T Nation

Never Go Full Strongman (or Bikini)


This log will focus on my new pursuit: training for strongman competitions. Of course, there will be some running, yoga, and saltwater sports peppered in for good measure. Also, I’ll be tracking my fiancee’s training here as well; she’ll be training for bikini/figure.

EDIT old log here: http://tnation.T-Nation.com/free_online_forum/blog_sports_body_training_performance_bodybuilding_log/of_salt_and_iron&s=forumIndexTopic

The competition is at the Naturally Fit Games in Austin, TX on June 25th. We both may compete the same day in if she decides to compete instead of watching me. It’ll be my first competition, and would be her second.

The events in this strongman competition are:

Keg toss �¢?? competitors will have 60 seconds to throw eight kegs of varying weights over a crossbar. Men will be at 15�¢?�², women will be at 13�¢?�². Fastest time wins, or most kegs completed.

18�¢?�³ Tire deadlift �¢?? competitors will perform a deadlift with an UP and DOWN command for a maximum of repetitions in 60 seconds.

Truck push/pull medley (hoping for four lanes for this event) �¢?? competitors will harness pull a truck 50�¢?�², then push the same truck back 50�¢?�², then grab a rope from the bed of the truck, sprinting to the start line, and hand-over-hand pulling the truck a final 50�¢?�². Fastest time/most distance covered wins. 90 second time limit.

Mystery pressing event (four lanes for this event) �¢?? coming soon!

Atlas Stone ladder (head-to-head) �¢?? competitors will execute a five stone ladder with various weights of Atlas stones and platform heights �¢?? lightest stone to the highest platform, heaviest stone to the lowest platform.

We’re currently running 531, and will begin our next cycle (after our vacation) using 531 for strongman. We’ll be training the upper and lower days together, but will specialize alone on “day 3”; she’ll focus on bikini muscle whereas I’ll be practicing for the events. I’ll be doing my own day 3, independent of the program, to fit my needs.


A) Kettlebell swings w/ 70lbs
1x10 both hands
4x10 single arm (2x10 each hand)

B) Dumbbell Clean & Press w/ Fat Gripz
40’s x 10
45’s x 8
50’s x 6
35’s x 10

C) Tire drag
tire x 40ft
tire + 50lbs x 40 ft
tire + 100lbs x 40 ft
tire + 150lbs x 40 ft
tire + 100lbs x 40 ft
tire + 50lbs x 40 ft
tire x 40 ft

D) Back Extensions
bodyweight for 3x10

E) Hanging leg raises

F) 5 Med ball pick-up (atlas style) > 5 overhead toss > 5 pull-ups/chin-ups
about 20 rounds using 30lb med ball


I’m excited to follow this log.

If you can possibly spare the scratch, you might want to consider getting a sandbag to train your clean and press with. The mystery pressing event could turn out to be an odd object press (usually a stone, but I’ve had to press a fire hydrant before), and training with a sandbag is a great way to learn how to master cleaning and pressing an awkward object. And heck, even if it’s not one of those, you get brutally strong from training the movement.

Looks like you got a pretty solid way forward. Best of luck!


Thanks man, glad to have to following! your insight is always extremely helpful. I’ve been thinking about making a sandbag since your last nug of advice, and have been checking out some diy options. I have a 45lb weight vest which I was thinking about pulling out of storage for hill sprints at this small hill next to work. A sandbag clean & press + weighted hill sprints sound like it’d be a great/terrible medley, and carrying everything back to my truck would probably blow too, haha.


Absolutely a great medley of misery. Jim Wendler talked about taking a 200lbs sandbag up and down some stadium stairs, and the worst part was bringing back to his truck.

As for DIY, it’s an option, but in general it tends to come out at a higher cost versus getting a real one. These things go through a lot of abuse, and can burst at the seams if too cheap. If you check out the starting strongman website, you can find the store and various sandbags to select for some pretty cheap prices. And thankfully sand is really cheap.

A keg would be another great choice, and can be very economic in craigslist.


Well hell now I’m sold on it.

Thanks for the tip man, I’m sure that’s going to save me a good bit of frustration. The ironmind one looked good, though the cerberus is now only 45 bucks. May just snag that one unless there’s a big difference between the two. Luckily I’m pretty literally surrounded by sand, haha. I’ll check out the keg idea too.

