Watching historic strongmen like Bill Kazmaier and Magnus Ver Magnusson can leave mere mortals in awe of the brute strength of these competitors. Along with impressive physiques, strongmen competitors also have incredible levels of conditioning. Don’t believe it? Try lifting a heavy log over your head as many times as possible in 75 seconds, or holding 250+ lbs. in each hand and walking as fast as possible down a football field. Combine that with a grueling schedule of seven events testing strength, stamina and endurance, and you get some extremely fit competitors.
But look, we get it: The average dude has about the same chance of hauling a Peterbilt down the block as he does of out-quarterbacking Tom Brady—or knocking out Ivan Drago, for that matter. So here are seven ways to implement basic strongman techniques into your training. The payoffs? You’ll build brute strength, improve your functional mobility, and bust through plateaus like never before.
1. Carry Heavy Objects
Events like the farmer’s walk and power stairs force competitors to grab extremely heavy objects and carry/climb/hoist them over a long distance. This builds core strength, rock-hard forearms, and a formidable grip. Replicate this in your training by carrying heavy dumbbells for 50-75m—so, across the gym and back—before setting them down. Farmer’s walks are the most popular, but mix up the carrying position to include overhead and a sumo carry between the legs to maximize gains.
2. Pull and Push
Competitors in the World’s Strongest Man often have to pull an airplane or a truck down a runway. But give your poor Honda a rest and try using a sled or just a set of heavy plates and a large rope. Link the two together and pull for 75-100m to build impressive total body strength and conditioning.
3. Practice Lifts Frequently
Strongman competitors frequently go through events they want to improve each week. Similarly, include lifts you want to get better at multiple times within a week’s worth of workouts. Each session doesn’t need to be heavy, but frequently performing the move will help improve form and build a familiarity with the exercise.
4. Lift Different Objects
Strongman competitors build strength in the gym, but they also build it outside the confines of barbells and dumbbells by lifting objects like Atlas stones, tires, and even trucks. Skip the F-150, but try your strength on objects like truck tires and sand bags, since they offer a different challenge with their unique shape and size.
5. Build Explosiveness
Events like the keg toss and truck pull challenge not only brute strength but also explosiveness. Incorporate power moves like the clean and jerk and snatch into your workouts to build total body explosiveness and watch your strength increase as well.
6. Combine Strength and Cardio Training
Load up some heavy barbells for total body movements and then move quickly between them to get the best of strength and cardio at the same time rather than separating the two.
7. Stick to the Basics
Sure, strongman competitors lift odd objects and extremely heavy weight, but the majority of events are founded on the basics: squat, deadlift, and press. Make these the foundation of your training and load them heavy for maximal gains in strength.