Atlas Stone Lifting
20-inch Diameter Stones weighing in the 320-530lb Range
Want to Learn to Lift Atlas Stones?
Check Out This DVD:
Stone Lifting Fundamentals DVD
Want to Learn to Lift Atlas Stones?
Check Out This DVD:
Stone Lifting Fundamentals DVD
Tags: atlas stones, lifting stones, stone lifting, strongman, strongman stones, strongman training
Posted in grip strength, stone lifting, strongman, strongman competition training, strongman training for athletes, strongman training log stone tire farmer, Uncategorized | 686 Comments »
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.
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 | 57 Comments »
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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 | 47 Comments »
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 | 59 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…
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.
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.
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.
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…
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 | 62 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.
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,
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 | 6 Comments »
Atlas Stone lifting is something many get excited about and for good reason. The thought of lifting an object that is not meant to be lifted, absent the advantages of holes, handles, crevices, or edges would excite even the strongest individuals in the world. Propelling a perfectly round heavy Atlas Stone either to your shoulder or on to a barrel can be extremely rewarding, especially if it is a personal record.
What I’m going to share are beginning techniques related to strongman Atlas Stone lifting. Notice, I emphasize the word “strongman” not “weakman” because this is about max effort. If you’re not familiar with max effort training with iron then you really aren’t ready for attempting max effort stone lifting. Atlas Stones are not designed to be lifted, barbells and dumbbells are.
This being said, you, the novice, should progress at lifting weights first. This way when you do start stone lifting you will go in ready with the needed foundation both physically and mentally.
At times lifters come to visit me at our Slater Strength Club and want me to instruct them on lifting Atlas Stones. I never assume that because a man is not massively developed that he has not spent time weight training. I always ask “How long have you been training?” If the answer isn’t definitive, or doesn’t directly address the question, and the answer is along the lines of, “Ahh a few months or something like that.”
I then tell them that they’re not ready for such a challenge so “Let’s do some deadlifts.” I take this route as not to spoil what will be a good thing by lifting stones too early.
I always suggest that beginners weight train until they develop a good base then attempt the challenge of stone lifting. My first rule of thumb is this: if your deadlift is not yet 160 kg or 350 lbs then continue to weight train progressively and build up your basic strength.
Once your basic strength is there, I suggest picking a 16″ atlas stone for starters. This stone should weigh around 170-180 lbs and is an optimal size for developing motor skills and technique. If you choose a lighter one it should only be for warm ups if you’re doing traditional Atlas Stone lifting.
For warm ups I prefer band exercises for the biceps and back. I also include roller work massage such as Self Myo-Fascial Release (SMR) that targets the back, biceps, glutes and hamstrings. After that I will move into light stones. This will get me warmed up and ready to lift safely.
I like to tape my forearms, using athletic tape though some use duct tape. If you want, shave your forearms to keep the tape from slipping. The tape will grip your skin much better if the hair is removed and the addition of a pre-spray on your forearms will provide for good adhesion.
I like Rugby Spray Wax by Trimona as a pre-spray, available on StrongmanStuff.com. I flex my forearm and then tape it, starting just below the elbow and working my way to my wrist. Once it is taped I relax my forearm and then pat down and smooth the tape to my skin. Flexing the forearm prior to taping will prevent the tape from being too tight and If done correctly, the tape will stick well.
I learned from Team Boss Strongman’s Rick Freitag to tape the forearms not so much to help the grip but to cut off the signal of pain. If you are in pain them the mind is fighting the pain and not focusing on the lift.
Apply tacky or handball wax (pine resin) to get a better grip. Personally I like PR Champions Blend Tacky because it is made in Ohio and I’m from Ohio. It is a very good general weather tacky but most other tacky works well too. I apply some on my hands, fingers and forearms and at times onto my chest, especially during competitions. This helps to keep the stone from spinning off of the chest.
When you first start stone lifting apply a slight amount just to get a feel for it as you will learn quickly how much you like to use. I do believe the use of tacky can reduce the strain on soft tissue.
As for lifting the stones, there are some basic precautions to be concerned with for the safety of the lifter and those in the vicinity of the stones.
It goes without saying that new lifters should always consult a health care provider prior to starting any exercise program. Especially since stone lifting differs so greatly from other forms of resistance training, it just makes sense to make sure your doctor okay’s that you give it a try.
You may choose to lift it over a large diameter bar that is fixed so it will not spin. For example, we lift the stone over an adjustable strongman yoke bar. We also use solid platforms made out of wood. You can fasten wood pallets on top of each other, and then fasten plywood to the front or around all sides. There is a great wood platform on StrongmanStuff.com. We sometimes use whiskey barrels or oil drums, but if you do use a barrel be sure to avoid pinching your fingers on the lip!
Whatever you choose to lift the stone onto or over, either a large non rotating bar or a platform, make sure that it is stable. With all platforms please use caution making sure the back side of the platform is braced. This will insure platform stablility so it should not tip if the stone hits it. Once you’re more experienced and stronger you can work on shouldering the stones.
At Slater Strength Club all novice lifters are forbidden to twist with the stone during the lift. The risk of injury far outweighs any benefits.
Once you get the stone to the tip of the platform you may begin to struggle to place it on the top. During the struggle to get past the “tip point”, avoid pausing in that vulnerable position for more than a few seconds and no matter how difficult the struggle to complete the lift, do not twist in order to get the stone to the top of the platform.
You may be tempted to do this but this potentially dangerous maneuver should be avoided. Additional strength and experience will get you past this critical point in the lift. Atlas Stone lifting with a grouped series of stones is less about struggling at the top but rather an example of utilizing one’s strength with precision.
Don’t practice struggling at the top, practice a precise finish. A precise and fast finish wins competitions. As with any lift there are some risks, but the benefits of safe stone lifting far outweigh the risks.
I hope that this information helps you make the move into Atlas Stone lifting so you can continue to make great strength gains and appreciate this awesome raw form of training.
Stone lifting makes you seriously strong, ruggedly strong, and for lack of a better expression, “animal strong.” Simply stated, if a good stone lifter puts his hands on a man of above average size, even one flailing and squirming to resist, he could place him on his shoulders, run with him and squeeze the crap out of him in seconds! He could probably even press him over his head and toss him high or far. That is stone lifter strength and as stone lifter Bill Crawford says “stone lifting makes you strong in ways that only stones can.”
Further Atlas Stone and Strongman Training Information
Tags: atlas stone lifting, atlas stones, stone lifting, stone training, strongman stone
Posted in athletic strength training lift odd objects, feats of strength, stone lifting, strongman competition training, strongman training for athletes, strongman training log stone tire farmer | 101 Comments »
Hello DIESELS! Today I have an interview for you with Chris Miller from Maximum Fitness. Chris and I met through Nick Tumminello, and as I found out more about him, I realized he was doing a lot of similar training in his gym that I do in mine, especially Strongman Training, only he has been doing it with athletes and personal training clients, turning them into brutally strong, DIESEL-powered monsters. So I wanted to get some thoughts from him to see how he has been able to work Strongman Training into the routines with his clientele. I hope you enjoy it and if you have any questions, please a comment below.
Jedd: Please tell us a little about yourself – your athletic and training background and how you got involved with training athletes.
Chris: My name is Chris Miller, and I’ve been a certified Personal Trainer, and Strength/Conditioning coach for over 10 years in Columbia, Maryland. My company is called Maximum Fitness; which is located in Columbia, Maryland. My athletic background consists of playing Pop Warner football as a child, High school football, as well as college football. My training background consists of clients that are; little league football players, high school football players, basketball, lacrosse players, college football and soccer players, as well as MMA fighters, and boxers. I also do personal training and boot camps for the novice clientele to experienced clients.
I became involved with training athletes from the passion I had for sports growing up, and as an adult currently. I looked back on how I trained and viewed the workouts I used in order for me to prepare myself for football; and realized it was a totally different way of life training in the 1980’s. After I graduated from college, I started coaching little league football and high school football. I would see how uneducated these athletes were, and how wrong their workouts were in the weight room. This encouraged me to branch out, and develop ways in which I thought would be more effective in training these athletes. The fitness industry is ever changing; so I researched different training methods and products and created my own system in working with athletes; as well as used pieces of other systems I would see during my research.
Jedd: Many members of the Diesel Universe either compete in strongman training or do strongman training on a regular basis. Do you have any experience with Strongman Training?
Chris: Yes, I have trained with various strongman techniques; but have never competed. I’ve always wanted to compete, but never took the plunge to pursue it. Working at a landscaping company throughout college; me and a few other guys use to perform lifts of logs, trees, cement bags, and rocks all the time. We thought we were the famous guys that competed on ESPN. LOL…
Jedd: Have you included Strongman Training or Odd Object Training into your athletic training protocols?
Chris: Yes indeed! Strongman training is a great way to turn any athlete into a powerful force. I’ve used everything from Keg throws and lifts, heavy cement bags and tires, as well as tractor-trailer rims; before all the common day objects became available to purchase.
Jedd: Since incorporating Strongman Training into your routines, what benefits have you seen?
Chris: I’ve noticed an increase in power, strength, range of motion; as well as muscular endurance.
Jedd: Which athletes do you incorporate Strongman Training with? Football Players? Baseball? Etc.
Chris: I incorporate Strongman Training with all of my athletes; from high school age, college as well as my MMA/Boxing clients.
Jedd: What lifts do you find to have the best carry-over to athletic performance?
Chris: Tire flips, Sled pulls, Sled push, heavy med ball throws, sledgehammer slams on tires.
Jedd: How do you include Strongman Lifts into the routines? Primary movements? Explosive Movements?
Chris: With my offensive/defensive line clients, I like to use explosive movements, since the average play in football is 3-4 seconds; I like to work on explosive movements that simulate coming off the ball in a violent, but controlled manner. The MMA fighters I train explosive and some primary movements; due to the nature of simulating the actual combative movements during competition. I’d say I combine the two on occasion, but mostly using the explosive method for stimulating the fast twitch muscles which are used very much in these sports.
