You’ve seen the crazy events where men and women with strange names lift giant stones, carry logs, and pull trucks. But have you ever considered that this type of training might be exactly what you need to do to see better fitness results?
Strongman workouts aren’t as intimidating as they seem. Let’s review the benefits of Strongman training, and why you should start lifting like a Strongman.
1. INCREASED STRENGTH
When you’re carrying giant logs and moving Atlas stones, it almost goes without saying that you’ll notice a bump in your strength levels.
Strongman workouts are based on compound and functional movement patterns, which use several major muscle groups at the same time. Couple this with a heavy weight load, lower repetitions, and higher sets, and you’ll see explosive strength gains.
Studies show that Strongman workouts are just as effective as traditional resistance-based workouts at improving your strength levels. But it’s not just your major muscle groups that will see the benefit; your grip strength will also dramatically improve. (1)
2. HUGE MUSCLE MASS GAINS
There are two important factors in muscle mass building:
First, you want to apply the strategic tearing down of the muscle tissue and the subsequent rebuilding via nutrition and rest. Strongman workouts provide the precise amount of wear and tear on the muscle tissue to safely tear it down so that it can be rebuilt bigger and stronger than before.
Second, growth hormone levels in your body facilitate a better recovery state and directly influence muscle growth. Heavy lifting, which is what Strongman workouts are all about, has been shown to trigger a higher release of growth hormone, which can support muscle mass growth. (2)
3. ACCELERATED FAT BURNING
As mentioned above, Strongman exercises activate several major muscle groups simultaneously. For example, the sled drag requires the quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, glutes, hip flexors, chest, arms, and core. That’s a lot for one movement.
The more muscles you use and the greater the intensity during the exercise, the more calories you’ll burn. Strongman workouts allow you to build muscle mass while helping you lean out.
Studies show that compound movements, such as Strongman exercises, can help to promote fat burning. (3)
4. IMPROVED FUNCTIONAL MOVEMENT CAPACITY
With a powerlifting workout, you’re focusing on three exercises that begin at Point A and end at Point B. Many Strongman exercises take place in different planes of movement, which can help your day-to-day functional movement patterns.
For example, when performing the Farmer’s Walk, you are holding heavy dumbbells and walking across the floor for a prescribed distance. Another example is carrying an Atlas stone; again, you’re holding a heavy weight with proper posture and moving that weight. This translates into real world benefits such as when you’re carrying groceries, playing with the kids, or doing chores.
Learn more about the differences between Strongman and powerlifting.
Improving your functional movement capacity will result in a higher quality of life and a lower risk of injury. Speaking of which…
5. INJURY PREVENTION
Strongman workouts help to build muscle mass that protects your internal organs. These workouts form strong connections between the muscular and central nervous systems. Most importantly, Strongman workouts strengthen the core, which is where all movement originates and where most injuries occur.
A weak core is a recipe for bad news. Lower back pain is the most commonly cited complaint in modern day doctors’ offices. While the cause might be from a direct injury, most lower back pain in the result of a weak core and overcompensating muscles.
Do you have lower back pain? Learn how to get rid of lower back pain.
Strongman workouts strengthen the major muscle groups, improving your functional movement patterns, and preventing injury.
6. SMASH THROUGH PLATEAUS
If you’ve been lifting for a while and you feel as if you aren’t progressing any more, consider Strongman workouts. The Strongman style of training pushes you outside of your box, challenges your muscles in a new way, and can potentially help you smash through your plateau.
Adopting a Strongman workout in place of your current traditional resistance training program will introduce a new set of stimuli for your muscles to adapt to. The heavy loads, unique movements, and overall demand on the body should be just what you need to see increases in strength, size, and power.
7. EASY TRANSITION TO OTHER SPORTS
One of the benefits of Strongman that we love is that this type of training is not limiting. You can use Strongman workouts as a foundation and then hop to other forms of training such as powerlifting, bodybuilding, or CrossFit. Everything you learn and do in Strongman will apply to many other forms of sports, training, or physical activity.
With Strongman workouts, you’re simultaneously building a lean and muscular physique, which makes it ideal for bodybuilding. You’re also developing incredible raw power, which is ideal for powerlifting. Finally, the explosive strength you gain will be useful in a CrossFit WOD (workout of the day).
If you’re new to the fitness scene, consider starting with Strongman training. You’ll be able to build a strong foundation of fitness knowledge that will benefit you for years to come.
- Winwood, P.W. et al, “Strongman vs. Traditional Resistance Training Effects on Muscular Function and Performance.” Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 29(2): 429–439, 2015.
- Craig BW, Brown R, Everhart J. Effects of progressive resistance training on growth hormone and testosterone levels in young and elderly subjects. Mech Ageing Dev. 1989 Aug;49(2):159-69.
- Strasser B, Schobersberger W. Evidence for resistance training as a treatment therapy in obesity. J Obes. 2010;2011:482564.