What is Strongman and Its Training Needs

July 04, 2024 6 min read

What is Strongman and Its Training Needs

 What is Strongman

Strongman is a competitive sport that tests athletes' strength, power, and endurance through a series of challenging events. These events often include lifting and carrying heavy objects, pushing or pulling vehicles, and performing feats of grip strength. Strongman competitions are known for their intense and grueling nature, pushing athletes to their limits.

Event Variety

One of the key differences between strongman and other strength-based sports is the wide variety of events. While powerlifting and weightlifting focus on specific lifts, such as the squat, bench press, and deadlift, strongman encompasses a broader range of challenges. Athletes may find themselves flipping tires, carrying yokes, or even lifting stones of various shapes and sizes. This diversity adds an element of excitement and unpredictability to strongman competitions.

  • Functional Strength

Unlike some strength-based sports that prioritize lifting maximal weights in a controlled environment, strongman emphasizes functional strength. Athletes must not only lift heavy objects but also manipulate them in dynamic and unconventional ways. This requirement reflects the real-life demands of physical labor and showcases the practical application of strength.

  • Cardiovascular Endurance

While traditional strength sports often focus solely on pure strength, strongman incorporates a significant cardiovascular endurance component. The events in strongman competitions are typically performed back-to-back, with little rest in between. This places a high demand on athletes' cardiovascular systems, requiring them to maintain their strength and power output throughout the entire competition.

  • Mental Toughness

Strongman competitions are not only physically demanding but also mentally challenging. Athletes must possess exceptional mental toughness to push through fatigue, pain, and discomfort. The ability to stay focused and composed under pressure is crucial in strongman, as athletes often face daunting tasks that seem impossible to overcome.

  • Equipment and Training

Another aspect that sets strongman apart from other strength-based sports is the unique equipment used in competitions. From atlas stones to farmer's walk handles, the equipment in strongman is specifically designed to test athletes' strength and versatility. Additionally, strongman training involves a combination of traditional strength exercises, such as squats and deadlifts, along with event-specific training to prepare athletes for the challenges they will face.

The 5 Main Strongman Categories :- 


Pulling: Includes all pulling motions, such as deadlifts, axle deadlifts, and car deadlifts.

Pressing: Includes the opposite movements to pulling, such as truck pushes, log presses, and dumbbell presses.

Carrying: Competitors must carry a heavy object for time or distance.

Loading: Involves transferring a load from one place to another.

Flipping: Generally involves a pull-into-push movement.


What is the Pulling Category

    The pulling category in strongman events involves various pulling motions that test an athlete's strength and technique. This can include deadlifts for maximum weight or repetitions, axle bar deadlifts, car deadlifts, truck pulls, and the pulling of other heavy objects. Athletes must demonstrate their ability to generate power and overcome resistance in these events.

    • How Do Athletes Train for Pulling Events?

    To excel in pulling events, athletes focus on building strength in their posterior chain, including the muscles of the back, glutes, and hamstrings. They also work on grip strength, as a secure grip is essential for success in pulling events. Training often involves heavy deadlifts, sled pulls, and other exercises that mimic the movements required in competition.

    • What Are the Challenges of Pulling Events?

    Pulling events require athletes to generate tremendous force to move heavy objects across a specified distance or for a certain number of repetitions. Athletes must also maintain proper form and technique to prevent injury and maximize their performance. The mental aspect of pulling events is also crucial, as athletes must push through fatigue and discomfort to achieve their best results.


    What is Pressing in Strongman Events


    Pressing in strongman events involves movements that require athletes to push weight overhead. This category often includes events such as truck pushes, log presses, and dumbbell presses. Athletes must demonstrate not only raw strength but also technique and endurance to excel in these events.

    • Truck Pushes

    Truck pushes are a classic strongman event that tests an athlete's ability to generate power and speed. Athletes must push a heavy truck over a specified distance as quickly as possible. This event requires explosive strength and full-body coordination to overcome the inertia of the truck.

    • Log Presses

    Log presses are another common event in the pressing category. Athletes must lift a heavy log from the ground to overhead in a single motion. This event challenges athletes' shoulder strength, core stability, and balance. Technique is crucial in log presses to efficiently transfer power from the legs to the arms.

    • Dumbbell Presses

    Dumbbell presses involve lifting a heavy dumbbell overhead with one arm. This event requires athletes to stabilise their core and maintain balance while pressing the weight. Dumbbell presses test unilateral strength and coordination, as athletes must control the weight with one arm.

    What is the Carrying Category

    When it comes to Strongman events, one of the most challenging categories is carrying. This type of event requires competitors to showcase their strength and endurance by carrying heavy objects for either time or distance. The yoke carry is a classic example of a carrying event, where athletes must hoist a heavy yoke onto their shoulders and walk a specified distance.

    Another popular carrying event is the farmer's carry, where competitors must hold heavy kettlebells, dumbbells, or other awkward objects in each hand and walk as far as possible. This event not only tests physical strength but also grip strength and overall stability.

    • Key Strategies for Success

    Competing in carrying events requires a combination of strength, endurance, and mental toughness. Athletes must focus on maintaining proper form, breathing techniques, and pacing themselves to maximize their performance. Training specific muscle groups such as the shoulders, back, and core is essential for success in carrying events.

    Additionally, practicing with a variety of heavy objects and incorporating different carrying techniques into training can help athletes prepare for the unpredictable nature of Strongman events. Developing a strong grip through exercises like farmer's walks and deadlifts is crucial for excelling in carrying events.

    What are Loading Events


    Loading events in strongman competitions involve the transfer of heavy objects from one point to another. Competitors are tasked with moving items such as kegs, sandbags, or Atlas stones from point A to point B. These events require not only brute strength but also strategic planning and technique.

    • What Objects are Typically Used?

    In loading events, you may come across a variety of objects that competitors must lift and carry. Kegs filled with weights, sandbags of varying sizes, and the iconic Atlas stones are commonly used. The challenge lies in not just lifting these heavy objects but also in maneuvering them onto platforms of increasing height.

    • How Do Competitors Prepare for Loading Events?

    Competitors in strongman events train rigorously to prepare for loading events. They focus on building overall strength, grip strength, and explosive power to be able to lift and carry heavy objects efficiently. Training often involves specific exercises targeting the muscle groups needed for these events.

    What are Flipping Events


    Flipping events in strongman competitions typically involve lifting and flipping heavy objects or structures. These challenges require competitors to exert tremendous force to overcome the weight and momentum of the objects they are flipping. The goal is to complete the task in the fastest time or with the most repetitions, depending on the specific event.

    • Types of Flipping Events

    Two of the most well-known flipping events in strongman competitions are the tyre flip and Fingal’s Fingers. The tyre flip requires athletes to lift and flip a large, heavy tire end over end for a certain distance or number of repetitions. This event tests not only strength but also technique and speed.

    Fingal’s Fingers, on the other hand, is a more recent addition to strongman competitions. In this challenge, competitors must flip a series of heavy hinged poles, known as Fingal's Fingers, from a horizontal to a vertical position. The size and weight of the poles make this event a true test of raw power and endurance.

    • Training for Flipping Events

    To excel in flipping events, athletes must focus on building explosive strength, grip strength, and overall conditioning. Training often involves a combination of weightlifting, plyometrics, and specific event practice. Developing proper technique and mastering the timing of the pull-and-push motion are crucial for success in flipping events.

    Flipping events in strongman competitions showcase the incredible strength and athleticism of the competitors. These challenges push athletes to their limits and require a unique blend of power, technique, and mental fortitude. Whether flipping tires or Fingal's Fingers, these events never fail to impress and inspire spectators around the world.

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