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Race to a 600# DL & About a Year Out From First Strongman Training Log

So I decided to start a training log to keep me honest and for all the encouragement that I’m sure many will have to contribute. It’s a bummer being the only guy in the gym working heavy at the lifts I’m most interested in improving (it’s my workplace’s gym and most are either working out for overall fitness or just trying to stay active… not hating on anyone, but that’s just what goes down at my gym… some decent benchers, but that’s about it). I’m using the conjugate system (as best I understand it). Today’s training looked like this:

Pre-workout 1 drank mostly on way to gym

Warmup- stretching
RDL’s empty bar 1x10
RDL’s 135 1 x 8
DL’s 225 1 x 6
DL’s 315 1 x 5
RDL’s done with 2-4 sec pause at bottom to help stretch out a little more.

Deadlifts for speed
3 x 3 365 w/ 40-lbs of chains (this is closer to 80% of my 1RM and I should have probably just done 315 w/ chains). ~45 sec rest between sets. Knocked the chains off when reps were taking more than a second.

2 x 3 365 ~45 sec rest between sets. First set was good, but 2 and 3 of second set were still too slow.

3 x 3 315 ~45 sec rest between sets. Finished out strong. Had I just started here with the chains, I could have probably done the whole workout at speed. No straps or belt used.

Hit preworkout 2 in the locker room (all about that second scoop)

Accessory work: I was late to the gym and had a meeting to get to, so I had to cut my accessory work short today. Would have liked to get some wide stance box squats in, but such is life.

Bent barbell rows: 365 3 x 8

Kroc rows: 170 3 x 8

Had to wear belt and straps for both. My lower back was pretty thrashed. Plus… my gym doesn’t have 170 lb dumbbells (120’s max no matter how much I ask) so my Kroc rows are done with a hammer grip curl bar by gripping the outside which has no knurling. Basically to Kroc row is to wear straps. When I got to the locker room, realized I had managed to tear a rather large chunk of skin around one of my calluses. Gnarly. Good thing I keep nail clippers in my bag.

Followed up with breakfast as always: 1/2 cup oatmeal, 3 scoops gainer, and a pint of whole milk. Nothing like guzzling 1000-cal right after a workout.


Those are insanely heavy rows as they relate to your strength level on other lifts. Wow. Are you using a ton of body english? I’ve seen push/pull imbalances before, but the disparity between your bench press and row strength has to be the biggest I’ve ever seen in favor of back strength. Most people I’ve seen are just trying to row as much as they bench. You’re rowing like 30 lbs heavier than your 1rm bench, and you’re doing it for 3 sets of 8!!! Fucking amazing. I can’t say that’s a negative for strongman.

Will be following.


There’s a good bit of body english on the bent rows by the end of the sets. I injured my shoulder a few years back playing rugby and it’s never been right for bench ever since. I’ve had some myofascial manipulation done and have gotten better, but then I had a case of biceps tendinitis on the same side flare up and I’m still working my way back. I was at a 385 bench prior to the first injury.

The long and short is that I love rowing though. Part of my rehab was rowing and I kind of laughed when they gave me a resistance band. I’ve been up to 405 for reps on bent rows, but I ended up too upright. Great for my traps but not much for lats.

I started one for many of the same reasons and have received a ton of help and feedback from a group of guys that knows what the shit they’re talking about, ha. I’ve had a call out or two on there (which when you lack a good/dedicated training partner you miss) so it has been awesome for me in that regard, glad to see another log in here! In for the ride.


Strong work dude. I’m in. After I get my knee healed up I’ll be racing back to pull 600lbs again as well. Meet ya there!


Today’s work:
Warmup with some band pull aparts. I could tell today was going to be about mental fortitude as much as anything else. My hamstrings and I are currently not on speaking terms and my right shoulder seems to have sided with my hammies.

