Coach Defrancos Strongman Routine
read a great article the other day, off a great website....
www.defrancostraining.com - an absolute gem of a site, applies Westside methods in an understandable manner for athletes.
anyway here it is.
"Before we get into specific exercises and routines, I want to give you my Top 10 guidelines regarding the training for strongman competitions. They are just a start to get you headed in the right direction.
Always do some variation of the deadlift early in the week - preferably Monday. (Studies have shown that exercises performed earlier in the week make the best gains. So while everyone else in the gym is bench-pressing on Monday night, you'll be deadlifting.) Improving your deadlift strength should be your top priority. A lot of strongman events are "deadlift-based." Trap bar deadlifts, straight & thick bar deadlifts and partial deadlifts from the rack are all great choices. Since you've done some powerlifting in the past, it's important for you to know that the deadlift has much more carryover to strongman events - compared to the squat & bench.
Although we all love to bench press, don't spend a lot of your time benching. Your main pressing movement should usually be an overhead pressing variation. Standing dumbbell presses (single & double arm), standing overhead rack lockouts and push jerks are all great choices.
Start getting strong in "bottom position" movements. That is, initiate the movement from the bottom, where the lowering of the weight would have put you. Almost all of the strongman events require bottom position starting strength (car deadlift, stone lift, tire flipping, etc.) Suspended chain good mornings and bottom-position squats in the power rack will greatly improve this trait. (I will have a picture & description of suspended chain good mornings on my website soon.)
Work the "core" (abs & low-back) hard! A strong core will assist you in virtually every event. Make sure you train them with weight, also. 3 sets of 25 crunches doesn't have much carryover to the strongman events. Do weighted ab work, side bends, good mornings, reverse hyperextensions & regular hyperextensions.
Include some direct bicep work in your routine. This may sound like "vanity" work to an ex-powerlifter, but many strongman events require strong biceps.
Invest in a thick bar and do ALL of your barbell exercises with it. 1 3/4" - 2" thick bars are your best bet. I bought my thick bar at AtomicAthletic.com. They also sell heavy stones, farmers walk implements, logs and other strongman equipment.
I strongly suggest you do direct grip work 2X a week. If your grip sucks, you won't go far in strongman competitions.
Make sure you get out of "bodybuilder-mode". What I mean by this is don't do too many exercises each workout. Remember that strongman exercises expend a heck of a lot more energy than most "bodybuilding" exercises. If you try to do 9-12 different exercises per workout, you will overtrain before you can say, "Magnus ver Magneson".
Don't buy bodybuilding magazines anymore! If you have any, burn them. They are useless! You don't want them to persuade you and your training by giving you false information. Remember that although professional bodybuilders have more muscle than most other athletes, many of them can’t deadlift 2 wet socks!
Each strongman event is a "sport" in and of itself. To get good at each event, you must practice them! Your "weight room" workouts build your "foundational strength", but when you're getting ready for a contest, you must practice the events.
Just like an Olympic sprinter who lifts weights, yet can't neglect the intricacies of his event - his stance, start technique, running mechanics, etc. Each strongman event has a technique and you must practice it as well. This is the tough part.
Eventually, if you want to be great at this sport, you must purchase some strongman implements so you can practice the events as your contest approaches. (Entering an amateur contest is also a great way to practice technique and "talk shop" with more experienced strongman.) Performance of the actual events is also the best way to get in “strongman-shape”. Remember that it is not good enough to be big, strong and fat. Most strongman events have an endurance component to them.
So that is my "Top 10" guidelines for you to start. Below is a very general outline of a sample workout week. You don't have to follow it word for word. I wrote it for you so you can start getting into "strongman" mode. Keep me posted on your progress. I'll help you along the way with more specific advice as you gain more experience.
A. Deadlift variation - 5-8 sets, 1-3 reps
B. Overhead press variation - 4-5 sets, 6-12 reps
C. Row variation - 3-4 sets, 15-20 reps
D. Heavy weighted abs (4 sets of 6-10 reps)
A. Bottom-position squat in power rack - 4-7 sets, 1-3 reps
B. Reverse Hyperextensions or weighted hyperextensions - 4 sets of 15 reps
C. Towel chin-ups - 3 sets as many as possible
A. Hang clean & press - 3-6 sets, 3-5 reps
B. Thick bar bench press - 3-5 sets, 3-5 reps
C. Standing thick bar curls - 5 sets of 5 reps
D. Thick bar hold (overhand grip) - 3 sets of 60 seconds (as heavy as possible)
Be prepared to have everyone in the gym look at you funny! Remember that people fear what they do not know!