30 minutes on air bike


I would go with the cerebus. I got the Ironmind one, and was actually pretty unimpressed with the quality. First time that ever happened with Ironmind. Heard nothing but good things about cerebus.


Oh awesome, better and cheaper! I’ll order post vacation. I thought of another total burner with it. Go to the beach and fill to the max with sand, carry it for as long as possible, and each drop pour out a bit of sand. However, each drop earns a surf-torture penalty. Goal is 1 mile without emptying out any sand. Not really compatible w/ the events, but could be a cool once in a while mental training session.

…Training tonight, will edit with workout later.


Cycle 1, 531s week


Me: bar x5, 135x5, 185x5, 205x5, 235x3, 260x5, 205x8
Her: bar x5, 65x5, 95x5, 105x5, 120x4, 95x5

Limited time today. We’re just finishing off this last cycle before vacation next week, and beginning the 531 strongman template upon our return. I can’t find my knee sleeves, and my right knee especially felt a lot of pressure and a bit of pain, so I didn’t push my sets too hard. I cut the down set off at 8 once I noticed that I shifted the weight off my knees and onto my lower back.

I was thinking of switching out front squats for back squats since I won’t be using a yoke walk in training. Though then I sort of came to the realization that since there is no yoke walk in this competition, and front squat (according to several strong sobs in the strongman forum) has great carryover to the events, keeping front squat was the obvious choice. We’ll still probably keep flat bench over incline though since we’ve already been doing it and there’s no consensus on it>flat, but also 'cause the better half likes it so much haha.


Good to see more strongman training around here brother, I’ll be following


Thanks for stopping by Alpha! I always turn to your log when I need a good dose of inspiration; I’m stoked to have you following. Having not even competed yet I already feel the strong support of the strongman community; it’s really motivating.



A) Dumbbell walking lunges: 3x40
B) Leg extensions: 3 rounds of dropsets (10, 10, 10)
C) BFR Goblet Squat: 30-15-15
D) Calf raises: 3x30

Schedule’s packed today so I’ll go for a twofer tomorrow w/ strength at lunch & mobility/stability (hot yoga) in the evening. Options for lunch are A: body weight work & stair sprints, or B: Medley w/ jetty rocks of varying shapes & sizes (would have to bring my weight belt as my lower back has been iffy ever since that damned zercher fiasco. A week off of heavy lifting should be nice). I’ll decide near lunchtime.



DC style @ home gym-

100 band pull-aparts
Machine chest press w fat gripz: 17 (15th hole)
DB clean & press w fat gripz: 17 (50lb dumbells)
Cg pushups: 25
Machine lat pulldown: 18 (15th hole)
Kroc row w fat gripz & straps: 25 each arm (60lb)

Notes: DC is probably my favorite “on-the-go” routine. Versatile in terms of equipment, quick, and effective. Though I’m a big believer that more=better when it comes to rear delt work so I’ve got to throw that in.

Didn’t workout wed like i planned, had to work through lunch to squeeze in a vet appointment in the evening. Oh well, big picture.


What happened with that?

(I’m also following.)


Hey man glad to have you following along!

Well I went in with the intention of doing a zercher squat layers day, and ramped in doubles close to my back squat 2rm, not really realizing that indicated I was simply doing the exercise poorly. I finished one set of the down layer and could barely move my back without pain. I have always had issues falling forward in squat, so apparently doing these zerchers my legs shot up and I essentially zercher good morninged the weight up; the weight all on the lower back. I tried doing some back extensions at the end of the session to get sone blood into the area, but come nighttime I needed help getting off the couch. After a few days the pain was mostly gone, but i still feel a twinge. Exercises like good mornings, which I could do in the past without issue, are rather painful now. Deadlifts/hinge movements don’t bother me at all luckily, and front squats fall into the same boat (my knees don’t love then though, haha). Gotta save any lower back fatigue for stone practice. Thanks for asking man!


531s week

Deadlift: warmup, 265 x5, 300 x3, 335x8 (pr), 265x8
*All sets other than pr set are doh

Deadlift: warm-up, 115 x5, 130 x3, 145 x3, 115x12 (pr)
*all doh

Notes: last heavy lifting (or posting) for a week. I tried to do the down set with fat gripz but it just wasn’t happening


Ouch, that sounds like it was really rough. I did a very very mild form of that once, so I can only imagine. It actually might have been on zerchers too. You have any issues with stone stuff now because of it?


