T Nation

Strongman Beginner Program


#1

Hi, could you help me choose or create a strongman beginner program for a strongman with limited equipment? I have access to a normal gym (bad equipped but has a squat rack, barbell and dumbbells heavy enough for most movements). At home I have a log, weights and a sandbag. Downside is that I have to workout outside which is unfortunate during the winter. I plan on getting farmer’s walk handles and more weights in spring.

I am 6’2", I weigh 242 lbs at the moment and am 21 years old. Bodyfat has been measured as 22% at 245lbs if that plays a role. I would like to drop down to about 220 lbs because I feel more comfortable at that size. I played sports all my life and the program I do at the moment is Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 (original triumvirate + jokers+ FSL).I tipically train 4 days a week. I would like to first continue my current program until I can no longer make progress but plan the next step ahead.

Thanks in advance.


#2

Chase Karnes made a “5/3/1 for strongman” program. You can find it on google. I think you’d really appreciate it.


#3

I will check it out, thank you!


#4

I have looked at it but would have to make some adjustments to the third day as I do not have a yoke and atlas stones (and currently no farmer’s walk handles either). Last weekend I did a “competition” for fun with my friends and as one vent we did sandbag loading onto stapled beer cases (chest height). It felt like a power clean for me - would that be an option to replace atlas stones? So heavy over bar = bag onto platform, light series = sandbag cleans?

I have no idea how to replace a yoke walk, so I guess I would have to skip on that.

General questions:

  • Do I clean every rep for my 5/3/1 log press day or one clean and then press away?
  • Would it make sense to replace front squats with box squats?

#5

[quote]Koestrizer wrote:
I have looked at it but would have to make some adjustments to the third day as I do not have a yoke and atlas stones (and currently no farmer’s walk handles either). Last weekend I did a “competition” for fun with my friends and as one vent we did sandbag loading onto stapled beer cases (chest height). It felt like a power clean for me - would that be an option to replace atlas stones? So heavy over bar = bag onto platform, light series = sandbag cleans?

I have no idea how to replace a yoke walk, so I guess I would have to skip on that.

General questions:

  • Do I clean every rep for my 5/3/1 log press day or one clean and then press away?

  • Would it make sense to replace front squats with box squats?
    [/quote]

  • A heavy sandbag isn’t a bad replacement for a stone, neither is a keg if you are just trying to build up the same muscles you use for loading. Make sure your sandbags are packed tight.

But If you are trying to get better at stones then, sadly, you really need to get a hold of some stones. There is so much technique with them simply because there are no handles. Call local strongman gyms, they may have some molds you can rent to make some of your own, or some places will even make them for you if you are willing to come pick them up.

  • For the 5/3/1 Log. I think it depend on if you want to get better at cleaning or pressing. If your clean needs work, I would try to get lots of reps of it in. But if it is solid, I would clean once and press away.

  • If you check out LoRez’s Training log he is working on a design for a “chain” yoke that you can probably replicate with items from a local hardware store. Mike Jenkins swore by a yoke like this.

  • For strongman, front squats will have better carry over than box squats. Unless you are using a SSB or yoke bar. Out of all of the movements with traditional gym equipment, front squats will help you more with strongman than just about anything.

I hope that helps.


#6

Monday: Zercher Squats
Tuesday: Zercher Squats
Wednesday: Zercher Squats
Thursday: Zercher Squats
Friday: Zercher Squats
Saturday: Bicep curls
Sunday: Zercher Squats


#7

[quote]Alpha wrote:

[quote]Koestrizer wrote:
I have looked at it but would have to make some adjustments to the third day as I do not have a yoke and atlas stones (and currently no farmer’s walk handles either). Last weekend I did a “competition” for fun with my friends and as one vent we did sandbag loading onto stapled beer cases (chest height). It felt like a power clean for me - would that be an option to replace atlas stones? So heavy over bar = bag onto platform, light series = sandbag cleans?

I have no idea how to replace a yoke walk, so I guess I would have to skip on that.

General questions:

  • Do I clean every rep for my 5/3/1 log press day or one clean and then press away?

  • Would it make sense to replace front squats with box squats?
    [/quote]

  • A heavy sandbag isn’t a bad replacement for a stone, neither is a keg if you are just trying to build up the same muscles you use for loading. Make sure your sandbags are packed tight.

But If you are trying to get better at stones then, sadly, you really need to get a hold of some stones. There is so much technique with them simply because there are no handles. Call local strongman gyms, they may have some molds you can rent to make some of your own, or some places will even make them for you if you are willing to come pick them up.

  • For the 5/3/1 Log. I think it depend on if you want to get better at cleaning or pressing. If your clean needs work, I would try to get lots of reps of it in. But if it is solid, I would clean once and press away.

  • If you check out LoRez’s Training log he is working on a design for a “chain” yoke that you can probably replicate with items from a local hardware store. Mike Jenkins swore by a yoke like this.

