I'm the short one in the middle.
By:  Chris Mavromatis 

Thank you all for coming back to peruse my musings on Strongman Training. In the last month, I have received numerous e-mails and posted messages describing how much many of you are getting out of these articles and I would like to publicly say here how much it means to me. Truly, you the aspiring (and many established) strongmen are the reason that I write these articles and it makes it very worthwhile. So Thanks!

        For those who having been following my articles, you will know that I am going to start describing the Week 2 Event Training portion of my training. I will also begin to describe ways of inexpensively and reasonably easily acquiring usable implements for the aforementioned Event Training. So, I will now go onto describing Week 2 Mondays’ training. To reestablish where we are for those who are just joining us, my training schedule consists of one week (aptly named Week 1) of gym training followed by one week (Week 2) of Event Training and then back to Week 1. Monday’s training in Week 2 consists of Rocks, Logs and Sandbags. So here we go...

         A very important preface to the descriptions of the training that I will describe is the fact that this is training and not a competition. What am I trying to say? I mean that you will be working with the various implements to train the body to be stronger and better at specific events, not to go out and see only how big a rock you can lift or your max log clean and press. For the same reason that going into a gym 8 weeks out from a powerlifting contest doing a 5 minute warm-up and then only trying one max squat, one max dead and one max bench is not the best way to train to get a better squat, dead and bench; going out in Week 2 and only attempting max rock lifts and log overhead presses is not the best way to train for Strongman competition. When you go out into your yard or basement to Event train, expect to spend 1.5 to 2 hours and also to experience whole new levels of pain.
         Another quick note before I go onto the specifics of Monday’s training, whenever I write of sandbags; this can always be interchanged with barrels (of whatever type). I do sometimes substitute barrels (especially on those days when the sandbags seem especially slippery... hehe) and every so often going back and forth is good cross-training.
 Now, I will describe the specifics of the type of equipment to have for Monday’s session and inexpensive ways to go about acquiring them. Optimally, the following is what you should have (of course, it may be necessary to slowly build up to having all of these. Having even half of it is great): 1) Seven rectangular, flat rocks 2) Three reasonably spherical rocks 3) one lifting log 4) many multiple use logs 5) a set of 25 bricks 6) eight 100 LB sandbag sacks 7) two military grade duffel bags.
        So how could one acquire these items? The best place to get lifting rocks is a stonery. You should be able to find one in most major cities and probably many smaller towns as well. The one I go to has a 5000lb scale, so I am able to weigh what I think looks good (i.e. the weight that I am looking for). There is, of course, the possibility of going to a quarry, or riverbed; the main difficulty is getting the rocks out onto your truck. I would suggest ultimately (because you don’t necessarily need all of these right in the beginning) getting a 135lb, 170lb, 200lb, 220lb, 260lb, 300lb and 400lb flat rocks and a 240lb, 300lb and 360lb spherical stones.
         Making a steel log is possible, but generally very costly and time consuming. Making a wooden lifting log is simpler, but still not the easiest task (and many times storing it is not the easiest task either, as you don’t want it to get wet). The exact diameter and length are something that you might have to play with a little, too. It is impossible for me to tell you the exact dimensions to get a certain weight, because different wood has different densities. The best thing to do when going to a lumberyard is to err on the light side, although I would try not to get it any lighter than 135lbs. Having the handles cut in (the holes should be ovalic to allow for torquing when cleaning the log) and the weight sleeves on the sides made is difficult for me to tell you exactly how to do as I have never had to actually do it myself, but with perhaps a carpenters advice it shouldn’t be too difficult to figure out. Some help with the dimensions would be that the handles should be 24” apart and the sleeves should be at least 16” long. The “multi-use” logs can actually be any type of wood pieces reasonably sized (under 4 feet long) from 25lbs to 100lbs, with maybe 5 total. I won’t insult your intelligence by telling you how to find them. The 8 sacks of sand aren’t too difficult to find either, just go to most any hardware store. It doesn’t really matter what type of sand it is. I have found the easiest way to keep the sandbags from splitting is to wrap them with grocery bags and then cover them entirely in duct tape. Most “Uncle Sam’s” type military surplus shops have very large heavy nylon duffel bags that sell for around $20. You will find them well worth the investment.


Reproduction of this article, in whole or part, for any purposed other than personal use is prohibited without written consent. Copyright © 1999 Chris Mavromatis.