T Nation

Training for Strongman


In an effort to both boost activity and create valid thread on this sub-forum(as opposed to some of these other gems), I decided to start this thread. I know there are a decent amount of people that compete or have copmpeted in strongman on here and I think it would be beneficial to others to get an idea of how different people train to compete.

I'm sure that are people that check out this section that would be interested in seeing the different templates and program set ups. And I hope this may give people some insight into the thought process of training and some ideas for their own training. Maybe the competitors can even shoot ideas back and forth, too.

I'll start and kick things off,

Monday - Deadlift using 531, Bench using 531, Squats for sets of 8-12, maybe something upper back-ish if I'm not toasted, but usually not
Wednesday - Log/Axle/Overhead work, Tire flipping, maybe another event -- usually Farmers
Thursday - Chins and maybe some curls
Saturday - Events Day - Yoke, Stones, Whatever

My training kind of evolved into this setup and I have been running it similar to this for about 5 months. Because of time constraints and training needs, it started as a Mon-Wed-Sat setup with Wed and Sat being event days. I felt I needed another event day to bring up some contest weaknesses. With two event days, I needed to scale back in-gym lifting and with my schedule at the time, it worked to only do one day.

I had been making gains with the deadlift on the 531 and didn't want to drop that. But with only one real gym day, I thought I would need something upper body, too. So Monday turned into Deadlift/Bench day. (Not the military press because I would be hitting overhead work on event days.

The chin day got thrown in later only because I had a chin bar made for my house. Plus I figure I can't really go wrong adding some chin work in.

After a couple months, I got worried about my squat and decided to use it as my "assistance" for the deadlift, but after pulling and benching I had start ridiculously light and build up. I'm talking 185-225 light.

As far as events, there's not much to say. It was mostly dictated my what was in an upcoming contest. I also did the basic events every week, though -- Overhead, Tire, Farmers, and Stones. Tire was always Wednesday because I had people that came to my house to train that day (non-strongman competitors) and they always like doing tire.

Now, with all that said, there was almost always some tweaking every week. I'm a student, I'm a father, and I work. Something in life always comes up and I have to adjust. Some days, I would flip the tire for one set or just do one run of stones and call it a day. Sometimes I would have to shift training ahead or behind a day. Sometimes I would have to change events because equipment wasn't available that week. Something always changed, but I tried to follow the basic formula above and at least get the main lift or event done.

Going forward, I would like to eventually split up the dead and bench, I'm not sure how yet. Once winter sets in, I will also drop my second event day and go back to more gym time. I also want to add some conditioning in.

I've probably rambled on longer than necessary here, but maybe someone will find value in it.


A lot of guys like the 5/3/1 for strongman applications.

I wrote an article on setting up a strongman training split with various specializations, but unfortunately cannot post links here on the board.

Does anyone here use a dual-progression method? That seems to be most in line with my training program where I have 4-5 core exercises and perform each of them once over a two week period (front squat, deadlift, back squat, power clean, incline bench press or push press).


I thought about setting up something like that, especially when my set up was just 1 gym day and I wanted to add more squatting. I decided to just ride out the way I was doing it, but I think in the future I will try the double progression.


I like the strongman stuff, and am starting to get into it. Right now I'm working on bringing up all my lifts,but they are getting there. I also have a big 600-700 tire I flip twice a week.
I got some of the 5 gallon water bottles with handles on them and I'm gonna fill them with sand/stones and do some farmers carries with them. Thats about all I have to work with right now. Only just turned 17, so I've still got some time to train


I like the program; you are not going to boost your numbers very much in any one lift but it keeps you well-rounded. My protocol right now is about two gym days per week so it turns the program into a monthly rotation for each exercise.

Because of this I try to make each workout count and incorporate some advanced principals such as drop sets, supersets, GVT, etc.


I'm a masters competitor (50+). I've experimented with 4 days using ME and DE/RE days for upper and lower and with different plans built around 5/3/1. I find that I recover better and make steadier gains training 3 days per week (the extra recovery day works well for grey hairs). I've gone to two full body days + an event day. I seem to respond weel to the frequency and the full body workouts are good prep for the contests. My current plan looks like this:

Monday: O/H 5/3/1 from the rack
Squat 5/3/1
Log/pullups/grip tri-set using BBB on the log. Grip is a weakness so I added a grip exercise to my push/pull superset. Hitting grip 3 days per week now.

Wed: DL 5/3/1
Narrow grip BP 5/3/1 supersetted with a row
Press assist supersetted with axle deads or RDL 3 sets

Sat: Events/assistance

I put O/H work and deads first on their days since both are central to strongman. I keep a horizontal push, but tend to emphasize triceps since that gives the best carryover for me.


Hi guys

I've been training alternating between strongman and standard gym lifts.
For example
Monday-squat,deadlift,bench,chins overhead press
Thursday-strongman implement stuff
Saturday-squat,deadlift,bench,chins,overhead press
Monday-strongman implement stuff

On gym lift days I am using 5/3/1 and really enjoying it and making some good gains.
The strongman days have been Yoke, Axle, snatch, cleans, push press,tyre flips

The reason it's less strongman based is because I have been recovering from a knee injury which doesnt like certain events. Previously I would just have two strongman sessions which I rotated in on the strongman days. Day 1 would be Farmers walk, Yoke and stones..the type of things that are always in a comp. Day 2 would be power stairs, conans wheel/some sort of carry event. This day was more specific to the actual comp coming up.

