What to Do As A Novice Strongman — Practice and Training Implements

TAGS: training for strongman, strongman implements, Conjugate Strongman Template, Nick Cambi, Andrew Pouska, Total Performance Sport, elitefts coach, cj murphy, strongman


I’ve been writing about powerlifting a lot lately. It’s been brought to my attention that I have been neglecting a big part of the TPS member base and the elitefts.com readers, so here is some strongman advice.

How do you start training to become a Strongman?

Well, it’s not that complex. You just start doing events, right? Not really.

I think that if you look at this objectively and intelligently, you’ll see that just tossing in some events is a pretty stupid idea if you want to be a strongman. To get good at events, you’ll need to practice them.

You’ll need to practice them a lot.

You’ll also need to maintain proficiency on your basic barbell lifts and continue building strength on them.

Let’s go back to practice. Here’s a quote from a music course I am taking now, and it applies to you, the fledgling strongman.

"Don’t think about practicing — Practice!

Don’t buy more stuff to practice — Practice the things you have!

Don’t buy more equipment — Practice on the equipment you have!

Don’t put it off — Practice now!"

The full quote from Andrew Pouska of studybass.com goes on to say that practice is difficult but rewarding, and the skills you build through practice cannot be taken from you. Everything he says is true.

RECENT: When to Build Strength, When to Display It

I recently went back to playing bass after a 27-year layoff. Now, I have no intention of going back to playing gigs or being a rock star. I just really missed making music. Playing an instrument is good for your brain and your spirit. It relaxes you, clears your mind, and wakes up different motor pathways in your brain. 

This has gotta be a good thing, and it’s AWESOME.

You need to practice your instrument, just like you need to practice your sport. When you start learning an instrument, you’ll learn faster with a higher frequency of practice. This means how many times per week you play, not necessarily how long you play. They say 20 minutes 5 times a week is better than an hour and a half once a week.

I agree.

So how does this apply to strongman? Strongman events, much like the squat, bench and deadlift, are very technical. Being as strong as a Himalayan Mountain Yak is good, but being as strong as a Himalayan Mountain Yak with really good technique is better.

TPS Nick CAmbi Viking Press

Image via Eric Feigenson 

Let’s look at one of my sponsored athletes, Nick Cambi. Nick was as strong as a herd of Himalayan Mountain Yaks when he came to TPS but his technique was not up to par on basic lifts or events. I told him that if he learned good technique he may take over the world, or something like that.

Well, he is getting close. He practiced, a lot. He found great training partners to teach him and he also got professional coaching from quite a few world class people. Nick is a pro strongman now due to his unyielding work ethic and drive to be the best, his quest for instruction, and his frequency of practice.

I would bet that his frequency of practice is the second most important factor in his success. You can’t be the best without the drive to be the best, so that is why I say his frequency is the second most important.

If you don’t want it, it isn’t going to come to you.

Okay, so back to practice.

Through the years I’ve trained quite a few people. I’ve learned a few things along the way and I’ll share that with you now.

When it comes to strongman, I feel that you need to practice the events daily in your training.

I realized this when I started training strongman, and came up with our Conjugate Strongman Template.

I am not saying you need to use a Conjugate System. I trained Westside style for powerlifting and it worked for me and I liked it. Why not adapt it to strongman?

Looking back at the program, there are quite a few things I’d change from what is in the article, but the basics are still there. For a true beginner, I think that learning the technique on the events is critical, as is building a base of strength.

I’ll gear what we are talking about here to those who need to do both, as I was already somewhat strong. I say this because the novice class is always full in my shows and is growing steadily over the past few years.

The novice class is for beginners. Beginners need to spend time every training session getting familiar with events using weights they can manage, just like when you learn the basic barbell lifts. You wouldn’t go in the gym during your first month and load the bar with 900 pounds, right? 

I hope not. Strongman is no different.

You can get a variety of strongman implements nowadays that are plate-loadable and pretty light when empty. Back in the day, this was not the case. Yokes were 500 pounds empty, logs were well over 130 pounds, there were no stone molds so you had to find someone with stones or suffer at a show because you didn’t know how to do it. The list of challenges goes on.

Times have changed. There is an abundance of implements to train with at a lot of gyms and on this site that are easy to learn on. So find them, and practice on them. Frequently.


Loading Comments... Loading Comments...