Training For Strongman Events Part Two!

Full details on how to get ready for the individual events and how to win them! Pictures included...

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

So, from part 1 we now know what most of the events are in strongman competitions. Now the important thing to remember is that any promoter can change an event's style and rules at any time. Therefore when you're looking up the specifics for the competition you plan to do, check with the promoter to see:

1. Exactly how each event will be handled and judged.

2. What kind of surface each event will be on (grass, pavement, sand).

3. What equipment will be allowed for each event (often times footwear can vary, shorts vs. pants, wrist/elbow/knee/ankle wraps, chalk/tacky, powerlifting-type suits all depend on the promoter. In general, straps are unlikely to be allowed depending on the event as grip is such a tested variable).

4. How many competitors will there be? This helps you know around how much time you'll have between events.

5. Will there be food/drinks provided? (This is something that people often overlook - competition day eating - check for an article on that topic coming up.)

Ok, going by event, I'm now going to discuss different ways to prepare for each event by using the implement itself or with common weight room equipment.

Farmer's Walk - Muscles used-> upper/low back, quads, grip, shoulders.

Check with your local welder and see if they can build implements like those you'll be using during the event. You must train like you plan on competing. There is a difference in the cylinders/tubes carried during the event and dumbbells. However, if you don't have the $$ or time, use the next best thing. Find out the distance you'll have to travel so you can mimic that exact event at home.

By looking at this event being done, the common movement it looks like is the standing DB Shrug, so this is a great exercise to help performance at this event. Don't use straps unless you'll be using them in the competition. A variation I often use is lift the dumbbells and let them hang at arms length to your sides. Then shrug them as high as you can, trying to touch your ears. Hold this top position for as long as possible. Keep track of how long you can hold in this position then try to improve on that time each time. There's a piece of equipment called a "Trap Bar" which is shaped like a diamond and is used to do shrugs. This is another way of doing shrugs and preparing for the event. You can also do heavy deadlifts with this bar to mimic the feeling of lifting the two implements at the beginning of the event. Think of the event in 3 phases: lift the implements, walk with the implements, finish the distance as fast as possible.

So, working on your strength is taken care of with the exercises mentioned above. Walking with 400+lbs is no joy either. Remember, not only are you deadlifting 400+lbs, but you're moving as fast as possible with that weight on potentially uneven ground. The feeling is similar to walking lunges. The quads start to fatigue along with the forearms. So, while working on holding heavy weight, also walking in a start:stop fashion will allow the body to prepare for accelerating then decelerating with weight. When it comes to grip, there are a few little tricks that can be done to help that strong grip perform. The first is called the hook grip. Brad Gillingham ( made this popular by deadlifting over 700lbs with a matched grip (both hands overhand gripped). Grab the dumbbells/bar like you normally do in an overhand fashion. Then, hold the tip of the index finger with the thumb that is wrapping around the bar/pipe/DB. This hurts like a b