With the Off-Season just around the corner it is time to revisit some different ways to train our athletes. The weight room is a great place to get this work done, but let's think outside the box. Better yet let's train outside the box. Enjoy our great Arizona winters and get some old-fashioned work done. Strongman training is one of the cheapest ways to accomplish this task. For all most nothing you can put together a great alternative program for your athletes. Common strongman implements used in training include tractor tires, sandbags, water-filled kegs, farmers walk and pushing/pulling sleds.
You can find used tractor tires at any tire yard for free. Heck, some places have even paid me to take them off their hands. These tire come in all different sizes and weights. You will want to have different sizes and weights for your entire program or team. Your basic weights you will want to have is 150-175 lbs., 200-230 lbs., 250-280 lbs. and then a 300lb.+. With proper lifting technique (flat back, low butt) I have found tire flips to be a great alternative to cleans. Plus with a tire flip you are getting a horizontal push, instead off a vertical push with the jerk.
Sandbags are another way to train and take a break from the iron and rubber. Sandbags will require a little invest for the bags, but the sand you can find for free. The use of different pushes and pulls with the sandbags give the body a change from the bar. You can come up with unlimited grip angles.
Water filled kegs are going to be a hard one to sell your AD on. Having a keg on campus might be a big problem at some schools. Bigger water containers are a great alternative to this problem. This will also be a small investment, but there are place out there at will donate. The object with the water filled keg is to not fill it all the way. This causes the water to move with-in the kegs, making the athlete stabilize the keg as well as lift the keg. Adding in a walk or run with the keg will help with whole body stabilization.
Farmers walk can be done with almost any implement with weight. The great benefit of doing farmer walks is stressing the body with the weight to the athlete's side. Most lifts done in the weight room requires the bar to be in front of the body or on the athletes back. Also most of these lifts cannot be done safely with walking. So with the farmers walk we can load the athlete and have movement.
Most programs are already doing pushing or pulling sleds. Sleds are a great way to help athletes increase their acceleration. By loading up these sleds with weight, the athlete has to get a lower center of gravity (good shin angle) to move the sled. There is a lot of debate as to what is the proper load for these sled pulls. I have found that by doing heavy sleds 1x 2weeks gives the athlete enough time to train heavy, but not change up their stride length. Heavy sled pulls require the athlete to shorten their stride length and increase their foot contact time.
These Strongman events will open up doors to different training types and help your athletes achieve new strength in a competitive atmosphere. All these events can be done outside and do not require too much room or cost. There are every little scientific studies out about the effectiveness of Strongman training, so use these events as a way to change things up and not the foundation of your off-season program. All of your workouts should be supervised by a certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS).