Strongman for CrossFit Athletes

farmers carry crossfit

One of the key principles of CrossFit is to prepare individuals for the unknown and the unpredictable, and strongman exercises play a significant role in achieving this goal. The aim of incorporating strongman exercises into CrossFit is to develop overall strength, power, and endurance, making athletes more well-rounded and capable in a variety of physical tasks.

What is Strongman?

Strongman is a competitive strength sport that involves lifting, carrying, and moving heavy and often awkward objects over a set distance or for a set time. Strongman competitions are typically held outdoors, and the events can include a variety of tasks, such as lifting atlas stones, carrying sandbags, pulling trucks or sleds, and flipping tires.

Strongman athletes are known for their incredible feats of strength and endurance, with many of them able to lift and carry objects that weigh several times their own body weight. They often have a unique combination of strength, power, speed, and agility, and are able to perform well in a variety of physical tasks.

Strongman exercises are a popular aspect of CrossFit training, combining the traditional weightlifting and bodybuilding elements with functional movements and high-intensity interval training.Unlike traditional weightlifting, strongman exercises often require the use of irregularly shaped and cumbersome implements, such as sandbags, stones, and tires. This challenges the body to adapt to new and unstable loads, strengthening not only the primary muscle groups but also the stabilizer muscles, which are essential for balance and stability.

Strongman Exercises for CrossFitters

Here are some of the most popular strongman exercises in CrossFit:

Deadlifts: Deadlifts are a staple of strongman training and an excellent exercise for building full-body strength and power. They can be performed with a barbell, dumbbells, or kettlebells and are one of the most effective exercises for targeting the glutes, hamstrings, quads, lower back, and traps.

Farmer’s Carries: Farmer’s Carries are a simple yet highly effective exercise that involves carrying heavy weights in each hand while walking a set distance. This exercise works the grip, forearms, and upper back, as well as improving overall grip strength and stability.

Stone Lifting: Stone lifting is a classic strongman exercise that requires athletes to lift a heavy stone from the ground and place it onto a platform. The irregular shape of the stone challenges the body to adapt to the load, making this exercise an excellent way to build grip, shoulder, and core strength.

Tire Flips: Tire flips are a staple of strongman training and are a great way to develop explosive power and full-body strength. The exercise involves flipping a heavy tire end over end using the legs, hips, and back. This movement requires coordination, balance, and stability, making it a great functional exercise.

Sled Pulls: Sled pulls are a great way to build full-body strength and power, particularly in the legs, hips, and back. The exercise involves pulling a heavy sled along a set distance, either with a harness or using a rope. This exercise can be performed for time, distance, or reps, making it an excellent endurance builder.

Sandbag Carries: Sandbag carries are a functional exercise that involves carrying a heavy sandbag in one hand, switching hands, and carrying it back. This exercise works the grip, forearms, upper back, and core, and is an excellent way to build overall strength and endurance.

Atlas Stones: Atlas stones are one of the most iconic strongman exercises, requiring athletes to lift heavy stones and place them onto a platform. The irregular shape and weight of the stones challenge the body to adapt to the load, making this exercise an excellent way to build grip, shoulder, and core strength.

How to include Strongman exercises in your training routine

You can add a few strongman exercises to your regular routine to mix things up and challenge yourself in new ways. Alternatively, you can dedicate specific workouts or training blocks to focus exclusively on strongman-style exercises.Here are some tips on how to incorporate strongman exercises into CrossFit workouts:

Start with the Basics: Begin by incorporating basic strongman exercises such as farmer’s carries, tire flips, and sled pulls into your CrossFit workouts. These exercises are effective in developing grip strength, upper back, and lower body strength and endurance, making them an excellent way to introduce strongman training into your routine.

Vary the Implements: One of the key aspects of strongman training is using a variety of implements such as sandbags, stones, and logs, which challenge the body in different ways. Incorporating different implements into your workouts can help to develop strength and endurance across a range of movement patterns and muscle groups.

Emphasize Proper Technique: Strongman exercises can be physically demanding and potentially dangerous if performed improperly. It's essential to prioritize proper technique and form when incorporating strongman exercises into your CrossFit workouts. Seek the guidance of a qualified coach or trainer to ensure that you are using proper form and technique, and to help you progress gradually.

Train for Endurance: Strongman exercises can be challenging and require a significant amount of endurance. Incorporating timed sets or distance-based work can help to develop endurance and mental toughness, which are essential for performing well in strongman events.

Conclusion

Strongman exercises play a crucial role in CrossFit training, providing athletes with a unique combination of strength, power, and endurance. Incorporating strongman exercises into CrossFit workouts is a great way to build full-body strength, power, and endurance. However, it's important to approach these exercises with caution, as they can be physically demanding and potentially dangerous if performed improperly. It's always recommended to start with lighter weights and progress gradually, and to seek the guidance of a qualified coach or trainer to ensure proper form and technique.