INTIMIDATED BY THE Weight OF Strongman Programming?


5 tips to get a better grip on tailoring training for an interested client.

   From Fitness Trainer March/April

There are very few sports that combine strength, power, speed, technique, and pure determination. The world of Strongman will test the limits of any athlete. Competitions are held across the world and for every level of athlete.


1. Helping Athletes Find Their “Why”

If your athlete has chosen to compete in strongman, they need to have a good reason for doing so beyond that of: “I saw it on TV and want to give it a try.” That may be ok for doing their first show, but if they seek success in strongman and want to hang with the pros, their “why” needs to be deeper. Strongman is hard and painful, but also fun and rewarding. To be consistent and get through the pain, they need to have a “why” that resonates with them such that strongman becomes part of who they are.

2. Strength/Power Training

Strength is your best commodity in strongman (shocker!). This is closely followed by technique, endurance, speed, and agility. Strongman training should have all of these elements covered. A good method in approaching training design is to appropriately rotate periods of low intensity/ high volume, moderate intensity/moderate volume, and high intensity/low volume. As well, incorporating Olympic movements and training will help with explosiveness and power output conditioning. This is vital to any and every Strongman event and will help improve the overall functionality of the athlete.

3. Functional Training

Event specific training is also essential. Every Strongman competition will be different and an athlete should train specifically for those events if he/she is able. If no implements are available, the following basic elements should be included in training: unilateral and bilateral overhead pressing, farmers walk, any type of front carry, object loading or triple extension movements, sled work (pushing and pulling), and anti-rotational movements. Events are usually listed on sign up forms and trainers should help athletes train specifically for upcoming events in scheduled competitions.

4. Rest/Injury Prevention

As any trainer knows, getting a determined and driven athlete to rest is sometimes extremely difficult. However, Strongman training requires putting the body under extreme stress both aerobically and anaerobically. Getting proper rest between sets, as well as between workouts, is vital to long term health. The “two-aday” mentality of bodybuilders is not very applicable when training for Strongman. If their workouts are designed correctly and properly, athletes should be perpetually sore during the week.

This can be buffered by supplementing proper nutrition (consult a registered dietician), stretching before/after, foam rolling, massage therapy, and by using proper joint safety equipment during training such as wrist wraps, knee/elbow sleeves, chalk, and straps. Taking care of the body before, during, and after training is essential for longevity in Strongman.

5. Competition Day

Accompanying your athletes during competition can be very rewarding and beneficial to their performance. Athletes need to learn how to manage “hype” and control their mental game. Trainers should keep athletes relaxed between events, well hydrated, and fueled with proper nutrition throughout the competition. Athletes should do a general warm-up prior to the competition and event specific warm-ups prior to their execution. However, the one thing that remains constant at every Strongman competition, only the strongest will prevail!

Christopher Castagno

Personal Trainer / COO STAG HP / Former CPT USA Ret.

Christopher Castagno is a nationally certified personal trainer residing in Charlotte, NC. He holds a degree from The Citadel, Military College of South Carolina and was a collegiate athlete and record holder. Served on active duty for the US Army for 5 years and was a master fitness trainer for his Battalion. Provided training and counseling to Soldiers preparing for Ranger School and Special Forces Selection.

-Regenerative Medicine Expert and Stem Cell Clinician

-Strongman Athlete for NSA

-Winner of the “Validus Discipulus”, strongest student, award for Army Reconnaissance Class 12-001

Tim Bald

Doctor of Medical Physics

Dr. Bald has a diverse background in science, physics, scientific research, strength training, and competition. He has multiple degrees in Physics including a professional doctorate in medical physics from Vanderbilt University. He has been heavily involved in strength sports for 11 years and is currently a top 105 kg amateur strongman. He also happens to be vegan.