Strongman Training: A Review

Recently I read an article called “The Use of Strongman Type Implements and Training to Increase Sport Performance in Collegiate Athletes” that was published in 2011 and there were some great take home messages from the article that I have decided to outline below:

  • Strongman training tools include tractor tires, sandbags, farmers walk, pushing/pulling sleds and logs.
  • Strongman training tools can be relatively low risk if individuals lift with good lifting mechanics and appropriate progressive overloading principles.
  • Research into strongman training is relatively new and there is currently not a great deal of research.
  • One of the proposed benefits of strongman training is that it requires people to lift implements that are unbalanced compared to traditionally dumbbells and barbells.
  • Training with strongman tools is not necessarily focused around trying to achieve a supposed perfect technique.  Therefore it creates variability in training and requires an individual to adapt to the different training loads and stimulus.
  • Training with strongman tools can result in muscle hypertrophy due to the nature of training with time under tension i.e. carrying farmers walk for a set period of time vs the traditional sets and reps scenario.
  • Training with strongman tools has its limitation with regards to training for maximal strength due to the difficulty of being able to increase weights in small increments.
  • Some individuals may not be able to perform strongman exercises because they lack the ability to lift the necessary weight of the strongman tool i.e. a log may weight 40kg and this does not allow those who cannot lift 40kg to participate in this particular exercise.
  • Strongman training may be better suited to those wanting to work on general strength.  Therefore focusing on rep ranges of 4 to 8.
  • Many strongman training drills replicate movements of many sports and may have a good carry over.
  • Strongman training can be used all year around as part of developing and maintaining strength endurance.  An example would be to use a strongman exercise as a “finisher” i.e. sled pulls at the end of a session.

For those who would like to read more about strongman training, please click here to purchase the article.

This was article was written by osteopath Heath Williams of Principle Four Osteopathy.

Principle Four Osteopathy is one of Melbourne City CBD and Docklands leading osteopathy clinics.  To book an appointment online, please go to or 03 9670 9290.