T Nation

New to Strongman


#1

Hi everyone. My first post ever. I’m training currently with the goal to begin competing next year. I’m 37, 5’11" 350 lbs, and just started training again last August. Current numbers are as follows:
Deadlift 520 (I’ve pulled over 6 from rack at just below my knees for reps, but am slow on that first bit)
Squat 465
Bench 335
Log 245 with clean

I’ve been using conjugate method to try to get a good base for strength in the big lifts (including tons of sled work for GPP). The gym I’m at doesn’t really have strongman implements other than a janky old log, so I’m a bit limited in my training.

What kind are some respectable numbers to look for for amateur competition on my lifts?

I’ll likely be competing somewhere not far south of current weight (I get calipered every month and I’m north of 270 on lean mass according to the calipers). Also any additional tips or hints would be greatly appreciated! I’m in the greater Houston area.


#2

The sport isn’t like powerlifting; “numbers” don’t necessarily mean anything, as you can overcome a lack of strength with a surplus of technique and vice versa.

Most shows have a novice category. Sign up for one NOW and go compete. You will learn a TON competing compared to training, and it will get you bigger and stronger.


#3

I guess I’m just looking for analog data. I know a lot of people say just go compete, but I’d hate to get blown out of my first comp. My conditioning is also a far cry from where it needs to be for competing at the present.


#4

This is what I’m getting at when I talk about focus less on numbers. It’s these variables that really shine through. You need conditioning, rep strength, max strength technique, etc. Bigger dudes tend to fall back on max weights, but it’s a little easier when you have weight to throw around, and it can confuse things. If you focus more on those things you need to bring up, you’ll be in a better way.

Getting blown out of your first comp is pretty much a right of passage for most strongman. If it doesn’t happen, it typically means you were sandbagging, haha.


#5

You should work drop some weight. It would help your conditioning a ton and I’m rather doubtful bout you being north of 270 on lean mass. That’s highly improbable.


#6

6 foot 290 lbs… works for some strongmen:


#7

I don’t know bout you but we don’t exactly have a ton of Mariusz Pudzianowskis running around.


#8

I was being facetious. The point was OP is VERY likely not in better condition than Pudz was when he won 5 WSM titles. So your recommendation to lose fat was valid.


#9

Goodness a lot is being made of my weight and not much as far as helpful info other than lose weight (which is kind of obvious).

As I said, I get calipered once a month for progress tracking. I’ve had two separate trainers caliper me and they were within 1% of each other and both are 15+ year trainers. They’re not strongman trainers specifically, but they’re good overall fitness trainers. Also, if I was going to lie on anything, why would I put such a puny bench? The more people tell me how unlikely it is that I’m telling the truth in the face of data that I’m looking at every month, the more you’re going to swell my head and convince me I’m just awesome to begin with.

So for the sake of conversation, can we just agree that I need to drop 30+ lbs and move on to other potentially more useful answers? Like what’s typical to see in events like dl for reps, log press for reps, max effort lifts, etc. at an amateur level.

Or we can continue to talk about my weight. That’s fine. I’m certainly the expert in the room on that one.


#10

Best bet is to simply check out the shows near you and see what weights they list. It varies, especially between federations. Nothing is standardized in this sport.


#11

Fair enough. Thanks!


#12

First off, I don’t think anyone is accusing you of being a liar about your weight, lifts, or LBM. I believe what others are suggesting is that your LBM estimation is simply incorrect. It’s lower, beyond a shadow of a doubt.

And others are talking about your weight because you’re talking about competing in a weight class-based sport, and the thing that will help you the most is losing weight. Makes sense, right? If other people see one particular thing that stands out as the thing that would help you be competitive in the sport more than any other thing, they will talk about it more than other things.

So. I’ll move on. I’m going to talk about novice class first, and then SHW, which is the class you would be in if you moved past novice, at your bodyweight.

Things I’ve seen in the novice class: 225 lbs per hand farmers carries for 60 feet
200-225 log press for reps minute
405 deadlift for reps in a minute
250 lbs hussafel stone for max distance
200 lbs atlas stone to shoulder max reps in a minute.

I’m using those as a baseline because they have prescribed weights attached. There will always be max-lift events. I would say that for novice, you could expect a 280-300 lbs max log press to win that event, a 550- 650ish deadlift (this varies greatly), similar axle press (maybe 20 lbs less, novices suck with axle), the ability to put a 280 Atlas stone on a 4+’ platform… etc. The list goes on, but that gives you an idea.

Now let’s talk about SHW class, at local shows. I’ve seen a 600 lbs deadlift for max reps, 800+ lbs deadlifts for a max, 350-380 lbs log press, 550 lbs front squat, 380+ atlas stone max, etc.

So here’s what all this data tells me. You could actually compete in a novice comp today, and if you’re not terrible at the moving events, of which there are generally 1 or 2 per comp, you would not embarrass your self. I gave you high end numbers, but I can promise you the low end numbers will be worse than yours across the board. So that’s a good thing. You could do a comp this year and have a great time.

