Strength Coach Mark Philippi Explains Benefits Of Strongman Training!

Mark is an outstanding strength coach and has trained many athletes. Find out more about the great benefits of strongman training from this interview.

Most of you know who Mark Philippi is and even if the name does not ring a bell at first, if you have ever watched a strongman training competition on ESPN in the last seven years you have seen this strongman bad @ss in action.

Mark has been a fixture on ESPN's Worlds Strongest Man contest, competing for seven years, making the finals twice and finishing 7th in 1997 after winning the America's Strongest Man title that year.

Mark has traveled the world competing against the best strength athletes on almost every continent. Before competing on the professional strongman circuit, Mark was a National and World powerlifting champion (1996).

Mark is the President and Co-owner with his wife, Tracey, of Philippi Sports Institute Las Vegas, Nevada. PSI is a 9000 ft training facility with a staff of performance coaches, physiotherapy personnel, and scientific consulting team who's mission is to help athletes of all ages and sports achieve their goals in the areas of athletic performance, fitness, diet and conditioning.

In addition to being an incredible athlete, Mark ,unlike many athletes, is an outstanding coach and instructor. Numerous world class athletes such as MLB Star Jason Giambi of the NY Yankees have traveled across the country to learn from Mark. Here is what Jason had to say about working with Mark:

"I am a power hitter. I need to be strong. Mark is an expert at developing strength and power. He had me ready for the season." -Jason Giambi, New York Yankees

[ Mike Mahler ] How did you get into strongman competitions?

[ Mark Philippi ]

      I had to try out at the World Muscle Power championships in Scotland-in 1997. I had won Powerlifting Nationals and World's in the old ADFPA now USA Powerlifting in 1996. I wanted to see how I would fare against the Strongest Men in the World.

I had a contact in Ed Coan. He made a call to the individual (Doug Edmunds) who ran strongman across Europe at the time. He invited me over for a 2-day competition against some of the best strongmen in the world at the time and I finished second in my first major competition.

From there I would receive many more invites to major competitions and ultimately would win America's Strongest Man in 1997 and my first of seven invitations to World's Strongest Man Show.

[ MM ] How can the average person benefit from strongman type training?

[ MP ]

      The average person can benefit due to the functionality of the event type training. The events are mirror movements of everyday life. Lifting, carrying gripping, dragging, and pushing movements happen on a daily basis. Getting stronger in strongman events will help you with everyday tasks.

Frank Mir Seeks To Add Strength With Mark Philippi
Frank Mir was looking for a way to increase his strength. Who better to turn to than Mark Philippi, a seven-time World's Strongest Man participant. Frank has been training with Mark now since the summer of 2009. Because of his training with Mark, Mir came into UFC 107 at an in shape 265 pounds.

What does this mean for UFC 111? Frank Mir will be squaring off against Shane Carwin. Frank Mir has more total wins that Shane at 13 to 11. However Carwin currently stands undefeated in all 11 of his fights. Could Mir's new size give him the edge he needs aginst Carwin?

[ MM ] What nutrition supplements are worth taking if any?

[ MP ]

      for growth hormone secretion, I also like a few products from Bodywise that help with performance and recovery (Supercell and their workout formula). I only use products that I believe will help me. Most do not.

[ MM ] What does your own workout look like right now?

[ MP ]

      I just finished a


      so I am lifting a little lighter and higher volume right now. I am only doing a few events a year do to time/work commitments. I am getting older so I have to rest a little more and pick and chose my heavy days when I feel mentally and physically capable of putting forth the effort required to improve my best training numbers.

When training for a contest I usually train 4 to 5 times a week. Short workouts during the week focusing on one or two main areas of strength and a longer event training session on Saturday. I am not as systematic at planning my training sessions, as I was earlier in my career and when I was powerlifting.

[ MM ] What kind of people are you working with now at your facility?

[ MP ]

      I work with all types of athletes. Ages 10 to professional. From all types of sporting events from


      to skating to pistol shooting. Anyone who wants to improve athleticism.

[ MM ] Is your training system for serious athletes only or can the everyday person benefit as well?

[ MP ]

      I have workouts for anyone who wants to improve themselves, both athletes and non-athletes. You just need to be serious about getting better, whatever that is.

"You determine the effort, God will determine the outcome"


[ MM ] I noticed that you have kettlebells at your facility. What do you and your athletes do with them and what is your take on kettlebells in general?

[ MP ]

      We use kettlebells as a tool in total program much like any other piece of equipment. They provide variety. Any time you change the equipment or movement you provide a new stimulus for the body to adapt. We primarily use them for hip extension type exercises. (i.e. swings). We use them a lot for conditioning, work capacity and in our

fat burning


Do you primarily use compound exercises for strength and size training or do isolation exercises have a place as well? Should trainees have a base with compound exercises first before adding in isolation exercises or should both be used early on?

We primarily train movements first and muscles secondarily. You get the most bang for your buck with compound movements. We are concerned about workout efficiency and we train a lot of athletes so we focus on movement patterns that take place in athletics. (i.e. stealing terminology from others). Hip extension (both single and double leg), hip and leg push (both single and double leg), presses and variations, pull-ups/chin-ups, etc. Our isolated movements, when we do them come towards the end of the workout.

To learn more about Mark and his outstanding training facility, go to: