To me, the greatest thing about lifting weights is the never ending ways to challenge yourself.
Just when you accomplish one goal, there’s any number of other things you can do to make yourself better.
In the Fall of 2014, I pushed myself to the limit with 20-Rep Squats.
I wanted to see how far I could go.
I started with 225-lbs, and over the course of about 10 weeks, I worked my way to 355-lbs. I only got 16 reps with that, however, as on my last rep I strained a hamstring/groin muscle.
But I had no regrets. Sometimes an injury happens when you’re trying to see what you limits truly are.
After a couple months of rehab, recovery, and rebuilding, I decided I was ready for another round of 20-Rep Squats, only this time i was gonna do it a little different.
Instead, this time, the goal would be to hit 20-reps of Goblet Squats with the Inch Dumbbell.
Here’s my best effort to date in max reps: 13 with the 176-lb Inch Dumbbell on loan from John Eaton:
Goblet Squats are a great exercise. While they are usually used as a precursor to Back Squatting by using lighter weights, they can also be used for heavy training as well. On top of using the Inch Dumbbell for Goblet Squats, I was also using the 200-lb Kettlebell for Goblet Squats for a time this year as well. You can see some videos of that here => 200-lb Kettlebell Goblet Squats.
What’s interesting about Heavy Goblet Squatting, especially with a circus-style dumbbell such as the Inch Dumbbell, is that a part of the bell lies on your stomach.
So, not only is breathing difficult due to the dumbbell being held at chest height, you’ve also got the additional challenge of breathing through the belly against the lower portion of the dumbbell at the same time.
I liken this challenge to performing multiple repetitions of Atlas Stone lifting. The difference is, you never drop the stone to re-grip or load it atop a platform. Instead, it’s like you just keep going from the lap to the chest-load position.
Stone Lifting Technique: The Chest-Load
Above, Steve Slater lifts a stone to the chest-load position. Going from lap to chest-load like this feels VERY similar to Inch Dumbbell Goblet Squats.
It makes for an awesome physical challenge, and that’s what it’s all about, for me, when it comes to strength training.
I’ll keep you updated on the 20-Rep Inch Dumbbell Goblet Squat Saga.
Speaking of the Inch Dumbbell, next week, I will be shooting a DVD on that very subject. If you’re training to lift the Inch Dumbbell, make sure you sign up for updates about it using the form below.
Lift the Inch Dumbbell – Sign up Below:
All the best in your training.
Tags: atlas stone lifting, atlas stones, inch, inch dumbbell, stone lifting, stones, strongman, strongman stones, thomas inch dumbbell, thomas inch replica dumbbell
Posted in feats of strength, inch dumbbell, stone lifting, strongman | No Comments »
Strongman Training For Powerlifters
by Ian Driscoll
Coming from a powerlifting background and previous to that, a kid who just wanted to get bigger and stronger for high school sports, strongman training has proved to be the most effective and fun training that I have ever done.
Strongman training is hard, damn hard. However, the benefits are hard to ignore whether your goal is to add slabs of muscle mass, becoming a more explosive athlete or simply put pounds on your gym lifts.
Getting Started in Strongman Training
First I’ll start off with a little bit of personal history. My first year of college, I was a hungry 18 year old powerlifter looking to up my game. I had always enjoyed strongman competitions on TV and decided I was going to give it a shot.
I drove two and a half hours to a garage gym known as Jobe’s Steel Jungle every weekend. There I had the opportunity to experience what “Strongman Sunday’s” were all about. Log presses, axle presses, deadlifts (of all varieties), keg loading, stone loading, yoke walks, farmers walks, sandbag carries, and sled pulls are a list in a vague memory of what I have done there.
On these weekends I only did three or four strongman events and I was left exhausted. The two and a half hour drive back was always euphoric. My t-shirt was stained with sweat, tacky, and chalk but the recent memory of strongman training was all that was on my mind.
My Improvement in the Powerlifts from Strongman Training
This weekly strongman training carried over to my powerlifting in a noticeable way. I used to have trouble stabilizing my body under 405 pounds in a squat. I would look like a baby giraffe coming out of the womb. Heavy yoke walks took care of that problem. The yoke walks taught me how to create tension and brace my body. Instead of having a coach tell me abstractly how to create tension and brace the trunk, I threw myself under a heavy yoke, kept my body as upright as possible and I learned exceptionally quick what bracing and creating tension feels like.
