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 | 1,507 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 | 101 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 | 92 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 | 95 Comments »
The first part of the title of this post might sound like the biggest oxymoron ever stated.
After all, what in the world can Curls possibly do for your performance?
I am about to line all that up for you right now.
You see, for the last few weeks I have been working on a project that will come out soon about arm training, and during all of the preparation, I have been trying out new things with my arm training, new lifts, new variations, and new modifications, etc…
Because I have been “studying” arms so much, I have been putting in more time training the arms, and also as a result, they have gotten stronger, and I have also seen excellent results in other parts of my training, especially my Pull-up work.
Now, I am not down there hitting arms for 2 hours straight, multiple times a week, but it is safe to say I am doing arm training at least once a week every single week for the past month and a half, AND on some occasions I have hit them twice in the same week.
Also, I am not just down in the gym banging away on Bicep work. The Triceps makes up far more of the upper arm than the Biceps, so a lot of my arm work has been Triceps based, but I am also getting my fair share of Bicep work in.
In addition to all of this experimentation and manipulating my arm training, there has been one additional training factor that seems to have been very beneficial, and that is, surprisingly enough, testing myself in the 1 Rep Max Dumbbell Curl.
I first started doing this when Josh Dale introduced the Rob Vigeant Dumbbell Curl Challenge, which was to lift 100-lbs in strict fashion on the dumbbell curl. I thought this would be fun, so I tried it out and to my surprise I was able to get a 75-lb Curl. It is hard to believe that it was almost a year ago when this challenge came out.
When my long-time friend Kyle trained with me earlier this summer, we tried out the Max Dumbbell Curl just for fun, and I was happy to see that I had retained much of my strength, even after several months where I did not try a max curl.
Two weeks ago, I tested myself again for a max lift, this time using a dumbbell with extra weight stuck to it with a magnet. During that workout, I was able to get 84-lbs left handed.
This week, I was able to move my mark up even further, hitting 85.5-lbs.
Again, the 1RM Dumbbell Curl is not some kind of major focus in my training. There just happens to be a fun challenge list going on right now, and it has served well as a tester for my current Bicep strength.
However, the most important thing about this is not the amount of weight I am putting up in the Bicep Curl – oooh, woopty-doo, right?
The biggest benefit I have seen, and this is where the “Performance” aspect comes in that is reference in the title, has been my Pull-up Performance.
Now, we all know, or at least we should, that the Pull-up is one of the best exercises for building the upper back. It is a great bench mark of strength for athletes, students (scholastic fitness tests) and even the Military incorporates Pull-ups into their testing and training protocols. The Pull-up is or should be a major part of your training.
I have stated before that I do all kinds of versions of the Pull-up, and most recently I have fallen in love with training on the Rogue Dog Bone <= See some of my recent training here. This thing is just a sick piece of training gear. When I started out, I could barely get 2 reps with this thing, but I have been seeing great increases here.
Also, my regular Pull-ups are kicking ass as well (I do my conventional pull-ups on Perfect Pullup Handles).
I have been training my conventional Pull-ups with somewhat of a Ladder approach, especially when Kyle is here. He and I will start with one Pull-up apiece and follow one another, each time increasing our rep-count by one repetition, up to 5, and then back down. It looks like this:
Jedd – 1, Kyle – 1
Jedd – 2, Kyle – 2
Jedd – 3, Kyle – 3
Jedd – 4, Kyle – 4
Jedd – 5, Kyle – 5
Jedd – 5, Kyle – 5
Jedd – 4, Kyle – 4
Jedd – 3, Kyle – 3
Jedd – 2, Kyle – 2
Jedd – 1, Kyle – 1
Pretty basic, but also pretty demanding, given the fact that we only rest the amount of time that it takes for us to step away from the Pull-up Bar, and wait for the other guy to finish his reps.
The first time Kyle and I did this, which was in May, I believe, I needed serious spots from him to finish out many of my sets once I hit the 3-rep mark, and up until I got back to the 2-rep mark in the Ladder.
Kyle missed about 2 solid months of training due to a job change, but when he did return, I had only trained this ladder a couple of times on my own, but the day we did this together again, I only needed spots on my last rep during my 4-rep sets and my last two reps during my 5-rep sets.
