Yesterday I had a day off so I went in search of an adventure. I went to see a good friend of mine, Tommy, who spent a couple of hours training me in Strongman techniques.
Why do I train Strongman?
I love to add some Strongman training into my training split every once in a while for several reasons. Firstly, because it’s loads of fun! Flipping tyres, carrying ridiculously heavy things and getting really sweaty and dirty give me such a strong sense of vitality in both my body and my mind.
Secondly, lifting such heavy objects makes you reconsider what you class as a heavy object. For example, last night after flipping a 250kg tyre over 30 times, lifting up my armchair to move it no longer felt challenging!
After Strongman training, everything else seems light!
The third reason that I really enjoy Strongman training is because it inspires me and gives me new ideas to try out in my own training. The objects are so challenging, that it forces me to mentally focus extremely hard on what I am doing, and to connect with my body and make it do things that it doesn’t want or even doesn’t think that it can do! By overcoming these mental and physical hurdles, I emerge feeling inspired, energised and very happy.
What do you do when training Strongman?
So this is what I actually did. It’s very important to warm up before lifting very heavy objects, to avoid injury and prepare for the session. I did some light weights and boxing. There were several options I could have chosen, and so me and a Tommy opted for the tyre flip and the yoke carry.
There are two tyres I’ve been training with- the 160kg and the 250kg. The 160kg is actually more challenging, as it is stockier and has less grip on it, making it a lot more awkward to lift. We chose to use the 250kg tyre, because it was both much heavier and easier to grip. You then stand behind the tyre, bend down and get your hands underneath it. On the count of three and after a deep breath, you then lift it up and drive it forwards and upwards until you can rest it just above your thigh before completely flipping it over. Sound easy, it isn’t…. On this occasion I was a bit out of practise and so was happy to flip it in groups of just five repetitions. Even in a short space of time, my heart was hammering like a jack hammer in my chest and I was breathing heavily. And loving it!
The next object was the yoke carry. It is a large T shaped frame, with space to add extra weights at the bottom. It weighs 40kg itself, so we added 120kg to it, for a total weight of 160kg. That’s a decent weight for me to lift, as it is double my body weight! Standing underneath it, the aim is to hold onto the sides, whilst lifting the yoke onto your traps and shoulders and walking forwards quickly.
It’s very important to take lots of small shuffles, to keep your core muscles tight, head up and to take quick sucking breathes. Also once reaching a marker, Tommy told me emphatically to drop the yoke, turn around and the lift it, never to turn round quickly with the weight on my shoulders. He said to turn too quickly, would result in the weight being pulled round my core too fast, and he told me of one guy who ripped his bicep open doing it! ..I definitely dropped it and turned round carefully.
The major challenge with Strongman training is that it requires both strength and speed at the same time. You have to be fast and dynamic to flip a heavy tyre over, you cannot do it quickly. Also with the yoke, you must carry the yoke as quickly as you can, whilst still tensing your core and keeping the weight moving at a steady speed.
Why you should train Strongman
So why should you do it or even consider it in your training regime? Well firstly, because it’s fun! Working out can get pretty boring if you don’t vary your routines and exercises and rolling around in the dirt with tyres in a car park is extremely fun! Also, the people you will associate with doing it, will be very interesting. It is my experience so far, that the people who train Strongman, both men and women, really want to push their limits. They are humble, because they know that training Strongman is about being the strongest man or woman that you can be. Not comparing yourself with others.
It will also help to burn lots of calories as such an intense workout will speed up your metabolism and get it firing. And finally, it helps you to build good old fashioned strength, which can compliment all of your usual training.
So give it a go, let me know how you get on and if you’ve done some Strongman training, comment below to let me know how you got on!
Stay strong 😉