Part of the reason I have been doing it this way is that I was training @ two places and so was limited by what was @ each place. I like to put heavier events together as I want a different warm up for heavy stuff and it means I get it out of the way and dont have to do a heavy event for another 9 days or so. It might seem like too long but remember I migth be deadlifting, squatting, benching and doing heavy overheads on thursday, heavy implements saturday and then deadlifting etc on monday followed by heavy implements on thursday. As you can see it was crazy so I needed more time between heavy events. I also feel that implement training is great but I ultimately need to get stronger. I mean if my squat,clean,deadlift, overhead and front squat go up I will be better @ strongman basically.

My training is always evolving. For instance,I know I need to do some external rotator scapular control/stability work, glude med and glute max activation and foam rolling really has benefits for me. I cant add it in on top of a training session as I'll be training forever. I decided to add a 2nd session on my training days, nothing too taxing but just slowly working on the above areas starting out really light almost like a recovery session and building from there. Been using magnificent mobility every day and found myself recovering and feeling/moving much better.

Bit of a ramble but food for thought anyway. Pretty sweet topic.


day#1 -whole body
Bench Press
chest supported rows
event:log clean & press or thick bar clean & press

day#2-lower body
front squat
event: sled work/prowler

day#3-upper body
overhead press or push jerk
bent rows
incline log press
arms-usually performed with thick barbell
event: farmers

day#4- whole body-event focus
tire flip
stone work for reps and technique, not great at stones, short arms
medley of choice for endurance work 1-3 sets

This program is not set in stone just an example of my typical week, I like to mix it up alot, I will also add in bands and chains, grip work, try to do a good portion of my work with the thick steel bar, I find grip the most challenging thing about strongman. I will also do finishers to challenge my stamina i.e high rep KB swings,sledgehammer work, light medleys, rowing machine,love the sled for this type of work. just my 2 cents


I train using the conjugate method with DE bench replaced with event day.


I normally do Westside style setup (4 days a week) and would add an event day on saturday.

Due to time constraints this semester, I'm only going to be able to hit the gym 3x a week so I'm doing some whole body stuff with like 1 major lift for pulling, pushing, and legs per week spread out throughout the week.


I do with my gym training. My event training is the same every week but I rotate through my gym days, usually 4-5 based around Push Press, Deadlift, and Front Squat, doing 3 of them each week. I find this lets me train hard 5 days a week without beating myself up to badly, since on average I'm only pressing/pulling/squatting for 2-3 weeks at a time, and never all at the same time.


i'm still new to this type of training. Its been hard considering outdoor training is a little more difficult due to lack of a yard. Luckily i had to get an outdoor storage unit and been using it to train. I dont have alot of equipment. Right now i have my old army duffle bag with like 160pds of sand and stone, 40' of 3"rope my brother and i made, two 28kilo kettlebells, and my truck.

I do truck pushes
i do tug of wars pulling my truck to me
lots of ahouldering and fireman carries with the bag
and i use the kbells in standard stuff like swings,snatches,presses getups all that type of stuff
i also go to the gym 1day a week and do my lifts
Deadlift in variations
Incline presses
bent rows
floor presses
and dumbell split squats

i dont compete or anything i just am tired of the same old shit and people in general and been having lots of fun with this type of training cause it feels like training for an event or a big game. feels like a purpose instead of just lifting weights same old same old.

anybody have any other ideas as to what other things i could do with what i got?
Another opinion would be good.


Right Now:

Monday: 531 Bench
Wednesday: 531 Powerclean (not really a choice)
Friday: 531 Military Press

Saturday: Heavy sled work, stone and keg loading, and keg walking.

But I'm also a n00b.

I can only get into the gym mondays wednesdays and fridays and only because I am throwing shot this year for coach. So as a result he wants me to powerclean a lot. I don't have strongman equipment so I bought a keg and a big rock and I just practice loading those and what not. It's going to be my best event.


If I want to start working on keg carries and loading how should I go about it? It shouldn't be a problem finding kegs but how heavy should they be? How high should I load them? How far should I carry them?


I would try to get three kegs if possible. Depending on your strength levels a good weight for endurance work such as carries and high rep loading would be a water filled keg (about 160 lbs). For heavier short distance and loading work you can fill a keg with sand and make it between 200-220 lbs, and then for heavy loading work you can fill one with gravel (or concrete) and it will be around 275 lbs.

To give you an idea of contest weights I did an event back in 2006 that had a keg carry for distance with a 200 lbs keg for the LW's. For keg loading I did an event last year that had a 275 lbs keg for reps for the LW's.

If you have three kegs you can also do loading medleys where you set the kegs up 10-20 feet from a platform or bar and then carry each one and load it over the bar / onto the box then run over and get the next one. This is great for building conditioning and is another event that is common in strongman contests.


I second this. No single keg will fill all of your training needs. If they are no problem for you to obtain, get a few.


Also make sure not to glue yours shut. Alot of people might disagree, but because I kept the rings that go inside the keg, and put them back after I filled it, my keg is now adjustable and I just add weight to it every month or so. I do this because I don't have money to get several kegs or space to put them since I live in an apartment building.


Cool, thanks guys. Now just to find some kegs as a 17 year old


I'm 16 and I just went to the liquor store and picked them up. If you pay the bottle deposit ($40) then they'll just let you walk off with them.


Shit. $120? I think I know where I can get some for free