T Nation

Training for my First Strongman Contest


I've been a member here for a couple of years and gained alot of valuable information in that time without being too loud. Well its my time to make some noise. Recently I entered the Circle City Strongest Man Contest here in Indianapolis. The event takes place May 9th and I'll be in the 231 lb. class. I'm 28yrs old, 6' and currently 237lbs with 14% bf.

My big three (all in the gym) are Bench 365, Dead 585, Squat 525. I've never been in any strength competition before this so I see this as a learning experience. I know I have little chance of actually winning but I think this will be an awesome experience that I can use to push me forward in this amazing sport.

Today me and the guys worked outside with the tire (720 lber) flipping it as many times as possible in 60sec. my first attempt I managed 8 flips, second attempt 6 flips and third attempt 6 flips After that we did a timed farmers walk 175lbs (each hand) 50ft with a turn and return = 100ft total, I managed that in just under 27sec.

This was our first attempt at actual events due to Indiana weather but with 2 months still to go I believe my technic as well as my speed and maybe even my strength will improve before the event.

2009 Circle City's Strongest Man
Event Descriptions:
1. Truck Pull: Harness and Rope on large truck, 18000lb. Chalk, rock climbers okay. No tacky. 60 seconds to complete 100? course.
2. Axle Press: Clean/continental once, press for reps. Can not build up belt (buckle to the back). Elbow sleeves, wrist wraps, okay. Can set implement down when needed. LW 220, HW 260. 60 seconds.
3. Tire Flip: Chalk, gorilla rag okay. No tacky. 80? course, 60 seconds. Weights TBA
3. Car Dead lift: For Reps. Straps okay, Suits okay. Lifter?s feet must stay in designated area. Feet can not be too far in front of lifter (past the dead lift frame). Side Handle. 60 Seconds
4. Farmers Walk: 100? course, no turns. No straps. LW 260. HW 300. 60 seconds
5. Atlas Stones: Stones loaded to a height of 52?. Tacky allowed. No home made platform shoes. LW 225-330, HW 250-360. 60 seconds. Alternate event is Stone for Reps to a 52? bar. LW 300, HW 330.


Good luck. Those are decent numbers for someone just starting out. My only advice (tho I'm not sure you want any) would be to go heavier on the farmers and try to add distance each workout, rather than picking a light weight and going the entire distance.


Thanks KBC, of course I want all the advice I can get. I'll do that next week for sure, I really want to prepare for this the best that I can.


Congrats man, your going to be hooked. Def good numbers for a starting LW. Nice job with your first time on the tire as well.

Work on truck pushes, sled pulls to simulate the truck pull. If you have accees to a rope/harness use it, if not hit the above.

Axle press should be good for you with that bench. Simple here, work on cleans and presses :slightly_smiling:

Tire filp, well you have a tire so that's good. I can't imagine the tire in the show being much over the one you have so that's good.

Car dead lift, work on farmer deadlifts from the height of the pull. I think a good goal would be 10 reps?

Farmers, you have that as well. I agree with KBC, try and use the weight you have at the show in training. You can also work pulls from the rack and just hold for time to work grip but not burn out your back/legs.

Not much will simulate stones other than stones. If you don't have those use sandbags. Zercher pickups from a low postion will also work some.

Good luck man, let us know how training and the show goes!



Thanks for the support and advice, both are very helpful, I'll do the sandbag thing for sure and I actually might have access to a truck to practice with I just need a harness now. I'll update this thread every week. And check back every day for advice and stories from anyone who has competed.


Is there a good non-strongman strongman primer out there? I like the range of strength that is displayed. Power, Power endurance, strength endurance, grip, etc. I'm curious as to how these folks are training these days. Are there Westide/Sheiko equivalents? In otherwords, one or two systems that are popular?

And, what I mean by non-strongman, is not having access to the common strongman events. Yet, would at least like to mimic the range and type of strength qualities with conventional weights. Though, I might fool around with making some of the event apparatus at some point.

It just looks like a lot of fun to train for.

Edit: You know what, I'm sorry for the hijack, OP. Goodluck! It looks like alot of fun. Painful, but fun.


Ok yesterday we did our strongman day which included flipping the tire for as many times as possible in 60 seconds for 3 sets. I improved greatly over last week, I credit the tire being dry and improved technic. I got 9 flips in 60secs. all 3 sets, Then on the farmers walk, This week I followed some great advice I got here and loaded them up.

