Strongman Supplementary Training Exercises

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Strongman Supplementary Training Exercises

Postby Canuck Singh » Tue Feb 03, 2009 4:48 pm

Supplementary Strength Training - for Strongmen
* Warning: These are advanced exercises and should only be trained if you have appropriate experience, supervision, or coaching

Ab Rotations
Use a cable attached to a weight stack at chest height. (Note: you can also use tubing secured to a stationary object.) Stand next to the weight stack and line your shoulders up to it. This puts your face at a right angle to the stack. Grasp the cable handle and step arms length away. With legs shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent, extend your arms in front of you and rotate your torso. Really use your abdominal muscles to work against the resistance. Work from left to right for a given rep count and then do the same number of reps from right to left, meaning you'll need to face the opposite direction.

To give you a better idea of the movement pattern, simply stand with your arms out in front of you and rotate all the way to your left. Now rotate back towards your right. Your hands moving through space will form a semi-circle. You can also do these using only one hand.

Alternating Dumbbell Bench Press
Start by pressing both dumbbells up. Lower the right one and leave the left on "hold" in the air. Press the right dumbbell back up. Now, lower the left with the right still holding and press the left.

Alternating Dumbbell Upright Rows
As above, Pull the other up, hold and lower the first. If you are prone to getting shoulder impingement, avoid this until you strengthen your scapular muscles.

Barbell Row Variations
i., traditional movement where I get the bar into position and then bend at the waist until I'm parallel to the ground. From here I just use my upper back and arms to pull the bar up. I try not to use any lower body.
ii. is just like the above except that I use my legs and lower back to help drive the weight up.
iii. power row. I set up like a clean pull and I then explode off the ground and finish in the top position of a barbell row.

Clean Pulls
Set up like a deadlift, except use an overhand grip (instead of a mixed grip) and keep your hips lower. Pull the bar past your knees and at the lower third of the thigh move your knees and hips forward. Extend explosively into a top shrug position.

Cheat Curls
Work on using your legs, hips, and lower back to help curl a heavy barbell. This mimics many of the movement patterns in a strongman events. I often use a triceps bar (parallel grip) to simulate the logs used in competition.

Clean Holds or Barbell Holds
As an early preparatory exercise for Farmer's Walks, I used this to increase my grip strength. Holding something in front of your thighs is harder than when your hands are at your sides, so grab a barbell using a regular grip. Deadlift it from a rack or the floor, lock out, and hold for 60 seconds. Do this in front of a mirror and count how many shades of red your face turns! This is also a great forearm exercise and can help you ditch your lifting straps by strengthening your grip.

Explosive Good Mornings
Unrack a barbell like you're going to do a high bar back squat. Arch your back and bend forward. You can do these with a close stance or a wide stance. Likewise, you can keep your legs straight or bend your knees. These factors will influence how heavy you can go, so use your head and start out light. Bend forward until parallel with the ground or slightly below. Explode to the starting position.

Farmer's Walk
Grasp a heavy object in each hand and walk — that's it. Since the grip width, implement diameter, and weight vary from competition to competition, I practice with a wide variety of equipment. Heavy dumbbells, however, should work well for you if you've never tried these. I like to walk a 100-foot course and then come back.
Tips: Start with your wrists flexed. As you lift the weights off the ground, they'll straighten your wrists out. Also, make sure you're balanced before trying to walk fast with the weight.

One Arm Rear Reaches

Use either tubing or a weight stack and cable setup. Face the base, extend your arm overhead, and pull the tubing or handle behind you. Emphasize your shoulder blade pulling and the arm just going along for the ride.

One-Legged Anterior Reaches
This is an abdominal movement. Face away from some tubing or a weight stack. Grab the tubing/handle and extend your arms overhead, then balance yourself on one leg. With your arms extended overhead, use your abdominal muscles to flex your trunk forward. Keep your arms in the same plane as your torso and don't allow your shoulders and arms to do all the work.

Rope Pull Ups
These bad boys not only work your arms and back like normal pull ups, they also help you make rapid gains in grip strength. We do these with thick jute rope you can get at a boating supply store.

Push Presses
Set up like you're going to do standing barbell presses. Let the bar rest on your clavicles. Bend your knees slightly and extend them explosively while pushing the bar overhead. Use the momentum from your legs to drive the bar to lockout.

Step Ups
Set up like you're going to back squat. Step up to a platform with your right leg. Step down from the platform with the opposite leg (so your left leg will touch the ground first on the way down). Repeat using the opposite leg (left up, right down). I use all kinds of heights and movement speeds. I generally use a height of about 20 inches, but this can change depending on my specific needs.

Wall Marches
This will get some stares from people in the gym. Walk over to a wall and just start pushing on that sucker like you're trying to push your pick-up out of the mud. If you're on a low carb diet, pretend there's a big carrot cake waiting for you on the other side. I do this for 30 seconds, but every five seconds my training partner yells out and I switch my front and back feet. This really helps the start of the truck push in competition.

Wood Chops
Set up in between two pulley stacks like you're going to do cable crossovers. Grab a handle from only one side with both hands. With the arms overhead, move diagonally across your body to the opposite foot. You'll be simulating chopping wood, hence the name. Switch and do the other side after each set. You should feel this in muscles all across your midsection.
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