T Nation

New Strongman Needs Advice


Hey guys, im signing up for my first show Victoria June 10.

I'm studying in Edmonton until the end of April and will be in Vic May 26th. Im hoping to get a few sessions with the strongdudes here in Edmonton before the show in Victoria but, since i have no equipment of my own, the vast majority of preperation will be in the gym.

I understand that the best way to train for events is to do events but what can i do in the gym that simulates/subsitutes basic strongman events?

heres what the bulk of my training consists of now:

lower: deads, walking lunges, front squats, step ups, cleans

presses: standing presses (barbell, dumbbell / strict, pushes, jerks), closegrip incline/flat, dips

pulls: bentover rows (barbell/dumbbell), pullups, barbell curls (curls for the girls - but i can always justify these; who wants to tear a bicep flipping that tire?)

im tipping the scales at a sun-eclipsing 225lbs so ill be entering as a novice lightweight.

also, here's some of my current poundages to give you an idea of where im starting (presses are probably going to be my weakness in strongman):

DL: 500 x 1 with belt
front SQ: 275 x 5 with belt
strict standing press: 170 x 5
push jerk: 225 x 5
walking DB lunges: 100pounders x 12 (6/leg)
BO rows: 195 x 5
power clean: 225 x 3

here's the event shedule for the Victoria show:

1) FW/ tire /yoke medley - 40 ft on grass. 120 sec
Novice LW
205 /500/420
novice HW - open LW
Novice HW

2) truck pull.. harness or hand over hand - TBD

3) max DL - 3 lifts .. no suits

4) pressing medley - multiple implements 90 sec.

Novice LW
130 sand bag, 150 yoke, 170 keg, 190 axle, 210 log
novice HW - open LW
130 sand bag, 170 keg, 200 yoke, 215 axle, 235 log
Novice HW
130 sand bag, 200 yoke, 230 keg, 255 axle, 280 log

5 stones

novice lw
185, 225, 250, 260, 280
novie HW-open LW
225, 250, 260, 280, 300
open heavy weight
260, 280, 300, 330, 350



PS deff. need to work on my grip strength too. Ideas?


Grip is fun to train!

Get an 8 pound sledge. cut the handle off to about 15 inches, and the lay your forearm across your leg, with your wrist hanging over. Lever your wrist up and down in front and on both sides while holding the hammer.

Put a bench on incline, and place one knee on the flat part,and support your weight with your hand ont the inclined part. Take a olympic barbell, and grip it with the hand that is furthest away from the bench. Row that arm up to that the upper arm is parrallel to the floor, and hold that positon. When you grip the barbell, grip it with more of the barbell being on the pinky side of the hand then the thumb side.Lever the bar up and down.

Get a couple of postal rubber bands and place them around your thumb and finger tips, and open your hand up. Not a muscle builder, but you can't always be gripping and never opening.

Get a pair of tin-snips and some light guage metal, but not too light. Start cutting. If you picked something heavy enough in guage then you should be crying by the time you get it cut into small peices.

Get some cinder blocks. Grab the cinder blocks by the center cross member of the block. Hold until you drop them. As a bonus, you hands will get tough from the cement. If your a real bear of a man, grip two blocks with one hand by grabbing the edge crossmembers of two blocks and holding them together.

Hammer curls and reverse curls really fry my grip.

Oh, you could also do wrist curls. But if that is how you train grip, then your a big sissy, which your not if your in a strongman comp.


All the competition weights in the novice LW division look very do-able. especially with your current stregth level. I think the two hardest evens to jump into without ever having done them before are the tire flip and the stones.

With stones, one of the best things you can do, other than actually doing them, is to go outside and lift some stones found outside somewhere. Learn to lap them and stand up with them. If they aren't too odd shaped, you could even try to pull them up to platform height and drop it in fornt of you. If you can get a little technique down, the weights listed for your dividion shouldn't be much of a problem.

As far as tire flipping goes, 500 lbs is pretty light. But that doesn't mean it will be easy to someone who has never touched a tire. As long as you are already doing deads, cleans and such, the only things the will help you get better is to actually go tire flipping.

If you get a chance to try some of the events, go for it. A little experience goes a long way in strongman. You may even want to show up a little early on contest day. At some contests they will let the novices practice the events beforehand.

