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Last Minute Strongman Push/Pull Preparation

I’m currently prioritizing a PL meet next month, and want to do a Strongman Push/Pull meet a month after that. It was my goal to do a Strongman meet this year, so I decided on this one near me.

Not looking for any meaningful result (placing/winning/records) from the Strongman Push/Pull but I want to put enough time/training in to be prepared. My coach doesnt wanna program anything for strongman since he doesnt train/do it, so just told me I can program it in with the off season stuff he’ll have me do.

The event is Log Clean/Press and 11" Axle Deadlift. My gym doesnt have a log or wagon wheels, but I plan on using a swiss bar to train log and blocks for wagon wheels. I can also drop into the gym hosting the event, or another gym near me to use these implements.

I’ve already been doing axle strict press, but probably going to be doing another bench day instead of that since I’m 6 weeks out. I’ll probably be doing block pulls around this time too.

Once my PL meet is over (don’t wanna stray too much from PL because I’m going for records and qualifying for nationals) Im thinking of going Bulgarian-ish like I did in the past:
Week 1: Deload from the PL meet with bodybuilding work - maybe drop by the venue to try out the equipment.
Week 2: Work up to a heavy single, back off triples
Week 3: Work up to a heavy single, back off doubles
Week 4: Deload bodybuilding work, and compete that weekend

Not sure what my coach will program for me for off season, but I told him I’d want one day of push-pressing/push-jerking and one day of strict pressing. I’ll probably do Axle Block Pulls as my main deadlift.

This approach is prolly less than ideal, but I wanted to get everybody else’s take on this, especially from a strongman competitors perspective.

There are many many many many better-qualified people to answer this, but I’m willing to bet that they’ll tell you it’s imperative to get your hands on a log and that a swiss bar isn’t a great simulation of one.

I’ve seen it done, and def know its not optimal. But it’ll have to do during the week.

I can get access to a proper log on weekends.

Probably not one of the guys that’s be considered a pro here but I’ll give my 2 cents…

As far as adding strong man in pre meet I don’t think I would considering you have a goal of setting records and winning in the PL meet.

If you are going to do it to get the feel I’d probably work with super low weights for low reps to get the feel of the implement. Also blocks or plates work well for setting up the deadlift sinc eyou don’t have wagon wheels. I have seen a few different high level strong man competitors basically do strength work with kinda a conjugate/lift variation rotation and do implements as volume work to keep skill with them. They didn’t start using exact implements until closer to time of the event. Or when they found out what they were in some cases.

For me learning to properly clean the log was hard. Brian alsruh has a great video on this that I learned from and kept me from hurting myself. (Namely bicep injury)

Post meet I’d probably run a linear program with the exact implements since you won’t have much time to prep. And in that case I still wouldn’t ramp up to anything high simply because you’ll be coming off a meet. It’s a tall order to say the least but good luck to you man. I hope you’re successful at both!

I assume you have an axle bar and don’t have a log from what I read. If it’s something you are serious about getting into Titan fitness sells some decent implements for a decent price. I got an axle bar from them for 20.00 and I got a log from them for like 125.00 I think (I may be off a little on this one but it was around that.) I got free shipping but I live 90 miles from their warehouse. I love having the extra bars and stuff for variety if nothing else.

I hope this is a little helpful sorry the format is crappy. This post was done a few minutes at a time over about an hour lol

Don’t use a Swiss Bar, it will do more harm than good. Don’t do any strict press after the PL meet, Push Press only, no jerking either. Jerking a log is technical and unnecessary for a guy that can press. After the PL meet, worry about shoulder flexibility (you need a decently high elbow position on the log) and do heavy rows. The log clean is the single easiest thing possible in Strongman, and is usually easier without a belt. Row it onto your knees and squat down, pull it hard into the top of your abs from there, drive the hips and pull the shoulders back. Done. It just rolls up as part of the movement, and your arms should be locked back the whole time from the end of the row on - so virtually no chance of tearing a bicep. Go to the gym and get some reps on the log, the press will be nothing for you.

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Push pressing the axle will have more carry-over than a Swiss Bar.


Thanks for the tips. My shoulders are def feeling fucked heading into this PL meet. Havent heard back frm the meet director yet, so should follow up at some point.

