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Powerlifting + Strongman = Better Athlete? (and How)



Hello everyone,

If anyone has seen my previous forum posts, you may understand my goals and what they are. However, I have come across some resources and have had a few thoughts.
Powerlifting is my favourite form of training (that I have experienced so far) and I hate doing serious cardio. So figured a good middle is strongman training. I want to be a better athlete, I want to be more powerful, and have a good functional strength and endurance. I’m looking to join the Royal marines as well as that.

So I’m looking to do 3-4 days a week of powerlifting (mainly 5/3/1)
Maybe 2 days of strongman training a week (one of those sessions being lifter for more distance and more emphasis on endurance.)
And session of running 3-4 miles at a time.

I’m not sure how any of this will work, but I’m just looking to discuss it and maybe come up with a better plan.



You’ve made a lot of topics in the past few days regarding different program ideas, so my incentive to give you a lot of advice is a little diminished as you may well decide tomorrow this isn’t your goal, but to clear up a few things;

-5/3/1 isn’t a powerlifting program. The creator of the program has said this on many separate occasions. 5/3/1 is a program for getting bigger, stronger, faster and better. If you want to run 5/3/1, that’s great, because it’s an awesome program, but it means you have no concerns about combing powerlifting with strongman.

-Strongman is a sport where you have to be strong, fast, and have good conditioning, along with technical proficiency with implements. It’s not cardio or a replacement for cardio. You still need to do cardio to get the benefits of cardio.

Are you wanting to train strongman to actually become better at strongman, or is this more about doing some sort of heavy conditioning? If it’s the latter, you basically just need to run 5/3/1 as Jim Wendler designed it (which is to say, WITH jumps, throws and conditioning).


Do you aspire to be a powerlifter, strongman or a runner? If not, train with heavy compound lifts 2-3 days a week, and condition one to two. When you add in all the things you want to do you become great at nothing. Pick SPECIFIC goals and go after them hard. Oh yeah, and don’t forget to eat


Also, you must not have ever pushed/pulled/carried an awkward heavy object for distance


Have you given much thought to their own suggestions? They’ve laid out a pretty clear plan based on their own expectations.


Well, you are all right. I am coming up with alot of different solutions, but these are all just thoughts. I’m trying to do alot of different things at once (which isn’t great). I still consider myself fairly new to training, I’ve been doing this for about 3 years, which in my opinion isnt that long.

“Also, you must not have ever pushed/pulled/carried an awkward heavy object for distance”

Well, you’re right there. The pain in running doesnt come from the lungs for me, its just the monotonous and repetitive act of doing the same thing multiple times in 30-60 minutes. I like being able to move big things powerfully for short bursts. You could call it an ego thing, but much like alot of people, the idea of being strong appeals to me. I’ve been doing some research from guys like Alan Thrall or Brian Alsruhe, and the atlas stones specifically appeal to me. And so does the yoke walk for improving my deadlifts and squats. I’m not opposed to feeling that burn/pain, just anything that I can do to make cardio/conditioning more enjoyable and interesting would be great. And maybe it’ll give me an opportunity to experiment with another strength sport and improve my overall athleticism.


Get your priorities straight first
If you truly want to join the service and a combat unit at that focus on that goal.

A friend did WS4SB. Modified it to do a strongman event/exercise in lieu of every other circuit drill.
Moreover, added longer runs every week in addition to the already timed one miler.

Be smart. there are plenty of options out there.


You’re right, it is my priority. I know everything seems to be confusing with my priorities. Being able to join the marines is something I’ve wanted to do for as long as I can remember. And it’s something I thoroughly believe I’ll enjoy, I’m 17 and I’ll be joining at 18. I’ve passed my medicals and the paper exams. Just have the interview and the physical tests to go. I’m pretty happy with my current strength, I’d love to be able to squat close to 180kg by the end of the year, and deadlift 225kg (can currently do 145kg squat easily, and 180kg easily. Training partner said it looked like I could do close to 190-200kg due to the speed).

But I do understand that those goals arent the best goals for joining the marines. I can do approx 30 push ups, 40 sit ups and about 1-2 pull ups. And run the 3 miles in the high 20 minutes.I know I’m not fit enough, and that’s why I am here. I’m just looking for suggestions to improve my fitness while maintaining or improving my strength. And maybe even learning how to apply that strength in a functional way.

But yes, the military is the first priority. To me, powerlifting is way too important to me, I won’t be able to just drop it. I feel like I need to hold on to that for as long as I can. And for the record; apologies for coming across confusing or indecisive. To be clear:
1: Passing the selection process (aka PJFT and PRMC)
2. Maintaining or improving my strength
3: Improving functional athleticism.

