T Nation

Preparation for Strongman Event

hallo,

long story short I have one year to prepare my self for a strong man event.

there are these local games and I have been training for about 2 years now. first and a half year I was “bodybuilding” and the rest i began to train for strength.

thing is powerlifting is not quite strongman. this was the first time i participated in any event and it’s a mind opener … here’s a short description:

a team of 4 people does the task as a team (we are all quite weak actually, the others are your typical “farm boys”. they have stamina…)

first - we push a big truck for about 15 meters. we run 10m before we start pushing the truck.

second - right after that you carry sand bags (2-3) that weights about 60-70kg for 5-10m and drop it into another truck.

third - you we carry a man in a stretcher for 20m, run back, carrying the stretcher, put another man (team mate) on them (about 70-80kg) and carry the distance once again.

fourth - you have to drag a 33kg box under a 30cm high net.

fifth - you have to flip a tractors tier for 10 times. it weights about 200-250kg but you can do it all together (4 of you)

and you have to do all of this in under 5 minutes. under 4 is preferred. we managed to do it in 4.13 minutes with no preparation … ever. and this is all done with no rest too.

thing is, this was the first time i participated in anything like this. i almost went unconscious in the end (i lost my breath when we were carrying the second man on stretchers).

we took the third place anyhow, and i got an extra “diploma” for not giving up after i could no longer breathe and my mind was somewhere else … they were shouting for amonia … i still finished, BUT it feels like i let my team down. if it was not for that light headed ness we COULD have won the second or even first place… and participated in the next level.

I need to train for this event next year. I need to increase my stamina AND go way past the 143kg d-lift and 127kg squat. improving the bench would be a nice extra too :slight_smile:

the problem is i have access only to the basic gym equipment. no strongman related things. no sled to pull, no thick rope to grip. no nothing, just a barbell and some dumbbells.

i have read a lot about west side and it’s ideas. i even read some russian studies (in russian) and have just started training in that fashion. no big difference yet tho. before have tried some full body training. some upper/lower splits with reps from 6x4 to 8x3 and progressions of all sorts. did plyometrics with weights. did some static exercises.

dont like the overloads too much as there are no “qualified” spotters around here. they either look at you like a moron because you do less then 8 reps or can’t help you at all… now westside seems to help put all of these exercises in the right places. but may be i’m missing something.

what would be the right way of training for this type of event? please post your ideas, tho if you are benching less then 90kg or squatting less than 100kg i doubt you will be much help. nothing personal tho… my numbers are low enough already for a 93kg man…

here is an outline of my workout if anyone needs some inspiration:

==========================
monday - shoulders/chest

shoulders OR chest: progression 5xn until you can’t do 5 reps, then 3xn until failure (usually n=2)

if a weak pot is found then some isometrics for the position are done.

triceps AND biceps: progression 5xn, until failure then 3x1;

ABS work - light, 20x2;


tuesday - squat/d-lift;

squat OR d-lift: same reps as monday

weak spot isometrics.

lower back: 6x3 (good mornings or similar)

upper back: progression like in monday.

pull ups: light, 8,6x3;

=======================

wednesday: recovery. everything is done using dumbbells;
chest or shoulders: 20x2;

30 seconds in between sets;
1-2min in between exercises;

triceps and biceps 20x2;

ABS: 3x12 with a plate on your chest;

grip work: “dumbbell curls” 4x12; this on i “invented” my self. you take a heavy dumbbell in your hand and roll it down with your fingers until you are holding it with the tips. then just roll it back up in your palm using your fingers.


friday. recovery, squat/d-lift;

squat: 15x2 OR d-lift 20x2;

single hand d-lift: 2x10 each hand;

low. back hyperextentions: 2x20;

pull ups: 4x5;

wrists work: static dbell hold for 10s;

========================

the extra upper back work is for the rope pulling comp. we took 2nd place this year even tho the strongest guys had left.

all reps are done so that the last rep is 1-2 rep short of failure or failure.

well, that’s all folks. it took me 3 hours to write but only 10 mins to read :). hope i can get some feed back.

[quote]sabaz wrote:
hallo,

long story short I have one year to prepare my self for a strong man event.
[/quote]

a year bro you got forever no prob.

You NEEED to get the implements use what you will be using in the comp start collecting. Use the gym, to get DOG strong in basic move like an upper and lower ME then IMO have a light full body assistance day hit some small lagging group and recover then event day work your wass off again work with varied load heavier then the events and lighter for speed get conditioning.

keep the gym work Basic and HEAVY

man you got a yar start doing things really ID where yiour weak its going to be a LOT of technique as well

Phill

Horse Power/Work Capacity…

Learn it…Build it. Without it you will not be able to provide the high levels of Horse-Power that those kind of events require.

Crossfit has a lot of good ideas in this area. Check it out.

so west side it is then.

searching for the crossfit thing right now. never heard of it in here before.

edit

do you really need all the agility work from the crossfit for a strongman comp? what’s the use if you can do hand stand pushups if you need to carry a sack full of sand on your chest…

[quote]sabaz wrote:
so west side it is then.

searching for the crossfit thing right now. never heard of it in here before.

edit

do you really need all the agility work from the crossfit for a strongman comp? what’s the use if you can do hand stand pushups if you need to carry a sack full of sand on your chest…[/quote]

A Hand Stand Pushups is not an agility exercise – more like a strength application exercise. There isn’t much agility in a Handstand pushup. That aside I was referring to workouts like “Linda” :

For Time:
Deadlift 1 1/2 BodyWeight
Bench BodyWeight
Squat Clean 3/4 BodyWeight

10/9/8/7/6/5/4/3/2/1 rep rounds

Meaning First Round is 10 reps of each exercise then Second round is 9 and so on…

OR one could do Tabata Tire Flips, etc. These kinds of Crossfit Workouts play well into the Strongman needs.

You do these heavy weight, high volume, fast pace workouts next day perhaps then to speed recovery choose something that will work on your lactate threshold - like 300 air squats (or pushups or anything light) for time…you won’t be so strong after that…

Back to HandStand pushups or just plain handstands. If you are able to do this on a regular basis your blood veins get thicker in your head and upper body. This is very useful to a strongman so when lifting or moving asinine heavy weights you don’t blow a vessel in your eye or head. It helps you to endure blood pressure spikes without your head exploding.

Some of the CF workouts wouldn’t be fitting for what you are trying to accomplish. West Side has a lot to offer - but they are focused on Power lifting. So as a Strongman you would only want to take from them what will carry over to your sport – same as you would from Crossfit.

alright … never thought of the pressure in the head rising. tho that’s one of the reasons for light headed ness.

will do the 10,9,8,7,6… thing for sure! sounds fun, I like exercises that make you fall on the ground afterwards.

that’s a load of help! i was thinking of getting my strength up with westside to about 2x body w. d-lift, 1.5x b.w. back squat and 1.5x b.w. bench, then doing more of the stamina work. i had this idea because Savicakas once said: “train your strength, then you can increase your stamina” or some thing like that (i’m from lithuania too :slight_smile: )…

how realistic is the goal to increase your d-lift, squat and bench by 40kg, 10kg, 25kg in half a year?

nutrition can consist only of half kg chicken breast, 2l milk and anywhere from 200 to 600g oatmeal. tho I got fat from eating over 400g oatmeal, trying to lose some weight by limiting my self to 200g per day lately. there is no money for more meat or milk but oatmeal and such is chap ass food …

And how do i avoid the “you won’t be so strong after that…” part as much as possible? that’s a problem i’m facing with my current training as well and it’s god damn depressing.

[quote]sabaz wrote:
And how do i avoid the “you won’t be so strong after that…” part as much as possible? that’s a problem i’m facing with my current training as well and it’s god damn depressing.[/quote]

WHat I meant was immediately after you won’t be so strong. Because you will be in such pain from pushing the envelope with your lactate threshold training.

This kind of light weight workout is excellent for increasing mitochondrial density in your muscle cells – meaning it helps do increase your stamina for lugging around heavy weights. At the same time it is not hard on your CNS so you can recover from your previous CNS intense workouts.

In short the system will allow you to train to get strong AND increase your stamina with no muscle wasting like aerobic training causes.

[quote]sabaz wrote:

how realistic is the goal to increase your d-lift, squat and bench by 40kg, 10kg, 25kg in half a year?

nutrition can consist only of half kg chicken breast, 2l milk and anywhere from 200 to 600g oatmeal. tho I got fat from eating over 400g oatmeal, trying to lose some weight by limiting my self to 200g per day lately. there is no money for more meat or milk but oatmeal and such is chap ass food …[/quote]

Increasing your DL, Bench and Squat by those numbers may be possible in an untrained person, or a person with good genetics – but without knowing you it is hard to tell. Keep a training journal for sure though – that is the best way to chart progress.

