression with axle deadlifts to build up some quick max strength. The first cycle tends to get some real good results.

For press, stick with the axle and rotate between 1 day of clean each rep, 1 day of clean once and press away with reps in the 8-12 reps, and 1 day of clean once and press away with reps in the 4-6 range.

On your squat day, you can train the axle clean as a movement to work on it.

Bench day is just a good day to build up some strict pressing strength.

For a conditioning day, you could train your loading then. Use whatever you got, work on pick-ups and loads.


So my final layout would look like that:

Day 1: (Axle) Deadlift with ROM Progression
Day 2: Axle clean and press
Day 3: Axle clean
Day 4: Axle press plus some lighter deadlifts
Day 5: loading

Did I get it right?


For day 3, the axle clean would be assistance work. You’d still want to train some manner of squat that day, but could use the axle cleans as a warm-up or a finisher. I liked working up to a max triple and then sticking with that weight for some heavy singles.

For day 4, I personally wouldn’t make it another overhead press day. I’d stick with benching, or some sort of horizontal press (axle floor press, close grip axle bench, close grip axle floor press, etc). I find overhead pressing too frequently impacts my shoulder. I’d skip out on the deads too, but that’s just me. I tend to get pretty fried from the ROM progression deads, squatting, cleans and loading.

On Day 5, you could do loading and farmers, or you could throw farmers into the deadlift day.


I am not sure how much I would benefit from squatting this close to a competition that has no squatting in it. I will maybe use front squats or zercher squats to improve my loading. My shoulders are absolutrly fine with vertical pressing frequently, in fact it is probably the compund lift I recovery the quickest from. I trained one day push Press and one day strict the last couple of weeks. The Problem with benching is my still injured pec. It is fine at the moment but I don’t want to aggrivate it again and potentially miss sessions. Floor Presses might be in the cards though. You might be right about deadlifting two times a week but I need to Hammer my deadlift as it is a big weakness of mine… In will think this thought again.

Do you have any suggestions about reps/ intensity and Progression approach?


The squat isn’t about training an event as much as it is about improving your strength in general that you can apply TO events. Front or zercher squat isn’t a bad choice. It doesn’t have to be the barbell back squat. I prefer a safety squat bar myself. This also pairs with NOT training the deadlift twice a week.

If you feel that your deadlift weakness is a result of being unproficient with the movement, then training it twice a week has merit, as that’s all about improving frequency so you can get more practice in. However, if you’re simply just weak at the movement, then bringing up the muscles involved IN the deadlift can be pretty important, which is where squat variations play a role. Deadlifting tends to be pretty tough to recover from, and I’d find 2 heavier training sessions in general being more beneficial toward developing raw strength compared to a heavy and light session of the same movement, but your mileage may vary.

If you can get away with overhead pressing twice a week, go for it. I’d honestly make the clean and press day also a push press day, and save strict pressing for another day. The goal of the clean and press day is to prep you for the event in the competition.

As for reps/intensity/progression, did you read the program I talked about? I can’t post the link directly, but it had a decent scheme set up.


Sorry I had not at that time but have now. I can not replicate everything as you are using it but will use the construct. I have decided on the following:

Day1: press Day
1 Using your layout with the Axle.
2 DB shoulders press (incline is too risky this close to competition)
3 lat pulls
4 curls

Day2: deadlift
1 Rom Progression. Doing my best to replicate your method
2 side holds for time
3 high rep squat or deadlift / farmer’s walk

Day3: “bench” day
1seated press (as Inhave dritten I won’t bench, maybe floor press here)
2 DB rows
3 shoulders stuff

Day4: squat day
1 squat ( no Rom Progression possible here, will Start with higher reps and go down to loser reps, letting the Wright dictate reps)

2 trap bar deadlifts or walks. (For the car Simulator)

3 Axle clean
As outlined

4 back raises


That’s not a bad structure at all… I’d consider a DB flat press rather than a DB shoulder press on Day 1. I try not to be redundant with my assistance work, approaching it with the mentality that I should get all the shoulder training I need out of the overhead press, and so my assistance work is more to hit other angles of pressing, but if you find it beneficial keep doing it.

For squat progression, you could consider something like Westside’s style ME work in place of ROM progression. Rotate between 3 implements/stance widths/movements and just work up to something heavy. Since the squat isn’t all that important, this is more about learning how to strain. An easy way to go about it would be squat, front squat, zercher squat. You could even do a ME style workout one week and then a higher rep one the next. I had planned on something like that prior to my injury.

The way I had it structured was to do EITHER car deadlift or axle clean, but your approach might actually help out with your need to improve your farmer’s pick up. Probably just stick with the trap bar in that case, until you get farmer’s implements.

I’d throw some direct ab work in somewhere. Just 3 sets of something heavy.

Looks like a solid way forward.


Oh yes I forgot to mention abs, I always do abs with my lower body days. But might turn it down to once a week. I like the squat approach, I will use it as you described. With the heavy work up I will do reps from 1-5 depending on how I feel the day. I think I will use the higher rep method when I feel like my recovery is lacking with deadlifts and farmer’s. For the db pressing I acutally thought about making this a db floor press on day 1. Like I said any horizontal pressing beares the risk of further injuring my left pec. The pec situation is not a mess at all or something worth worrying about (nothing is torn, full ROM, no intense pain) but I really don’t want to make it worse this close to competition. After competition I will most likely use horizontal pressing frequently again.


Ah yeah, looks like I was overlooking the pec thing in my suggestions. Definitely avoid anything causing pain. Close grip work might help in that regard, or some partials instead of full ROM flat press (board pressing be a prime example).

Hope it all works out. Keep us posted.


To keep you posted: Due to a harsh work schedule and life stuff I can not lift as much as I want to. So i have to do what I can and work around these restrictions. I now do a overhead press day, which focuses on the axle clean and press. I will keep progression there linear as long as possible, simply adding more reps rather than weight. My other heavy lifting day focuses around axle deadlifts, using ROM progression as good as I can. Farmer’s walks will either be done on a separate day if possible or together with deadlifts. I currently have only one additional da left and on this day i focus on upper body. This day is usually too close to deadlift day so it might interfere if I do squats, the two can not be switched unfortunately 8equipment issues). Loading will be trained as soon as I get a keg. Either with farmer’s or with deadlifts.