Preparing For Strongman Competitions - My Workout!

After reading the article on my last competition (Alki Beach/Washington State) I decided to put my workout program up for you to read and go over.

After reading the article on my last competition (Alki Beach/Washington State) I decided to put my workout program up for you to read and go over. As you'll see, I trained four days per week. I did this workout for the last weeks prior to the competition. Generally, like powerlifting meets, I do not train the week before the competition. So if the competition is on Saturday the 15th of the month, my last training day would be on either Friday or Saturday the 7th or 8th. This is to allow for as much physical and psychological rest and repair. This program though was the one I used for about 6 weeks prior to the competition. I design the workout for a competition depending on the events I will see at the competition. Again, strongman competitions are just like any other sport and you must train as specific as possible. To train for certain events, I not only practice the events I can with my own implements, but by mimicking the movements with weights in the weightroom. Such as:

Tire Flip: if you don't have a tire, go get one from your local tire store. It should be free, as it is damaged and that way they don't have to pay to dispose of it. As far as exercises, deadlifts, power cleans and narrow grip bench pressing to help with a powerful push at the top of the flip.

Farmer's Carry: This is about grip strength, upper back strength, trunk strength and some leg strength. As you can see, I did some DB shrugs with no straps. I would also do a DB hold, like I was doing shrugs, but I just hold the DB as long as possible. Lunges and step ups also help with the motion of walking with lots of weight.

Keg Toss: This deals with the triple extension-ankle, knee and hip. When it comes to this movement, nothing beats the Olympic lifts like the clean (hang or power) and snatch (barbell or DB, hang or power). You can see I did a lot of these on different days and times.

Log Press: I didn't have a log to train with at the time, so I did lots of shoulder pressing work with barbells, dumbbells and machines. Nothing beats the shoulder work of pressing or overhead jerks. I see so many people do lateral DB raises and wonder why they don't get shoulder growth. Try some pressing, if done correctly they're safe and the most effective shoulder exercise.

Loading Event/Truck Pull: There's nothing better than actually practicing this event by getting the implements and doing it. But, if you can't do this, than by using the same muscles mimic the movements. Supersetting shrugs with bicep curls, rows and the like all work pulling movements that you'll be doing.

The weights you may see are approximate and I didn't always follow the ones written. Mainly because for many of the lifts, I was concentrating on bar speed and not weight. So, if I was moving 225 pretty easy that day, I'd go a little heavier and vice versa. I did go a little heavier on deadlifts usually, 450 was the minimum. I figured this as ½ the weight of the tire we would have to flip. Since I thought about 1/2 the tire's weight is what is lifted for the event. This tire was a heavy one though, and I'm not sure if I went heavy enough on the deads. At the same time, talking to some of my fellow competitors, they mentioned deadlifting over 600 in workouts, and they got more regulated than I did by this event. So, as you can see it's just as much experience flipping a tire and cardiovascular conditioning as it is full body and grip strength. Success at the tire flip can also be learned in my next article-TRAINING FOR THE EVENTS.

Body Weight: I did more cardio than usual for this event because I wanted my body fat to be lower because there was so much movement involved in the events. Like many of the recent strength events you see, agility and rapid movements are more common than before. So, getting lighter and maintaining strength is the goal of most strength athletes today. Doing my cardio after a workout, allowed me to have to do it in a pre-fatigued state and would require more fat use and more mental toughness when all I wanted to do was go home. And guzzle the protein shakes!

Day One

  1. Deadlift - 450 - 10x2 Superset w/Bench Machine - 10x4 - Fast
  2. Shrug Pulls - 275 - 4x3 Superset w/Squat Press - 4x8 - Stack
  3. Carry Hold - 3x max w/200+db. Superset w/BB Curl - Heavy
  4. Seated Shoulder Press - 5x2 w/135-165lbs? Superset w/Front DB Raise - 5x5 - Heavy
  5. Weighted Abs and Back Extensions

Day Two

  1. Hang Snatch - 3x3 w/135, 2x2 w/155, 4x1 w/185 Superset w/Calf Raises 9x4 - Heavy
  2. Seated Shoulder Press - 7x8 - 115+ Superset w/New shldr Machine - 7x3 Heavy
  3. DB Shrugs - Drop Sets - 4x Max - 200 and below Superset w/Low Row Machine - 4x20 w/stack
  4. Db Curls - 5x5 - Heavy Superset w/California Press - 5x10
  5. Rear Delt Cable Extension - 3 drop sets Superset w/DB Upright row - 3 drop sets - Heavy

Day Three

  1. ½ Squats - Max Single
  2. Power Cleans - 6x1 w/225 Superset w/Leg Curls - 6x6
  3. Barbell Step Ups - 4x8 w/385 Superset w/Calf Raises - 4x15
  4. Barbell Lunges - 5x4 w/135 + Superset w/Leg Extensions - 5x4

Day Four

  1. Narrow Grip Incline - 6x2-speed Superset w/Lat Db Raise - 6x5
  2. Split Jerk - 4x2 - 185-225lbs Superset w/Std Calf Raise - 4x20
  3. Preacher Curls - 5x8 Superset w/Rev Grip Curls - 5x10 - Light
  4. Cardio - 12 minutes
  5. Abs - Weighted

Keep training and educating yourself on what's right for you. If you aren't seeing results, please get a certified and qualified trainer and stop wasting your valuable time! Please email me with questions at:

Train hard!