As far as food. Oatmeal and milk is good and cheap. On a low budget it is hard to beat a diet that is as cheap and nutritionally sound as Barley, Olive Oil and Chicken.

These foods are packed with nutrients and calories. A tablespoon of barley has the same calories as a 1/4 cup of oatmeal and more nutrients. A tablespoon of Olive oil may look expensive at first but it has the same calories as 5 tablespoons of barely. And chicken is an excellent source of protein.

[quote]sabaz wrote:
alright … never thought of the pressure in the head rising. tho that’s one of the reasons for light headed ness.

will do the 10,9,8,7,6… thing for sure! sounds fun, I like exercises that make you fall on the ground afterwards.

that’s a load of help! i was thinking of getting my strength up with westside to about 2x body w. d-lift, 1.5x b.w. back squat and 1.5x b.w. bench, then doing more of the stamina work. i had this idea because Savicakas once said: “train your strength, then you can increase your stamina” or some thing like that (i’m from lithuania too :slight_smile: )…

how realistic is the goal to increase your d-lift, squat and bench by 40kg, 10kg, 25kg in half a year?

nutrition can consist only of half kg chicken breast, 2l milk and anywhere from 200 to 600g oatmeal. tho I got fat from eating over 400g oatmeal, trying to lose some weight by limiting my self to 200g per day lately. there is no money for more meat or milk but oatmeal and such is chap ass food …[/quote]

I don’t see any reason why you can’t gain that amount in the big 3, you just have to train hard and smart…

I agree getting stronger overall is good but this contest seems like it test the endurance more than anything… I would try to do some sort of crazy medely like in the contest, atleast once a month, just learn to push yourself untill you puke and keep going without even wiping your mouth, lol.

Good luck man

Just to clarify I would concentrate on getting stronger but would throw in some real grueling condtioning medelys often, sandbag carry followed by sled drag, followed by truck push, followed by, etc, etc. Sense it is a team event make sure your parteners are training just as hard as you!

oh I see. yeah I actually enjoy the not so strong thing then. it makes me feel so stiff, never had my muscle too sour tho, i’m not sensitive at all in this case. i enjoy the “good” pain very much actually.

I will see how that food compares. tho i drink some fish oil, multi vitamin and cheap protein/carb shakes (during training) so i dunno if i need olive oil (got some cheap russian fish oil). could get some creatine but dunno if i should go for the good stuff (creatinine?) and drink it for 20 days or the cheap stuff and drink it for two months or longer.

as for going till you puke, i never puke but continue till i faint. has happened once. the comp blew my head off too … i could not turn my eyes but i saw a box that had to be dragged and the tier that had to be flipped… people were shouting for ammonia. that was funny.

then, after 45 mins of breathing I was ok, it was time for the rope pulling, enjoyed that just as much, tho the boots were too small so the nails tore off a bit. we took second place. got 2 medals. my first medals ever.

as far as the team goes, they are just random farm boys. at least the competitors, our boys are half alcoholic city folks. the teams are made up of random folks too. these games are just for fun but i want to get stronger anyhow so why not for something that you are actually able to compete in, right?

training experience, etc …

i have been training for 2.5 years now. i’m 18yo and weight 93kg (dropping fat right now as the extra oatmeal did more harm than good). have just started west side style training and so far so good. it’s been 2 weeks. i’ll add stuff from this thread to my west side style program because the basics of it are so flexible.

for stamina training i’m using the recovery days. right after the 2x20rep ~45% load recovery exercise i do some abs, pull ups, farmers walk and some other exercises. 30 sec rest between sets. 1 min rest between exercises.

before this i have done all i could think of doing. even had an burn out experiment - full body training for 5 days per week (clean and jerk - 5 to 10 reps, maximal load as the first exercise) and was watching how fast i’ll burn out. it took me 2 weeks to get my self feeling like crap. a year ago i was still training for bodybuilding. ohhh the disinformation … wrote some things about my training “logic” in the first post, I think …

in those 2.5 years had some injuries … 2 inflammations in the back, a shoulder, knee, hip, wrist strain. trained through all of those - thus the 2 inflammations. Plus a squeezed disk in the spine that does not hurt any more, tho lower back still feels a bit weak.

