By Jeremey DuVall, M.S. Men's Fitness
Watching historic strongmen on TV like Bill Kazmaier and Magnus Ver Magnusson leaves you in awe of the brute strength of these competitors. Along with impressive physiques, strongmen competitors also have incredible levels of conditioning. Donít believe it? Try lifting a heavy log over your head as many times as possibly in 75 seconds or holding 250+ lbs. in each hand and walk as fast as possible down the length of a 75m course. Combine that with a grueling schedule of 6-7 total events testing strength, stamina and endurance and you get some extremely fit competitors.
Canít get a hold of strongman implements or pull a truck down your driveway? Donít worry. Implement some of these basic strongman techniques into your training to build brute strength and a hulkish physique.
Carry Heavy Objects
Events like the farmerís walk and power stairs force competitors to grab hold of extremely heavy objects and carry/climb/hoist them over a large distance. This builds insane amounts of core strength as well as rock-hard forearms. Replicate this in your training by carrying heavy dumbbells for 50-75m before setting them down. Farmerís walks are the most popular, but mix up the carrying position to include overhead and a sumo carry between the legs to maximize gains.
Pull and Push
Competitors in the Worldís Strongest Man must pull an airplane or a truck down a runway. Donít want to strap a rope around your car in the parking lot? Mimic these events using a sled or just a set of heavy plates and a large rope. Link the two together and pull for 75-100m to build impressive total body strength and conditioning.
Practice Lifts Frequently
Strongman competitors frequently go through events they want to improve each week. Similarly, include lifts you want to get better at multiple times within a weekís worth of workouts. Each session doesnít need to be heavy, but frequenting the move will help improve form and build a familiarity with the exercise.
Lift Different Objects
Strongman competitors build strength in the gym, but they also build it outside the confines of barbells and dumbbells by lifting objects like atlas stones, tires, and even trucks. Skip the F-150, but try your strength on objects like truck tires and sand bags as they offer a different challenge with their unique shape and size.
Events like the keg toss and truck pull challenge not only brute strength but also explosiveness. Incorporate power moves like the clean and jerk and snatch into your workouts to build total body explosiveness and watch your strength increase as well.
Combine Strength and Cardio Training
Load up some heavy barbells for total body movements and then move quickly between them to get the best of strength and cardio at the same time rather than separating the two.
Stick to the Basics
Sure, strongman competitors lift odd objects and extremely heavy weight, but the majority of events are founded on the basics: squat, deadlift, and press. Make these the foundation of your training and load them heavy for maximal gains in strength.