I used to have problems double overhand deadlifting anything over 315 pounds. Farmers walks took care of that, something about walking with 260 pounds in each hand for 100 feet will cure most grip problems. My deadlift and squat were suffering from the inability of pushing the hips through. I loaded a stone 20 times in a row, you have no choice but to learn how to use the hips.
Enough about my personal experience; here’s how strongman training can benefit you:
Benefits of Strongman Training
Loaded Triple Extension:
Triple extension is simply the simultaneous extension of the ankles, knees, and hips. Classic barbell lifts such as the squat, deadlift, and power clean demonstrate this.
With strongman implements, one can take it a bit further. Loading an atlas stone to a relatively high platform trying not to let the stone break one’s spine in half or flipping a heavy tractor tire will have one go from a deep squat position through to the tippy toes. With these implements being odd objects, the awkwardness is a nice change of pace and the technique is not as comprehensive as a barbell lift.
There is something primal about flipping an 800 pound tire or loading a 300 pound stone. For powerlifters, we don’t need to go extremely heavy with strongman implements. Just getting out of the gym and doing something exciting that provokes hard work is beneficial. We can argue all day about what is optimal or what’s best for triple extension and to be honest I see a lot more carryover from strongman based triple extension movements to the gym than what the gym brings to strongman.
Bracing the trunk:
In order to walk with 600 pounds in the hands, 800 pounds on the back, or load something over 300 pounds to a platform it is critical to brace the trunk. It is impossible to do any of these disciplines efficiently without bracing effectively. Yes, one can learn how to brace the trunk very well in a squat, bench press, or deadlift but walking with the weights one can deadlift or squat takes the bracing concept to a whole new level and makes them more efficient when they go back to traditional squatting, bench pressing or deadlifting.
Bearhug walking with a heavy keg, farmers walks or doing some axle deadlifts will develop that manly handshake and improve upon the ability to lift heavier weights. It is called the law of irradiation, the harder an individual can squeeze something, the more efficiently the chain of muscles can be utilized. Nothing fancy here, just hard, grueling work.
Along with loaded triple extension, and bracing the trunk that aid in explosiveness, strongman events are supposed to be done fast. Things are timed in strongman, we need to be as efficient as possible. A classic example of developing explosiveness would be tire flips as fast as possible for 50 feet or cleaning a heavy axle up to the shoulders. Personally, there is a direct correlation to the speed of my power lifts when I add in strongman training.
What makes strongman appealing to me is the amount of mental strength it takes to endure the events. There have been a couple times I literally thought that I was going to die. Everyone wants to set down a heavy yoke, drop the farmers when their shoulders feel like their being pulled out of socket, let go of an atlas stone when it rips into their forearm, grind through a 15th rep on a deadlift for reps or drop the log when it is crushing their lungs. The intense commitment and desire to plow through these mental barriers is, to me, invaluable.
Sign Up for Updates Whenever New Strongman Training Info is Posted
How to add strongman events to a powerlifting routine?
There are many ways to go about doing this. Here are a couple of examples…
Full Strongman Day:
I suggest replacing a gym day for an event day if one is lucky enough to have access to the implements. For example, you can get your main powerlifting work done during the week, and then do your Strongman Training on Saturday or Sunday.
Strongman Lifts as Accessory Movements:
Another way to add Strongman Training is by using strongman events in place of other accessory movements. For example, after deadlift training one could hit five sets of five on tire flips, instead of straight leg deads. Another example would be an axle clean and press for three sets of five after bench training. An additional example could be three sets of 50 feet on yoke walks after squatting.
The options are limitless, but one must be smart about it. Strongman training has a funny way of leaving the body in a pile of ash if one gets carried away. One event day consisting of three events or substituting a main accessory for a similar strongman event.
Wrapping it Up
In summary, strongman training is great. On the other hand, it is not the end all be all of training. A lot of elite level powerlifters have never touched strongman equipment. For strength athletes, strongmen included, the classic barbell lifts are going to be the priority of a training system. My thoughts and ideas are to give you a few tools you can try out on your own and see if they aid in your strength sport. There is a time and a place for several tools, I am under the impression strongman training is one of those under-utilized tools that has a great carryover to the powerlifts.
New Strongman Trainees: Get Your Technique Right with out DVD,
Introduction to Strongman Training. It covers everything you need to know
to perform the most common and beneficial events the right way.