Jedd: How do you go about monitoring your athletes’ performance when using Strongman lifts? Do you ever “dial back” the intensity of the strongman lifts?
Chris: I monitor my athletes by measuring his/her threshold and tracking results through reps and time. Measuring how effective their body reacts pre- and post-lift is key for me. I try to “Dial back”, the intensity a few days before games or matches, because I don’t want to over work a particular muscle group; causing fatigue and muscle tear-down before they compete. I try to keep the intensity at 70-80% 2 days before games, and 60-70% a week before my MMA clients compete.
Jedd: What is the number one Strongman Lift you suggest other strength coaches put into their programs, out of all of the possible choices?
Chris: I’m glad you asked this question, because I personally say, don’t prescribe an exercise to a client, that you wouldn’t do yourself. I suggest all strength coaches incorporate the Deadlift into their programs. Every athlete needs a strong back and core in order to compete week in and week out. There are many variations of the Deadlift; therefore you can reap benefits from many variations, as long as safety and form is monitored.
Jedd: Have you had athletes push back on you when you introduced Strongman Training?
Chris: I train a college Division I Lacrosse player and Division III football player currently; and I’ve been training these kids since I coached them in high school. When I introduced the heavy chains and sled pulls 3 years ago; they looked at me and thought I was crazy. They refused at first, because their college strength coaches were stuck on the basic barbells and dumbbells exercises. After a few days of training, and 3 years later; they can’t get enough of the Strongman exercises.
Jedd: What is one piece of advice you would give to other Strength Coaches about instituting Strongman Training into their routines?
Chris: Great question! I first would advise the coaches to research the routines and experiment amongst the staff, then introduce the routine to their athletes. I would also remind them of the safety issues concerning these routines.
Jedd: Thanks so much for your interview. Please feel free to tell us where we can learn more about your training.
Chris: Thank you sir; it was a pleasure having the privilege to participate in this awesome interview! The Diesel Crew is doing big things, and I appreciate the education, and information that is being delivered daily by you all!
My company is called Maximum Fitness, and we are located in Columbia, Maryland. Website and contact information is below.
Chris thanks so much for the interview. DIESELS, Strongman Training is an excellent way to take your athletic training to the next level of Strength and Power. If you want to include this type of training in your programs in order to start reaping the benefits that Chris Miller is seeing with his athletes, pick up our Intro to Strongman DVD, so you can see how to perform the lifts properly and keep your athletes injury free while also becoming brutally strong!
All the best in your training,
For more information on Strongman Training, sign up for the Strongman Training Newsletter:
Tags: odd object training, odd objects, sandbag training, sled dragging, strongman training
Posted in athletic strength training lift odd objects, stone lifting, strength training to improve athletic performance, strength training workouts, strongman competition training, strongman training for athletes, strongman training log stone tire farmer | 744 Comments »
Congratulations to Brian Shaw for winning the 2011 World’s Strongest Man contest!
Brian was tied with Zydrunas Savickas going into the last event, the Atlas Stones, and finished a full stone ahead of Savickas to win the event and the championship!
Brian Shaw takes the final event, Atlas Stones:
Tags: 2011 worlds strongest man, 2011 wsm, atlast stones, brian shaw, strongman, winner, worlds strongest man 2011
Posted in athletic strength training lift odd objects, stone lifting, strongman competition training, strongman training for athletes, strongman training log stone tire farmer | 83 Comments »
Congratulations to Brian Shaw for winning the 2011 World’s Strongest Man contest!
Brian was tied with Zydrunas Savickas going into the last event, the Atlas Stones, and finished a full stone ahead of Savickas to win the event and the championship!
Brian Shaw takes the final event, Atlas Stones:
Here’s another angle of the Atlas Stones:
To recognize Brian’s amazing suspense-filled victory, I am holding a sale on the Introduction to Strongman DVD.
Use this special link and you can get the Intro to Strongman DVD on sale for just $39 (regularly $49).
Congrats again to Brian, a true champion and ambassador to the sport. I have met Brian a couple of times, and what an outstanding guy – humble, approachable, enormous, and STRONG!
Click on the image below to take advantage of this special offer:
All the best in your training!
Tags: 2011 worlds strongest man, 2011 wsm, atlast stones, brian shaw, strongman, winner, worlds strongest man 2011
Posted in athletic strength training lift odd objects, stone lifting, strongman competition training, strongman training for athletes, strongman training log stone tire farmer | 433 Comments »
Today I have an awesome guest post from Steve Slater. Steve and I teamed up on the Intro to Strongman Training DVD and he recently put together an article on how he approaches Stone Lifting when he works with new guys in the sport. I just did a Strongman Workshop with Steve two weekends ago and he is loaded with knowledge on Strongman. Look for more articles and videos from Steve down the line. Enjoy!
Atlas Stone Training for Beginner Strongman Competitors
Atlas Stones are a fundamental test of strength in many strongman competitions, and they have also become a staple among strength training enthusiasts who are looking for the ultimate strength workout.
Stones literally tax everything from head to toe. In fact, try not contracting any major muscle group like your legs, glutes, back, chest or biceps during a stone lift, and let’s see if the stone even comes off the ground – fat chance.
When it comes to Atlas Stone training, you’ve just got to know how to do it right! So let’s get into that right now.
LEARNING THE STONES
It’s time to get your hands on some stones and get to work.
At first, it can be easy to get frustrated with atlas stones as they fight you the whole way up. Since they are round, they make your job of lifting them very difficult, and once they start to get loose on you, they often win the battle.
Learning how to conquer the atlas stones takes time and requires understanding the proper technique. Once you master the technique you then can really start to work on using the stones to take you to a new level of fitness.
Stone lifting is generally done by pulling the stone from the ground and either placing it on top of a platform or barrel, or it is put over a bar of a designated height (usually 4 feet or higher). Whatever you choose to lift the stone onto or over, make sure that it is stable. Here are some examples of loading strategies we have used.
Normally, we lift the stone over an adjustable strongman yoke bar. We also at times use solid platforms to load several stones one after the other. To make the platforms, we fastened wood pallets on top of each other, and attached plywood to the front and around all sides. We sometimes use whiskey barrels or oil drums, but if you use a barrel watch out for the lip, as it can be a finger pincher.
With all platforms, please use caution making sure the back side of the platform is braced; this will keep the platform stable so it will not tip if the stone hits it. Once you’re more experienced you can work on shouldering the lighter stones. Incidentally, the world record for a shouldered stone is held by Derek Poundstone. In 2009 he shouldered a massive stone in the range of 420 lbs.
If you practice stone shouldering, make sure you use plenty of rubber mats to drop the stones on. At our club we use four of the 5/8” thick stall mats with plywood under them so we can just drop the stones off of our shoulder or the top platforms without damaging the floor or the stones.
As for lifting the stones, there are some basic cautions to be concerned with for safety.
I have seen athletes twist at the top of a stone load. If you are going heavy or you are doing reps to failure for conditioning, once you get the stone to the tip of the platform, do not pause in that top position longer than a few seconds, and do not twist in order to try to get it onto the platform, as accidents have happened at this point before.
HEIGHT OF PLATFORM
If you use a platform for stone loading, for most stone training I think it is best to use a platform that is around sternum height or somewhere below. This is a good position, especially if you are training for a particular sport that requires hip drive and/or triple extension like a football player exploding off the line of scrimmage or a swimmer leaping off the diving block.
As a variation and progression from the normal platform, we also sometimes use a hanging target. It may be a jump stretch band or a large rope hanging from a rafter or a power rack. We dangle the band or rope from the rack as a goal upon which to touch the stone. When you touch the top of the stone to the bottom of the band, you have achieved your goal. You can also have a partner pull the band/rope up slightly after each successful rep, so you try to increase the height on each rep.
LEARNING THE TECHNIQUE
I will discuss the best way that I have found to lift an Atlas Stone, although we all may lift them slightly differently.
In training, strive to keep good form so you can strengthen your body using the safest way of lifting. As for myself, when it comes to lifting the stone, I first position the stone about 6”-8” away from what I may be loading it onto. I then face the Atlas Stone and straddle my feet over it so that my calves are around 1” from it on both sides. I make sure I stand almost directly over the stone so the balls of my feet are positioned at the center point of it.
Next, I squat down to near parallel, grabbing the stone with my arms straight down and hug the center of it with my forearms and hands trying to get my fingers as far under the stone as possible without smashing them. My finger nails will likely be touching the ground at this point.
I then squeeze hard with my fingers, hands, forearms and begin to pull with my legs and entire back. This is when I think of contracting with everything I have. My legs straighten slightly as the stone begins to come up, although the legs are never completely straight. As the stone starts to pass my knees, I then re-bend my knees back into a near parallel squat and I roll the stone onto my lap. If possible, I also may try to walk my feet in slightly. Since I’m resting the stone on my lap, bringing the feet together will position the stone higher on the abdomen when I start the second part of the lift.
From here, I will reposition my hands more towards the top of the stone maybe about 1/3rd of the way up but not all the way on top or the stone will drop down. Your palms will not be facing each other any longer. They are now angled more towards the ground. I squeeze the stone again and press it against my chest so my chin is as far over the stone as possible. Then I will dip forward and down slightly to get a stretch reflex and pull back explosively with my upper body, forcefully standing up and driving my hips forward.
If I am just lifting the stone to the high chest and then returning it to the floor, I try to keep the center of the stone directly over my feet and lean back slightly to keep my balance. If I am loading the stone to a platform or over a marker, then I will propel it upward and forward, as shown in the image above. If loading on the platform, I also quickly reposition my arms just in case I don’t quite make it and I have to push it fully onto the platform.
You now have an idea on technique. Let’s look at how to train with the stones.
For a beginner workout, I suggest you work with a light stone and focus on reps so you get used to the proper technique as well as conditioning your muscles for something they are not used to doing.
