Strongman for Physique Competitors


Physique athletes are some of the most sought-after people in the fitness industry. Their chiseled abs, capped shoulders, strong backs, and tight glutes leave many striving to look just like them. But did you know many bodybuilders are not so strong as they look? I say this as a physique athlete now exploring the world of strongman: Man, was I weak when I first started! 


Physique training programs are built around aesthetics and hypertrophy, but often lack relative strength. Big muscles do not always equal a strong body. The strength gap between strongman and bodybuilding is a relatively recent development. The original physique athletes were also many of the first strongmen! Eugen Sandow, “the father of modern bodybuilding” and the model for the Mr. Olympia statue, was a strongman, but became known for his carved physique. He made the switch into bodybuilding and even started the very first bodybuilding competition.


Strongmen and strongwomen are exactly what their sport says: strong. Every part of their training involves picking up heavy (often odd) objects and then putting them down or carrying them around. Physique athletes use a lot of reps, a lot of sets, and a lot of dumbbell and barbell work. A prowler (sled) is added in here and there, but that is typically about as crazy as it gets in the weight room.


Every athlete, bodybuilder, and person could benefit from incorporating some form of strongman training in their routine. Why? It engages your entire body’s muscularity, focuses on strength production by the entire body as one unit, and adds a load to your core, making it work harder. The desired outcome? Becoming stronger and a release favorable hormones.


Strongman implements such as kegs, logs, and atlas stones give a better stimulus for the body than traditional implements. They make your body work harder because they hit muscles you did not even know you had, especially in your core.


Strongman Movements

Overhead press

Why press with strongman objects such as logs, axles, kegs, sandbags, and all the other fun and awkward objects? Lifting a crazy object over your head increases activation of large and small stabilizer muscles will make you a believer.