Click the banner below or go to this link => Strongman Training DVD
Tags: stone lifting, strongman, strongman training, tire axle deadlift
Posted in athletic strength training lift odd objects, stone lifting, strongman competition training, strongman training for athletes, strongman training log stone tire farmer | No Comments »
Odd Object Training – Intense & Fun Strength Training
Odd Object training, lifting things like atlas stones, kegs, and sandbags is a very rewarding form of training. You get strong in ways that barbells and dumbbells can not provide and it is fun to pick things up that 99% of the population will never do.
Recently, I wanted to start working some odd object training into the routine. Optimally, I would have wanted to lift some atlas stones. But since it had been over a year since I last trained them, I wanted to work Odd Object Training back in slowly.
Instead of jumping right into stones, I opted to do some sandbag lifting and keg lifting. Both of these implements are shaped very similar to stones, and allow you to get used to the body positions of stone lifting and to somewhat practice the stone lifting technique.
The day I did this was also my Overhead Pressing day so I still wanted to do some overhead work. Since I was working with 110-lb Sandbag and a 127-lb Keg, I was able to get plenty of overhead lifting volume in.
For the sandbag, I decided I would do full cleans and presses. This would allow my back to get accustomed once again to the round-back position of odd object training, without going as heavy as my lightest stone, 230-lbs.
To stay conservative, I started with just 3 repetitions in my first set, and then added 1 repetition each set. All the while, I was trying to move faster and faster with the clean and the press in order to get a bit of an increase cardiovascular demand.
In the video you will see that I put a Timer in, just to show how quickly or slowly I was moving through the repetitions. Since there was a clean to the shoulder on each repetition, much more muscle was involved than just performing one clean and going for repetitions afterwards.
Here’s the video so you can see how it went.
With the Keg I decided to move to just one clean and multiple presses during the set. The clean is much tougher with my Keg because it is only half full of scrap steel and it shifts around quite a bit. I didn’t want to push my luck on my wrist, so 1 clean per set was good enough.
I also tried to perform a Keg Snatch, lifting it from between the legs overhead in one movement. I didn’t quite get it but I did come close. I think next workout I will be able to perform the snatch.
Check out the video:
As you watch the videos, you will see that I definitely have gotten a bit rusty with my Odd Object training. When you don’t do it for a while, you forget the challenge of controlling these implements, especially during the flip-over/catching portion of the Keg and Sandbag clean. After a couple of sets, I was able to knock most of the rust off.
For those who are new to this kind of training, you will want to approach it somewhat how I did. Even after the ow volume of work that I did, I was still sore in the middle back the next day. This is most likely due to the fact that I have been using so many conventional training implements (barbells, dumbbells) that my back is not used to stabilizing against such a dynamic load.
But that is actually the whole idea with Odd Object Training. It makes your body work harder than with regular equipment, so it helps you develop even more as an athlete or strength enthusiast.
Naturally, when you first start out with Odd Object Training, you’ll want to start out light and gradually move up as you get used to the demands of the Odd Objects. A good starter weight for most gals is about 50-lbs and for guys, about 80-lbs. That kind of weight with these bulky implements with give you a good introduction.
If you are interested in learning more about Odd Object Training, make sure you sign up for my newsletter, because more information will be coming your way.
If you have any questions on Odd Object Training, be sure to leave them below.
All the best in your training.
Tags: keg lifting, keg training, odd objects, sandbag lifting, sandbag training, stone lifting, stone training
Posted in athletic strength training lift odd objects, how to develop strength, how to improve fitness and conditioning, how to improve strength, old strongman feats of strength, overhead lifting, stone lifting, strongman training log stone tire farmer | 2 Comments »
There’s been a lot of stuff going on recently.
My dedication to bringing you the absolute best information for your training needs has never been higher.
Let me bring you up to date of just some of the things I have in the works…
1. How to Make Atlas Stones
I got together with Steve Slater from SlatersHardware.com and StrongmanStuff.com a few months back and we shot the complete DVD on how to make the best Atlas Stones.
That DVD should be ready this week. I have been running into some technical issues, but I am working through them.
If you have a set of molds and want to make better stones, or if you are thinking about getting some, stay tuned, because we left no stone unturned during the shooting of this DVD. Steve has made more stones than anyone else in the world and he is going to show you exactly how he makes the world’s best atlas stones.
2. Hub Lifting Mania
The Workout of the Month at The Grip Authority is uploaded and the members are digging it.
You can join The Grip Authority here for just $7.