Even if you are a very strong athlete, I suggest that you keep to a stone around 200lbs or under to start with. If you are in good condition and you are new to stone lifting, try not to exceed a stone that is anything above 70% of your bodyweight. In other words, if your bodyweight is 100lbs, use about a 70lb stone, or if you weigh around 180lbs you would use about a 130lb stone, plus or minus a few pounds.
Take this stone and load it for 2-3 sets of 5-8 reps and 2-3 times per week for the first three weeks so you work on technique and conditioning. You may be tempted to go heavier, but just remember the best is yet to come so take it slow. Just try to improve your technique with the lighter stone.
For a stone workout that is centered on hardcore conditioning, you might try the following variations. Pick out a lighter stone and break the stone lifting technique down into segments. You will do the following stone lifting segment work for 3 sets of 10 reps.
The first 10 reps will be the LAP, SQUAT, DROP drill. To begin, pick up the stone, LAP it to the SQUAT position and stand up driving hard with the hips, pushing the stone upward and forward as high as you can. Then, DROP the stone on rubber mats and repeat.
For the next 10 reps, try the LAP, SQUAT and RETURN drill. In this drill, you will LAP the stone, SQUAT it up, and then this time RETURN the stone under control to your lap. Do this for 10 reps but DO NOT drop the stone.
Rest again and for the last 10 reps, do the LAP AND DROP drill, lapping the stone and then dropping it back down between your legs. Repeat this for 10 reps.
If you still have some gas in the tank, you might also finish off with 10 reps of bent over rows with an even lighter stone.
Start light with this series of drills because this can leave you exhausted and sore for days.
As you can see, Atlas Stone lifting can be a very beneficial practice that can quickly have you building muscle, burning calories, and becoming more powerful. This is particularly helpful for power and combat athletes that need to drive with the lower body, and also certain professions such as Law Enforcement and Corrections Officers who have to be able to subdue perpetrators.
With all the benefits of stone training, there are some risks involved, but the benefits far outweigh the risks. As you train, start out light and use caution. Also, condition yourself to the stresses of stone lifting. As you progress, you can add equipment into the mix such as loading platforms, hanging targets, and drop areas, and before you know it you will be performing drills for speed, explosiveness, and conditioning. In time, you will be extremely rugged.
For more information on Atlas Stone training and many other types of Strongman Training events, please check out my Strongman DVD, Introduction to Strongman Training. Loaded with technique and safety tips, I can show you how to correctly train like a Strongman or Strongwoman. And whether you ever enter a competition or not, you will definitely be a stronger version of yourself in no time.
Click here for the Introduction to Strongman DVD
Tags: atlas stone lifting, atlas stone training, atlast stones, stone lifting, stone training, stones
Posted in athletic strength training lift odd objects, core training workouts, how to improve fitness and conditioning, stone lifting, strength training to improve athletic performance, strongman competition training, strongman training for athletes, strongman training log stone tire farmer | 10 Comments »
It’s awesome to hear feedback from you all when you pick up my products. Here is one I just got from CT Mafioso…
Glad to hear it, CT! Thanks a lot.
You know there is nothing that really replace the tips that come from experience with the implements.
Powerlifters call this things you learn Under the Bar and it is the same with Strongman, so I guess that would be Under the Log or Under the Tire, maybe.
This kind of learning only takes place from hours and hours of work with the implements. It’s not something you can get by watching YouTube videos. This is exactly what Steve and I wanted to put out there for all to learn when we worked on Introduction to Strongman Training.
If you want to understand the technical aspects of the Log, Tire, Farmers, Stones, Yoke, and other Strongman Implements, then our DVD is a must for you = > Strongman Training Information
You don’t want to struggle through everything. That’s pretty much how I did it. Every contest, every trip to train with new guys, every article, I’d learn something new and try to remember it for the next time. That process is long, tedious, and it sucks.
All the info you really need for Strongman training is in our DVD. Just check out the events we cover on this page = > Strongman Training DVD.
And, if you really want to get the most out of the experience, Steve and I are putting on a Strongman Workshop on July 17th.
Yes, it is a Sunday. I know that is a bit alternative, but Steve and I wanted to make it happen and this is the first chance we got.
Yes, it might be a long drive, but that isn’t stopping Jerry T. He is flying from Vegas to pick up his nephew in North Umberland County, PA and driving the whole way to the Workshop.
Look, it’s going to be worth your time and your investment. Steve and I are going to talk very little and practice with you very much. So, come out and join us.
To attend the Strongman Training Workshop, go to this post = > Strongman Training Instructional Workshop.
I will see you there,
Tags: strongman clinic, strongman dvd, strongman seminar, strongman training, strongman training dvd, strongman workshop
Posted in athletic strength training lift odd objects, how to improve fitness and conditioning, how to improve grip strength, stone lifting, strength training to improve athletic performance, strongman training log stone tire farmer | 704 Comments »
It didn’t take long for the feedback to start coming in on the Intro to Strongman DVD that Steve Slater and I released last week.