I’d estimate that within 3 weeks I will be able to finish this ladder all by myself without any spots. This is a huge improvement and I think the increased arm work has played just as big of a role in this improvement as my recent concerted efforts toward improving my Pull-up abilities.
I will branch off a bit here and say this. If all the arm work has helped my Pull-ups so much, what could also be the effects if I focused a bit more on Log Cleans or Stones (I honestly haven’t been doing those as much as I want). It is possible I could see improvements in other Biceps-involved lifts as well. It’s also possible that you could too! Something to think about for sure.
I know there are a handful of people out there who either do not train their Biceps or do so half-assed. I know this because I have heard it said many times, especially by Strongman competitors and those who perform a great deal of Rowing movements. The reasoning, so they say, is that since they are constantly lifting Stones, Logs, and doing all the Rows, that they are getting enough Bicep work in already.
After these last few weeks of increased arm training and seeing the results it has brought, I encourage you to re-think your approach to arm training, especially if you have been skipping Bicep Training or if when you do it you only hit a few token sets just to “get some work in.”
If bigger numbers and more reps in Pulling movements is not enough to make you consider adding arm training back into your routine, I have two more things that I feel must be discussed about the benefits of specific arm training.
First off, even though Rows, Log Cleans, and other similar lifts work the Biceps through elbow flexion, you still are not getting the same intensity as if you are truly aiming for growth and strength increases in the Biceps.
Secondly, with Rowing movements and Log Clean, the forearm does not supinate, which is another movement pattern that the Biceps are responsible for.
My fear is not that if you neglect Biceps training that you will hold back your performance on Pull-ups, Rows, Log Cleans, or any other movement where the Biceps are involved (although to a degree, that will happen). Rather, I’m more interested in keeping all of you safe and injury free.
In August, I watched a Bicep tear take place right before my eyes during a Grip Contest, of all things. Competitor, John Wojciechowski, tore his Biceps Tendon performing a normally straight-arm-style event called the Adjustable Thick Bar Lift. I actually thought he ripped the seat of his pants, and it was so loud the camera even picked up the noise.
In no way am I saying the reason John got hurt due to lack of training the Biceps. I don’t know much about John’s past training except that he has put up some very nice general strength training videos as well as impressive gripper and bolt bending videos.
I am only saying that lack of training parts of the body, like the Biceps, can lead to weaknesses and imbalances. Weknesses and Imbalances can lead to injuries, and after watching Wojo tear his Bicep tendon, that was enough for me. I don’t ever want to see it again or learn that one of you had it happen either.
So, major take-aways from this post:
1. The Biceps assist in many other training movements, not just Curls. Pull-ups, Rows, Logs, Stones are all examples.
2. Having Strong and well-conditioned Biceps can lead to improved performance in other lifts which are very beneficial toward over-all strength and performance, especially Pull-ups, which I have seen in my own training.
3. Make sure to train the Biceps intensely. No need to go overboard, but don’t neglect them either. Although some of you may be turned of by “Show Muscles” or “Beach Muscles” remember to strengthen all links in the chain.
4. It’s not always about Strength. Sometimes Injury Prevention is even more important. My friend, Wojo, is going to experience some down time due to his injury. Down time SUCKS.
Keep these things in mind as you train. All the best with your training and stay injury free.
Tags: arm strength, arm work, arm workouts, bicep training, biceps strength, Biceps training, log clean, pull-ups, rowing, stone lifting
Posted in forearm injury prevention recovery healing, how to improve fitness and conditioning, how to improve strength, muscle building anatomy, strength training muscle building workouts, strength training to improve athletic performance | 4 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 | 100 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 | 145 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 »
Dan Cenidoza – Hydrant Carry, 2005
Odd Objects are implements used for strength training that are different from normal strength training tools like dumbbells and barbells.
The size, shape, and weight of Odd Objects make them more challenging to grip, hold, and control, and their bulk makes their center of gravity hard to predict.
Examples of Odd Objects include kegs, sandbags, atlas stones, natural stones, fire hydrants, wheel barrels, logs, tires, block weights, kettlebells, and more.
In recent years, Odd Object training has become more popular and they are being used at all levels of strength training and conditioning, including the High School, Collegiate, and Professional levels.
Odd Objects are also often used in the sport of Strongman and Grip contests. The competitors in these sports spend hours training with the sport-specific implements in order to master them and be ready to lift them when they get to their competitions.
