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Aaron Markovich 10-17-2005 09:31 PM


Does anyone have any suggestions on how to train for a strongman comp? I entered one at my university and its in about two weeks.

My BW is 165. Height is 5'10".
I lifted consistently for 2.5 yrs (Mostly powerlifting) and then I quit for 1.5 yr because of school and work. I started CF'ing at the beginning of this semester and I've changed my diet considerably. I feel much better than I ever have in any other PT or lifting program.

For the comp. there are 5 events: Tire flip, Truck pull and Keg toss. (the other two haven't been decided yet) There are 20 competitors and I will be the smallest by far. My strategy is to CF up to the comp. and see what happens. I'm doing this mostly for fun but I've always been interested in competing in PL'ing or Strongman comps.

My biggest concerns are the Truck pull and Keg toss. I think the Truck pull will be my weakness because of my BW. As for the Keg toss I've never thrown competively so I'm unsure if there is some type of form to follow. A friend and I are going to try and get a keg to practice with next weekend. I did read a great article about throwing by Dan John but I need to get out and practice. Any advice would be helpful.

Moderators: if this is in the wrong topic forum please move it.

Andy Shirley 10-18-2005 12:53 AM

In two weeks I'm not sure what type of program is best. I would suggest getting some practice with the actual events for starters.

But Steve should find this and reply with a better answer.

Brian Hand 10-18-2005 06:06 AM

Just some thoughts, but whatever you can do to get some specific training should help. Toss the keg as often as you can, even a little every day would be good.

If you can't get an actual tire to train with, shouldering a sandbag might be good. Lifting things with your knuckles scraping the ground takes getting used to.

For the truck pull, you could buy a couple long tow straps and pull a vehicle around. Apply the parking brake a little to get some more resistance. (Apply it a lot if the car is a Cooper.) Experiment with different shoes, traction makes a big difference with heavy dragging.

Kevin Scott 10-18-2005 06:54 AM

if you've never lifted a tire before you going to want to practice. There is a lot of technique to doing it. If you don't know the right way your going to have to work harder to flip and you'll end up with less flips.

Aaron Markovich 10-18-2005 08:22 AM

Thanks for the advice guys. Getting actual practice in is one of my goals but I don't know if I'll have access to any of those things, right now.

I'm surprised that the Tire flip is considered the hardest. I guess I'm relying on my experience in DL'ing and working as a stone mason (I used to lift a lot heavy things from the bottom from the ground).

Keep it coming.

David Wood 10-18-2005 05:18 PM

Paging Steven Stackpole . . . Steven Stackpole to the white courtesy phone, please.

Seriously, Aaron, you need this guy's advice.

Use the search function for threads with the phrase "strongman" in them, and look for his posts; he's done *very* well on the WOD and a bit of specific training.

Steve Shafley 10-18-2005 09:08 PM

At this point practicing the events is what you should be doing.

Jay Ashman 10-18-2005 11:30 PM

Yes, practice the events... technique is key.

Steven Stackpole 10-19-2005 08:56 AM

Thanks for the Props guys!

Aaron, like the guys said above, the best you can hope for in only two weeks is to do some event specific training.
What are your events exactly?
It isnt enough to simply be a power lifter, then expect to do well in these kinds of comps.

For the tire flip, how heavy is the tire?? Remember, you arent deadlifting it! Here is a link, shows much better than I can explain it. The only thing I would add is be AGGRESSIVE!! Dont simply let the tire drop, push it over!!! Chase it!!!, but dont lose control of it.
Unfortunately Mark tore both quads at the Worlds Strongest Man in China recently.

For the truck pull, is it hand over hand, or are you in a harness??
Either way think SPEED!!!
Fast feet and fast hands are the key. Just like Oly lifters are able to lift incredible weights with speed, this is the same. You have to get whatever it is you are pulling, moving fast, and keep it going that way. AGGRESSIVE!!
If its hand over hand, make sure you have lots of chalk, and keep it close by, should you need to chalk up half way through.
If you're in a harness, make sure where you're pulling is clear of small stones, and that sort of thing. I see some people wear climbing shoes for traction. I wear a soft soled workboot. It hasnt let me down yet, pulling is def one of my stronger events. Experiment with your footwear to see what works best.
Either way, hand over hand, or in a harness, make sure all the slack is taken out of the rope before you give the signal that you are ready. The rope you are pulling should be as tight as a wire, when they say "GO".

