We’ve all heard about Strongman, and we stumbled across clips of World’s Strongest Man watching how these guys lift or push massive weights such as tires, rocks, or even cars. Strongman are different from bodybuilders. Although both involve gaining muscle, strongman is different as it involves an incredible type of training that builds up crazy strength.
What Exactly Is Strongman?
Strongman is a sport where athletes demonstrate their strength by using non-standard equipment. Instead of using Olympic-grade barbells, you’re more likely to find everyday stuff such as stones, sandbags, chains, tires, rocks, or others. That’s simply because of their size and shape, those items are more challenging to manage. Instead of regular reps with a barbell with plates, they move those irregular items for reps, distance, and speed.
Moreover, those are heavy-weight items. And the use of such irregular heavy-weight items makes Strongman such a unique strength sport. Unlike bodybuilders who need to display every muscle fiber as visible as possible, bodybuilders need to handle weights as easily as possible. They are using maximal force while also testing strength, agility, and capacity. Moreover, timing in such events is very important too. For example, athletes need to move heavy things as quickly as they can or for as many reps as they can in a set amount of time. They are both strength and endurance events.
How To Train For Strongman?
Strongman trains usually offer real-world usefulness. They use a combination of movements like pushing, pulling, and pressing. They will help build strength, cardio, and endurance and offer skills that’ll benefit in everyday life. For example, it’ll help you understand how to grab, bend, and lift things correctly without injuries. In short – you can easily move the couch by yourself.
Typical exercises for Strongman training include:
- Giant tire flipping
- Metal log overhead press
- Overloaded single-arm dumbbell press
- Farmers walk
- Distance walking or running with stones or kegs
It is oriented toward building strength and endurance, with lots of muscle-focused activities. Strongman is also usually a great transition into powerlifting. Also, it can be an easy way to move into bodybuilding considering you’re already building a great amount of core strength, muscle mass, and some definition.
Strongmen Training Benefits
- Focuses on strength, power, and endurance
- Transference to the real world
- Ideal for functional movement pattern
- Helps prevent injury by avoiding overcompensation and weak muscle relationship
- A great foundation for moving into other strength and muscle-oriented sports
Strongmen vs Powerlifting
Most people train for bodybuilding or powerlifting rather than strongman. However, as said, Strongman is an excellent foundation for moving into other sports like powerlifting or bodybuilding.
The difference is that powerlifting is focusing on three main exercises: deadlifts, bench press, and squats. The only goal of powerlifting is to lift as much weight as it is physically possible. Strongman, on the other hand, focuses on strength and endurance, while involving more real-life objects. Powerlifting is about progressive overload, constantly pushing your limits and performance to lift more and increase your strength gains.
Powerlifting doesn’t usually care about muscle definition or endurance. They only focus on raw strength and power.
- Tip: it is much easier to train for powerlifting or bodybuilding because most gyms have the equipment you need to train. But it’s very unlikely your local gym has massive rocks or tires or other stuff for strongmen. As said, strongman focuses on lifting and pulling real-world objects, increasing endurance as well. They’ll leave you with amazing benefits for everyday life.
Strongman For Beginners
It’s important to understand that strongman is for everyone. You don’t have to be a real-life Hulk to start training for this sport. It involves male/female divisions, weight classes, and various level classes such as novice, advanced, and master. If you want to get into competition, there are two main Strongman federations in the US. That’s United States Strongman (USS) and North American Strongman Corporation (NAS).
A typical Strongman competition will have 4 to 5 events, with a combination of:
- Pulling events like a deadlift, sled drag, or truck pull
- Loading events such as adding objects like atlas stones, sandbags, and others to a platform
- Overhead press variants like log press, Viking press, axle clean, and press
- Throwing events like weight over bar, keg toss
- Carrying events such as farmers’ walks, sandbag carry, and other objects
There are different ways to prepare for it including press, bench, squat, deadlifts, rack pull, axle push bench, and others. But you’ll need to find gyms or locations that’ll allow you to train for Strongman involving various equipment.
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