Because of the popularity of odd objects, strength enthusiasts and those interested in building muscle may also want to add them into their routine for an additional challenge and variety. However, it is important to understand that Odd Object training can entail more risk, especially for those not used to dealing with their dynamic and unpredictable nature.
It is important to start out slow with Odd Object training. Just like any new activity, there has to be a conditioning, or ramp-up period instituted in order to do it safely.
Just like you can’t go from having a sedentary lifestyle to running a marathon, you can’t expect to go from working out on machines and doing very basic lifting to doing heavy Odd Object training without getting sore or even having an injury.
If your normal training routine involves primarily barbell and dumbbell work while seated or laying on a bench, cable work, or lifts done in machines, then you have work to do before getting involved in Odd Object training. These types of lifts are mostly isolation movements, meaning they target primarily one joint during the movement. While this type of training can be used for getting a huge pump and building muscle, they do little to prepare you for awkward weight bearing lifts involved in Odd Object training.
Prior to getting involved with things like heavy sandbags, logs, and other bigger and heavier objects, it is important to move away from only doing isolation movements and move toward including multi-joint and closed chain movements in your program.
Multi-joint movements are easy to spot, as they include movement over more than just one joint. For an example, tricep pushdowns done on a cable machine are an isolation movement – they target the triceps and involve movement mainly at the elbow only. Close-Grip bench press targets the triceps, but incorporates movement both at the elbow and the shoulder. This in turn brings more muscle into play and increases the demand on the trainee, moving them closer toward being prepared for Odd Object strength training.
Closed kinetic chain movements (CKCM) are also important in conditioning a trainee to Odd Object training. Closed Chain movements are done without sitting on a machine but rather while standing or exerting force directly into the ground. They are also often weight bearing in nature and require more energy to stabilize the joints of the body while the movement of each repetition takes place.
Thus, instead of stopping at Close-grip bench press, an even better option for getting ready for Odd Object training is some form of standing overhead press. This still works the triceps, but you also get the benefit of more shoulder work, core stimulation and full body coordination and stability. Other examples of movements with a closed kinetic chain are the Squat, Cleans, Deadlift Variations, and Lunges.
For those new to this type of training, it is important to set-up correctly prior to doing any lifts. Following is a Mental Checklist to go over when working with closed kinetic chain, multi-joint movements.
Head in Line with Spine: The neck should not be flexed or extended while lifting. It should remain in neutral alignment with the spine to prevent injury. The neck can also be stabilized further by pressing the tongue into the roof of the mouth.
Shoulders Back: Posture is important the entire way down the torso. The shoulders should not slouch forward or there is an increase risk of injury. The shoulders should be pulled back during most of these movements.
Proud Chest: This cue works in tandem with the shoulders. By maintaining a proud chest the thoracic area remains rigid and the spine stays in proper alignment.
Push Belly Out: Take a deep breath and push the belly out. This creates intra-abdominal pressure and helps brace the core and stabilize the torso. This can increase the blood pressure for a short time, so any trainees with health concerns in this neighborhood should exercise caution.
Hips Back: The first movement in most closed-chain, multi-joint movements, should involve pushing the hips back. This helps maintain a safe lordotic curve of the lumbar spine, where it arches inward toward the stomach, rather than rounding away.
Again, the value of this type of training is bridging the gap from isolation movements that are very predictable in nature and moving toward the unpredictable nature of Odd Object training. Training like this helps with coordination, stability, core strength, joint stability, and the ability to react to and counteract outside forces.
After several workouts performing these free-standing, multi-joint movements, now it is time to move into using Odd Objects. For Beginner Odd Object Training, I like the use of something like a stiff heavy bag. Heavy bags are large and bulky, but their filling is dense and does not shift like that of a slosh pipe or a loosely packed sandbag. This way, the trainee is able to work with the increased size of the implement but not such a dynamic center of gravity.
Heavy bags come in many lengths and weights. The one I use is about 40-lbs. This is a good starting point for the new Odd Object trainee and it will help build confidence with a non-conventional implement.
Now, the same closed-chain, multi-joint movements that are done with a barbell can be done with the heavy bag: Squat, Deadlift, Clean, Press, Clean and Press, etc.
Other movements that can also be done with the heavy bag include Shouldering the Bag, Shoulder Squats, Waiter’s Bows, etc.
