Strongman Training For Athletes?
Last week I posted a clip of Olympic Swimming Legend Ryan Lochte using battling ropes in his training.
Well guess what? I came across another clip of Lochte going through a strongman type circuit as part of his swimming training.
Here’s the clip:
So what do we make of this as coaches? Well the technique was a little ropey on some of the stuff I would imagine as he fatigued but apart from that?
I’m never one to beat around the bush! Here’s my 3 main benefits of strongman training for athletes:
1. Variation: I guess that Lochte likes a bit of variation in his training programme which is fine. The volume of training those guys go through I think variation is a great thing for him no question. Can you imagine doing 20-30 hours of pool training every week? Plus land training in addition to this? So variation to keep the athlete engaged is crucial to the success of your programme. Strongman training is a great training tool just like the battling ropes to introduce variation and achieve some good performance benefits.
2. Building Work Capacity: In the clip above it’s important to say that we don’t know the context and the sequencing of this session within the overall programme. I was imagine it is part of his general preparation phase probably further out from key competitions. This is where I use strongman training with people in general. It’s great at building work capacity and is good fun for groups or individuals to go through. Of course for contact sports there are some specific movements like the sledgehammer and tyre flips that are excellent at replicating some of the demands the body goes through which can be used throughout the season or pre season as specific conditioning.
3. Basic, easy to coach movements: Whether you are doing sledgehammer work, flipping tyres, log pressing etc the movements are basic in nature and therefore are fairly basic to introduce, practice and train with. This is the process of learning any exercise. The problems arise when you throw too many together, train them to failure or close to it, and lose control! This is what you see A LOT of. It’s much better to modify the session and pick a couple of strongman movements interspersed with some bodyweight movements and make a challenging but achievable circuit out of it. Keep the work ratios low at first in order to keep the technical execution high, especially with the tyre flips, log pressing and the sledgehammers.
Do be careful when you programme these. Look at the population you’re going to be using them with. Are they used to these positions in their sports? If not be very careful when introducing them and keep the volume of the sessions super low initially.
What do you think of strongman training? Leave me a comment below I’d love to know your thoughts on it.