Get Bigger, Stronger, and Leaner with 1 Move

TAGS: the viper, one motion log press, Strongman Press, program design for strongman, The Arnold, Derek Poundstone, Mike Mastell, strongman log, log press, strongman

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I realize the title of this article completely sounds like an infomercial, but I am completely serious. The one-motion log press, or “the viper,” will add pounds of muscle to your body and get you leaner. I like to call this movement strongman cardio for a good reason. Every time I add this movement back into my program, there are noticeable changes in my body composition.

I recently have come off an extended break from strongman after doing a powerlifting meet and a minor surgery. My first competition back will be The Arnold, and I was very excited to see the log clean and press as one of the events. Like most programs, when I’m a few months out I like to build up doing a lot of volume, usually starting around 65 percent to give you an idea of where to begin, but I will outline a program to follow later.

The reason I say this movement will get you in the best shape of your life is that it uses basically every muscle in your body. You begin by deadlifting the log to a full standing position; do not row the log into your lap! Rowing the log is a big waste of energy, and a common mistake I see. Once in the lap position, it’s an explosive front squat coming up. The clean of the log is why you see many strong(wo)man competitors only front squatting for this reason. In one motion from the squat, or lap position, you do not stop on your chest; you continue to press up and keep the log moving to lockout. I won’t get into too much technique, as my good friend Mike Mastell wrote a great article on one-motion technique, which you can read here.

Now that you have the technique down, you need to master it and know how to implement it. One-motioning a log is all about being efficient, so you cannot have any wasted energy. As I stated earlier, we are going to start with high reps and progressively get heavier each week, so it’s fairly straightforward linear periodization.

Week 1: 3 sets of 12 reps. 65 percent of your 1rm log one motion, not 65 percent of your log clean and press. Although these numbers will get closer as you improve on the one motion. I can easily say that I can do more reps one motioning than I can clean and press. That has come from doing a lot of reps, and being much better conditioned to do so. This first week should be brutal! Your heart rate should be pounding through the roof, and your lungs should feel like they are on fire. I was standing over a trash can on the verge of puking after these. The goal is to do these with a weight you can get in a good rhythm without stopping between reps.

Week 2: 3 sets of 10. Increase the weight by 5 to 10 pounds, depending on how Week 1 went.

Week 3: 4 sets of 8 reps. Again, small jump in weight. This week you should be getting in the groove, so we’ll add a set. Keep the rest as needed.

Week 4: 5 sets of 6 reps. Another 5- to 10-pound jump. Reps should be very efficient and explosive at this point.

Week 5: 8 sets of 2 reps. Bring it back down to the weight of Week 2 to give your body a rest, but keep the resp period to a strict 30 seconds.

Week 6: 3 sets of 6, 4th set max reps. We’re going to build up this week, so your first set will be Week 2’s weight; 2nd set, Week 3; 3rd set, Week 4; and the 4th set for max reps will be a 5- to 10-pound jump. You should get at least 6 reps on the last set.

Week 7: 3 sets of 10. This time around, you will be using the weight you went with for Week 3. Again, that last set should be rough.

Week 8: 4 sets of 8 reps using Week 4 weight.

Week 9: 4 sets of 6 reps. 10-pound jump from Week 6. These should be getting heavy at this point.

Week 10: 3 sets of 3, 4th set for max reps. Another 5- to 10-pound jump from last week. If you are preparing for a competition, this is the day to work on competition weight or close to it if you haven’t already in the previous weeks.

In case you needed some extra motivation, Derek Poundstone was a master of the one-motion and the one to call it the viper. He had one of the most impressive physiques in strongman, as well as a monster press. Here he is with a 310-pound log for 11 reps!

If you are competing, you should start this program 12 weeks out from the competition so the final 10th week is your top set. This will give you an 11th week to deload, and the 12th week to completely rest before the competition. You will definitely notice changes in your body composition over these 10 weeks.

Any strongman press is a full body move, but nothing gets you in better condition than the log one-motion.

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