Get Strong and Thick With Strongman Exercises

STACK Expert Rick Scarpulla advocates incorporating Strongman exercises into your training.

Strongman Exercise

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Anyone familiar with me knows I like big, compound exercises and heavy weight. Athletes benefit from doing big lifts far more than from toe-touching bodyweight moves. At Ultimate Advantage, we incorporate Strongman exercises into our training to make our athletes strong and thick.

Strongman exercises include anything you may see in a Strongman competition, like Yoke Walks, Farmer's Walks, Tire Flips, Drags and Atlas Stones. They're not traditional movements, so they add variety to a program.

And, it's fun to lift heavy stuff. My high school athletes really enjoy these exercises, and they've had great results.

We don't do Strongman workouts exclusively, but we incorporate this style of exercise with more traditional compound barbell movements like Squats.

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Here are some guidelines for implementing Strongman exercises into your workouts.

  • These are big exercises that tax your central nervous system, so we only do them once per week.
  • Pair a maximum of two big movements when using Strongman exercises.
  • We always start our lower-body workouts with something like Front Squats or Lunges performed for low reps before going into Strongman work. A great second or third exercise for a workout are Tire Flips (8-10 flips) and Yoke Walks (75 feet).
  • The same philosophy applies to the upper body. We like to do the Bench Press and then move into heavy Log Presses or Single-Arm Dumbbell Presses with a fat-handle dumbbell. If you don't have a fat-handle dumbbell, put a piece of pipe insulation on your regular dumbbell.
  • To hit your entire body, try Farmer's Walks. You can use a Farmer's Walk apparatus or dumbbells. Try five sets of 100 feet each trip. Strive to hold 110-pound dumbbells, but you'll likely have to work up to that point.

If you don't have Strongman equipment, get as close as you can to the movements with whatever you have. Also, ask your coach to get some of that equipment. Your weight room will be a better place if he does.

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Below, you'll see some video demonstrations of Strongman exercises that we use with our athletes.

Log Press

Keg Clean and Press

Frame Carry

Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock