T Nation

Strongman on your Supertotal Program

hello chris i want to ask you how to add strongman to your supertotal program.thanks

You can’t. I’d have to create a new program. Combing powerlifting and olympic lifting training is already super hard on the nervous system. You cannot just add stuff to the program, you will crash.

Is the super total program on this site? I’d like to take a look. A brief search didn’t produce any results but that’s probably on me.

If it’s on the site, he’d know

It was posted as an answer to a forum question

1 Like

Well it is actually fairly simple since the deadlift and squat are good assistance lifts for the olympic lifts.

It’s only the bench that can be problematic as if you do too much it can hinder your overhead mobility for few days. But even that is not a huge problem.

I don’t know how many days a week you train so it’s hard to make a very precise recommendation but here is a suggestion:

*More volume on the 3 powerlifts
*More emphasis on technical work for the olympic lifts (I like to use complexes here)
*More “muscle -building work” to fix any potential muscle weakness

For example:

A. Snatch (technical practice with sets of 3 reps with 65-75%)
B. Snatch complex (to focus on technical weakness… see note below)
C. Back squat higher volume work (here I like to focus on getting stronger in the 4-6 reps range)
D. Squat assistance exercise to fix weakness (see note below)
E. Core work

A. Jerk (from racks) … technical practice with sets of 3 with 65-75%
B. Jerk assistance exercise (push press, power jerk, jerk from half split, behind the neck jerk, etc.)
C. Bench press higher volume work (getting stronger in the 4-6 range)
D. Upper back exercise
E. Triceps isolation work

A. Clean … technical practice with sets of 3 @ 65-75%
B. Clean complex to fix weakness (see note)
C. Deadlift … get stronger in the 4-6 range
D. Deadlift assistance exercise (see note)
E. Lower back work (back extension, reverse hyper, high reps goodmorning, seated good morning, etc.)

A. Snatch … sets of 3 in the 75-85% range
B. Clean & jerk … sets of 3 (either 3 cleans + 1 jerk or 1 clean + 3 jerks depending on weakness) in the 75-85% range
C. “Other squat” (front squat, zercher squat, box squat, etc.) for sets of 4-6
D. Posterior chain exercise (pull-through, reverse hyper, glute ham raise, RDL, etc)
E. Upper back exercise

A. Snatch complex examples:
Not solid in catch position: 1 snatch + 2 drop snatch + 3 overhead squats
Bar is pulled forward: 1 snatch low pull + 1 snatch high pull + 1 power snatch + 1 snatch
Bad first pull (lift from hang better than lift from floor: 2 “floor to knees” + 1 snatch from floor paused at the knees + 1 snatch
"Pull and pray" (super explosive with lower body but essentially throw the bar in the air and hopes it will fall in the right spot: 2 snatch high pull from hang + 1 muscle snatch from hang + 1 power snatch from hang + 1 snatch from hang

B. Squat assistance exercises
Weak out of the hole:
Option 1: paused squat (the pause is around 1" from ATG and you must maintain torque/tension not relax… do not catch the rebound to lift)
Option 2:1 & 1/2 squat: go down, lift back to the mid range without using the rebound, go back down, stand up completely … this is ONE rep

Pitching forward on the way up:
Option 1: Frankenstein squat (front squat without holding the bar, so arms extended in front llike Frankenstein)
Option 2: Safety bar squats

C. Clean complexes
Slow under the bar: 2 tall cleans + 1 hang clean (above knees) + 1 hang clean (below knees) + 1 clean
Bar crashing on you: 1 “no feet”* power clean + 1 “not feet” half squat clean + 1 no feet clean
Bar rolling off of your shoulders/upper back rounding in catch: 2 half squat clean with pause** + 2 clean with pause + 1 clean

*No feet = doing the lift without being allowed to have any part of your feet leaving the ground… this means that even the heel cannot leave the ground on the pull. Use a slightly wider stance than usual to be able to properly squat under it

** Half squat clean with pause means that you receive the bar at the parallel position and hold the position for 2 seconds. The key is key rock solid as soon as you catch it and maintain maximum tension during the pause

D. Deadlift assistance exercise
Weak off floor
Option 1: Deficit deadlift (deadlift standing on a 2" platform to increase ROM)
Option 2: 1 & 1/2 deadlift (each rep is: lift to knees, pause for 1 sec, slowly lower back down to floor, lift completely)

Weak past the knees
Option 1: Deadlifts with chains/bands
Option 2: Pin pulls from just below knees

E. Bench assistance exercises
Weak off of chest
Option 1: Spotto press
Option 2: Paused bench press (3 sec pause on chest while maintaining tension)
Option 3: 1 & 1/2 bench press (each rep = lower to chest, lift up to mid range, lower back down, lift up)

Weak lockout
Option 1: close-grip bench
Option 2: Top 1 & 1/2 bench (each rep = lower to mid-range, lift up, lower to chest, lift up)
Option 3: Bench with chains / bands


Here the focus in on maximizing performance on the powerlifts
The focus is still on technical efficiency on the olympic lifts, but with less volume (no complexes) and more intensity

A. Snatch sets of 2-3 reps in the 75-85% range
B. Squat (the goal is to work toward improving your 1RM strength. See below for a progression I like)
C. Squat assistance exercise to fix weakness
D. Glutes OR quadriceps exercise (the weaker of the two)
E. Core work (I like loaded carries for sets of 20m in that phase)

