If you think the World’s Strongest Man contest is a relatively new phenomenon, you’re a few centuries behind. Strongman competitions go back to the days of kilts and cavemen. If you’ve ever watched recent WSM events, you know they’re based on proving strength by moving heavy objects—in events like Tire Flips, Atlas Stones and Farmer’s Walks.
All athletes benefit from getting stronger; and the secret to getting stronger is lifting progressively heavier weight to develop the triple extension of your ankles, knees and hips. Think about it. Whenever you jump, run or lift, you use a triple extension. Using free weights develops strength, but when combined with full body movements, they develop even more power. (See STACK videos of Pro Athletes’ Strongman Training.)
Below are some strongman exercises and their weight room complements. They will benefit any athlete looking to develop strength. With all of the exercises, train with proper technique and correct posture, and use weight that is challenging but not too heavy. Perform these exercises no more than once a week.
Develops grip strength; works the abs, legs and core; and challenges you anaerobically.
Attempt 3 to 5 reps
Hold a set of heavy dumbbells at sides, palms facing hips, and walk a set distance. Aim for 15 yards, then turn around; keep walking until you can no longer hold on to the weight. Maintain an upright posture, and focus your eyes forward as you feel the burn.
A great total body move.
Lift with your legs and arms. Think of pushing off the ground. Start by attempting to flip a heavy tire for about 30 seconds.
Another great overall move for the arms, legs and core.
Attach a heavy rope to a tire. Sit on the ground in a V-position. Pull the tire using your arms and legs in a rowing motion.
Focuses on your arms, back, legs and core.
Although the Strongman event requires cement balls of various weights, you can use sandbags, medicine balls or even stacked 45-pound plates. When performing the exercise, think Deadlift technique: grab the weight close to your body and explode up.
Great for training everything, especially legs, core, back and arms.
Perform 3 to 4 sets of 5 reps
Grab a sandbag; assume the front squat position and explode upward while pressing your arms skyward.