Military personnel need to be strong and functional for the tasks they are required to do.
Strongman exercises can help with that.
Strongman is a type of functional fitness that has many benefits for tactical athletes.
In this blog post, we will discuss what Strongman training is and how it can benefit military personnel.
We will also provide a few examples of Strongman exercises that you can do to improve your strength, functionality, and performance.
What is Strongman?
Strongman is a type of functional-based fitness that emphasizes whole-body strength.
It can be traced back to the Strongman competitions of the early 20th century, where athletes would complete feats of strength such as lifting heavy objects or pulling trucks.
Strongman training has since evolved and now includes a variety of exercises that offer new challenges through sheer weight and odd-yet-safe maneuvering.
These exercises often use uncommon objects such as tires, sandbags, or kegs.
But for the person who wants to join the armed forces, these items are perfect. They mimic the types of things military personnel might have to lift or carry in real-life situations.
Strongman training is unique in that it not only builds strength, but also develops raw power, endurance, and coordination.
Benefits of Strongman Training
There are many benefits of Strongman training for tactical athletes and those interested in pursing a career in the military:
Strongman is characterized by exercises that focus on you carrying heavy and/or odd objects. Beneath the sheer weight and absurdity, you'll find functionality.
Strongman exercises develop functional strength, which is the type of strength that is most applicable to real-life activities.
This is opposed to aesthetic strength, which is the type of strength that is developed through isolation and certain compound exercises. This type of strength focuses on getting really good at ONE type of movement, but it doesn’t necessarily translate well into real-world activities.
While aesthetic strength can be helpful in some military tasks, functional strength is far more important for the majority of tasks that military personnel are required to do.
Many Strongman exercises are plyometric in nature, meaning that they involve rapid and explosive movements.
These exercises are perfect for building explosive power.
Plyometric exercises are often used by athletes in order to develop power and improve performance.
They can also be beneficial for people who want to enter the armed forces because the ability to generate explosive power can be helpful in many real-life situations.
For example, if you have to quickly throw a 50-pound pack over your back and then sprint down a field, this all comes from explosive power.
Builds Mental Toughness
Strongman training is not easy. It often requires you to push your body to its limits.
This type of training can be mentally challenging as well as physically tough.
Pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone on a regular basis can lead to increasing mental toughness .
This is an important trait for those in the military and police force, as they often have to deal with difficult and stressful situations.
More Muscle and Endurance, Less Body Fat
Strongman training often leads to increased muscle mass and reduced body fat.
These exercises require you to use a large number of muscles and push your body to its limits. In the process, you’ll tap into hypertrophic benefits (muscle growth) while burning plenty of calories.
Done right, you can build more lean mass and burn fat at the same time with Strongman training.
Strongman training can also lead to increased endurance, as the exercises are often very demanding and require a lot of stamina.
Best Strongman Exercises to Do
Now that we've discussed what Strongman is and some of the benefits of Strongman training, let's take a look at some of the best Strongman exercises for tactical athletes.
Axle Bar Squats: The axel bar squat is a great exercise for developing lower body strength. It requires you to squat with an axle bar across your shoulders. An axle bar is much thicker than traditional Olympic barbells so this will add a new challenge aside from the weight itself.
Tire Flips: Tire flips are a great exercise for developing whole-body strength and power. They require you to lift a heavy object and repeatedly flip it end over end.
Sandbag Carry: Few exercises directly translate to the military, but the sandbag carry is one of them. As the name suggests, you’ll lift a heavy sandbag and carry it for a prescribed distance.
Farmer’s Walk: The Farmer’s Walk is a classic Strongman exercise that works the whole body. It requires you to pick up heavy objects and walk with them for a distance.
Keg Toss: The Keg Toss is a great exercise for developing explosive power. It requires you to lift a keg and toss it as far as you can.
Sled Drag: The Sled Drag is a great exercise for developing lower body strength and power. It requires you to attach a sled to your waist and drag it for a distance by pulling it. You can also reverse the movement and push the sled.
Kettlebell Swings: Kettlebell swings are a great exercise for developing lower body strength and power. They require you to swing a kettlebell between your legs and then explosively swing it overhead.
Strongman Workout Finishers
You don't need to train like a Strongman year-round to reap some of the benefits of Strongman training.
Here are three ways to end your workouts that tap into the explosive training nature of Strongman.
Finisher #1: Tire Flips
To perform this exercise, start by standing next to a tire. Squat down and place your hands on the tire. explosively stand up and drive the tire forward, flipping it end over end.
Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
Finisher #2: Strongman Sandbag Carry
To perform this exercise, start by placing a sandbag on the ground in front of you. Squat down and place your hands on the sandbag.
Explosively stand up and lift the sandbag onto your shoulders.
Walk with the sandbag for the desired distance, then set it back down on the ground and repeat.
Finisher #3: Strongman Farmer’s Walk
To perform this exercise, start by placing two heavy dumbbells on the ground in front of you. Squat down and place your hands on the dumbbells.
Explosively stand up and keep the dumbbells at your sides.
Walk with the objects for the desired distance, then set them back down on the ground and repeat.
Bonus points if you use thick grips on the dumbbell or kettlebell handles.