By, Justin Purcell

Strongman training is intense, grueling, and challenging beyond most athlete’s grasp, but integrating a strongman style into your routines will make your body grow and get stronger. If you’re wanting to compete in the sport of bodybuilding, physique, powerlifting, or crossfit having a strongman background will help you achieve your goals faster and you can shock your body into natural results.

Now you don’t necessarily have to join a gym that offers strongman training to develop a strongman base. Personally I trained in a traditional gym for years before touching my first Atlas Stone. You have to be creative, and think outside of the box. For example, lifting heavy weight will shock your central nervous system and it will help to continually recruit dormant muscle fibers which will make you grow. Heavy is a direct reflect on your own personal level and you know what is heavy for yourself. So train smart, challenge yourself, and keep pushing yourself to new personal records. Here is an example on how to integrate strongman into your gym routines.

1) On leg day, utilize partial squats, and lockouts into your squat routine. Generally you can lift 20-30% more on a lockout or partial than your squat max, so after your squat routine do 4-6 sets of partials staying in the 4-6 rep range. 2) Every other week add deadlifts into your leg routine to target your hamstrings and glutes more often. 3) If your gym has bands for resistance use them for your static lifts, especially seated overhead press, bench press, and deadlifts. 4) Power Cleans are a great way to stimulate your body and it utilizes muscles that aren’t always trained. Focus on form before you add a lot of weight. Use a 12 rep range with light weight to add a cardio element to your resistance training 5) Use one arm at a time when doing anything with dumbbells. Focus on your body, and keep your muscles under tension while performing any lift. 6) Be functional, pick up some dumbbells and walk with them around the gym until you can’t take another step, rest, then repeat. 7) Use Negative reps to train your muscle completely, if you eliminate weakness you won’t get injured.

If you’re fortunate enough to train with strongman equipment go after everything that is foreign to you. Doing new things with your body requires adaptation. Adaptation will result in growth, and definition. Atlas Stones, Log Press, Tire Flips, and any type of pull/drag event will tax your body in a new level. Make 2014 a year of change and progress, don’t be afraid to look weak, leave your ego’s home. Try something new and watch your body develop on an accelerated pace.