Most of my pressing is with an axle, so that’s good for now. I guess I’ll be making trips to portland for the log. Or I can just get my own off titanfit

Are you battling out for your pro card? No. Just throw in a bit of technique work on your pressing days and leave the deadlift as is, perhaps some triple extension if you’re not getting it when you press.

Once you have your meet, do a 3 week strength block and a 3 week peak just follow a similar scheme to your powerlifting programming if that is working for you, you’re just doing static lifts anyway (you don’t need to deload, the peak should get rid of the fatigue).

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that will be just fine. That’s how I do it.

that will not be fine. lol.

yep. do that as much as you can. I’d want to get… I’d say at least 5 sessions with the log to feel comfortable with it. I’m assuming the log is for a 1rm, so you’ll have to know, approximately, what you’re capable of, and what a reasonable opener for you will be. So familiarity will be essential to performing well.

As far as your training goes without the log, I actually wouldn’t bother with the swiss bar at all. You are already capable of performing a strict press. Your push-press (or jerk) is likely what needs more technique work. And you can’t do that with a swiss bar. So, focus your efforts on proficiency with leg drive, and that will translate to the log.

Basically I’m just reaffirming what artery said, lol. Just now reading his comments.

The log clean may or may not come naturally to you. It does for me, but some people really struggle. Probably THE most important thing you’ll need to learn, assuming you can figure out how to clean more than you can press, is bracing in the rack position. This is hard. And it’s where all your power comes from. Make sure you get some practice doing this, and feel free to come back with questions on any part of the long clean and press that don’t come naturally to you. It may come together easily for you, it may not.


Thanks! Good call. I won’t get many chances to pop into the gyms with logs, but I should be able to get at least 4 between the weekends, and use my push press/jerk with an axle at my main gym.

What do you recommend I do for squat around this time? De-prioritize? My coach will likely just program this for off-season bodybuilding work after the powerlifting meet, but doesn’t want to program strongman stuff for me since it’s not his area of expertise.

I usually use plain leather straps - but would you advise getting a pair of figure 8 straps for the axle? @flipcollar @strongmangoals @hardartery

Axle DL? If its an Axle DL, and they allow straps, get some really long ones. If it’s anything other than a DL, straps will get you hurt. Learn to grip the Axle with your thumbs on the same side as your fingers. Its weird at first but actually works a lot better for some guys.

Yeah, its an axle DL. I haven’t tried the axle I have with straps yet, but I’ll give it a go and see how long it is

Thanks for that last tip with the grip

I prefer figure 8s. Less chance of slipping as the axle is smooth plus way faster to get on.

They are starting to get banned now and you need to get ones specifically for axle (well, I have seen people use regular ones) so that might be a turn off for you…

DEFINITELY recommend figure 8’s for an axle. They will not slip, period. and I’ve seen conventional straps slip off in comp. Not all axles have knurling. But even if they do, figure 8’s are an absolute lock to hold up, and other straps are not.


Used figure 8s for the first time last night and they felt good af!

But not sure how I’d be complying with the rules:

– Straps allowed, figure 8 straps also allowed. However they must be tight and the hands have to be around/holding the axle. A long figure 8 strap with “fingertips” being the only thing touching the bar will not be an acceptable lift.

Are these legal ways to hold the bar? I know my whole hand is on the bar, but it feels like my fingertips are only along the bottom and my hands are essentially open handed. Not sure if its a big deal but these are off brand amazon straps

@flipcollar @strongmangoals @hardartery

I have zero experience with those. The grip looks legit enough to me, but honestly I don’t know why those would be allowed, seems to defeat the purpose of an axle being used, but not my monkeys, not my circus.

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Yeah, I just realized I set my blocks way too low. I thought it was 11" but its more like 16/17"

that looks fine to me. Nobody can wrap their thumb around the axle with those on. That’s how I hold it.

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I have yet to compete in a comp with an axle deadlift that does not allow these straps. Just from my experience. At the USS world championship I competed in last year, we had a heavy axle deadlift, and they were allowed. I’ve probably had an axle deadlift in 6 or 7 shows in the past couple years, and all allowed figure 8 straps.

The risk of bicep injury is just too great for most promoters to want to have a strapless axle deadlift. The lack of whip is still a reason to use an axle over a deadlift bar in comps, along with the slight change in leverages it presents.

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