Good luck,


I'm currently training for my first strongman show too and while I am even smaller (180) and going to get my ass handed to me, I can give you an idea of what I've done. My thing is that I went ahead and built the equipment I'd use in competition and I've been training with it for a couple months. It was easy and it has helped a LOT. I built an atlas stone (a little lighter than ones in comp, like 170, aiming for 220 but it came out light after i poured the cement) and two farmers walk implements (220 in each hand for 440 total).

My first time trying to carry my farmers walk I got like 10 feet before my grip gave out, which was pathetic, given i deadlift 520, but simply by training with the specific implements I'm now well over 50 feet in one quick run, going for well over 200 when i throw on wrist straps (its hard to walk with them, let alone grip it, if youve never done it before, so when my grip gives out I throw on straps to practice walking) I also could not get my atlas stone off the ground the first time i tried it, simply due to lack of technique, im now launching it onto a platform i built above my head (I pile things up until its 5'10") and doing reps.

What I am getting at with my story is that its too easy to make strongman implements to avoid doing it. My stone probably cost me 60$ for all the cement, plaster, ball and random buckets and shovels i needed. And then the farmers walk handles were even cheaper because all i had to do for that was buy some pipe, elbows and cement. Probably 40$ for the pair. The lifts at your contest will be too different from the gym, even if you are really strong, get out there and build junk.
Thats it, best of luck with your contest.


tin-snips and metal cutting?!? SWEET! just like arts and crafts back in grade school. i bet the first cut is really satisfying...like the first cut into a fresh piece of construction paper

good post.
origional ideas, i like it.


thats encouraging about the weights.

maybe ill take my girl for a nature walk this weekend to find some big fkn rocks to toss around

i was planning on showing up early to get familiar with the implements. ill check into this.

thanks dude


1) are participants allowed to warm up between events? i have never seen this and i imagine that stepping in cold to some heavy lifting could be scetchy.

2) what is the critera for successful OH pressing. ive read that some competitions dont care how you get the weight up as long as you lock out overhead. ive also read that some competitionss are strict about extending the knees before the elbows (ie no jerks). opinions on this?


i know i know!!! making gear isnt hard you just gotta do it! my current excuse is that i live downtwn in an apartment and i have no place to play handy-man.

if i had my own place i would have so much gear around that i would have to up 10 stones just to get to my toothbrush. all my buddies live in apts too.

thats interesting about your rude awakening with farmers. ill probably experience something similar. my gym has 150 dumbbells and ive started trekin those bad boys up and down infront of the cardio goers (get some funny looks) but that weight is too light.

im gonna start doing some double overhand hold for time to beef up the grip.

good luck dude

ill see you at lightweight WSM 2012!


Man at your strength levels you should have no problem with those events. The best thing to do is just deadlift, press overhead, and drag a heavy sled if possible. I'm going to be a contest in june that i will be in the 200 and under class and for our press medley its a 180 axle, 200-8 inch log, 220 barbel, and 240-12 inch log. And that 420 yoke should be cake man, i did a 600 yoke at 173, now i didnt do it to awful fast but i finished haha. But you should do awesome if your going to be in the lightweights at your strength levels and the weights of the implements.


600 yoke at 173...damn!

gotta get a sled. I was thinking about pulling my jeep around too. any ideas about making a harness? or where to get one?

im gonna try that apparatus the "fun in arizona sun" crew use for yokes - weights suspended with chains from bar.

since this is my first show im kinda glad the weights are realistic (if not easy). it will be a good test to see if strongman is something i want to persue. i think i will though...im addicted allready and havent even touched a stone yet!


Towel chin ups are good for grip, throw a towel over a chinup bar, so that and even amount hangs down on both sides of the chin up bar, and use that for chinning by gripping the towel. I think you said you lived in an apartment, but if you have access to firewood, get some hedge or some oak, and grab the peices by the cut ends, so that it is hanging down like a tree would be planted in the ground.
Get two 4x4 fence posts, and drive two nails into each one. Put 2.5s or 5's on the nails, and then grip the 4x4's like you would a football.
When I was in high school, in the metal working shop, I did this everyday, and was the only one that could do it.
DO NOT do this unless you are strong, and make sure and be ready to catch the sledge with your free hand!
Get an 8 pound sledge, hold your arm straight out in front of you at the top of a front lateral raise. Put your other hand in front of your face!!! lower the sledge head and touch your nose with the sledge head. Be careful.

take a 5 gallon bucket, and fill it with something heavy, water is good for starters. take a small peice of leather and fold it over the handle, with the ends pointing away from the bucket. Grip the ends of the leather with a pair of pliers and hammer curl it.

I think the last one came from ironmind