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How I Trained To Get To Worlds Strongest Man By Colm Woulfe Pt 1

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Train like the Wolfman by Colm Woulfe 

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When it comes to strongman training there are two main templates that I use. What I call an offseason block and a comp prep block, each for 6 weeks. In strongman it might seem counter intuitive to not be training the events hard year round, however switching the focus of volume and intensity between the strongman events and barbell compound lifts is a much better method, allowing us to peak for strongman competitions more efficiently. The main barbell compound lifts tend to be more efficient at building muscle and strength but we must train the events to perform well in competition. There is also one other template I use which when I have multiple competitions, usually a month or less apart in succession.

Offseason block  

As a heavyweight competitor with the goal of one day competing at the pro level my offseason blocks have always focused on improving my raw static strength. As the saying goes you must walk before you can run and when evaluating my strengths I knew I would need a much higher level of raw strength to just lift up a 500kg/1100lb yoke or 182.5kg/400lb farmers walk let alone move quickly with it. My secondary goal of my offseason block is to maintain technical proficiency in events that I personally have a hard time getting back, this will be very individual dependent. So while the majority of my training volumes would be put towards improving my static lifts, I would still do some event training to keep technical proficiency up. Once specific comp prep begins we do not want to devote much time to relearning technique (how to use legs on overhead, or one motioning a stone) when we can be using our new strength to peak for the events.

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The event training that is kept in should be used more as conditioning or ‘finishers’ to the training. You should move as quickly as you can and keep rest to a minimum.  Throughout the program the volume decreases slightly as the program switches to a higher intensity for the main lifts. When this happens you should also increase the weight of the events but only slightly, enough to beat your load from the previous time you did the event earlier in the training block.

Displayed is an example 6 week offseason block of strongman training that I did to prepare for the Arnold Amateur Australia 2015 event (I won earning myself a pro spot in 2016). In this example I did not know the exact events of the competition, so I simply guessed and trained strongman events I anticipated to be in the comp. At this time my powerjerk on the log was significantly higher than my strict press. This is why I was not looking to hit a new 3rm log, just maintain or improve the speed of my jerk while improving my static strength readying me for the next training block. As the weeks went on I increased the weights used for the assistance exercises sticking to the prescribed rep ranges.

Week 1 Mon Tues Weds Thurs Fri
Log powerjerk 5x1x75% Deadlift 3x8x65% Rest Strict log press 4x8x65% Front Squats 4x8x65%
Incline bench 4x8x65% Barbell rows 4×10 Close grip bench 4x8x65% Leg press 4×20
Axle strict press 4×12 Stiff leg deadlifts 3×12 Dips 4×12 Bulgarian split squat 4×12
Facepulls 4×20 Farmers walk 5x25m 60% Rope extensions 4×20 Reverse sled drag 4 sets 50m
Week 2 Mon Tues Weds Thurs Fri
Log powerjerk 5x1x80% Deadlift 3x8x70% Rest Strict log press 4x8x70% Front Squats 4x8x70%
Incline bench 4x8x70% Barbell rows 4×10 Close grip bench 4x8x70% Leg press 4×20
Axle strict press 4×12 Stiff leg deadlifts 3×12 Dips 4×12 Bulgarian split squat 4×12
Facepulls 4×20 Stones 3 sets of light 5 stone series Rope extensions 4×20 Yoke 5x25m 55%
Week 3 Mon Tues Weds Thurs Fri
Log powerjerk 4x1x83% Deadlift 3x6x75% Rest Strict log press 4x6x75% Front Squats 4x6x75%
Incline bench 4x6x75% Barbell rows 4×8 Close grip bench 4x6x75% Leg press 4×15
Strict barbell press 4×10 Stiff leg deadlifts 3×10 Dips 4×10 Bulgarian split squat 4×10
Facepulls 4×15 Tyre flip light tyre 3x45sec Rope extensions 4×15 Prowler 5x20m light load
Week 4 Mon Tues Weds Thurs Fri
Log powerjerk 4x1x85% Deadlift 3x6x80% Rest Strict log press 4x6x80% Front Squats 4x6x80%
Incline bench 4x6x80% Barbell rows 4×8 Close grip bench 4x6x80% Leg press 4×15
Axle press out of rack 4×10 Stiff leg deadlifts 3×10 Dips 4×10 Bulgarian split squat 4×10
Facepulls 4×15 Farmers walk 3x25mx70% Rope extensions 4×15 Reverse sled drag 4 sets 25m
Week 5 Mon Tues Weds Thurs Fri
Log powerjerk 3x1x87.5% Deadlift 2x5x85% Rest Strict log press 3x5x85% Front Squats 3x5x85%
Incline bench 3x5x85% Barbell rows 4×6 Close grip bench 3x5x85% Leg press 4×12
Strict barbell press 4×8 Stiff leg deadlifts 3×8 Dips 4×8 Bulgarian split squat 4×8
Facepulls 4×12 Stones light 5 stone series Rope extensions 4×12 Yoke 2x25m
Week 6 Mon Tues Weds Thurs Fri
Incline bench New 3RM Deadlift New 3RM Rest Strict log press new 3rm Front Squats new 3RM
Strict barbell press 4×8 Barbell rows 4×5 Close grip bench 3x5x87.5% Leg press 4×12
Facepulls 4×12 Stiff leg deadlifts 4×6 Dips 4×6 Bulgarian split squat 4×8
Tyre flip light tyre 2x60sec Rope extensions 4×12 Prowler 3x20m

 

A common change you could make to this template if you do push press on the log is to use the log push press instead of the incline, then add light log clean and press for reps towards to the end of the session on that day as conditioning. You could also swap around the incline and the strict press but when my strict press was below 300lbs I had better results by going heavy on incline bench while doing higher reps and lighter load on strict press.

This block would be followed up by a specific comp prep block to be covered in a future article.

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Colm Woulfe completed his Masters Degree in Sport & Exercise Science at AUT with his thesis titled The Acute Physiological Effects of Strongman Training. Colm is a strongman competitor himself most recently having competed in Botswana at the Worlds Strongest Man competition. Prior to this he was New Zealands Strongest Man 3x before moving to Australia where he won the Arnold Amateur melbourne 2015 and placed 5th at the Arnold Pro melbourne 2016.

Follow Colm On Facebook & Instagram 

 

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