T Nation

Strongman eBooks

There are quite a few strongman ebooks out there, I’ve bought and read a number of them and honestly, have been a bit disappointed more often than not. With some of them, it’s just too plain to see that not a lot of thought went into them. Maybe this threat can be used to highlight some of the better examples and/or help others steer clear of books that are frankly just not worth the money. The immediate reason for opening this threat is that two follow ups to one of the really good strongman ebooks that I’ve read have been released, which was “Unbreakable Strongman” by Canadian lightweight competitor Dain Wallis.
The original ebook covered lots of topics from explaining and giving tips on practically all regular strongman events, what to do on competition day, diet and more. The programming section consisted of a 16-week program leading up to a competition with a detailed explanation of how to adapt this to any comp and set of events you might have coming up. However, obviously many people wanted a bit more info on this part of the equation, which is why Wallis now released “Programming for the Unbreakable Strongman”. There’s also “Mobility for…”, but I didn’t get that one so can’t say anything about it.

First of all, in contrast to some other ebooks (looking at you, Robert Oberst), this one has actually been proofread and is well formatted. The book consists of two main parts, one laying out a number of different training templates, and one detailing two 16-week-programs for the deadlift and any overhead event that can be used with or without the templates from part one.

What this ebook does that few other ebooks on programming for strongman do is it manages to be just as useful for people training in a commercial gym, a fully fledged strongman gym or a combination of the two. There are several three- and four-day templates that assume different levels of access to implements. Example: Looking at the three-day templates there’s on for people training in a commercial gym, one for people training in a commercial gym twice a week with implement access once, one for people who train in a strongman gym twice and in a commercial gym once and one for people who training exclusively in a strongman gym (or well-equipped home gym). For people who want to train five days a week there is a template for a fifth day, consisting mostly of bodyweight movements. The tree-day templates are essentially lower-upper-whole body splits, the four day templates also start with one day focussed on deadlifting/lower body and one day focussed on pressing/upper body, the other days vary between different templates.
The templates generally prescribe movement patterns and a range of sets and reps, there is quite an extensive list of exercise variations that can be chosen for each movement pattern. For the main work on the deadlift and your main overhead variation, Wallis suggests plugging in his 16-week programs laid out in the second part of the book. These are not identical, the deadlift program has slightly lower reps and the overhead program incorporates some rpe, but both programs are split into four four-week phases. The deadlift program has a deload every four weeks, the overhead program doesn’t. Both programs undulate volume and intensity throughout the 16 weeks. Wallis makes detailed recommendations on rest times, bar speed and selection of your training max, it’s clear that a good bit of thought went into this.
Lastly, while the templates only give ranges of sets and reps for all but the main exercises of the two 16-week-programs, Wallis details how he likes to set up his main overhead work on his secondary pressing days (pyramid style, nothing revolutionary), how to go about training moving events etc. Nothing groundbreaking, but you’re not left without guidance either.

This eBook/these programs are not for you if…

  • you want your sessions planned out for you down to the last detail of the littlelest accessorie movement. As I said, lots of things such as rest periods, bar speed etc are talked about even for accessorie work, but you still have to do some of the thinking yourself.
  • you believe in benching a lot to supplement your overhead pressing. None of the templates incluce a lot of horizontal pressing, benching is not a main exercise on any training day.
  • you strongly believe in the necessity of squatting a lot. Some of these templates have you squatting twice a week, but the focus is clearly on actual deadlifting.

Once again, the best thing about this and what sets it apart from other strongman ebooks is the fact that Wallis accomodates all different degrees of implement access people could have. Whether the programming style fits your philosophy, what’s clear is that a lot more work and thought went into this book than into many similar ones you may have been dissappointed with.