Bulk Nutrients Ambassador, powerlifter and Strongman Dave Napper is here to give us the lowdown on everything strongman and how it can completely change your weights game.
What actually is a Strongman Workout?
Strongman is the name given to the unique sport of strength athletics that encompasses elements of mental and physical strength, speed, endurance and 'heart'. The advantage of training using strongman movements, is the wide variety of challenging exercises you are required to perform, that are often much more demanding than standard, static barbell exercises. Strongman workouts are also a functional style of training which incorporates primal movements and very heavy weights, which makes it unlike any other kind of weight-based training.
So what are the benefits of adding this to your workout routine?
Strongman workouts are not like usual weight lifting workouts and therefore works muscles that you wouldn’t usually. These workouts will al so target different kinds of muscles and help improve your strength in the gym and in day-to-day life due to their functional style. It also puts a large focus on very heavy weights and short sets, which makes it great for the time poor (which let’s be honest, who isn’t?). Strongman is also a great way to keep your weights routine exciting and help you improve strength in areas you wouldn’t usually focus on.
To get you started Dave has put together his top five strongman exercises that you should start including into your workout:
The yoke is a piece of equipment that you place on your traps / upper back like a squat, then pick up and go for a walk. The goal is to lift the heaviest yoke possible and walk for lengths of 10-20m. Repeat until your body is toast!
2. The Log
The log is an iconic strongman event that sees you pick up a round piece of equipment from the floor and press it overhead. The diameter of the log adds to the challenge making this very different and more difficult than using a bar bell.
This is a deadlift variation that sees you lift the weight from approximately 10cm higher than usual, thanks to the large wheels on either side of the bar. Given the decreased range of motion, most people are able to lift more weight. For those without wagon wheels, try performing rack pulls or block pulls with the bar 33cm from the floor.
4. Farmer’s Walk
One of the simplest but most challenging strongman exercises, the farmers walk. This sees you pick up a heavy weight i n each hand then walk for a distance, usually 10 - 20m, for the ultimate test of grip strength. For those without farmers handles available for training I would suggest using a trap bar which will enable much heavier weights to be loaded than carrying kettle bells or dumbbells. Given this is a grip event, no straps allowed!
5. Atlas Stones
Without a doubt, I consider this to be the most famous of strongman exercises. All that is required is to pick up a round concrete ball (atlas stone) and load it to a platform or over a cross beam. As stones get heavier their diameter increases which also adds to the challenge of this demanding exercise. For those without access to stones, try using heavy dead balls and lift them to your shoulder.