Repli­cate strong­man moves for strength, car­dio and fat loss

Men's Fitness - - Body Work -

It makes sense to train like a strong­man for strength – but fat loss? Re­ally? Well, although pro strong­men are hefty – Hafthór Júlíus Björns­son, World’s Strong­est Man 2014 run­ner-up and ‘The Moun­tain’ in Game of Thrones, weighs 173kg – the way they train would carve Ado­nis-like physiques if they didn’t have to eat so much to coun­ter­bal­ance the huge weights.

But as­sum­ing drag­ging lor­ries isn’t your pri­or­ity, you can use strong­man train­ing to build lean mus­cle and car­dio and shift body fat, says trainer Will Gir­ling, who de­vised this plan. ‘Big, heavy com­pound move­ments cause you to re­lease more growth hor­mone and raise your me­tab­o­lism,’ Gir­ling says.

‘This in­creases the calo­ries you burn, boosts your fit­ness and cranks up the po­ten­tial for mus­cle growth. And the hard and fast med­ley ses­sions are sim­i­lar to what you might get in a strong­man com­pe­ti­tion.’ And a taste of a WSM work­out must be bet­ter than a taste of life in GoT.


There are two plans you can fol­low. Both are one-week plans with three work­outs, split into two ses­sions to build strength and trunk sta­bil­ity and one cir­cuit to im­prove your work ca­pac­ity. If you’re new to train­ing start with the first plan and, as you progress, move on to the sec­ond, more ad­vanced plan.


The first two work­outs in both plans work the whole body with com­pound lifts. Make sure you have at least one rest day be­tween each. The third work­out is the strong­man med­ley, sim­i­lar to one in a com­pe­ti­tion. Fo­cus on speed here. Aim to get the max­i­mum num­ber of reps for each ex­er­cise.


For the whole-body work­outs aim to in­crease the weights each week while main­tain­ing good form. For the strong­man med­leys, try to in­crease your max for each ex­er­cise ev­ery week. Eat 2g of pro­tein and 1.1g of fat per kilo of body­weight to keep mus­cle re­ten­tion and hor­mone func­tion high.

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