T Nation

Strong Man Weight Classes?


Are there weight classes in strongman events? And what do you think the reccomend "average" strength level you need to be to even think about preparing for a Strong man event should be. (Wow that was wordy).

I'm having some complications where I train MMA and I don't know how long it will before I can do that again. So perhaps I'll train for some lightweight strong man stuff (if thats even available).

Some Stats:

5'9, 175-180#, 12-14%BF

Clean : 225 (1rm)
Jerk: 185 ( i need to work on overhead lifting big time)
Bench: 265 (1rm)
Squat: ?? (315 for 20reps)
Pull: 445 (1rm)
Pullup with weight: 110lbs (1rm)
1 arm Snatch: 120lbs (1rm)

1 yr. Wrestling
1 yr. Muay thai
1 yr. BJJ
1 yr. gymnastics

10yrs. assorted martial arts


most comps have a 175 and under class. At that weight and with those strength levels i'd say you would be pretty competitiveGeneral advice I'd give without knowing anything about you
-work your overhead strength
-grip strength (esp fat bars)
-work your low back - seems like EVERY strongman event taxes it
-upperback (traps and rear delts)

if you're looking to get involved go to nastrongman.com and look at the upcoming contests for one in your area. email the promoter and they can probably hook you up with training days


Thanks for the info!


This reminds me, when I was at the Elite FTS seminar this past February, I asked Dave Tate what he thought I should be able to lift in the bench, squat, and deadlift, before entering a competition.

His answer "45 pound bench, 45 pound squat, 45 pound deadlift. If you can lift more, that's gravy. Just show up and do the best YOU can."


Just show up... thats good advice and probably the biggest step.



btw, nice stats.


definetly some nice stats. Kind of a low bench press but all the other numbers are good. Some people just can't bench. Not that their weak or anything... Dave Tate's quote is definetly correct, go to one and have some fun and figure out what your weaknesses are. Then improve on them for next the next time.


I don't know my max squat, but I know that I can 20 Breathing Rep 315.

Yes my bench is pretty pitiful, I rarely bench press... starting to do that a lot more because my chest development is horrible.

Funny thing is that I did dan john's "Transformation Program" and didn't bench for almost 3 months. My 1rm before that was around 225. After spending my time focusing on Olifts, my bench made a huge jump. NO chest work (not even dips/pushups).


This year, I've seen 2 weight class structures. If you're competing in NASS (www.nastrongman.com) sanctioned events you'll either have a lightweight (231lbs and under) and a heavyweight class (232lbs+) or you'll see light (200 and under), middleweight (201-265) and heavy (265+). Either of these structures are used for local events. I think they get a little more fine grained at nationals but I've never made it that far.

As far as minimum strength, just show up. I started strongman in '03 and I'm now finally strong enough to handle most implements at gold level meets. If you're really concerned about being competitive pick your meet carefully. Try to find a meet that won't penalize you for weighing 30lbs less than the typical lightweight. Personally, I just try to hit every meet within a 4 hour drive of the Twin Cities. Placings be damned, strongman is just too much fun.


I think i'll wait and see if I can get to 190 ish in a few months get myself more solid. Increase my OH lifts some more, etc...work with a few implements and then I'll try out my first comp.


enlighten me to what "20 breathing rep 315" means. if you could squat 315x20 you'd have about a 500 max, and we both know that's not the case.


Have you posted your before / after stats for that program? I'm a bit smaller than you, but nowhere near as strong and am curious to know what it did for you.


"Weight classes are as follows: Lightweights 175, 200, 231, Heavyweights, 265,300 and SHW" from nastrongman.com

The two meets I've entered this year (one done and one coming up) follow this format. theyre both platinum, perhaps if you re only in gold meets, that makes a difference.

As for waiting to get heavier, i can understand that, and its your decision, but two things

1) doing my first strongman meet was hands down the best thing that happened in my lifting life this year. I met vinny dizenzo (800lb bencher) who was doing a seminar at the meet, he invited me to train with his crew and i havent looked back. I've put 20lbns on my bench in two months (i had put 20 on in the last two years.) I had a real fun time doing the meet. training for it was, ehh, i like the gyms liftes better than training implements, but the meet was fun. I was worried i would get crushed and shouldn't have been, because i was so focused on what I had to do for each event that I wasnt even aware of whether the other competitors were doing better than me or not. By the time i thought to check the standings right before the last event i was solidly in 3rd place, (out of 10) which I was happy with


Assuming you mean 20 rep breathing squats... which are 20 reps done with your 10 RM. The difference is in the breathing between reps... it's like several clusters more than one continuous set, except you keep the bar on your back. I think there may be a breathing "pattern", but you can also just take as much time as you need to get the next rep.

If you Google it you should be able to find a better description of the particulars.