#3. Strongman exercises enhance anabolic hormones production
Strongman training is different to regular weight training in a way that it tends to involve more dynamic movements utilizing multiple muscle groups, resulting with a higher degree of neural stress and a more favorable hormone response. One study reported that sled-training workouts using a load of 75% of body weight had a huge impact on post-workout hormone response – the results showed significant elevations in testosterone levels in the immediate post-workout period and in the next 24 hours. Another study, published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning also found an important difference between traditional weightlifting programs and strongman programs in terms of eliciting a testosterone response. A third study found that strongman workouts resulted in a 70% increase in post-workout levels of free testosterone that persisted for more than 30 minutes after the end of the workout. Therefore, if you’ve hit a training plateau, you can count on strongman workouts and their anabolic effect to give you that extra boost to push through it.
#4. Strongman exercises train both conditioning and strength
The fact that it provides both conditioning and strength training is perhaps one of the most unique attributes of strongman training. That means no need for separate conditioning workouts to help you increase your power and endurance – you get all of that in the same workout. In addition, strongman training helps athletes avoid catabolism and loss of muscle. For this goal, experts recommend circuit training with 2-minute work sets and the total workout lasting around 30 minutes. For example, perform 5 different exercises for 1 minute each for five rounds in total, but select a weight that allows you to perform the entire workout with proper form and technique.
#5. Strongman exercises produce less muscle soreness
One of the most important positive aspects of strongman training is that it produces minimal muscle soreness because its primarily concentric nature doesn’t lead to dramatic muscle damage. In other words, the absence of negative/eccentric motion makes strongman exercises relatively easy to recover from. The best example for this is sled training, which lacks a lengthening, eccentric muscle motion that’s mainly responsible for tissue damage, thereby resulting with lower creatine kinase (the key marker of muscle damage) levels than traditional weight training. This makes strongman training superior to its more traditional counterpart because it allows you to get a higher level of metabolic gains, muscle-building hormone levels and increased fat-burning ability, but without the unpleasant muscle soreness associated with the latter.
A few words of caution
- Make sure your core strength level is admirable prior to starting strongman training. If you core is weak, underdeveloped and unbalanced, you’ll be at a higher risk of lower back injury.
- Make sure you’ve mastered the squat, deadlift and overhead press with flawless form before starting a strongman program. This will help you reduce the risk of back injury and achieve better results.
- When designing your workouts, keep in mind that the horizontal nature of some strongman exercises, such as sled pushes, involves an added level of friction force.
- Due to the heavy loads and the big toll on metabolism, you need to ensure proper recovery in between trainings. Proper hydration, nutrition and sleep should be the focus of your approach to post-workout recovery.