I did 220lbs in each hand for 50ft, then 50 ft back. I need to work on my turns but atleast I know I can carry that kinda weight. Next week we are going to start with the farmers walk and finish with the tire. Today is legs and then tomorrow we work on over head presses, I won't call them military because I am working on putting as much leg drive in each lift as possible since the axle press is for reps and not form.


If you are talking gym lifts, I would base everything around clean/press, squats, rows and deadlifts. Work on both m/e and r/e stuff.

If you are just brute strong, that will give you a start. If you can deadlift and squat decent weight for 20 reps, that will help with the conditioning factor. Not much you can do to simulate other events. If you are athletic it will help. Oh, and train the shit out of your grip. Again, if we are talking gym lifts, do plate pinches, heavy db holds, rack lockouts with holds and no straps :slight_smile:



Ok, been a couple weeks since my last update because of the weather. Indiana can be a bitch, last wednesday it was only 30 degrees when we got to the gym so after talking about the risk vs benefit we opted to not rip a bicep and to workout inside, so no strongman training.

This week we watched the weather and shifted everything the best we could so that we could have a good weather day to work on the tire and the farmers walks. Farmers: I carried 180lbs in each hand for 50 feet then 230lbs in each hand for 2 sets of 25 feet and then finished that with 230lbs in each hand for 50 feet. My best effort yet.

Then we switched to the tire. We only had time for 2 sets, 60 seconds of fliping = 1 set. Set #1 I flipped the 720lb tire 10 times, Set #2 I flipped the tire only 6 times due to the fact that the water that splashed out was making grip a huge issue. Here is a video of the begging of set #2. I love this stuff.


Just as the tire passes over the top, give it a push. You'll gain about 12-18" on each flip. That will work out to about 1 LESS flip. Practice on the same type of surface that the events will be held on.

Looks like you're doing just fine. There is a fair bit of technique to the strongman events, as you seem to be finding out. Just keep practiceing. I believe there is more transfer from strongman to PL than the other way around.

Good luck.



Good luck!


Find someone around you who has stones.

There's a rough learning curve with them.

Buy and learn to love Tacky, too.


thanks for the advice, I wish i could find someone around here that has stones, I planned on making some but haven't had a chance yet. I did however purchase tacky, a pine tar rag, and some chalk from APT awhile back. I do shove the tire as hard as i can one the push and you are right you can get a good 18-24" off the slide, and we have been practicing on both concrete and grass because I'm not sure what surface the actual event will be one. I'm feeling pretty comfortable with the tire its the farmers that I feel I need some work on, I can't find my stride yet, but it is getting better every week.


Just keep your abs braced tight on the farmers walk. We changed it up. Lighter weight and extra distance and then heavier than comp weight and shorter distance, gradually increasing it to the competition distance. You're lucky, with no turns. They are an art by themself.

Good shoes. You might even want to consider a shoe with a safety toe. If your grip fails and the tire lands on your foot it will do more than just hurt. Plus, as you get fatigued, if you can get the tire up enough to get a toe under it, you can then re-grip.

I'll send you a link to another good tip as soon as I find it.

Sounds like you're on the right track.



Try this link:


If it doesn't, just search for the article,
Just Cool It. What you will need is 2 coolers or buckets of ice to soak your hands and feet in, between events. It supposedly helps to speed recovery. Your hands will take a beating and will thank you, especially if it's hot out.



Ok, time for an update. Today I was all alone with no partners to train with so I couldn't time my event very effectively. Instead I concentrated on reps and distance. 10 flips on the tire as fast as I could for 2 sets and then farmer walks first 230 for 100 feet and then 250 for 100 feet, I am starting to get more confident that I might not come in last place in this thing. Here are some links to some video I shot and a buddy added music too.


Not a great day for tire flipping, got to the gym to find the tire had about 5 gallons of water floating in it. Went ahead and started without cleaning it out and it proceeded to get wetter and slicker with every flip. Made it thru 9 flips in 60 secs before we decided to concentrate on farmers instead.

I really feel I have the tire down half way decent so time was better spent else where anyway. Started with 200lbs on the farmers to warm-up. made it 100 feet easily in under 30 sec. moved up to max weight we could load do to only having so many plates available today. Finished with a 272lb in each hand for 50 ft x 2. (Meaning I carried it down 50 ft sat it down, regrouped and carried it back. that is a new PR by 22lbs. I still 1 month to train so I'm feeling pretty good. Here are some videos of me and my workout partner. Thanks


I'm wondering if it's possible for you to put a tarp over the tire to keep the water out? That might help you.


We are going to drill a couple holes in the sidewall to act as drains. One of my training partners works for the county inspecting properties for mosquito breeding grounds so he is going to take care of it.