Also, because the Heavy Bag does not have to be loaded with plates or any other means, transitions from one movement to another can be quick, increasing conditioning and allowing you to get more work completed in a shorter time.
Sometimes, the best way to put new types of training into action is to see them being done by someone else. In the video below, I go over many of the above mentioned movements, plus other ones. So grab your heavy bag and go along with this video.
Incidentally, if you do not have access to a heavy bag, a sandbag or a loaded duffel bag will work well. They can be a bit more advanced though, because the load inside them may move, causing the sandbag or duffel to flex during the movement, so be prepared if you go that route.
In closing, Odd Object training can be used for a welcomed change of pace from your normal training routine. However, depending on the current ability and training status of the trainee, there may be some transitional work that must be done for a short time beforehand in order to assure safety. With proper caution and consistent training, Odd Object lifting can be a safe and rewarding activity that will help you build muscle, improve your conditioning, and increase your athleticism.
If you have any questions about how to get started with odd Object training, please do not hesitate to ask. Leave a comment below or shoot me an email through the RESOURCES button above.
All the best in your training,
We’ve got tons of information here for you on Odd Object Training. Here’s just a sampling…
How to Lift Kegs Safely
Using Odd Objects for Conditioning
Introduction to Odd Objects
Similarities Between Olympic Lifts and Stone Lifting
Atlas Stone Beginner Training Tip
Benefits You Get from Stone Training
Sandbag Circuits for Serious Conditioning
Killer Sandbag Workout
Ultimate Forearm Training for Baseball | How to Bend Nails | How to Tear Cards | Feats of Grip Strength Explained | How to Build Your Own Equipment | How to Lift Atlas Stones | The Sh*t You’ve Never Seen | Sled Dragging for Athletes | The Road to the Record DVD
Tags: core strength, hydrant, keg lifting, log, odd objects, sandbag, stone lifting, strongman training
Posted in athletic strength training lift odd objects, grip hand forearm training for sports, how to build muscle, strength training to improve athletic performance, strength training videos diesel tv | 7 Comments »
Stone Lifting is a part of many strongman contests.
If you don’t know what you are doing, you can get your ass handed to you and end up with serious injuries.
It was for this reason that Smitty and I set out to put together a resource that new strongman competitors could use to learn the proper techniques for lifting atlas stones.
The idea was to produce something that would give new competitors the information they needed to keep them safe and injury free in the beginning and then go on to dominate as time went on.
A while back, we received this testimonial / review about our Stone Lifting Fundamentals DVD from Rob Russell in Yorkshire. Check out what he had to say, below.
CHECK OUT THIS KILLER POST AFTER THE JUMP (more…)
Tags: atlas stones, stone lifting, stone training, strongman, strongman stones
Posted in athletic strength training lift odd objects, feats of strength, strongman competition training, strongman feats, strongman training for athletes, strongman training log stone tire farmer | 109 Comments »
The sport of strongman continues to grow and becomes more and more exciting all the time. Each year, more and more amateur competitors enter the ranks, shooting for the stars and the chance to get their pro card. Many say the biggest attraction about the sport of strongman is the tremendous test of raw, brute strength, lifting the mighty atlas stones.
Tags: atlas stones, combat core, core strength, lifting atlas stones, lifting stones, six pack abs, stone lifting, stone training, storngman competition, strong back, strong man, strongman, strongman contest, strongman training
Posted in athletic strength training lift odd objects, core training workouts, core workouts for athletes, old strongman feats of strength, strength training to improve athletic performance, strength training workouts, strongman training for athletes, strongman training log stone tire farmer | 27 Comments »
It’s funny how much the weather in Northeast PA can change from day to day. It can get COLLLLD here.
Yesterday, I trained for 3 hours in my garage, freezing my ass off the whole time. I was wearing sweat pants, a long-sleeve thermal shirt, two tee-shirts under that, and had a stocking cap on. To top it all off I had an Amish heater humming in the background all the while.
It seemed unseasonably cold for the first weekend in November. Flash forward 24 hours…
Today, I looked out the window around 10 AM and realized that it was probably the most gorgeous Sunday I have seen in months. It rained most of the summer and I never once got a weekend to do any atlas stone lifting.
