With the variety in training available to athletes in the 21st century, many people have found strong man events as a great way to add variety, reduce plateaus, increase maximal strength, and create competition in the weight room. After reading the most recent article from The Strength and Conditioning Journal vol. 33, no. 4 Aug. 2011 The Use of Strongman Type Implements and Training to Increase Sport Performance in Collegiate Athletes, I have come to many different conclusions on the use of this as a valid cross training technique.
It is stated in the article that this type of training should be applied through the end of a training cycle before the actual season begins. I disagree with this as I feel there are many different possible injuries that could occur from this vigorous and often times unconventional lifting practice. I feel it would be most useful during the early offseason as a means of promoting competition and increasing maximal musculature contractions and efforts.
The article shows many different types of training points such as the differentiation of lifting implements, grips, weight balance, and overall core strength required to complete these types of lifts. Tire flips, sled pushes, and implement carrying are all simple in nature and have the lowest potential for injuries to athletes. We have begun using some of these techniques to break plateaus and mix up workouts with many of our intense athletes at Prescription Fitness. A few of Coach Schroeder’s favorites are the sled push, plate push, and implement carrying. We have gotten results with these three lifts and movements that require full muscle recruitment and overall stress required to build lean muscle mass. Within the article they gave excellent examples of periodization as well as how to fit these lifts into current lifting programs.
Overall, the use of strongman type training will provide the added edge in getting maximal efforts from athletes and build lean muscle mass. These events can be fun and challenging to groups and individuals. Start with low impact and progress to sets of 4-6 with a 1:3 work to rest ratio to allow for full recovery in the offseason. Keep pushing the limits and happy training!