T Nation

Programming Strongman Day


Once a week (probably Sundays but maybe Saturdays) I'm going to start doing Strongman training

Equipment available aside from all the other gym stuff:
~ 350 lb tire (can flip pretty easily)
~ 600 lb tire (can't flip yet)
Extra long empty dumbbells used for Farmer's Walks (they're custom made and don't have a proper name)

I'm wondering a few things:
1. What order should I do them in
2. How to gauge when to increase the weight on the Farmer's Walks and Sled
3. What sorta rep or pace should I be going for
4. With Sled should I only go forward walks or should I also do backward walks? What about
5. What other exercises if any should I do on this day?

I'm still bulking fairly clean but want to start doing a little more GPP as I progress in weight


If you're doing this just for fun and not prepping for a competition, then just keep it simple and have some fun. Lift heavy, move fast, and don't overthink it.


I'm doing it in the hopes that late next year or certainly early 2012 I can try to compete in an amateur competition.

I also found out another piece of equipment my gym has are these strange partial bars that the Elite guys use to warm up their shoulders with. Turns out its supposed to be used to mimick a keg/stone:

So any tips on how to lay it all out?


why wait a year? just find a local comp and enter- ive noticed that the small, local contests are a lot of fun with the other entrants very supportive and insiteful with training tips.


There are alot of people in FL who compete in Strongman. Im in Gainesville, If you happen to be near by. And I agree, why wait? Come out on 1/22 ( http://nastrongman.com/upcoming.html ).


*if you want to flip the heavy tire a little easier, screw chunks of rubber on the outside so its easier to get your hands under.
*you should be moving fast on the farmers, not a run but a fast walk, also practice heavy holds to train your grip, id say 3-5 sets of farmers working you way up as you go.
*if you can get ahold of empty kegs, cut a hole in the top and fill with sand/gravel and do keg carries, its cheap.
*i do most of my sled drags backwards but either way is good conditioning, both somewhat simulate SM events
*what other equipment do you have?


I do a strongman workout for fun on off days. With whatever I can find. And do all the events in my yard which is very sandy. It adds an extra element of difficulty because traction is variable and if you are pulling or dragging something it will dig into the sand.

Sled drag is pulled backwards, wood frame with long chain for handle, concrete blocks added to increase weight.
75 feet
Farmers walks with buckets filled with sand, plates or dumbells added to increase weight.
150 feet - walk to barrel 75 feet then turn and come back. Also do this with a slosh pipe.

10# Sledge hammer to beat old truck tire, strap tied to tire so partner can hold it to keep it from moving

Long rope tied to another old truck tire still on rim with break drum still bolted on (found in front yard by the road) This is for pulling hand over hand - think of tug of war. pulling it through the sand makes it harder, concrete blocks or plates added to increase weight
30 feet

Push truck down the driveway, long paved driveway with very slight incline, hard in one direction but easier going the other way. Still works the legs even going down the slight incline. 1/4 ton truck, jeep, 1/2 ton truck, and motor home to adjust weight. (motor home JK, we are not there yet).

We tried doing the events in circuit, and running between each station, including hopping a fence to a rope climb in a tree to end the circuit. But we were so winded that it took all the fun out of it. It would be nice to be in condition to handle that but that is not really our main focus. So we do the events in sets of three then move to the next one.


To answer the OP's question about how to know when to increase the weight. When you can't do it, it is to much. In the case of the sled drag I had 3 blocks and 2 plates on, halfway I couldn't pull it another inch, so my partner pulled a block off and I proceeded to pull the sled to the end of the distance. So I consider that my current max.

Sometimes on the sledge hammer I do 15 reps, some days 12, and 10 reps on bad days. I hit the tire as hard as I can on all reps and it really winds me. I find it surprising to have so few swings in the tank. I think about how the rail workers had to swing them hammers all day. They must have been in serious condition.

The soil condition also adds resistance, after a rain the sled is way easier to pull on the packed ground.


  1. Doesnt matter
  2. When you successfully complete a set distance, say 50'-100'
  3. Within the set? As fast as possible (like Jenks said tho, not a run, a fast walk. if you're going faster, it's too like) Throughout the workout? rest as long as you need to in order to do more weight
  4. Definitely drag backwards as well.
  5. We don't know what else you're doing or if you have any access to someone who could make you a thick bar or something, but at the minimum, deadlift, both from the floor as well as 18". And do heavy picks with the farmers every so often, it'll simulate a side handle deadlift