  • For strongman, front squats will have better carry over than box squats. Unless you are using a SSB or yoke bar. Out of all of the movements with traditional gym equipment, front squats will help you more with strongman than just about anything.

I hope that helps.
[/quote]

Keg is a good idea, I can easily pick one up. Sadly there are no strongman gyms near me that I know of. Strength sports of any kind are very unpopular compared to the US where I live. That is especially bad because competitions are pretty rare and often lack novice categories. But I think for now I can live well without stones as I am really a true beginner in this and have a lot of room for overall improvement.

I should probably clean every rep as I can press pretty good but clean terrible.

I would love to have a SSB but unfortunately a standard barbell is all I got. I tried box squats yesterday and they were suprinsingly hard. The movement feels good but the range of motion ends above parallel and I am not sure if that may be a problem. Since I am starting the program most likely in juanuary I will experiment with front squats and box squats and will then decide.


#8

[quote]Aero51 wrote:
Monday: Zercher Squats
Tuesday: Zercher Squats
Wednesday: Zercher Squats
Thursday: Zercher Squats
Friday: Zercher Squats
Saturday: Bicep curls
Sunday: Zercher Squats[/quote]

Hm… not sure about those bicep curls


#9

On acquiring stones, you can get arts and crafty with it to make some beginner stones. I’ve done it but it takes about a week…

Decide on a stone weight you want to start with. Figure out the diameter of stone that you need to make based on your desired stone weight. There are charts online to help you with stone sizes/weights. Find a small yoga ball that you can inflate to your desired diameter. Get a wooden platform, lots of plaster, and make a thick mold around the ball (even thicker on the bottom, you’re going to need the support), leaving the top 3-4 inches open. Deflate the ball once your plaster mold is dry. Here you may also duct tape (or paper mache the outside just to make sure it is reinforced). Extract ball from dry mold and fill the mold with your concrete. Make sure your concrete is fluid enough to form fit the inside. Shake/twist the platform to get bubbles out of the concrete if needed. Let dry for a few days or up to a week inside the mold. Then break that sumbitch out.


#10

[quote]Cherrybomb wrote:
On acquiring stones, you can get arts and crafty with it to make some beginner stones. I’ve done it but it takes about a week…

Decide on a stone weight you want to start with. Figure out the diameter of stone that you need to make based on your desired stone weight. There are charts online to help you with stone sizes/weights. Find a small yoga ball that you can inflate to your desired diameter. Get a wooden platform, lots of plaster, and make a thick mold around the ball (even thicker on the bottom, you’re going to need the support), leaving the top 3-4 inches open. Deflate the ball once your plaster mold is dry. Here you may also duct tape (or paper mache the outside just to make sure it is reinforced). Extract ball from dry mold and fill the mold with your concrete. Make sure your concrete is fluid enough to form fit the inside. Shake/twist the platform to get bubbles out of the concrete if needed. Let dry for a few days or up to a week inside the mold. Then break that sumbitch out.[/quote]

Sounds doable, I will probably do that in spring or summer.


#11

In all seriousness, the best carry over to stones in the mean time is the full zercher cycle: deadlift the bar as normal, get low and drop the bar in your thighs so your supporting it on your quads, reach your arms under the bar and get in the zercher position, then lift! It is a very difficult lift requiring both flexibility and brute strength.


#12

[quote]Aero51 wrote:
In all seriousness, the best carry over to stones in the mean time is the full zercher cycle: deadlift the bar as normal, get low and drop the bar in your thighs so your supporting it on your quads, reach your arms under the bar and get in the zercher position, then lift! It is a very difficult lift requiring both flexibility and brute strength. [/quote]

Sounds like a plan if the next available competition has stones in it.


#13

What are your thoughts on bench pressing for strongman in general? The program suggests using incline which bothers my shoulder so I will either stick to flat bench or slingshot bench. But since it is no competition movement how much of a role does it play? Do you bench at all?


#14

I always include the flat bench in my programming, as whenever it goes up, so does my overhead. I also came from a powerlifting background, so it’s tough to give up. Meanwhile, improving my incline press never seems to do anything for me, unless it’s the dumbbell incline press. Your mileage may vary.


#15

Also, bench pressing a log (usually incline) is starting to show up at shows here and there. I would keep it in your program. For me personally, pressing a log (neutral grip) seems a lot easier on the shoulders than a traditional bar. The weight distribution and balance takes a little bit to get used to, but I wouldn’t throw it out all together because you never know when it will show up.


#16

Has one of you tried or looked at Allan Thrall’s 12 week free strongman program? This also looks like a good choice.


#17

[quote]Koestrizer wrote:
Has one of you tried or looked at Allan Thrall’s 12 week free strongman program? This also looks like a good choice.[/quote]

I’ve competed in a few of Alan’s shows and caught a brief glimpse of the routine, but nothing in depth. Really, any approach will be solid as long as it improves your weaknesses. The biggest pitfall with strongman training is only doing what you’re good at and not doing what you’re bad at. I did that until my third show when I completely got my ass kicked, and then finally started training like a strongman and started doing much better.