Strongman without the kit

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We’d like to think Strongman is an ever-growing sport but we’re very aware that the host of “necessary” equipment can put a lot of budding strongmen off. This feature aims to provide you with ways to train strongman events that don’t require expensive kit.

Atlas Stones

One of the most common of strongman events yet, oddly, not everyone has access to a huge concrete ball! The good news is there is an alternative and it involves the much more common barbell. These chaps on youtube explain the whole process far more coherently than we ever could:

If you think you’ll get shouted at for taking all the barbells apart there is still hope. Although nothing will compare to actually getting hands on with the stones, these lifts are generally accepted to be good assistance exercises:

  • Power Cleans
  • Stiff Legged Deadlift
  • Front Squats

Farmer’s Walk

These are quite easy to mimic. The simplest option is to use a pair of heavy dumbbells. Once you’ve outgrown the heaviest pair in your gym  you can consider using two barbells (one in each hand). You’ll find balance an absolute pain in the arse but it’s all good practice for an actual farmer’s walk.

Anything that’ll help your grip is good assistance:

  • Bin the straps for deadlift – train your grip instead
  • Dead hangs
  • Plate pinches


Yoke’s a tough one to emulate. Although you could try charging about with a loaded barbell on your back it’s likely to end badly! Instead, we recommend strengthening your core so that when you do get a go with the equipment you’ll be able to keep up with the competition.

  • Beltless squats/deadlifts
  • Planks

Log Press

This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise – strict and push press on a barbell are probably the best assistance exercises. If you’ve never used a log before don’t expect to lift what you can on a barbell with a log on your first go. The circumference of the log makes it difficult to position, requiring you to lean much further back before pressing overhead.

Conan’s Wheel

Unfortunately this one requires another piece of strongman kit – the yoke. Adjust it to a much lower pickup and proceed to lift it as if its a conan’s wheel. Off you go!

Keg Toss

Keg Toss

Kegs are relatively straightforward to get hold of – plead with your local drinking establishment and you’re likely to have some success. Once acquired just chuck it about in a field somewhere! You can add water, sand or cement to make it as heavy as required. If your local pub isn’t very accommodating, or you don’t have an empty field to throw stuff about in, then its time for some more assistance exercises. Anything and everything that aids your explosiveness will carryover to the keg toss; that means power cleans, speed pulls and plyometrics.


Got any tips or tricks that we haven’t mentioned? Educate your strongmen brethren by commenting below.