Here’s my advice to you… pound your squat,deadlift, and OHP for the next year, mostly with barbells, and practice at least one moving event every single week. Let the bench press take a back seat in your training, it’s just not that important outside of higher rep sets as accessory work to the OHP. Train with strongman implements often. Drop 50 lbs over the next year, in order to improve your conditioning for moving events, and likely give you better leverages for your lifts across the board.

And the most important suggestion I’m going to give you is to sign up for a show that is sooner than a year from now. Get your first show under your belt in the next 6 months. Get over that mental hurdle and gain the experience. It will get you psyched up for future events, it will give you SPECIFIC things to train for, and it will reveal your weaknesses better than just training without preparing for a show would do.

Best of luck bud, I hope we get to hear from you a lot more. Not enough strongmen on this site!!


#13

@flipcollar thanks so much for this. That’s exactly what I had in mind. Basically I could be semi-competitive in a novice class is what I’m understanding. I do have access to an axle as well, so I’ll start working with that a lot more. I know there’s always the push to start competing earlier, but I just know how bad my overall conditioning is. I’m currently racing a buddy to a 600 lb deadlift, but once I’ve won that I’ll be freed up to focus on cutting weight and conditioning a bit more. It’s a lot of diet. I’m eating north of 6000 calories a day right now to keep strength gains up. It’s working and, whether you believe the overall caliper numbers or not, they’re trending in the right direction (still gaining a bit of weight but calipers showing body fat to be steady to slightly decreasing).

Thanks for the encouragement!


#14

From one large dude to another, I’ll let you in on a little secret. Shedding fat was the key to me breaking 600. I got to 585 at 300 lbs. I think I was around 280 when I first pulled 600.

The start position gets soooo much better with a smaller gut.

But hey, if you want to eat big and lift big, have at it. I’m the last one on this site to cast judgment for doing that.


#15

I’ll agree with twojarslave on the best approach to improving your deadlift. His story is not unusual. I know A LOT of guys (and some women, Samantha Coleman being a great example, as she recently pulled 600), who really started to see better results deadlifting by shedding some lbs. The deadlift is so much about leverages and positioning. I think being heavier almost always has a benefit when it comes to the squat and bench press, but I really don’t see the strong correlation when it comes to the deadlift. Just something to consider. I think if you’re really really hell bent on pursuing this 600 lbs deadlift and really nothing else for awhile, then you should prioritize it as such, but if your goal is to be a quality strongman, I would suggest taking the approach I outlined and going ahead and reducing calories now. It is my personal belieft that you can actually hit your 600 goal, improve conditioning, and honestly become stronger all around, at the same time, given how much mass you’re already carrying, all while dropping bodyweight.

Food for thought :wink:


#16

One more thing I’ll add is to knock you back to reality on your LBM. Even if you don’t lose an ounce of strength on any of your lifts you will still look pretty chubby once you get to 270. I’m not trying to bring you down here, just giving it to you straight from one big 30-something to another.

Here’s what I looked like at 270, age 36 at the time and in the same strength ballpark you’re in right now. If you can diet down while keeping your strength, you too can have the appearance of a beer keg!


#17

@flipcollar- The 600 is pretty important to me which is just another contributing factor to me not attempting to compete this year. I may attempt backing off some calories slowly to see where the “sweet spot” is where I’m still gaining strength and getting a little more fat burn. Thanks for all the help. I’ll definitely look to getting more OH work (axle, log, and military) and knocking out my bench as a main move. Coupling that with more directed GPP (probably integrating farmers walk with a trap bar) and focusing on conditioning, I’d like to think the whole year won’t be a loss (or at least until I hit 600).

@twojarslave- It could be. My caliper reading could be way off. I use it more for trending than anything else. I appreciate the friendly advice though. I’ll respond in kind with a video.

It’s certainly not the best looking deadlift I ever did, but it was the one that got into the 500 club.

One thing I am curious about around losing weight and deadlifting is as follows: I think it was Eddie Hall or one of those big deadlifters that was saying that losing weight would change the levers and he wasn’t as explosive off the ground at a smaller weight because he couldn’t push his belly into his thighs as much.

Either way, thanks to all for the advice. Hope to see some of you guys at a meet sometime.


#18

That could very well be true for Hall. I’ll just point out that Hall is a truly enormous man who is carrying insane amounts of LBM. You are nowhere near his proportions. You are nowhere near his strength. Your technique is nowhere near his level of refinement.

Again, I’m not trying to bring you down at all, but simply giving you something to think about. I think it makes more sense to model your approach on people who have been in a similar position you are now and achieved what you want to achieve. Once you’re pulling in the 700-800 range it might make more sense to give more weight to Hall’s thoughts on body composition as it relates to the deadlift.

Speaking from experience, I’m presently about 15-20 lbs heavier than I was in that video. My deadlift has not benefited from this at all. My bench is up though!


#19

Definitely a fair point. I’m not getting brought down by your advice. It’s advice from a disinterested party who has no dog in the fight so the chances of you being completely honest are pretty good.

I can’t say enough how much I appreciate the advice. One thing I’m not beyond is giving it a shot.


#20

That’s the right attitude. You’re strong as shit. That’s an asset no matter which direction you decide to go in. I’ll be following the log you just started. Good luck!