Strongman Challenge: Week 1 - 4

This is a twelve week strongman and strength training cycle, designed to build you up to a competition at the end of the twelve weeks.


The competition events you will be training for are:


  • Squat: Max Reps in 75 seconds
  • Tire Flip: 25m for time
  • Log Clean and Press: Max Reps in 75 seconds
  • Farmers Walk: 25m for time
  • Atlas Stones: 5 stones for time


These are typical of the events you would find at many strongman competitions. They also cover a wide range of functional human movement - from squatting, to carrying, to putting heavy weight overhead. Therefore, whether you are training for a strongman competition or not, this is an ideal cycle to get you strong across the board.


This cycle is partly based on the Westside Conjugate Method. You will repeat the following four cycles:


  1. Maximum Effort Lower Body
  2. Maximum Effort Upper Body
  3. Dynamic Effort Lower Body
  4. Dynamic Effort Upper Body


The Dynamic Effort day should be done at least 72 hours after the corresponding Maximum Effort Day. For the Maximum Effort days, go hard and heavy. For the Dynamic Effort days, go fast and furious.


There are a few key differences from pure Westside principles. Firstly, whereas the ultimate aim of Westside is to make you a better powerlifter, in strongman you also need to be strong across multiple repetitions. This is the difference between a 1 rep max squat versus squatting for max reps in 75 seconds. Therefore the rep schemes reflect that difference. Also, the traditional bench press main lift and variations are replaced with overhead press and variations to more closely match strongman requirements. In this case, the main press lift is performed with a log.


If you have access to bands, chains and a variety of speciality squat bars (e.g. a safety bar), use them to vary the main lifts on week by week. This will increase the effectiveness of the program dramatically. Although this programming is largely strongman, it mixes in a few basic bodyweight elements to help retain perspective on strength.



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