My fellow Pennsylvanian, Mike Puchalski, one of the first to order the DVD, was also the first one to hit me back on it. He writes:
“I watched it last night. I really enjoyed it. A lot of great info on it. Great job bro.”
Thanks a lot for the awesome feedback, Mike!
Also, this morning, I received a mail order from Michael Malfi. Along with his order, he also sent a note and it says:
“This DVD was well over-due for late comers to Strongman like myself. I hope this DVD is well received by the strength community.”
Thanks, Michael. Damn glad to provide you with the information you need to succeed, get strong, and stay healthy!
If you haven’t picked this DVD up yet, I encourage you to do it. Steve Slater and I loaded this thing with solid info on some of the most common Strongman Events, so that anyone looking to get involved would be able to get going on the right foot.
Click the image to order…
After all, working hands-on is the absolute best way to truly learn how to do something right.
So Steve and I put our heads together on how we can make this happen and we decided that there’s no sense in waiting!
On Sunday, July 17, 2011, Steve and I are going to present the first ever Strongman Training Workshop in Lancaster, Ohio.
This will be an information-intensive workshop where we will go over the basics of several powerful strongman events and then you will get the chance to participate by working out on the pieces of equipment.
The Strongman Training Workshop will cover many issues related to proper technique using strongman equipment so the athlete or coach can master the fundamentals of the strongman events. It is well known that strongman events and their dynamics carry over to sport more so than conventional gym lifts however one must use proper technique with these lifts to launch new strength gains.
No matter how strong you are you can always develop better technique to lower the chance of injury and this is what this workshop is about.
We have introduced many athletes to the sport of strongman and the first time they pick up a log, flip a tire or lift a stone, they need instruction on how to do these things properly just like they did with a barbell when they first started.
It is our goal with the Strongman Training Workshop to show you how to use Strongman events to get stronger, healthier and increase your physical performance.
As a BONUS we will also include a seminar by Dr. Eric Serrano, a field expert when it comes to strength training and nutrition. At the conclusion of Dr. Eric Serrano’s seminar Steve Slater will discuss techniques on how he makes his Slater Atlas Stones so you to can make the best stones possible.
This is the layout for this killer Strongman Workshop:
Each segment will begin with a solid demonstration followed by an intense hands-on break-out section where you will work on the implements as Steve and I coach you and help you progress.
The afternoon will be led by world-renowned Dr. Serrano who will cover nutritional and health practices for ultimate physical strength and performance.
To purchase tickets to this one-of-a-kind workshop, please use the buttons below.
We will also be selling tickets for just Dr. Serrano’s talk, starting at 2 PM. Dr. Serrano is an expert on sports performance and will be talking about nutrition, soft tissue care & regeneration, supplementation, and other topics for athletes and coaches interested in high level training.
We will be training at the Slater Strength Field, where Steve does the majority of his training, located at 1700 W. FAIR AVE in LANCASTER OH 43130.
Because of the hands-on emphasis we have planned for this workshop, we can only accept 10 trainees for the training portion of the day. I know more than that have asked about something like this, but I don’t want to get too many people there and not get the full value out of the training.
Due to limited seating for Dr. Serrano’s presentation, we must limit this portion to 60 participants.
I look forward to working with you in Lancaster on July 17!
All the best,
P.S. Because of our schedules and the distance we live from one another, we are unsure when Steve and I will be able to do another Strongman Workshop. If you want the best instruction from two natural athletes who have competed in the Sport and worked with dozens of other athletes over the years, then make sure you sign up for this workshop TODAY!
I want to take a minute and tell you a bit about the DVD I released this week called Introduction to Strongman Training.
You can get it right now, right here = > Introduction to Strongman Training.
If you have just recently found out about the site, you may not realize that I used to do Strongman Competitions.
The truth is, Strongman was my first true love in the strength training world. I began in 2003, pretty much on a whim.
Smitty called me up one day in April (I think) and said, “Hey we’re doing a Strongman Contest.”
“When?” I asked.
“August,” he said.
“OK,” I replied.
Until then it was, “Hey we’re going to do a Bodybuilding Show,” or “Hey, we’re going to do an Olympic meet,” and each time it never really took place, but I didn’t really care because all that really interested me was getting big. I wasn’t even that concerned about being cut, I just wanted to be big.
When Smitty had made these announcements we would usually modify our training to include more intensity around the particular goal. For instance, we started doing more giant set style training when we were going to do a bodybuilding show and we embraced the full Olympic style lifts when we were going to do an Olympic meet.
We just never ended up fully committing to those things, so they never came true. The Strongman contest ended up being a different story, though, because we laid the entry fee out there. Once we were financially committed, there was no turning back.
I think the reason this full-on commitment took place this time was mainly because of CJ Murphy from TPS (above). He readily posted on the DR Squat forum, and at the time so did Smitty.
