As of late, it has occurred to me that something was missing from my training. I came to this conclusion after realizing I am not as strong as a performing strongman ought to be. I have become more prone to nagging injuries, and I feel stuck in a rut. After coming to these realizations, I began discussing my dilemma with a couple of friends that also happen to be iron game experts. One is a national-level strength coach, and the other is an Olympic lifter who owns a barbell company. What can I say? I am blessed with knowledgeable friends. I spoke to them because I know they will give me an honest answer, rather than what I want to hear.
1) Old school work ethic - Check
2) Balanced Full-Body Training - MISSING
3) Drug-free / PED-free lifestyle - Check
4) Regular Heart-Strengthening Cardio - MISSING
5) OVER emphasis on Odd Object Training - Check
6) Regular Full-range Leg Training - MISSING
7) Hand Strengthening Exercises - Check
8) OVER emphasis on Thick Bar Training - Check
9) Tried and True compound Barbell/Dumbbell Exercises - MISSING
If you are going to be a REAL lifter, then you MUST possess a hard work ethic. If your gym is more of a social club than a barbell club, you may be in trouble already!
2) Balanced Full-Body Training
I was missing full-body training in my program. I was haphazardly training shoulders and legs (to a degree) once per week, and completely missing everything else. I was so focused on just a couple of exercises and my strongman training, that I lost the big picture. You see, with balanced training comes LONGEVITY of body and (in my opinion) mind. When you have balance in all areas of life (family, marriage, faith in Christ, training, and work), you tend to have a longer, healthier life. What I am saying, is that I believe you will have a more enjoyable life when you strive for balance in all areas, including training.
4) Regular Heart-Strengthening Cardio
I, like many others, had fallen into the belief that odd object training alone could make you stronger and tougher than the average bear. While I agree that front squatting with a 250# sand bag IS impressive looking, it does not equate to lifting a barbell of much heavier weight. What I mean is that, lifting a 170# keg overhead DOES NOT MEAN you will automatically be able to jerk a 300# barbell overhead. I found this out the hard way. You see, when I switched to a more balanced program of compound exercises, I had to drop my weights WAY, WAY below where I thought I would be. While this was a blow to my performing strongman ego, I am forever grateful for it. Even though I was humbled by the severe drop in poundage, I have been making steady, ever increasing gains in every exercise. This shows that I have a LOT of room for growth and I have not yet reached full potential. I thought gains were almost over, and Thank God I was wrong. Take my advice, use the odd objects as finishers or challenge pieces, not as the centerpiece of your workout. You will not be sorry. While we sometimes hearken to the old days and like to imagine doing things just like the old timers, keep this in mind: Part of the reason they used odd objects was that barbells and dumbbells were not as readily available as they are now. Think of it this way, would you rather use an outhouse and pages from the Sears Roebuck catalog, or a nice comfortable toilet and a roll of Charmin? Use the Charmin, your Bum will thank you.
Warm-up (Kettlebell Swings – 3 minutes)
Military Barbell Press (1 warm-up set, 2 sets of 8 reps working weight)
Hang Clean from knees in power rack (2 sets of 8 reps working weight)
Barbell Curl (2 sets of 8 reps working weight)
Full Squats (1 set of 20 reps working weight) ... OR ... Trap Bar Deadlift 2 X 10 ... (Alternate once per week each)
Ab & Neck Work – 2 times per week (Non-lifting night)
Cardio (cross-country treadmill) – 2-3 times per week (non-lifting night)
Hands/ Forearms/Strength Feats – Once per Week (non-lifting night)