T Nation

Road to NAS Strongman Nats

Hey all. Trying to be more accountable with my training and life in general, so I figured I’d start a log.

First, some background: Before beginning lifting, I’d had a mostly athletic background, playing hockey and lacrosse. I’ve been training with weights since… well, the first page in my oldest log is 9.4.04, so we’ll say since then. I’ve only been NOT training like a fucktard for probably since about when I started training strongman. I’ve been training strongman for about 3 years now.

Right now I am, at best, a mediocre strongman, having never finished higher than 3rd (in a field of 6, so still middle of the pack) in any of the 6 shows I’ve competed in. For anyone who’s contemplating giving strongman a shot, I highly recommend it, as it’s allowed me to meet a lot of incredibly excellent people. It’s definitely something I think I’ll continue to compete in until I’m too old and broken to do nothing but host contests. All of that love for the sport and my fellow competitors aside, I’d like to start bringing home some hardware.

I’ve previously competed as an under 200, and recently did a relatively successful gain cycle that saw me jump to right about 230. It’s a much softer 230 than I’d like, especially after A.) Watching Justin Blake compete at the ASC competition in Battle Creek… dude is a BAMF and B.) Beginning training with a new partner who’s a lean 210 and outlifts me like it’s his job.
I’ve had one contest in the new weightclass (Steve Slater’s contest on 5.2.09) and took 7th of 10 in my class, so there’s obviously still some work to be done.

My stats as of right now:
Squat: 455
Bench: 315
Dead: 480
Log: 250
Oly Jerk: 275
Stone: 320 to 48"
BF%: Probably high teens

Goals for end of '09:
Squat: 500
Bench: 350
Dead: 525
10" Log: 275
Oly Jerk: 300
Stone: 320 to 54" or 350 to 48" (ideally both!)
BF%: 12ish
Contest: Win my fucking weightclass for a change

Now, a word or two about my training: My partner (a big,strong cat who I’m lucky to get to train with and learn from) and I have been training using a pair of 4 week cycles for the last couple months, and I’ve seen a lot of gains in strength during that time. The only thing with this is, it all happened while I was putting on about 30 lbs, so I don’t know to attribute it to the program, the gain, or both.

Anyway, the basic idea for the program (It’s a variation on usual Westside methods) I’ve been using is as follows: Pick a ME movement to train for upper body and lower body (I’ve been pairing bench with squat, and deadlift with OH press). For week 1 of the cycle, pick a ME movement that’s related to the main lift, but doesn’t allow you to go as heavy. For example, if my selected movement for the cycle is the squat, then for Week 1 I’d use a front squat. Similar, but I can’t move as much weight. Week 2 uses the selected lift as the ME lift, so I regular squat when I’m basing my cycle on the squat. Week 3 is a supramaximal week, usually with the assistance of bands. For example, in the cycle I just finished, Week 3 was reverse band squat. Week 4 is a nice and simple bodybuilding deload week. So that’s the ME work. On RE days, I do some variation of the lift I’m NOT using for ME work (i.e. deadlift when squatting ME) and just do work.

I think that about sums it up. I’m not currently signed up for any contests. The first one I’m even halfway considering is the Day at the Beach on 8.15.09 in PA, and there’s a contest in IL in Sept that looks like fun. I’ll be beginning a new cycle on Saturday (deadlift and OH press), so I’ll post my numbers once I’m done there.

Feedback/encouragement is most welcome! Happy training.

Everything is looking really good man. The goals you’ve set seem pretty attainable. Good luck!

This will be a fun one to follow.

i will deffinately be following

First day back of the new deadlift/OH press cycle. This being week 1, the ME deadlift variation was chosen so that I couldn’t move as much weight as a normal deadlift. My training partner (Brouse) has decided he needs to do more actual event/implement training, and me being the sheep that I am joined in for some of it after getting my ME work in. Here’s more or less the training for the day:

-ME Snatch Grip Deads:
(135x6)(135x6)(225x4)(275x3)(315x1)(365x1)(385x1)(405x0)–> I probably could have gotten that last one at 4 wheels, but I bitched out on it.
-700#ish Tire Flips
Approximately 25 total flips–> This actually felt really good today. I started with some singles, then got some doubles, then some triples, then finished with 2 sets of four.
-Keg Carry
200#ish keg for 200 ft
-Sandbag Lunges
(100x10)(100x10)–> Bag shouldered on right then left shoulder.

This wasn’t a bad day. I told myself I was going to do some RDL’s and pull-throughs, as low back is my weak link, but I was just kinda gassed at the end of the tire work and keg carry. My only gripe with training events like we did today is that it’s more of a pain to log, and I’m kind of anal about making sure I log as much as I can.

Tomorrow: ME OH press of some kind. Keep you posted.