I’ve got tons of awesome features on that site. If it’s grip or feats of strength related, then it is on TheGripAuthority.com.
3. Flexibility / Mobility Update
I have really been working hard on my stretching, ROM work, and soft tissue efforts the last couple weeks and my pecs and shoulders are starting to feel much better.
I also got the Horse Liniment that I mentioned in a newsletter last week. It is called “Absorbine Veterinary Liniment.”
I will report back to you about it, but I do have to warn you that it says right on the bottle “for livestock only,” so I am not going to tell you to go out and get it.
4. Grip Training for Track and Field
At a recent seminar, I met Matt Ellis from PrimalATC.com, who works with Track and Field Athletes. Matt and I decided to get together and shoot a DVD on Grip Training for Track and Field Athletes.
I never joined the Track team in High School because I was a baseball player, but Grip Strength is very important for Shotput, Javelin, Discus, Pole Vault, and even the Sprinters in the starting blocks. Plus, as it turns out, there are plenty of hand, finger, and wrist injuries that take place in Track, especially for the throwers.
We put together a DVD of drills that Track Coaches can do with their athletes to strengthen and bulletproof their lower arms.
Stay tuned for that. One of Matt’s colleagues is working to find a video editor to get that product ready, because I am working on another product already for you guys…
5. Next Project – ACL Tear Prevention
Tomorrow, I will start aggressively on completing a DVD I shot with Jerry Shreck from Bucknell University, on ACL Tear Prevention.
ACL Tears are a career threatening injury for nearly all athletes, and the statistics for college athletes are pretty eye-opening, but Jerry has been using a conditioning progression for several years with his athletes and it has been very effective in preventing them with his athletes.
Goal to release that DVD to all of you animals is 2nd week of June. Keep your eyes open…
As you can tell DIESELS, it has been a hot-bed of productivity around here the last few weeks.
I am dedicated to bringing the DIESEL UNIVERSE the information you all need to excel, whether you like to rip, bend, and twist things or if you dominate more conventional sports.
You are in the right place.
If you want to stay up to dat on the developments about these upcoming products and features, make sure you are signed up for the daily updates here at the site:
All the best in your training,
Tags: ACL tear, atlas stones, discuss, grip training, hub lifting, javelin, make atlas stones, pole vault, prevent injuries, shotput, stone lifting, strongman, track and field throwers
Posted in athletic strength training lift odd objects, grip strength, injury rehab recover from injury, stone lifting, strength training to improve athletic performance, strongman competition training, strongman training for athletes, strongman training log stone tire farmer | No Comments »
Although that thing looks like a toilet, the stamps says “Stone Lifting.”
The first time I touched Atlas Stones was in my first ever strongman competition in 2003 at Total Performance Sports. Prior to that we used Kegs in our training in order to assimilate the stone lifting technique.
Ever since that first competition, I have loved Stone Lifting. It became something I would do on a nearly weekly basis every year from the time the weather broke in April until the time the weather got too cold to train outside in the Fall every year. And then sometimes, we’d just train inside.
I was seeing some pretty good success both in training with the atlas stones and in competition, many times winning the event at the strongman contests I was competing in.
Then, around 2006, all my buddies seemed to have lost interest in doing strongman, so if I was going to train, I was going to be alone doing it. Training alone is cool and all, but it’s even cooler with buddies challenging one another and talking some serious trash.
If I remember right, I peaked on atlas stones with a lift of a 405-lb stone in the Summer of 2007, but then I didn’t really train them again until the Fall of 2009. And that was the last time I trained them…
Lately, the stones have been calling my name. Each time I walk past them, I would think to myself, “The next time it’s nice out during training time, I’m coming out here and lifting some stones.
I got down to the gym the other day – it was a day for Axle work, back, and some other stuff. I went through my normal routine of systematic warm-up, then on to Axle, and then my Grip Training.
But when it came time to train back, I was like, “SCREW IT – I’m going outside to lift those stones – that will be my back workout today.”
DIESELS, I can’t even describe in words how fun it was to get out on the stones again. It brought back so many memories of training with my friends, listening to loud music, talking smack to everyone, strongman comps, and barbecuing steaks.
I got the whole stone lifting session on film, so you will see it below.
I have no idea what the first three stones in the video weigh. They were marked at one time, but weather and the passing of time wore those chicken scratches off long ago. So, I arranged them by size and went to work.
Questions on Stone Lifting
In the comments section of the video, I received some questions, so what I thought I’d do is paste them below and answer them for you guys. Here are the first couple…
Do you ever shoulder the stones Jedd?