A. Jerk sets of 2-3 reps in the 75-85% range
B. Bench press (same as squat)
C. Bench assistance exercise to fix weakness
D. Upper back work
E. Triceps exercise
F. Deltoid exercise

A. Clean sets of 2-3 reps in the 75-85% range
B. Deadlift (same as squat and bench from earlier)
C. Deadlift assistance exercise
D. Posterior chain exercise
E. Hamstring exercise (leg curl, seated leg curl, etc.)
F. Lower back exercise

A. Snatch sets of 2-3 reps in the 70-80% range
B. Jerk sets of 2-3 reps in the 70-80% range
C. Bench press assistance 1 (to fix weakness)
D. Overhead press exercise
E. Upper back exercise
F. Triceps exercise

Week 1: Ramp to technically solid 3RM
Week 2: 3 cluster sets (after proper warm-up) with your 3RM, shooting to get 4-6 reps, 15 sec of rest between reps
Week 3: Ramp to a technically solid 2RM
Week 4: 3 cluster sets with your 2RM, shooting for 3-5 reps, 15 sec of rest between reps
Week 5: 3 sets of 1 (after warm-up) with your week 1 3RM
Week 6: Ramp up to 1RM


The main goal is to peak the olympic lifts
We want to maintain strength in the powerlifts, but the amount of work is reduced to accomodate high volume of olympic lifting work

A. Snatch heavy (see note for recommended progression)
B. Snatch assistance exercise to fix weakness (see note)
C. Clean & jerk technique doing sets of 2+1 or 1+2 with 75-85%
D. Snatch-grip deadlift
E. Power snatch a few sets of 3 very explosive reps with a moderate load

A. Clean & jerk heavy (see note for recommended progression)
B. Clean assistance exercise to fix weakness (see note)
C. Jerk assistance exercise to fix weakness (see note)
D. Bench press work in the 3-5 rep range
E. Upper back exercise

A. Snatch technique work, sets of 3 in the 70-80% range
B. Power snatch variation (hang, floor, blocks) sets of 3 for maximum speed
C. Clean & jerk work sets of 2+1 or 1+2 in the 70-80% range
D. Power clean variation (hang, floor, blocks) sets of 3 for maximum speed

A. Snatch heavy (see note)
B. Clean & jerk heavy (see note)
C. Front squat (same progression as powerlifts during intensification phase)
D. Floor press work in the 3-5 range

Week 1: Ramp up to technically solid 2RM (or 2+1 or 1+2 on c&j)
Week 2: 2 cluster sets with your 2RM, shooting for 3-5 reps with 15-20 sec of rest between reps
Week 3: 3 sets of 1 with your week 1 2RM (or slightly less if you are not in good form)
Week 4: 2 cluster sets with your 2RM, shooting for 4-6 reps with 1-20 sec of rest between reps
Week 5: 3 sets of 1 with your week 1 2RM (or slightly less if fatigued)
Week 6: Ramp up to 1RM

A. Snatch assistance exercises
Slow/unstable under the bar:
Option 1: Drop snatch
Option 2: Hip snatch

Bar is too far forward on pull
Option 1: No feet snatch
Option 2: Muscle snatch

Weak pull or pull & pray
Option 1: Snatch grip high pull (hang, floor or blocks)
Option 2: No feet snatch

B. Jerk assistance exercises
Shallow split
Option 1: jerk from half split (do your dip with your feet midway to your a full split position and reach the full split in the catch)
Option 2: Push press from split position

Losing torso position on dip & drive (torso pitching forward)
Option 1: paused jerk (2 sec pause in the bottom of the dip)
Option 2: jerk drives focusing on upright posture
Option 3: Behind the neck jerk

Weak drive/lack of bar height
Option 1: power jerk
Option 2: push press

Unstable in split position
Option 1: jerk with 2 sec pause in catch position
Option 2: Military press from low split position

C. Clean assistance exercises
Slow under the bar
Option 1: Tall clean
Option 2: No feet clean

Weak catch position (torso pitching forward, upper back rounding)
Option 1: Clean with pause in the catch position, 1" higher than normal catch position. STICK THE CATCH… do not catch soft then tense up. You must be rock solid in the catch
Option 2: 1 & 1/2 clean. Catch 1" higher than you normal catch, stand up halfway, go back down, stand up

Bad first pull (weight shifting on toes, making you pull forward)
Option 1: Floating cleans … this is essentially a low hang clean… you lower the bar to 2" from floor, pause for 2 sec and clean from there
Option 2: Clean with pause just below knees

You notice that I haven’t mentioned VOLUME, its because this is highly individual. But it’s better to start doing less and be more conservative

1 Like

That explains why I didn’t see it haha, but no need to look now anyway. I actually remember you posting this for someone a couple weeks ago now. Really generous of you and an awesomely fun looking program.

Out of curiosity, have you considered writing any Strongman specific stuff?

I figure you’re not interested but I think a lot of your programming really suits strongman.

1 Like

I love strongman. I worked with Canada’s two strongest men on occasion (JF Caron, Jimmy Paquet) and they are good friends of mine. But honestly I do not know enough about the strongmen events to efficiently program for them, much less include them in a more complex program. I know enough to use some strongman exercises as training movements for general fitness and strength but not enough to justify writing a program claiming to be good for strongman performance.

1 Like

what do you think of “training for everything” article of chad wesley smith?

Dude, I don’t have time to read every article on the internet.