Most strongman training is now very regimented. People have had the sense to pay a coach to program their sessions to follow a path to success — or at least consistent gains. Back in 2004 when I began training the sport, it was very young, and the territory of training was unexplored. There were only a handful of us with full time access to equipment, and Ben Hanson and I may have been the only people writing about it on the internet. (We shared a blog called Chasing Kaz, that is — thankfully — no longer available. It was a side project of author Tucker Max, and our work was edited and had its own site! Very rare back then.) YouTube was just coming online, and the forum at MarundeMuscle.com was where 99% of all strongman information was exchanged.
There was a different feel to the sport a decade ado. A legitimate atmosphere of crazy hung in the air, especially on event days or in contests. Guys were throwing washing machines for distance. A 300 pound Jesse Marunde climbed a ladder with a 250 pound stone on his shoulder (so he could drop it on a TV set), and whatever else could be concocted would be videotaped, converted to digital, then slowly uploaded to show off our dedication to getting radical with insane weights. It was an ever escalating level of who would get crazier with their events training was kind of a thing and honestly, I miss it.
It brought an element of fun to Saturdays, but it did something more important. We tested and found our limits.
Disclaimer: The training ideas I’m about to present to you are neither completely safe or sane.
This is best with a large chain rather than a sled, but not everyone has access to a 700lb piece of boat mooring. Take the heavy drag weight and begin to pull it around a large fixed area. We used the strip mall where our gym was located. Run a time clock and don’t stop until the finish line is crossed. Times were around ten minutes…. Of constant pulling. If you think you’ve got a strong posterior chain, this will confirm if it’s a myth.
Bottomless Cup of Tire Flips
This is simple: Take the heaviest tire and put one guy on their own team and two three or four guys on the other. The single takes every other flip while the the group team takes turns. The goal is for the single to outlast the group. This can go on a while and was brutal when performed.
Andy Decks Prowler Mile
105kg Pro Andy Deck does one of the worst things on the planet. He puts 160 pounds on a push sled and proceeds to take it a mile. Down and back, down and back, down and back. It not only pushes the body to the limits but it tests the ability to stick with something seemingly impossible.
Strongman Contest in a WOD
I had an idea to put a strongman contest together and do it all at once; hence the name of this workout. I’ve posted this on my personal site and I’ve only had one other person follow through with the weights listed. I love this workout, as it tests the big three skills in strongman; the press, the deadlift and the load.
The concept is simple: As quickly as possible, do 10 overhead presses (240 lbs), 5 deadlifts (460 lbs), and 10 stone loads (250 lbs). It may seem like the weights are slightly light for a competitive strongman, but add all of that together, and demon fire burns in every single part of your body. These were the weights I used walking around at 250 pounds so make adjustments based on your weight class.
The challenges above aren’t for everyone, and they’re nothing to be taken lightly. But they do encourage us to get creative with training and find something that pushes your group’s limits. Put together a medley based on everyone’s worst events or things people generally dislike. Do some farmers walks up an incline or break out a chain yoke and go for a walk. Step away from the program when you’ve got some free time and get creative.
Maybe even have a beer or two afterwards, your nutritional programmer doesn’t need to know about it.
Editors note: This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein and in the video are the authors and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BarBend. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced exclusively by the author.
Featured image: Michele Wozniak