Replicate strongman moves for strength, cardio and fat loss
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.