DE strict military press
1 x 10 empty bar
1 x 8 135
12 x 2 185 with 45 sec rests
Last set gave myself an extra 45 sec as number 2 on set 11 was a bit slow. 4 sets narrow grip, 4 sets wide grip, 4 sets regular grip

By the end of the third set, my left shoulder was now singing the song of la resistance and was hurting in the back. Took a few minutes to go stretch before moving on to the next exercise

Swapped over to an elitefts multi grip bar (don’t know what it’s really called, but basically swaps orientation to hammer grip)
8x3 145 for speed with 45 sec rest
4 sets inner most and next 4 sets one grip out

Hit second PWO

Planned to do narrow grip bench
1x8 135 shoulders singing pretty loud by now
1x5 185 bicep joined in. Time to call an audible. Moved to OH dumbbell press. Some body english, but no leg drive.
1 x 8 60

Decided to move up 10 after I could get that 8 easy
2 x 8 70
70 was a good weight. The last 2 to 3 on each set were grinders on both sides, but no real pain.

OH triceps extension on lat pull down machine with rope
3 x 8 90
Might be ready to go up in two weeks or so.

OH floor press 115 on the bar with 10’s hanging on syn rings
2 x 8
Decided to cut short one set. Everything was howling by this point and I wasn’t sure I had another set in the tank

Finished off with more resistance band pull aparts and OH press.
1x 100 behind neck pull aparts
4 x 25 OH press

Had to go back and restretch between moving exercises a good bit. Shoulders were just not having it. That’s alright. Push presses next week.

Body weight 355 after workout

Definitely in. Good luck with your goals.

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5/22 ME Lower Body- Straight bar Box squats at parallel (slightly wider than shoulder width stance)
Sit all the way down on the box to dump any eccentric pre-loading and focus on driving out of the hole every rep.
1x 10 45
1 x 8 135
1 x 6 225
Working sets
1 x 3 315
1 x 3 345
1 x 3 375
1 x 2 405 (belt on from here on out)
1 x 1 425
1 x 1 445
1 x 1 470 (New PR)
Moved to RDL’s (belt and straps)
5 x 3 405
Kroc Rows (belt and straps)
1 x 10 172 (rep PR on both arms for 172)
2 x 8 172
Notes: Hamstrings still tight this morning. Right hand still gnawed up. Had to fight the urge to try 475 for a bigger PR. Probably could have gotten it, but needed to hit the rep. I was overdue for some squats. Haven’t squatted in 3 weeks prior to this and last squat workout I had a lot of problems being too far forward and had to call it early on weight (405). The box helps me break at the hip instead of at the knees first and knees seem to track better. Would be nice to have a box about 2-3” lower.

2 PR’s in one day though, so I’ve got nothing to complain about. Can’t wait to hit 20 reps on Krocs at this weight.

5/23 ME Upper Body- Primary Exercise Standing Military Press (no leg drive until absolutely needed)
Late to the gym again this morning. Given my history of shoulder issues, wanted to make sure I really warmed up.
Warmup- Resistance band pull aparts and OH presses (20 ea)
3x10 Empty bar
1x8 135
1x5 155
Working sets- with wrist wraps
1x3 185
1x3 195
1x3 205
1x2 215 (with belt- made mistake of wearing at deadlift tightness instead of squat tightness- long story short the belt didn’t help with bracing much this set once the weight got moving)
1x1 225
1x1 235 (missed the rep when trying for a strict press. Brought it back down, reset, and hit a little leg drive for an easy rep)
1x1 250 (new PR. Went up easy with leg drive. When I come back to this in about 3 weeks, I expect I’ll hit 260)

2 things to focus on for OH pressing- hole shots and training leg drive. I’d like to treat them separate. If anyone has any suggestions for accessory work to help on hole shot, please let me know. I’ll be coming back to this exercise on DE day Friday and really focusing on hitting those reps fast. As far as leg drive, I just need to do more reps using leg drive to train it. I’ve focused on doing strict presses as much as possible and, while I think this has been good for developing strength, it’s just left my leg drive awkward and clunky.

Accessory work-
Standing single arm OH dumbbell presses (body english ok but no leg drive). Plan was for 3x8 as a minimum.
2x10 70 (rep PR for 70)
1x8 70

OH Tricep cable extensions (rope on lat pulldown machine)
3x8 90

GPP day
Starting with sled work.
Alternate overhand rope pull with sled push. about 30 ft each way performed as sprints.

Starting weight 2 plates. After each round add another plate. Worked my way up to 6 plates back and forth and did three rounds at 6 plates.