ME OH Press day. Here goes:

-10" Log: (135x8)(135x8)(175x5)(175x5)(225x1) (225x2)(225x2)(245x1)(265x0)(255x0)(255x0)(255x1)(265x0)–> Though the 255 was technically a 5lb PR, if I’d done this about a month ago right before my last contest I probably could have nailed 265 no problem. NOTE TO SELF #1: Do not completely skip OH pressing during your bench cycle, dumbass.

-DB Military: (60x8)(70x6)(75x5)

-Hammer Pull Down: (45x15)(90x12)–> Now before everyone hops on my nuts about pushing and pulling evenly, trust me, I know and I usually do a LOT more pulling to make sure I’m even. Didn’t feel so hot at this point.

-Prowler Sprints: (100ft x 10)–> I did these against my better judgment, and combined with another stupid decision, I paid the price.

-Back Parking Lot Puke Session: (Contents of stomach x 1)

I made the idiot decision to SLAM my postworkout WAY too soon after doing that Prowler work and sat in the back of the gym for a good 15-20 minutes before heading out back and puking up everything I’d eaten today, including breakfast. NOTE TO SELF #2: Give yourself some time between Prowler work and your postworkout, dumbass.

Feeling like shit right now as a result… hopefully I’ll be in better shape come tomorrow (some cardio, maybe) or definitely Tuesday.


Pretty good session today. Got everything in that I wanted to. Without further ado:

-Speed Pulls: Straight Weight(135x5)Purples (was gonna use red mini’s, but they’re broken)(135x3)(135x3)(185x3)(185x3)(225x3)(225x3)

-Front Squats: (135x8)(225x6)(275x6) Belted (315x4)(315x3)

-Farmer’s Walk: (115 x 200ft, turn at 100)(165 x 150, turn at 75)(205x100ft straight)

-Pull Thru’s: (150x10)(150x10)(160x10)

Like I said, a good session. I wasn’t intending to do speed pulls, but one of my TP’s wanted to and I need to work on my dead b/c it’s shit, so I did 'em. Probly not gonna do them for the rest of the cycle, as I seem to have forgotten I’m already deadlifting on ME days. Oh well, got some good work in. Sure bloodied my shins, too.

Another pretty good session today. My bench and pressing strength in general are shit, so get your giggles out out.

-Incline Bench: (95x8ish)(95x8)(135x10)(185x8)(225x4)(225x3+1spotted)(205x5+1spotted)(135x16)–> Last two sets were just an effort to get some more work in.

-Chest Supported Row: (45+chain x12)(90+chain x10)(90+2chains x8)(90+2chains x8)

–OH DB Tri Extension (80x10)(85x10)(90x8)
–DB Curl (50x8)(50x8)(55x8)–> cheated like a motherfucker on the last set
–Flyes (35x10)(35x10)
–Face Pulls (150x12)(150x12)

A quick breakdown of yesterday’s ME lower work. On a whim, I decided to do sumo pulls as I’ve really NEVER done them much, let alone for ME work. I was pleasantly surprised:

Sumo Pulls: (135x8)(135x8)(225x5)(225x5)(315x3)(365x1)(405x1)(455x1) began using belt for 480(480x1)(500x1)(520x1)

This was COMPLETELY unexpected. I never thought that I’d be able to pull more sumo than conventional because I spend 95% of my pulling time pulling conventional as that’s the only style allowed in NAS strongman comps. To just hop into sumo and instantly pull 40lbs more than my conventional PR blew my mind. I guess I’m just built for sumo as opposed to conventional… hips are a strong point, low back is a weak point. Whatever. If I ever compete in powerlifting, I’m definitely pulling sumo.

Sunday 6.7.09: ME OH Press

-ME Axle Jerk: (83x10)(83x10)(123x8)(173x5)(213x2)(263x0)(263x0)(263x1)–> I have REALLY got to stop taking three or four attempts to hit shit.

-Neutral Grip Pulldown: (140x10)(140x12)(140x12)

DB Shoulder Press: (70x8)(70x8)(70x8)

Power Shrug: (225x15)(275x15)(275x15)

More or less happy with this session. As stated previously, my best OH is 275, and that was a bar jerk, so hopefully if I can axle jerk 12lbs less, next week when I bar jerk I’ll be able to set a solid PR. Fingers crossed.


Today: Rep lower

-Front Squats: (135x8)(135x8)(225x6)(275x6)(315x5)(335x3)(335x2)–> This ended up being a lot heavier than I was planning on going… maybe not heavy, but reps were a lot lower.

-Single Leg Squats: (70x8)(70x8)–> I gotta do these more often.