@ LoRez yeah but luckily the people around me knew how to take care of acute injuries so I’m sure that really aided the relatively quick recovery. Sorry to hear that but glad you’re good, damn zerchers, haha. Well I haven’t gotten my hands on stones yet but am ordering a sandbag, so we’ll see how it goes. I’ll start light to avoid trouble.

First day back was yesterday

overhead press: ramped to 135 x3x5
16’’ (in hindsight, wanted 18") block pull: ramped to 415x2 ( rep 3 missed)
ab wheel

notes: wanted to establish some TMs for this cycle. Kept it clean in ohp. Block pulls were iffy though; I re-tweaked my back (felt about what day 2 felt like on my last tweak, so today would be similar to day 3 of my last tweak). I think it was a combination of releasing my air between rep 2 and the attempted rep 3, and pulling with different mechanics from that height.

To remedy my back, I’ve decided that I’m going to go with the 5’s pro protocol for deadlift. I was wanting to pull from 18" as that will be the competition height thus the attempt at establishing a TM for it, but setting it up in my gym is really cumbersome. I could go with rack pulls, but I’ve heard that the movement pattern of rack-pulls is rather different than tire deadlifts because of how the bar bends, so I wanted to keep the movement as true as possible. As of now, conventional deads certainly feel better on my back (possibly because the movement has already been initiated at a lower point, versus being initiated at a point where the lower back really comes into play). I realize I’ll need some 18" pulling closer to comp, but unless the benefits outweigh the risks at this point in time I think I’ll just stick to conventional w/ 5’s pro for at least 2 cycles.


Yesterday (me)

3 sec paused front squats:
bar x5, 135x5, 185x5, 225x1-1-1-1-1 (cluster), 225x1-1-1-1-1

Overhead press w/ fat gripz:
135x5, 95x10

Seated cable row:

back extensions (slow w/ limited ROM with hard squeeze at top):
3x10 @ bodyweight

Notes: Her schedule is really busy this week, so I’m really wanting to hold out and start the cycle when she can, so I’m just training by feel this week. Back is still not feeling great, but I tied the belt as tight as it could go on me and did my best to maintain a vertical torso on thr front squats… it was touchy but not too bad. I kept my feet rather narrow & straight in comparison to my back squat; I feel like I got a good amount of torque out of it. Quads, glutes, and abs are good kind of sore today from it


Tonight (me)

Push press:
215x miss
215x1 (PR!)
225 x miss

Dc style-
Db press: 15 @ 60lb dbs
Bb incline w fat gripz: 16 @ 135lbs
Dips: 20?
Pull-ups: 20?
Strap rows: 10 each arm w 100 lb dbs

Extra work-
3 way shoulder raises: 5-4-3-2-1
Face pulls: rest pause
Fat grip curls: rest pause

Notes: stoked about the 215! Back is angry though, but screw him, he’s slways bitching about something these days.


Yesterday (her & I)
Cycle 2, 5s week

Deadlift (Her, 531): 100x5, 115x5, 130x10
Deadlift (Me, 5s pro): 235x5, 270x5, 305x5

Back squat (her, 531)
3 second paused Front squat (me, SST) 115x10, 140x10 165x10

3 rounds (all bodyweight)
-10 back extensions
-10 walking lunges
-10 sit-ups

Notes: decided on 5s pro for deadlift to keep heavy low backvolume contained for now. Both of us pulled double overhand. Also went with the simplest strength template for the paused front squats to mix up the rep schemes a bit.


Events/mental conditioning (me)

10 rounds:
-5 right hand kettlelbell swings w/ 100lb kb
-5 left hand kettlelbell swings w/ 100lb kb
-5 deep rom ring dips

Notes: this was fun in a really masochistic sort of way. By round 7 my hands were chopped up pretty good. The bloodier the bells got, the tighter I had to hold, which in turn made more blood haha. By round 10 The bells were so slippery I was pretty worried that they were just going to shoot out of my hands.

It’s hard to count the first rep of each round though, as it took a little momentum to get it going.

Most of my body is pretty damn unhappy with me. But my mind could be better. Great session.