i don’t keep much of a log. 2.5 years ago i was a 65kg 16yo that could not bench press 50kg. 2.5 years later i’m 18yo and can bench 115kg. arms grew from 36cm to 44cm radius, etc… i did not know shit when i started.

i thought protein powder was a steroid and it will fuck up my heart ha ha. now i’m waiting till i get at least 21-23yo and if i’m still training, but not at the level to compete, i want to try a cycle of test+EQ and some methandro at the beginning for a kick start. things change…

you guys are a big help. there is no one to ask anything around here. the trainer knows a bit but he’s a bodybuilding trainer… reading is one thing but hearing some ones experience is way different

[quote]sabaz wrote:
drink some fish oil, multi vitamin and cheap protein/carb shakes (during training) so i dunno if i need olive oil (

different[/quote]

Well you may not. But it handles inflammation in a different way and in conjunction with Fish Oil. That aside…as an energy source it is an excellent and CHEAP source of fuel. So if you were really hurting for money – then olive oil would be a good staple food.

Ill just add for strongman well the bench press is a great assistance but you need to put that bar over your head and Id also put more emphasis ion the squat then bench it will help you a lot more having the same load goal for two move as such Well a bit of in importance

work damn hard get strong and yes conditioned

great plan to add strenght and then aim to keep that and get conditioned

Phill

add olive oil it is then. an extra table spoon of good oil won’t hurt.

how bad is it that my food has not changed much for more then a year? there are some additional food sources once a week but they are more of a junk food type, like kebabs. I’m drinking vitamins and get my oil so that’s alright right?

[quote]sabaz wrote:
it handles inflammation in a different way and in conjunction with Fish Oil.

add olive oil it is then. an extra table spoon of good oil won’t hurt.

how bad is it that my food has not changed much for more then a year? there are some additional food sources once a week but they are more of a junk food type, like kebabs. I’m drinking vitamins and get my oil so that’s alright right?

[/quote]
Depends if its a solid diet you eat daily sure if its shit then No. Variety in general is good

Phill

it’s oatmeal, milk and chick breasts. about 2700 kcal per day because Im losing fat for a few months, and trying to gain some strength. that is a bad combination but i don’t want to have tits of fat… not until i can squat 260kg any way.

putting emphasis on technique is god damn hard! I can squat 130kg without it and today i got busted at 117. two guys had to lift the weight off of me. that was so humiliating…

every thing I do seems to go to muscle mass instead of strength. no mater if it’s 20x2, 8x3 or 3x8 …

[quote]sabaz wrote:
putting emphasis on technique is god damn hard! I can squat 130kg without it and today i got busted at 117. two guys had to lift the weight off of me. that was so humiliating…

every thing I do seems to go to muscle mass instead of strength. no mater if it’s 20x2, 8x3 or 3x8 …[/quote]

Are you box squatting?

i think i will do all my squats that way. usually i save the box squat till the last reps. to make sure the depth is good enough. today it saved me from falling over after the missed squat.

learning to do it all correctly. better late than never … mastering the deadlift article helped more than any thing i have ever read or have seen on video. wish there was a guide on benching and squatting by the same author. with all the mistakes and explanations.

bought some barley today. the kcal are the same as oatmeal but it is cheaper. tho oats have the good cholesterol thing in them, does barley have any extra advantages?

losing fat sux big time. the chicken, oats and milk diet is not working all that good. even tho i lost 6 kg in like 2 months or so i lost some strength/stamina too. even tho getting fatter for summer does not look all that good i’m thinking of starting to eat 300-400g of oats/barley per day again.

there is one more extremely important thing i need to ask about. i’m going to have an operation on my underbite after a few weeks. i don’t know how long it will keep me away from the gym. something like two weeks sounds reasonable. thing is eating is going to be a problem when your jaw is growing back together.

what sups should i use to protect my muscle? i’m thinking of doing some pushups while i’m in hospital, and drinking some protein based shakes and may be some low grade creatine just to keep some extra muscle mass. no solid food for 2 weeks …

concentrating on technique is harder than it looks …

now that i began to keep my back arched as much as possble on my deadlift the lower back seems to be a little undertrained. any special exercises to fix the situation?

currently i have been doing stiff legged romanian deadlifts, hyperextentions and single hand deadlifts to make the core stronger.