Sure – shouldering is a good drill to do with Atlas Stones. I like shouldering because it requires more hip explosion and is a faster movement. When you explode with hips, you are able to propel the stone upwards and create more momentum. Then, if you are quick and agile with your hands, you can usually place the stone up on top of your shoulder with just two or three quick movements of the hands.
We cover Atlas Stone Shouldering in our DVD, Stone Lifting Fundamentals, as a way to replicate the explosive qualities of the Olympic Lifts using an odd object instead of the regular bar.
I didn’t do any shouldering in this particular workout, simply because it had been so long since the last time I trained stones. I wanted to stick with the basic techniques on this occasion, but I definitely will do some shouldering soon.
Doesn’t stone lifting go against the rules of deadlifting when it comes to not rounding your back?
Yes, Stone lifting does differ from deadlifting as far as the back angle is concerned. In deadlifting, most people will tell you to avoid rounding, and I would agree with them when deadlifting. However, stone lifting is a bit different.
First off, it is almost impossible to lift a stone without modifying your back angle to a degree. This is because you have to reach your hands way down to the ground. In the deadlift, you are not reaching down that far, so it is much easier to avoid the rounding.
Second, the shape of the stone forces you to take a different grip on it. As you’ll see, the hands and forearms go down along the sides of the stone and you pick it up by both flexing the wrist to brace beneath the stone, and by clamping in with the chest, to compress with the upper arms onto the sides of the stone. This requires a forward torso angle in order to accomplish.
If you keep your torso upright while lifting stones, I think it would put a great deal of pressure on the bicep attachments, and could cause a tear.
Third, when lifting stones, most people incorporate a transitional phase in the lift where the stone is propped on the lap while a re-grip is taking place. The reason this is important to this discussion is because it may seem like a round back is being used from the point of lift-off to the point of loading (high chest), but this is slightly misleading, because while re-gripping the stone, you can also re-position your lumbar spine for a more straight to lordotic curve, which is safer on the back.
Everyone is always stressing good form and not rounding the back while deadlifting. How do you feel about that when stone lifting is the complete opposite?
Because Stone Lifting is, without a doubt, much different from deadlifting, I think it is best to work your way up slowly in stone weight, volume of stone work, and speed of stone work.
For instance, beginners at Stone Lifting should start out with very light stones, and perhaps even start with an abbreviated range of motion and then gradually work toward pulling the stone from the ground or floor. This will enable the beginner stone lifter to slowly get used to the forces and positions involved in stone lifting, which they most likely have never done with a great deal of resistance before. It will help them develop proper technique as well.
If there is any question as to proper stone lifting technique, then I suggest you pick up our DVD, Stone Lifting Fundamentals, which will show you exactly how to begin doing stone lifting with proper form.
It’s a good practice for beginners or people who have not lifted stones in quite some time to limit the volume of stone work they do. I, for instance, knew that I hadn’t done this in a long time, so I didn’t do a lot of volume with the lighter stones. I mainly used them to ready my body, mind, and CNS for the heavier stones. By limiting the volume, you are able to keep your form tight from the beginning to the end of the workout. Doing too much volume too soon in the stone lifting workout could wear out the postural muscles in the back, and then put you at risk for poor form near the end of the stone workout.
As far as the risk of hurting the back, sure, there is a chance. However, there is also a chance to hurt your back in the deadlift as well. I can tell you this, I have never hurt my back by lifting atlas stones. I have, however, hurt my back on many occasions performing the deadlift.
I did notice, while watching my footage after lifting the stones, that my hips are a bit tight to really get where I want to at the beginning of the stone pull. I like to get a little lower with the hips on the initial pull, which helps me to keep my lower back straighter.
I hope this has been helpful. There were some more questions in the comments section of the video – I have not forgotten about them – I just don’t want to overload anyone with new information, so expect another installment of questions to come along here soon.
If you like info on Strongman Training, make sure to subscribe for my Strongman Training Updates in the form below.
All the best in your training,
Start Your Journey in Stone Lifting Today.
Pick up the Stone Lifting Fundamentals DVD Below.
Tags: atlas stone training, atlas stones, stone lifting, stone training, strongman training
Posted in athletic strength training lift odd objects, stone lifting, strength training to improve athletic performance, strongman competition training, strongman feats, strongman training for athletes, strongman training log stone tire farmer | 5 Comments »
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