Training Tips for Becoming a Strongman

By Jonathan Bales , last updated December 9, 2011

Becoming a strongman is no easy task, especially with so many misconceptions out there regarding how to gain strength. Contrary to what most people believe, bodybuilding and strength training are not the same. Bodybuilding places an emphasis on growing muscle, and this is not necessarily accomplished through lifting as much weight as possible. Those training for strength, however, simply want to lift as much weight as possible as many times as possible. While these individuals often get larger in the process, their goal is to lift a lot of weight, not look the best they can. Thus, the exercise routines used to become a strongman are actually wildly different for those to become a bodybuilder. Read on for more tips on how to train to become a strongman.

Find New Exercises

Bicep curls, tricep extensions, calf raises, and so on might be great for developing an esthetically pleasing physique, but they will not help you much in a strongman competition. Strongmen need to lift as much weight as possible, and this gets accomplished by using full-body exercises in one's workout routine. The bench press, barbell squat, deadlift, and so on should be the core of any strongman workout.

Depending on the manner in which a strongman competition is set up, one's training might be a little different. If you are training for a weight lifting competition, you can stick to weights (duh). Many strongman competitions use untraditional exercises to test strength, such as lifting large rocks, truck pulls, and so on. If this is the case for you, you should find a way to train in a way that is as close to the actual competition as possible. The only way to completely develop the muscles needed to lift large stones, for example, is to actually perform the task.

Lift Heavy Weights

This might seem obvious, but you would be surprised how many people lift weight they can do eight, 10, 12, or even more times. Your goal is not to build muscle, but rather lift as much weight as you can. Thus, strongmen should stick to exercises with reps of as low as one and no higher than about six. This might seem low, but the only way to really gain strength is to lift heavy weight. Do not go overboard, however, as you never want to sacrifice health for weight. It does not matter how much weight you can lift if you injure yourself and are out from an extended period of time.

Eat, eat, eat!

This is far and away the most overlooked part of becoming a strongman. You cannot gain weight unless you take in more calories than you burn, and gaining weight is a natural part of becoming strong. You do not want to go too far, but extra bodyweight will generally help you lift heavier. Do not be afraid to eat what you think might be a little "too much," because chances are it will help you in the long run. If winning a strongman competition is really your goal, you may need to sacrifice looks a little in order to gain weight, allowing you to lift very heavy weights.

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