Weekly Training Structure for a Strongman
By Tom Hibbert
Principle 1: Never train more than 2 days in a row
Why? Strongman is a neural sport therefore ensuring adequate recovery is of paramount importance. Remember, in Strongman/woman, what you do in the gym has a direct effect on competition performance. It’s not like say a 100m sprinter where they have to also complete technical work alongside strength training.
So in essence, the better your performance in the gym, the better your performance in competition. A 3rd day in a row will simply lead to sub-par training which will lead to sub-par performance. It’s a question of quality over quantity.
Principle 2: Prioritize your weakness
Why? A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Balance between the predictor lifts will improve your performance more than becoming a one lift wonder.
*Principles are not rules. They’re not set in stone.
Taking Principle 1 & applying it to your week would give quite a few options. My preferred layouts are these:
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday
- Weekend Rest: Most people work Monday to Friday, so having your training set out like this still leaves you plenty of time for family activities, trips away. Yes strongman is important but having balance in your life even more so. In addition not being at work enables enhanced recovery due to less stressors and more time to used advanced recovery methods.
- 2 Days Complete Rest: Having 48 hours with no training I have found to have a huge effect on overall recovery enabling a higher output when returning to the gym on the Monday.
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday
- Saturday: Although I prefer the above option this option enables you to take advantage of doing a longer event session or even splitting the day into 2 sessions. Another advantage is the possibility of travelling to other gyms to train with stronger or simply like-minded individuals.
Taking Principle 1 & 2, let’s look at what we might prioritise on each day. The majority will do well & improve with this weekly layout:
Monday: Push Press
Tuesday: Lower 1 (Deadlift or Squat: whichever is the priority)
Thursday: Strict Press & Remedial
Friday: Lower 2 & Events (Opposite of Lower 1. If you did deadlift on Tuesday, then you squat here)
Benefits & other notes regarding this layout:
- Placing Push Press here means you will be performing the movement requiring the highest amount of co-ordination when you are fresh. Arguably this a full body day as you’ll be cleaning & pressing the Log/Axle/Dumbbell, not just pressing it.
- You’ll be fully recovered meaning no soreness in lower body, lower back which would then affect the performance of the lift negatively
- This day should not be neurally fatiguing or muscle damaging to the point you are sore or tired for the following day. If it is, I would assume technique limitations in the clean & push press.
- Knowing you have at least 24 hours complete rest before your strict press on Thursday, gives you the opportunity to crush deadlifts or squats. I highly recommend a second session in the PM if your schedule allows for it
- After the deadlift, the strict press is the most neurologically demanding movement you’re going to have. Hence the need for 24 hours rest before I recommend completing it.
- Remedials to add in include shoulder stabilisers & grip work.
- I don’t believe every Saturday needs to be a long events session. I prefer utilising 2 or even 3 small sessions within the day rather than the traditional 4-6 events session. Usually more talking than training is actually happening on these days anyway.
- Even if multiple sessions a day isn’t feasible, I would still complete this session in under 55 minutes after warm up
- Longer events sessions I would recommend no closer than 2 weeks out from competition, and at a frequency of every other week
Obviously your priority will change according to the upcoming competition events you have to prepare for, but this will give you a good few tips to help you adjust your own training.
Tom Hibbert owns a private strength & conditioning facility in the UK (Winning Health Solutions) & a Strength Coach/Personal Trainer Education company (Winning Performance). He is also a 3 x national Strongman Champion at u90kg.
Not only has he proved himself in the sport, but that of his clients as well. He can take a strongman from novice to the international stage, like with Aaron Page. He has taken other seasoned strongmen from obscurity to the same level, like Lee Forbister. With this success he has started to be sought out by many other competitors, most recently with Slovenia’s Strongest Man & WSM competitor Matjaz Belsak.
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