Trap bar farmer’s walk for 50 ft each way. Was a good run in the sense that I had never attempted it before. First round was 225. Second and third were 315. Grabbed the bar a little off balance the first leg of the second round and struggled a bit. Managed to re-open my hand on the third leg and called it a day. Apparently the knurling on the trap bar is pretty aggressive. Managed to move the weight fast on each round.

Found out there’s a comp in July downtown and I’m really considering throwing my hat in the ring. They haven’t posted any weights yet for the implements. Looking at the novice division of a couple of the other events that have gone by and reviewing outcomes, I think as long as I wouldn’t zero in every event I’d go open. I think I’d rather get humbled and earn last place than use weights the guys half my size are using.

Correction: they did post the weights on this one, just not the one later in the year.

5/25 DE lower body day
Wide stance box squats (18" box)
Warmup 1x8 empty bar
1x6 135
1x5 225
Working sets
8x3 315

Rack pull from 18"
5x3 315

Feeling pretty ground down at this point. Lots of cumulative wear, tear, and fatigue.

Kroc Rows

1x15 170 (Rep PR)
1x8 right arm and weights fell off low end
Called it bad juju and walked away.

Will be deloading next week. Need a week to reset and rest. DE upper body tomorrow though so let’s see what happens.

Is this because you don’t want to get beat by guys half your size, or because you think it’d be too easy?

Novice division certainly favors bigger guys since there is no weigh in, but that doesn’t mean the biggest guys always win. Keep in mind, until this past weekend, I was still eligible for novice :wink:

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It’s one of those no win situations. Let’s say that I were to win. Ok, that’s great if there are other guys my size in that category. However, if I’ve got 150 lbs on the next closest competitor, I can’t be all excited that I beat out someone half my size. If I lose to people half my size, in a novice class at that, then that’s even worse. I’m not saying I could win by a long shot. I’m saying that the best possible outcome for me in a novice class wouldn’t be that satisfying. I’d rather get 8th out of 10 in open.

Plus we all know the smaller guys are way fitter. I’m still deciding. I’ve got to see if there’s anywhere around me to train stones. I don’t have the ability to keep implements at the moment and that’s the one I know I have no idea about.

Today was actually a pretty good day in the gym. I knew I wanted to do some push press work for DE day because it’s just something that I’ve always done as a “cheat” instead of an actual programmed move. Since it’s allowed in strongman, I might as well get good at it. Also… before I get started, a big thank you to @Alpha for your video on push presses. It really helped with the cues for someone who’s never been properly taught leg drive.

5/26 DE Upper body day
Warm up
Resistance band pull aparts and OH press (20 each)
Main exercise: Log push press from rack
1x10 empty log (35#)
1x6 135
Working weight 215 with bands from top of rack
The bands gave about 15# each at the bottom of the lift and no assistance from about the top of my head.
8x3 215 w/ reverse bands EMOM

Assistance work
Military Press
2x8 135
Third set AMRAP for 12.

Single Arm dumbbell press
1x10 75 (Up 5# from last week)
2x8 75

I messed up by trying to set the reps for 10 on the first set. Should have gone with an 8 rep set for first two and hit an AMRAP on third.

Tricep OH cable extensions
3x8 90

Resistance band to finish off
30 reps OH Y press (to help train pulling the bar apart)
30 reps resistance band dislocates

Not a bad finish to a rough week between wife and kids being sick and me just having a big accumulation of soreness at this point. Looking forward to a deload week to freshen up before it’s back to the grind.

I can tell you from my own experience that this is never the case. This past Saturday when I competed, the novice class was HIGHLY competitive. The winning deadlift was over 600. And it was a guy who weighed about 280. And he came in 3rd overall. The winner was probably 220ish, 2nd place was a big tall dude, at least 250+. So I think your concern of going up against a bunch of small dude is unjustified. My experience has actually been that small guys are better off competing in their own weight class rather than doing novice. It’s why I never did novice. I had the opposite concern of you, that I didn’t want to have to go up against a bunch of guys weighing 300 lbs. I’ve never seen a novice class with less than 3 or 4 guys over 250. Just relating my own experience to you, I’m sure you can make the best decision for yourself.