Other might say different, but I think throwing is largely a personal thing. What works best for you, within the rules of course. Kegs are easy to get where I am from. In lieu of that, try large bags of sand, concrete, or salt, or a large rock. Again, speed and explosive power are the key. Different comps have you throwing in different ways, so I cant really say whats best for you. Check out Dan John's lifting and throwing e-mag. "Get Up" for the last word on throwing.
What are you other events?? Let me know when you find out and I'll give you whatever little pointers I can. I'll also point you to some other online resources for advice and training ideas if you like.
Hope that I've helped you a bit.
Most importantly HAVE FUN!!!


Aaron Markovich 10-19-2005 10:30 PM

Thanks Steve. The advice about the tire flip and truck pull is exactly what I was looking for. Because I doubt I'll have access to any of the equipment needed to train for the events, I wanted to know what type of mindset I should approach this event with. I'll definitely be focusing on being aggressive and fast.

Nobody knows what the other two events are. Supposedly, the kid running the comp. will be trying out an idea for another event this weekend. I may get to practice throwing the keg on Sunday too. The truck pull will be done with a harness and a Toyota Tacoma estimated at 3500lbs.

Just a note, this strongman competition is totally bush league. It's something that was set up so that the the gym rats and body builders at the school gym could have bragging rights. Its all in good fun and the money earned from the registration fees goes to a good cause.

Having said that, I certainly don't want to discount the competition. I've never done anything like this before and there will be some very big guys there. I'm looking to have fun and in light of the "CF won't make you strong" debate I want to see how I perform based on just doing the WOD consistently for 2 months.

Its at The George Washington University in University Yard on the 29th 10am-6pm. There's a website with pics if you want an idea of what equipment was used in the past two comps. Just go to GWU's home page and search for "strongman competition." If there are any DC CF'ers in the area come on down!

Btw, Steve I saw the pics of you pulling the fire truck (full of water and a tire on the back!?!). Unbelieveable!

Bert Brams 10-20-2005 12:40 AM

Steve, can you explain why this technique is better than deadlifting it ?
Usually I sumo-deadlift a tire and then push it.(when going for distance...but same thing when going for weight, actually)
Does this consume too much energy in comparison ?

Tim Richardson 10-20-2005 01:47 PM

Bert, I think I can answer your question. Deadlifting the tire doesn't deliver forward motion, only upward motion. In order to move the tire, you must drive INTO it to deliver forward motion (and so that your arms aren't having to do all of the pushing work).

Steven Stackpole 10-20-2005 05:11 PM

Well said Tim.
I dont know what else I could add to that Bert.
The stance is very similar to one in which a football lineman takes. Thats give you the forward motion that you want to impart on the tire.

Aaron Markovich 10-31-2005 05:14 PM

Hey I just wanted to update everyone.

The competition was a blast and a good time was had by all. There were 11 competitors and although I didn't place in the top four I was able to complete all the events. Considering that my friend and I only did crossfit as part of our training and that we were outclassed by an average of 40lbs we did exceptionally well.

I'll have the individual results later this week and I'll post a short review of my experience.

Btw, I love the tire flip!

Bert Brams 11-01-2005 06:00 AM

Ah, thank you Tim and Steven. I'll try to get a video/picture of me trying out the new tire.

Steven Stackpole 11-01-2005 03:40 PM

Glad you let us know how things went.
Dont underestimate the power of Crossfit. For the first few comps I did this past summer, thats all I really had under my belt also.
Sounds to me like you were outweighed by 40lbs, not outclassed by 40lbs. There is a big difference in the two. Can you get pics??
Flipping tires can be fun, but the 1000lb tires can be a real ball buster. Don't even THINK about doing cardio after that! :-)

Steven Stackpole 11-01-2005 03:42 PM

Send Pics!! Hell yes
Have you done any comps??
If you havent, you should!

Aaron Markovich 11-07-2005 01:15 AM


Sorry, my bad on the outclassed/outweighed difference. As I stated before I'm 5'10, 165lbs. Most of the competitors were 6'+ and ranged between 205-245lbs.

I'm still waiting for the results and pictures. Most of the equipment we used came from a guy who runs a strongman training program in MD. The tire we used only weighed 350lbs. The event was 12 flips for time. Apparently, the guy who supplied the tire has a 750lb one but the kid running the comp. said it was too heavy. After studying the clip you provided I'd like to practice with a heavier tire.

Aaron Markovich 11-07-2005 01:18 AM

Bwt, everyone either deadlifted the tire or used their back entirely. It was very interesting to see who used technique and who used brute strength.

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