I barely knew what forums were back then. In fact, when I first joined the forum, I would log in as “Napalm Jedd” and find posts that Smitty had put up and I would go in and tell Smitty he was a punk, or a wuss, or that his information was wrong, etc., etc., etc. At the time I thought all of the people on forums were a bunch of nerds or something for spending so much time on the internet.
However, at some point, I saw some things that Murph from TPS had posted about applying Westside Speed Training to Stone Lifting (Which I had just recently learned about also) and it all caught my attention.
So, we had no Strongman equipment, at all. No log, no stones, no tires, no thick bars, nothing, except for a #1 Gripper. “Screw it, we’ll figure that shit out,” we figured.
One of our first procurements was a keg. My dad grew up with a guy that owned a beer distributor so I walked in there and asked for some kegs. He gave me a bunch of what he called “retired” kegs. We did the majority of our Strongman training with the half keg we filled with water. The keg’s shape lends itself to Atlas Stone training, Log Clean, Log Press, etc very well.
Of course, we had no farmer’s walk handles either. We started out holding 110-lb Dumbbells and running down the hallway in our gym, dodging people who were walking towards us and passing people who were in front of us. Utter mayhem. I remember this one dude Mark did them with us one time and used straps to hold the dumbbells – LOSER!
The point of all of this is back then, it was pretty hard to find Strongman equipment for sale, plus it cost you an arm and a leg, so we had to improvise. I thought the work-arounds that we developed worked pretty well for us as well.
One thing that sticks out in my mind is that there was very little information out there for the new strongman competitor. Really, Murph’s DVD’s were all that I remember being able to find. A few workout DVD’s from Pro Strongmen have come out since then, and there’s a couple other DVD’s on the market, but not much.
So the time for the first Strongman comes and I figured I was going to just plain dominate my weight class. All through Baseball and Basketball growing up, I was used to striking everyone out, hitting lots of extra base hits, and over-powering people on the court, so I figured with as hard as I had worked I would walk through all of my competition.
And, I did well, but I didn’t win. I think I finished either third or fourth, which really only meant I lost.
That initial loss was probably why I got so interested in excelling at Strongman. If I had won, I probably would have lost interest and just gone back to my regular training. But since I didn’t win, it pushed me even harder.
I continued to compete at Strongman until 2006. I went back to the TPS contest in 2004 and finished second and then won it in 2005, becoming Massachusetts Strongest Man for the under 265 weight class. Remind me sometime to tell you about the 2004 contest… I also won the title of Maryland’s Strongest Man in 2004 and 2005.
Aside from becoming “Strongest Man” in a couple of states, I also did well in non-sanctioned prize money contests. I won a bunch of cash in 2005 at the Wise Wellness Strongman Contest and won a bunch more at a contest called Strength Fest – that was 2005 also. If I remember correctly, I got beat by a few dudes at the Wise Wellness show in like June and then came back and beat the same dudes easily in August.
In fact, the only dude that beat me at Strength Fest was Don Pope, who is/was a Pro Strongman that competed in the World Championship on ESPN that year. That was a pretty proud accomplishment of mine.
In 2006, I started having a lot of back injuries, re-aggravating an old baseball injury and it was all downhill from there, and my last competition was in August of that year.
However, I have always continued to do many of the strongman and odd object lifts that don’t bother my back. For instance, the Log, I feel, will always be a staple of my weekly routine. I rarely miss a Log workout in a week. I just plane love the Strongman Log!
Other stuff that I do very frequently is Kegs, Sandbags, and Stones. I freakin’ love the medieval feeling of lifting big, bulky stuff.
However, what drives me absolutely insane about Strongman Training is the fact that I have been away from the sport since 2006 and the level of quality information available to new competitors, strength coaches, and hardcore trainees is still limited. In fact if you search Strongman Training DVD you get roughly 6 resources you can pick up.
The Strongman Lifts are very technical. You can’t just walk of to a stone or the log and hoss that thing around and hope to be successful, unless you are an absolute freak or the load is very, very light.
Not to mention the fact that if you go into Strongman Training blind you could end up getting injured.
So, I was talking with Steve Slater last Fall. Steve Slater is the guy who invented the first Atlas Stone molds. He has poured more stones than anyone else that walks the earth. I wanted to talk to him about selling some of his equipment on my website, including Stones because I usually get about one email per month about someone asking about them.
As we spoke, we both became more and more irritated at the fact that the knowledge base for Strongman Training has grown very little over the years, and we decided we would get together and do a DVD that could be used by anybody who wanted to start including Strongman in their training, whether they were competitors, coaches, or enthusiasts.
In November of last year, I was in Ohio for a Grip contest and after the comp I stayed at Steve’s house. The following day we went to his buddy’s gym where they did inside Strongman Training and we shot our product.
And now, the Strongman DVD is ready. You can see it here = > Introduction to Strongman Training
I am pretty proud of this DVD, because I think it is the best one I have done, for many reasons.
First off, the footage turned out AMAZING. The quality is pristine because I used my Flip Cam and it produced video that is more crisp than some DVD’s I have spent $60+ for.