Tags: atlas stone training, atlas stones, grip strength, hand strength, kettlebell lifting, kettlebell training, phone book tearing, stone lifting
Posted in athletic strength training lift odd objects, old strongman feats of strength | 115 Comments »
Thanks for coming to the Diesel site today. I hope you had an extraordinary weekend!
This past weekend, I watched my first strongman contest in about a year and a half and it was a great time. Man I miss competing!
I didn’t get to see the whole thing, but I did catch the dumbbell press for reps and then the stone event.
I noticed some things I want to talk about so maybe I can help some dudes out…
All the strongman contests I did that had the atlas stones in them required the lifter to pick the stones up and place them on top of a platform. This event was run another way, where the athlete has to pop the stones up over a bar about 50 inches high. Pretty cool!
Regardless of the loading technique, one thing that caught my eye was how the athletes were ( or were not) wrapping their forearms.
When I lift atlas stones, I wrap my forearms with sports tape. I talk about this in our Stone Lifting DVD. Wrapping the arms in sports tape accomplishes two things: it serves as a removable base for your tacky and it offers skin protection against scrapes.
REMOVABLE BASE FOR TACKY
The main reason I strongly suggest wrapping the forearms for the stones is because it serves as a nice removable base for tacky.
Almost every strongman competitor I know of uses tacky. The only ones who don’t are not able to maintain the same competitive level as the ones who do because they have to try harder just to lift the stone off the ground.
The whole idea behind using tacky is to help you lock onto the stone when pulling it off the ground and when loading it onto the platform or over the bar. The bad thing is that it can be a pain in the ass to get off. While rubbing Baby Oil on it will take it off, it requires quite a bit of rubbing to break up the components of the tacky. You can make it a lot easier on yourself to clean the tacky off by applying it to the layer of tape on your forearms, as opposed to applying it to your skin and then rubbing it off.
Another reason for wrapping the forearms is to protect the skin. The stones can be very rough and will literally rip the outer layers of the epidermis off your arms. I spoke about this with one of the competitors who had not wrapped his arms and his reply was “I’m tough. I can handle it. It’ll heal.”
Yes, it will heal if you scrape the skin off your forearms, but that isn’t the point. The reason to cover your arms with tape is so that you don’t end up with any distractions while lifting the stones.
You have enough to worry about as a strongman competitor: the crowd daring you to go heavier and faster, maintaining your technique, keeping your breathing regulated. All this stuff is racing through your head while you are trying to load the stones. Do you really need to feel the pain of the stone tearing your skin in addition to all of that?
Even minor pain can be enough of a distraction that can knock you off your game. If the main contact points of your forearms get scraped on the third stone, what are you going to do, change the way you lift the next two? Mid-run through the stones, modify your technique? I don’t think so.
That very athlete that said he was tough enough to go without tape on his forearms, also failed to load the stone that would have given him sole possession of first place in that event. Oh, and I glanced at his left forearm after the event, too, and he had a giant strawberry scrape mark on it that looked like the road rash dudes get when they fall off their motorcycle. There is no way that he was completely 100% focused on lifting and popping the stone over the bar today when his skin was getting ripped off his arm.
Take my advice – wrap your forearms with some tape the next time you train or compete in stones and your performance will improve.
Another thing I noticed was that some competitors were wrapping their forearms not in sports tape, but in duct tape. This, I thought, was a serious mistake because duct tape is smooth. It seems like that would work against you in the stones, and it looked like the handful of competitors with duct tape on their arms were having a hard time with this.
To the contrary, sports tape has a moderate texture and natural stickiness to it. Sports tape, in my experience, even without tacky, will give you a little better grip on most stones than bare skin alone. The only stones that I have lifted that felt easier to lift with bare skin than with tape on the forearms are the polished granite spheres I have lifted at Pat Povilaitis’s house. Their ultra smooth surface seemed to grip better against the forearms than other atlas stones made from concrete poured into plastic molds, which the vast majority of strongman event atlas stones are made of.
I go over all of this and more in our Stone Lifting DVD. I firmly believe that the information on that disk will help anyone become a better stone lifter, especially new guys who are just getting into the sport, but I’d love to hear how you feel about this wrapping deal.
I know a lot of strongman competitors come to the Diesel site, so I’d like to know what you all think.
Should you wrap your arms or leave them bare?
Should you wrap with sports tape or duct tape? Something else?
Weigh in with how you feel. You may just end up helping somebody improve on the stones as well.
All the best in your training,