Exercises That the World's Strongest Men Do
Watching the World’s Strongest Man competition on TV is enough to inspire most of us to get off the couch and into the gym. These athletes spend hours daily training -- lifting weights, logs, cars, tires, sandbags, rocks and other odd objects to build massive strength. They also use cardiovascular exercise to build endurance. You can implement some of the exercises that the world's strongest men use to prepare for competitions into your fitness routine. These strength-building exercises are not for beginners, however; consult your doctor before attempting any of these exercises.
Circuit Train to Avoid Boredom
Cardiovascular exercise is an integral part of training for a strongman competition. You can have all the strength in the world, but if you can't catch your breath after carrying three out of five Atlas stones across the course, you won't finish the event. Brian Shaw, World's Strongest Man 2013, told a group of firefighters in Sterling, Colorado, that he uses circuit training to avoid the boredom of typical cardio exercise. Circuit training combines cardio and resistance training to kick your metabolism into high gear. To set up your own circuit training program, choose five to 10 exercises that work each part of your body such as pushups, shoulder shrugs, crunches, planks, lat pulls, squats, and lunges. Include a cardiovascular exercise like sprints or the elliptical. Run through each exercise once and take a two- to three-minute break. Repeat all of the exercises at least three times to complete the workout.
Squats Are a Must-Do Exercise
Squats and deadlifts are staples in the training plan of the world's strongest man according to strongman Zydrunas Savickas in an interview by "Men's Fitness UK." Squats are a multi-joint exercise that can build massive strength in your lower body when done correctly. Add weights using a barbell, dumbbells, or a weighted vest, and you have a full-body exercise that works your upper body as well as your core. To do squats properly, start with feet a little wider than shoulder width apart and squat down to a 90-degree angle being careful not to let you knees go past your toes and allow your butt to stick out. Keep your shoulders back, chest out and head straight.
Deadlifts Are a Major Muscle Builder
Deadlifts are a major event in the World's Strongest Man competition and a major muscle building exercise. They work your lower and middle back, calves, forearms, glutes, hamstrings, lats, quadriceps, and traps. This is an advanced exercise so be sure to consult a certified trainer if you have questions about proper form and start with very light weight until you have the form down. Proper form is key to keeping this exercise safe and effective. Stand with the barbell just over your feet, squat down and take a shoulder width grip of the bar. Engage your core to lift the bar, with chest up and stand up straight. This should be one smooth movement bringing your hips and knees into a full extension. A common mistake is to neglect moving your shoulders and hips together. Bring the weight back down to the floor and repeat. As you increase your barbell weight, you may want to take a mixed grip with one hand gripping the bar underneath and the other taking an overhand grip.
Building Muscle with Sand
The World's Strongest Man 2013, Brian Shaw recommends sandbag training because of its versatility. In 2012, the sandbag loading race was a key event of the competition. Matt Palfrey, owner of Sandbag Fitness claims that he saw a 10- to 15-percent increase in his lifts after training with sandbags for six months. Exercises that can be done with a sandbag include deadlifts, overhead press, squats, lunges, cleans, and sprints carrying the sandbag. You can purchase special bags made for sandbag workouts or simply pick up a cheap bag of sand at your local home improvement store. Again, always consult your doctor for the final word without starting these exercises.
Nicole Cruz is a writer who specializes in the areas of health/fitness, parenting and Christianity. She has been a fitness professional since 2003 and formerly ran a boot camp for moms with small children.