It makes sense to train like a strongman for strength – but fat loss? Well, although pro strongmen tip the scales at alarming numbers – Iceland’s Hafthór Júlíus Björnsson, World’s Strongest Man 2018 and ‘The Mountain’ of Game of Thrones fame, weighs in at a monstrous 173kg – the way they train would help them carve Adonis-like physiques, if only their diets didn’t have to be so calorific to let them counterbalance the mammoth weights they need to shift.
But if dragging lorries isn’t your fitness priority, you can use strongman training techniques to build impressive lean muscle and cardio and shift stubborn body fat, says PT and corrective movement specialist Will Girling.
“Doing big, heavy compound movements stimulates your muscles and central nervous system, causing you to release more growth hormone and raising your metabolism,” he says.
“Ultimately this increases the calories your body burns throughout the day, boosts your fitness and cranks up the potential of muscle growth. And the hard-and-fast medley sessions in each workout are a close simulation of what you might get in strongman competition.”
- Do all six exercises in order, taking minimal rest between each.
- Complete 30-45 seconds of each exercise.
- Rest for three minutes after one round, then repeat the whole circuit.
- Complete a total of six rounds, focusing on good form and fast but controlled reps.
1a. Barbell Snatch-Grip Deadlift
- Hold the bar with hands double shoulder-width apart, arms straight and shoulder blades retracted.
- Keeping your chest up and your back straight, drive down through your heels and push your hips forwards as you pull the bar up your legs to stand tall.
1b. BB Front Squat
- Rest the bar across your upper chest with your hands holding it in place and your elbows as high as you can get them.
- Keeping your chest up and back straight, squat until your thighs pass parallel, then drive back up to standing.
1c. Ring-Inverted Row
- Hold the rings and hang so your body forms a straight line, with your heels on the floor and your core braced.
- Squeeze your shoulder blades together and pull yourself up, drawing your hands towards your armpits.
- Pause, then lower slowly.
1d. Single-Arm Landmine Row
- Attach a barbell to the landmine pivot (or just wedge it into the middle of a weight plate on the floor) and hold the other end of the bar with one hand, facing away from its anchor point.
- Bend your legs and hinge forwards at your hips so your back is almost parallel with the floor.
- Keeping your core strong and shoulder blades retracted, row the bar towards your armpit, drawing your elbow upwards, then lower until your arm is straight.
1e. Medicine Ball Slam
- Hold a medicine ball in two hands and stand with feet shoulder-width apart.
- Raise the ball high above your head, rising up on to the balls of your feet and, contract your core as you powerfully slam the ball into the floor in front of you.
- Catch the ball as it bounces up and continue into the next rep.
Photography: Tom Miles