Starting Your Journey to Becoming a Strongman

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Those new to the sport of strongman may find themselves lost and confused when it comes to training. As we’ve already established, being gym-strong isn’t enough. A strongman needs to be a well-rounded athlete with speed, endurance and technique. With that in mind, a bodybuilding or powerlifting routine probably isn’t the best way to develop the skills you need to succeed.

The basics you must know: The following routine is designed as a basic guide or template for those new to the strongman sport. You’ll find that as you develop you’ll be able to set your own routine, allowing you to focus on weaknesses and work within your body’s own limits. Although complete novices to strength sports are welcome to try out this routine, please be aware that it involves relatively complex free-weight exercises and is somewhat reliant on the participant being aware of their base level of strength. This meaning, if you are not experienced in lifting heavy with free weights, this may cause injury or harm if you push yourself with bad techniques and form. If you’re literally brand new to training with lifting weights, we recommend you consider laying the foundations down first with a routine such as Starting Strength or Strong Lifts.

This weekly workout routine we have put together is a great one for muscle and strength gain, along with different exercises and different lifting techniques. This will help you build the strength, form and techniques that are needed to be able to perform some of the great strongman exercises. We have given you the reps and sets needed, but it is up to you to decide what weight load your body will need to hit fatigue. It is recommended to start with a medium load for your body and if you can lift more reps than shown within the workout, increase your weight load until you hit fatigue.

Day Exercise Week 1 Week 2 Week 3
Monday Squat 3 sets of 10 reps 5 sets of 5 reps 3 sets of 3 reps
Power Cleans 5 sets of 5 reps 5 sets of 3 reps 5 sets of 2 reps
Military Press 4 sets of 8 reps 5 reps of 5 reps 5 sets of 3 reps
Bent Over Rows

3 sets of 10 reps

Chin ups

3 sets to failure

Wednesday Deadlift 3 sets of 10 reps 5 sets of 5 reps 3 sets of 3 reps
Push Press 3 sets of 10 reps 5 sets of 5 reps 5 sets of 2 reps
Conditioning

30 mins eg. sprints, bounds, kettle bells, circuit training

Friday Front Squat 3 sets of 10 reps 5 sets of 5 reps 3 sets of 3 reps
Deficit or Speed Deadlift 5 sets of 5 reps 3 sets of 3 reps Repeat week 1
Bench Press 3 sets of 10 reps 5 reps of 5 reps 5 sets of 3 reps
Upper Body Assistance

two upper body assistance exercises

Core

10 minutes of core exercises

Saturday or Sunday Events

3-4 events with 3 working sets per event

 

The weekend event work is entirely at your discretion but may well depend on equipment availability and/or what your training partners are up to. If you don’t yet have access to strongman equipment, check out our make-shift strongman kit guide but remember that nothing is as substitute as the real thing!

Why to adopt this routine: As with most things in life, and especially in strength sports, the “best” training programme is a very subjective thing. The routine above is essentially a full-body workout, three times a week. Some may advocate splitting body parts similar to how bodybuilders train within their routines. That is okay, we are sure that will work too. However, we have a sneaking suspicion that many routines, including split muscle group routines, will lack the conditioning and different event work that is needed within a strongman’s training program.

As we have touched on above, many workouts will bring you a different variety of benefits such as; muscle gain, increased cardio, overall gain, increased flexibility, weight loss or increased definition. When looking to become a strongman, you cannot chase one certain benefit. Within a strongman competition such as the world’s strongest man for example, there are many different exercises that focus mainly on; strength, endurance, technique and form. Although it might seem like the strongest guy is going to win, this is not always the case due to these different exercises used within the sport.

This is why we have given this as the best example for new starters or other sports persons that have decided to have a go at the strongman sport. Because of the heavy loads and sometimes awkward positions that these loads need to be lifted in or even thrown in, a strongman must have the additional muscles to be able to hold his form while performing the exercise at hand. Using this example routine as a baseline, will help you to develop and build the certain muscle groups needed to be able to support your body and hold your stance while lifting such heavy weight. Also please note that if you are new to lifting weights, have an experienced gym user or if possible, a trainer within the gym, check your form and technique to make sure that you are lifting correctly. It is vital that your form and technique are good before trying to add mass amounts of weight.

The nutrition needed: Whilst training within the strongman sport, Brian Shaw stated that he would eat 10 scrambled eggs for breakfast and that’s only one of his six meals per day! The 6ft 8ins three-time WSM winner, tries to eat every two and a half hours and would eat a typical meal of high protein such as beef, almost a pound of beef in fact, accompanied by rice or pasta. This is the typical type of nutrition needed for a strongman competitor, obviously as a new-comer or someone who is new to this sport, their nutritional intake will not be half as close to this giant’s diet plan.

As the famous Bodybuilder Ronnie Coleman once said “Eat big, Lift big, Get big”. This mentality along with the extra food intake gave many followers a great example to follow and in turn they had great success within their sport. A similar rule applies when training to become a strongman. If you do not eat enough but are still training hard, how will you grow? The best advice given for those who are just starting is; train hard with a good routine and have an impeccable diet. Remember, your food is your fuel! Within the workout that we have provided along with a surplus calorie intake of a high good protein content, a high content of carbohydrates and some nutritional greens that are needed. You will be making incredible results within no time.

As we have just talked about, all training regimes require a solid diet. If you are lacking in protein and lucky enough to be based within the UK, check out our guide on buying high-quality, affordable protein. We will more than likely have some of our closely related companies that are near to you and will be able to provide the help that is needed.

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13 Comments

  1. How much rest and how Many sets and reps for the assistance exercises and 30 min circuit training

  2. Hi Ryan, we’ve tried not to be too prescriptive, its really up to you to choose exercises that work on any weaknesses or that you simply enjoy doing. Same with the circuit training – as long as it is working on your conditioning its all good!

  3. can you make a strongman training routine where there are things like farmers walk, atlas stone, keg toss, yoke and loading race?

  4. Rachel Ben Zaken Ewert on

    almost done with the first week, coming from a powerlifting 5×5 10 reps at a time feels heavy even with a lighter weight. Question/ Should you be increasing the weights weekly for the same exercises?

  5. I like it, but this really doesen’t say that much… 3 sets of 10, ok, what weight? How much do you increase to the 5×5 and then to 3×3? Should it be 10rm 5rm 3rm? 50%? 60%? 70%? 80%?