As nice as it’d be, I’m not too bothered about looking pretty or anything like that. I’m young, I don’t have as much experience with this sort of thing. That’s why I’m asking for your help. And I’d appreciate anything you can suggest


Again; do you mean actual powerlifting (competing in meets to total) or are you using this to just mean getting bigger and stronger?


I like knowing that my total is going up, it’s extremely satisfying for me to know that I’m getting better at it. And competing, I don’t need to necessarily do. But it helps with the actual power lifting itself, gives me a specific date to improve by. But I could always do a mock comp at the gym where I just max out everything, including my push ups and stuff.

But the sport itself is very important to me, helps keeps me focused on alot of areas outside of training. Maybe if I start seeing significant improvements with those numbers, this will change.


Get your fitness levels up in order to pass for the Royal Marines. Once that is done, you’ll have your whole life to get jacked and still pass their prt’s, but if you don’t do the first things first then the rest doesn’t really matter, does it?


You might like CTs strength circuit methodology. I ran it for a few cycles and it will increase your work capacity for sure.

When do you plan to join the Royal Marines? If it’s soon then this:

Isn’t gonna cut it.

Improving these should be your priority.

Edit: I see you’re joining soon. As @SkyzykS said, you need to focus on improving your running and BW exercises to be successful in boot camp (or whatever you guys call it).


My thoughts exactly. Your numbers on the push ups pull ups and runs are trash to be completely honest. If I were you I would focus these in with lifting. Also, don’t get caught up in the squat dead bench shit if you don’t have a want to compete. I feel like a squat variant and a dead variant are a must, but bench is on the fence imo. I, for example, only care about deadlifting 725 and ohp’ing 275 by the time I am thirty. I bench and squat once a week as an accessory to build my deads and ohp. I do deads and ohp twice a week and cycle different variants on at least one of the days. A lot of people do not agree with my training because they are dead set on the idea of “only the big three count” shit even though they have never even seen a platform in their life. Do what is specific to you man. Drop everything else. If powerlifting is a path you want to take, go at it full force. Same with the marines, same with strongman. But DO NOT focus on all three at once. It’ll lead to half assed results, and as a hopefully soon to be marine, you know that isn’t good enough.


Also, sorry for the long ass post you guyzzz


So taking up your guys advice, I still don’t have the book (I’m buying it later today), I want to continue doing 5/3/1, but with the bodyweight accessory template. I’m not sure if its the exact same one, but thought I’d put the idea out there. See what you guys think, once I read the book I’ll come back and correct myself.

4 days a week.

Mon - Squat
Tues - Bench
Thurs- Deadlift
Fri - OHP

And for the accessories:
Pull ups - 5 negatives (5 seconds each)
Push ups - 10
Sit ups - 10
Squat - 30
Pull up hold - 10 (10 seconds)
Dip - 10
Leg raises - 10

For 4 rounds, no rest between the exercises.
90 second rest between each round.

Adding 5 reps to each exercise for the next workout once I can do all the reps with good form.

Am I thinking along the right lines? And what should I be doing for cardio? 3x a week?


Also, just in case, the numbers I need to hit for the Prmc are:

run 1.5 miles twice.
first time in exactly 12 minutes 30 (described as a warm up)
Second time in under 10 minutes best effort.

Bleep test: minimum pass is 10.5. I want to get above or as close to 13 as I can.

(All done to a beep)
Press ups: 60 is max points. 30 is minimum.
Sit ups: 85 is max points. 60 is minimum.
Pull ups: 16-18 is max points. 3 is minimum.

And then they finish off with swimming. Just for confidence I believe, you need to swim approx 200m without any breaks and swim to the bottom of the pool to retrieve a rubber brick. I don’t believe you fail, but they advice you on how to improve before basic training.


I would run a timed mile 2-3 times per week concentrating on improving your time and 2-3 miles 1-2 times per week to get used to running longer distances and improving your endurance. As you get closer to Prmc, I would increase the timed miles to 1.5 miles since that is what you’ll be running for the test. I might even bump it to timed 2 miles depending on what the actual fitness test is in the Royal Marines.

I say this every time one of these threads pops up and it usually gets ignored, but I would stop lifting 3-6 months out and instead concentrate on BW exercises and improving your endurance. You will do a ton of BW exercises and running in boot. You won’t be deadlifting you 3RM. There is too much risk of injury while powerlifting to justify it’s use prior to boot camp.


Okay so, something like:

Monday: Squat
Tuesday: Bench & 1 mile run
Wednesday: 2 miles
Thursday: Deadlift
Friday: OHP & 1 mile run
Satuday: 1 mile run
Sunday: Rest

So I’d be doing 5 miles a week. After a month, would increasing the wednesday run by a mile, be a good idea?


It’s a good enough start, sure. I assume you’ll be doing the BW stuff you mentioned earlier too?


Yeah course