You’re right. I should compete novice. I don’t think I’m at a point where anyone would say you have no business in novice class. Best outcome, I win and it’s a one and done. Worst outcome, I get blown out by a 170 genetic freak who’s been training nonstop for the last 10 years and just decided to start now. Either way, I’ll learn and train harder on the back end.


I think that’s the right call. To me it’s no downside. I doubt you’d win running away with it, just because that’s such a hard thing to do, and if you finish anywhere but first, that definitely means you made the right choice. Placing 2nd or 3rd is awesome in the context of novice. It means you were competitive throughout the events, but weren’t quite ready to make the jump to HW. And if you win 1st, that’s pretty fucking awesome too. A first in any class, even novice, is a huge accomplishment.

That being said, if training goes extremely well over the next few months, maybe open yourself to HW. I’m not actually trying to convince you either way, even though it seems like I am. Just giving you what perspective I have to help you make the best decision for yourself.


Thanks buddy. Sometimes I don’t have my head screwed on right.

Deload week Upper body day
Gym was closed for holiday yesterday. Instead of making up a deload lower body day, I just moved on to upper body. Will get to hit lower body on Thursday. It was either that or sacrifice GPP tomorrow which I’m confident I need more than a deloaded lower body day. Really wanted to move through several variations of OH press today so I kept sets to 2 a piece and just kept reps on the higher end (well… at least for me). Rest between sets was kept to ~45 sec once set up. Between exercises, tried to move with some urgency to keep heart rate up.
Hang clean to press
2x8 135
These felt bad in my shoulder and elbow. Something about the starting position from the hang just did not agree with me.
Axle clean to press (from floor on each rep)
2x8 120 (just a guess here… axle is pretty light so I’m guessing ~30 lbs)
These did not bother my shoulder or elbow, but still smoked me on reps.
Log press
2x10 135
Yesterday woke up from nap with shoulder feeling uncharacteristically good. Wanted to do some bench today to test it out once I got through with OH pressing. Closer grip (half a thumb inside knurling) with slingshot.
1x10 225
1x8 225
1x6 225
Little to no pain. This is encouraging.
OH tricep extensions (rope on lat pulldown machine)
3x12 80
Felt pretty smoked but actually managed to keep workout to ~1-hr today. No second pre-workout. Progress on shoulder is encouraging. I know pressing in a horizontal plane doesn’t transfer as well to strongman, but I set the goal of a 400-lb bench by the end of the year and I’m still going to work toward that goal gimped up shoulder or not. I’ll just be alternating bench and OH press variations by week going forward and keeping my grip closer so that it will transfer as much as possible.

Got calipered this morning first thing. Everything is trending in the right direction. Weight is roughly constant (357-lbs), and lean mass is calculated at 263-lbs. As a redaction, in my first thread on the forum I said I was north of 270 lbm according to the calipers. I was actually ~10-lbs high. It’s inconsequential, but it is mea culpa in the sense that I was not completely accurate. On to the good stuff.

GPP day
Sled pushes starting with 135-lbs and adding a plate after each lap. (50-ft, turn around, and 50-ft back). Start at an easy run. Worked up to 6 plates before I started to slow down considerably. Decided to work my way back down to 3 instead of training slow. After 5, someone else jumped in on 4 while I was resting. After I took off again, noticed he had unloaded a plate. It was all good though because I only got about halfway down before my left calf started cramping up big time. Given that I just went through a pretty bad strain (or tear even) on my right calf, I decided to call it quits and spend some time stretching it back out and doing soft tissue work. This effectively ended a good bit of the GPP session, but I thought I’d try to be a bit productive with my remaining time.
Worked rope around resistance pulley for 60 pulls as quickly as I could (I don’t know how else to describe the apparatus- it looks like a windlass with a continuous rope wrapped around it for three wraps. There’s not much resistance, but add a time element and you can get a pretty good burn). Hopped up on pullup bar to stretch out. While I was hanging there, I attempted a pullup just for the hell of it and got about halfway. I switched my grip around to a prisoner pullup and managed to pull my head up to about an inch below the bar. I was pretty impressed with myself at the moment (you try doing pullups against 350-lbs resistance). Grabbed a box and did some negative pullups until I couldn’t control descent (5 total).