Strongman Comp Training Help


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Good afternoon Strongmen and Women,

I’m currently training for the Cain Classic competition that is to take place in Columbus, GA in May. However, I do not have access to actually train the events (Max Axle and Max Wagon Wheel Deadlift). For now, I use the 5/3/1 Program by Jim Wendler to increase my strength. On Saturdays, I’ll do an event day in which I try and simulate the events.
Does anyone have any exercises they would use that would help simulate the events as closely as possible? I’m in the process of ordering some Fat Gripz, but they won’t be here for another month to 1.5 months.
Thank you in advance


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Since it’s a 2-event show both for a max you don’t need to worry about it being so heavy you’ll zero - this is essentially a strongman push/pull power meet, which makes it easy incredibly easy to program. You can do either Men’s Open Middleweight (sub 220) or Novice Lightweight (sub 230). If you haven’t done a show or won a Novice show, I would recommend this. Somebody winning Open MDW is going to be pressing 250+.

Wagon Wheel deadlifts are virtually always from a bar height of 13”, compared to standard 9” in a power meet, so build some wooden blocks to take to the gym or stack some plates/bumpers under your loaded barbell’s plates to get you 3-4” off the floor. If these are not an option, pull from the same height off the pins in a power rack. Use straps pulling double-overhand, and use a deadlift bar if you have access to one as that’s what they will use if available.

For the max axle, you really need to acquire one if you want to train the continental clean. Titan Fitness is going to have Black Friday deals this week of at least 10% off and they always have Free Shipping. You could try a piece of pipe from the hardware store cut to the length of a barbell and same diameter, and clamp some rubber sleeves in place to mimick the position of where barbell sleeves end so plates sit in the right spots, but it may not hold up. We use this for a 70 year old lady in our crew, but it’s not being tested over 50lbs. The rest of us use a second-hand slightly bent 2” axle.

If you cannot acquire an axle, you either need to try to practice the Continental clean with a barbell (painful!) or build your powerclean strength as high as you can, because you can only try to press something as heavy as you can actually get up to the rack position in the first place. Use the fatgrips ideally here, but I have no idea how it will go. Worst worst case scenario, just build your powerclean on a barbell, work your grip, and hope it transfers enough to powercleaning the axle at comp. But cleaning a barbell and axle are NIGHT AND DAY.

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