You probably already know that serious strongmen need all of the following to be successful:
Supreme lower body strength
Super stamina and endurance
You may also know that strongman workouts should be:
Fast and efficient
A way to get an edge on your competition
And that's why I'm recommending that every strongman who wants to be the best add the following workout to their training.
My name is Tim Kauppinen and I have been coaching strength and conditioning for the past 15 years. One of the skills that I have developed is to be able to look at the needs of athletes in competition – and design the training to meet those needs.
When I look at Strongman competitions, I see the need for a unique combination of strength, speed, power, stamina and (maybe most importantly) mental toughness.
Your training should reflect these needs. You shouldn't be told to waste your time on stuff that doesn't work. You shouldn't be told about the latest shiny, chrome-covered machine, or to use long, boring (and useless) cardio, or just about anything else coming out of those mirrored, carpeted social clubs that dare to call themselves gyms.
No, what you need is something “old school.” An exercise that is simple yet effective. One that can address all of the needs listed above and bring you to a higher level in your training.
Because of all of this, I strongly suggest you add hill sprints to your training. Here's why:
First of all, hill sprints are a great way to develop power. They are a perfect blend of strength training and sprinting. And, as you know, training strength and speed together are the best way to develop the power necessary for competition.
Running hill sprints can train your muscles to fire fast and strong – to increase both the speed and the strength of contraction. This training will help you develop the power necessary for many of the traditional strongman events. Your performance in loading, Atlas stones, truck pulling, the stone lift, the log throw, and the weight throw can take off like a rocket from the speed/strength of hill sprints.
Secondly, hill sprints build strength in muscle groups essential to strongman training. Most importantly, the hips, glutes, quads and calves. Muscles needed for pushing, pulling and lifting involved in events such as the log or stone press, the stone lift, car rolling and tire flipping.
Even though you train these muscles already for these events, hill sprints add different stresses and demands on those muscles. Hills are a great way to “confuse” your muscles and force them to adapt. These sprints will ask your muscles, not only to be strong, but to be strong and explosive at the same time. An excellent way to break through a plateau in your workouts.
The third reason to hill sprint is that it's an excellent way to develop stamina and endurance needed for long training sessions and (even more demanding) competitions.
It's a training method that pushes your heart and lung capacity to new limits, increasing their volume and allowing you to move more oxygen in and out of your body (and to pump more blood to your muscles when they need it most). Training your heart and lungs in this way can also help you recover faster between trys or events.
And all without doing what you may think of as “cardio.” It used to be thought that you could only improve your endurance by training like a marathoner with long, slow distance. Who wants to look like a marathoner? All that training does is shrink your muscles and make you look like a skeleton. Good thing is that science is now proving that higher intensity training like hill sprinting can give you even better results than plodding along doing “roadwork.”
Think of how much better your farmer's walk, car walk, crucifix, or Hercules hold can be when you can stay stronger… for longer.
These are only 3 of the benefits you can get by hill sprinting. In Part II, we'll look at how hill sprints can help you fit all of your training into your busy schedule, give you an edge on your competitors and develop your mental toughness to a point where any goal is possible. See you then.