-Pull-Thru’s: (160x10)(170x10)(170x10)

Yesterday (6.10.09): Rep Upper

-60ish degree Incline Log Press: (85x10)(135x10)(155x8)(175x6)(205x4)(205x5)

-Low Pulley Row: (150x12)(170x10)(190x10)

–Incline DB (80x8)(80x8)(80x7)
–DB Curls (50x8)(55x8)(55x8)–> Last set was hammer curls… I needed to do something to get those up.
–OH Tri Extension (85x8)(85x8)(85x8)
–BW Rows 12, 12, 12

Also got a little bit of discus throw practice in later in the day. Definitely a cool activity, might have to spend some more time working on it for variety’s sake.

Earlier today (6.13.09) ME Conventional Pulls

-Deads: (135x5)(135x5)(225x5)(275x3)(315x2)(365x1)(405x1) Belt–> (455x1)(485x1–>PR)(505x0)(505x1–>PR)

-Reverse Hypers: (90x10)(90x10)

Didn’t do a whole lot of assistance as you can tell because I was just fried at the end. Still, I’m pretty happy with the pull, always nice to set a PR. Bar jerks tomorrow, I’ll keep you posted.

Yesterday (6.14.09): ME OH Press

-Oly Jerks (weights are in kilos): Push Jerk–>(20kgx15)(20x15)(50x8)(70x5)(85x3)(100x2)
Split Jerk -->(110x1)(120x1)(130x1)(135x0)(135x0)(135x1)(140x0)–> As mentioned previously, I need to find a way to stop missing attempts like this. That said, (130x1) was a PR and my best rep all day. Getting (135x1) was more or less icing on the cake.

-Hammer Pull Down: (45x15)(90x10)(115x6)(115x6)(90x10)

-DB Shoulder Press: (75x8)(75x6)(80x6)

-Upright Row: (110x10)(110x10)(110x10)

Not a bad day. I’m happy with my jerks for the day, especially since this is the first time I’ve done them since 4.12.09. Oly jerks aren’t THAT applicable to strongman, but it’s nice to just put some bigger weight overhead every now and again.

The past two days (6.16.09 and 6.17.09) haven’t been great. Been feeling really beat up, which makes sense as I’m nearing the end of the scheduled cycle. I won’t even bother with posting numbers… I got some cleans and RDL’s in on 6.16 and some rep work on the log on 6.17. Nothing spectacular.

The unfortunate thing is, because of shit going on in my life (a buddy’s wedding on 7.4.09 in north carolina) I’m gonna have to extend this cycle a week further before I deload, so I’m probably going to do the bare minimum to get a training stimulus for this next week and reduce the volume a lot on assistance shit. Hope everyone else’s training is going better than mine lately.

Last ME weekend of my extended cycle:

6.20.09: Supramaximal deadlift
-Side Handle Farmer’s Picks:(230x10)(230x10)(330x6)(410x4)(510x2)(590x1)(650x1)–> Hooray for supramax work. Because they’re side handle, and right around 16-17" high, they’re a lot easier. That said, 650 is still about 130# above my best pull ever to that point.

-Big (750ish) Tire Flips (100ft total) 5, 4, 5

6.21.09: Max OH Press
-Log:(85x10)(135x6)(175x4)(225x2)(245x1)(255x1)(265x1PR)–> I think I figured out why I had such a hard time three weeks ago with the log. When the log gets heavy for me, I switch from a push jerk to a split jerk style. This time I got a few splits in on the easier sets to prime the movement, whereas last time I did not. You’ll notice I didn’t miss weights going up, which in and of itself I consider to be improvement. The fact that I hit a new PR was icing on the cake.

-Hammer Pull Down: (45x15)(90x12)(90x12)

If memory serves me correctly those FW handles are 15.5". Or thereabouts. They are also tough to grip. Kudos.

Another two day post: I need to be better about posting this shit same day, because OBVIOUSLY there’s so much interest in my log that people are just dying to know how my training’s been going. If you can’t pick up the sarcasm on that, “raise your hand and Tommy will come back and hit you on the head with a tack hammer because you are a REtard.”

Anyway, moving on:

6.23.09: Rep Lower
One of my training partners decided he wanted to do cambered bar squats, and because I was feeling bored and wanted to try something new, I decided to cambered bar front squats. Surprisingly, not the shit show I had expected.

-14" Cambered Bar Front Squats: (135x8)(135x8)(185x5)(225x5)(275x3)

-Farmer’s Walk: (115x200ft)(115x200ft)(115x100ft)(165x200ft)(205x100ft)(255x100ft in 13.87)(255x100ft in 14.54)–> I had forgotten how absolutely BRUTAL these things can be. Yikes.

6.24.09: Rep Upper

-60degree Incline Log: (85x10)(85x10)(135x10)(175x8)(205x6)(205x6)(205x6)

-Chest Supported Row: (45x15)(90x12)(135x10)(135x10)

-DB Incline: (80x8)(80x8)(80x8)

Thanks, Brouse.

How’s this training log working out?