Next, the audio came out great. Sometimes when you shoot outside, you get a ton of background noise. This happens to me any time I shoot outside. We shot the Yoke and Farmers portions of the video outside but the background traffic had next to no effect on the video!
Also, I am very proud of the text and overlays I built into the final product. I had my good buddy Rory from StrongerDesigns.com helping me with the art and it all came out awesome.
So, to say the least I am pretty damn happy about this DVD, and I think you will too.
Again, if you want to compete at Strongman, this DVD is for you. If you are a coach that wants to include Strongman implements, Odd Objects, Tires, etc, into your athletic program, this is for you. And if you are just a dude that isn’t happy with a conventional workout and want to include something new like Strongman in your program, then you should get this thing.
If you have any questions on this, leave your comments below, as it is just about time for me to take the baby to the sitter. If I get her out of her schedule, she likes to pick up Odd Objects, herself, and throw them, like stools, my cardboard foam roller, and my cell phone.
All the best in your training!
Tags: strongman dvd, strongman information, strongman resource, strongman training
Posted in athletic strength training lift odd objects, stone lifting, strength training to improve athletic performance, strongman competition training, strongman training for athletes, strongman training log stone tire farmer | 92 Comments »
This is a guest article by Brent Barbe. Several months ago, I put up a post talking about how Brent had planned to travel to Iceland to lift the famous Husafell stone. He has since gone to Iceland and returned. Unfortunately, the stone was frozen to the ground and he could not manage the lift, but he was able to see some parts of the world many of us only dream about, and he was able to develop strength in ways that otherwise he might not have tried.
Brent has been a member of The Grip Authority since its inception in January 2010 and has made tremendous gains in his Grip Strength over the last couple of years. As I have said before, Brent made tremendous gains on his Two Hands Pinch during 2010, the like of which for a seasoned veteran have been nearly unparalleled.
One thing you have to know about Brent is that he doesn’t just do movements in his training because a book or article told him to. He thinks about his training and works to find solutions and so far has been very successful in doing so. Check out below how Brent trained his lower arms in order to lift the Husafell stone…
Brent Barbe – Plateau Buster Deadlift
When I first started training for the trip to Iceland I tried to get in contact with as many people as I could who had already lifted the stone. One of the things they emphasized to me was, that it was extremely smooth and hard to hang on to. After a few sessions with natural stones, I found this to be true and started changing my grip training to bring up my wrist strength to help me on the lift.
Derek Poundstone carrying a Husafell Stone Replica. Check out the Wrist Angles!!!
Image via SlatersHardware.com
The first thing I did was make wrist curls the first exercise I did during every wrist workout. That way, I was sure to get the work in and be fresh while I did it. I rotated through a bunch of exercises but found that the four following variations were giving me the best gains, and were the easiest to stick to.
Climber Curls for Wrist Strength
The first exercise is wrist curls with a climber curl by Chris Rice. It has a slight angle to the bar, which allows you to hold the wrist at a more natural angle. Curls on the climber curl probably made up about 1/3 of my wrist curls since they were effective, easy to recover from, and convenient. I would just leave the bar loaded up and could hit it without having to set anything up or clear any space.
Thumbless “Cupping” Deadlifts
An exercise I worked in a good bit as a secondary exercise is a thumbless “cupping” deadlift on a thick handled dumbbell. I saw this in a Devon Larratt arm wresting video a while ago. These were good for when I had something else I was working on at the same time as my grip training. I could work on whatever, walk to the platform and make a lift, and then get back to what I was doing. Sometimes tricks like that can make it easier to get the grip training in during a busy schedule.
Thumbless “Cupping” Deadlifts
The FBBC Crusher is one of my favorite training tools. It’s a revolving handle that attaches to a loading pin. It’s the fastest handle I’ve ever used. I use it for normal thick handle deadlifts but, I also like it for wrist curls. With the majority of the wrist curl exercises you need to bend over or lean. I have two damaged discs in my lower back that can make that uncomfortable at times. With the Crusher curls I am able to get my wrist work in while standing up.
Block Weight Wrist Curls
All of the above exercises hit the wrist but, have minimal finger involvement. I started to do plate wrist curls to address this. While the plate curls did hit the finger, it’s a really big jump from a 25# to a 35#. So, I started using block weights. Jedd had featured block weight wrist curls on The Grip Authority but I never really gave them a try. After a couple of workouts I can say I’m hooked. They hit the wrist, thumb, and fingers in a completely unique way.
So, that’s the four exercises that [made up the bulk of my training]. I [made good gains] by switching things up on a regular basis, and, I [did not have] any grip issues during any of my stone training. Hopefully, you can take something from this and use it in your training to make some progress of your own.
Brent, thanks for the article. I am sure that many people who have tried to lift and carry the Husafell stone have been plenty strong enough in the back and legs to pick it up, but holding it aloft and carrying it of course very dependent on Grip Strength. Hopefully your article will help others train to be successful in doing so, and I hope the next time you go to Iceland, it is a bit better weather! Thanks again for the article and videos!
Some facts about the Husafell Stone, from SlatersHardware.com: