Strongman Implements 101

TAGS: Chris Vaughn, Zach Nicolay, Andy Deck, Amy Wattles, clint darden, Steve Pulcinella, strongman

Quick, try to name a spectacle more awesome than a strongman competition.  Unless you said "naked bear fighting," you're probably finding it a bit of a stretch to think of something more beastly than the sport of strongman.  There aren't many physical challenges that place more stress on the human body than a strongman competition.  These athletes must possess brutal barbarian strength while still maintaining flexibility and the ability to move athletically, as well as insane levels of conditioning and muscular endurance.

Have you ever wanted to get in on the strongman game?  Or maybe you've just wanted to add some of the movements to your current training regimen?  Well it’s easier than you might think to get your hands on some quality strongman implements that will get you started on the path to brute strength.  In fact, EFS stocks quite a bit of great strongman equipment; anything you’d need to get started.

But equipment alone won’t cut it.  You need an education in the ways of strongman.  Lucky for you, we’ve got some great athletes who are willing to let you bask in the blinding light of their unmatched knowledge.

We’ve asked some of our new strongmen (and our new strongwoman!) to talk to us about their favorite pieces of strongman equipment.

El Gordo (Fat Bar)


Chris Vaughn:  “I use this beast as an axle.  Any exercise that is challenging and effective with a barbell is made much more so with this bar.”  Take a page out of Chris’s book and get one of these.

"The Fat Bar is a great piece of equipment for nearly every athlete.  If your biceps, forearms, or shoulders have ever ached while pressing, using an axle could be just what you need," said Clint Darden.

You don’t need to sift through the junkyard to find a rusty old axle when you can get the sturdy, non-tetanus-inducing El Gordo!

Sleds and Harnesses

Steve Pulcinella was quick to sing the praises of the dragging sled.  “Not only is dragging heavy weights one of the staple events for strongman, but it is also one of the tools that everyone in the gym gets use out of.  I incorporate some form of sled drags into almost every program that I write.”

Get your sleds here, and don’t forget about the sled from hell, the one that Andy Deck would like to express his undying love for, the famed and feared Prowler!  "Everyone should use it.  All the time.  This may be the single greatest piece of equipment ever made.  You can push it forward, pull it backward, pull it with a harness and rope, bearcrawl while harnessed to it, hook blast straps to it and do almost any upper body exercise, hook it to your ankles to hit most of your lower body muscles, drag it sideways, go light, go heavy, go uphill, go for distance, go for speed.  It can improve your conditioning, your rate of force development, your work capacity, your recovery ability, your strength, your mental fortitude, your body composition, your stress levels, and your mood.  In short, the prowler can make you a better person."  Testify, Andy, Testify!

If you’re in the market for a sled, then you should consider getting a harness as well.  You can hook one of our pulling harnesses to a sled, a prowler, or even a vehicle!

The Log

According to Chris Vaughn, “Absolutely nothing can mimic the log.  People can try the swiss bar, triceps bar, dumbbells, but nothing kicks the crap out of athletes like the log.  It is truly one of the most versatile pieces of a equipment a gym can have.”  A few of the things you can do with your log:  clean and jerk, log rows, and “it works well as a foam roller for a really tight back,” according to Chris.

Steve was also very fond of the log.  “The log is another piece that every strongman has to master, but my regular non-strongman clients love it too.  Everyone loves to imagine they are Bill Kazmaier circa 1980 when they’re beating up a heavy log!”

Clint Darden mentioned that if he wasn't a strongman, he would still probably get a log.  "Bringing the log into your training system is a great way to get excited again.  It adds a new dimension to what you can do in the gym."

At EFS we want to make all your dreams come true, so we sell not one, but two types of logs.  We've got the rackable Bench Log and the full-size, 10" diameter Log Press.  You're welcome.



Car Deadlift


Lifting a car screams strongman.  “Find me one person who isn’t impressed when someone lifts a car," said Chris Vaughn.  “This movement also beefs up the entire posterior chain.”

It looks totally awesome too, as strongwoman Amy Wattles noted.  “At the heart of strongman is the desire to lift heavy things and make it look freaky.  But this device isn’t just for hardened strongman competitors," said Amy.  “If someone new to the sport is not able to lift a car yet, putting a large tire on the implement instead of a car can provide a solid starting point for training.  A beginner would enjoy training this event because it adds to the 'man points,' and who would want to mess with someone who deadlifts cars?”

The Car Deadlift holds a special place in Andy Deck's heart as well.  "As long as you're going to be deadlifting, why not pick up a car instead of a bunch of plates?  Putting forth an effort like that provides you with a strong sense of accomplishment... once you've determined that you aren't dying from the exertion."

Start your quest for dominance with a Car Lift.



Stone Trainer

Chris was excited to the point of spontaneous combustion to talk about the Stone Trainer.  “Back in the day before I was able to get Atlas stones, I trained exclusively with this thing.  I dare anybody to slip 275-pounds on it and try to lift it without tacky; it’s almost impossible.  I have found that training with the stone trainer is actually harder than with Atlas stones.  This thing can single-handedly create a DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) nightmare for the entire body after one workout.”

Farmer’s Walk Handles


“There is no such thing as having too much grip,” according to Amy Wattles.  “The farmer’s walk is a traditional strongman event and is one that any strongman competitor must be prepared for when competition day comes.”

“Farmer’s handles are cheaper than a hex bar, and they do pretty much the same thing.  I got 16 reps with 485 on a hex bar when I only had handles with which to train,” said Chris Vaughn.  He’s right, the Farmer’s Walk Handles are great for deadlifts, not to mention that the farmer’s walk itself might be the No. 1 exercise for building a mutant yoke and crushing grip.

Andy Deck:  "For those who are sick of shrugs or who are looking for another tool to develop their yoke, this is the jackpot."

We've also got the Economy Farmer's Handles for you aspiring strongmen on a budget.



So you want grip strength?  You want to make other people whimper in pain when you shake their hands?  Get a Sandbag.  It’s as simple as that.  If you’ve never trained with a sandbag before, be ready for a very rude awakening.  The sandbag is the king of the odd object lifts because the weight inside is constantly shifting.  Also, there are no handles; the only grip you get is the material that you pinch in your fist.  Use them for cleans, rows, lunges, overhead presses, and pretty much anything else you can think of.

Other Good Stuff

"Get the Yoke!  If you have a weakness anywhere in your body, from your feet to your attitude, the yoke will find it.  If you aren't 'right' then prepare to be humbled," said Clint Darden.  There are a ton of other great strongman implements that can help you get yoked up and provide you with some truly functional strength.  In addition to Yokes, we've got Rickshaws and plenty more.  Get some strongman tools and get thick with strength to match!

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