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Getting Started in Strongman

When I first started in strongman, I’d been strength training for several years, and was curious about the sport of strongman, so I signed up for Beer Muscles and jumped right into competing. This is a perfectly fine and valid way to get started in strongman, but this week, I want to talk about how beginners should get started. Whatever route you choose for getting going, I suggest having a decent base of strength and some background in training. From there, you can either do what I did, which is just sign up for a competition and jump right into it, or you could work on learning strongman movements and training for strongman and gradually build up to a competition. There are some pros and cons to both approaches, but ultimately, either can get you where you want to be!

Jess at Beer Muscles 2021 doing an arm over arm truck pull
At Beer Muscles 2021, my first strongman comp, doing arm-over-arm truck pull. Our member Keith is volunteering (always thank your volunteers!), and I’m pretty sure he worked harder than any of the competitors gathering that rope up all day!

Again, starting in strongman requires a solid foundation in strength training. Whether you’re diving straight into competition like I did or opting for gradual preparation, it’s essential to have some prior strength and training experience. There aren’t necessarily specific numbers required for your main lifts, but if you look at any competition, find your weight class, and look at what are the posted deadlift or overhead press event numbers, you’ll see that there is a minimum requisite strength just to show up and not zero events (zeroing just means you didn’t get any reps on that particular event. It isn’t catastrophic, but it’s also not super fun to zero lots of events at a competition).

Jumping into competitions immediately, like Beer Muscles, is a viable approach. It offers an immediate immersion into the sport and allows you to experience the excitement and camaraderie of competition firsthand. By testing your abilities in a competitive environment right away, you can quickly identify your strengths and weaknesses, which can inform your training moving forward. However, this approach may be challenging if you’re unfamiliar with the specific events or lack technique in certain movements. It’s like jumping into the deep end of the pool while you’re still learning to swim; while it can be exhilarating, it may also feel overwhelming at first. For me, having a specific event to train for is motivating and helps me to stick to a plan. I knew when I wanted to get started that I needed to just jump in!

On the other hand, dedicating time to training strongman movements beforehand allows for skill development and confidence building. By focusing on mastering the various lifts, carries, and other event-specific exercises in a controlled training environment, you can gradually build up your strength, technique, and conditioning. This approach provides a more structured and deliberate introduction to the sport, allowing you to progress at your own pace and reducing the risk of injury. This strategy can also be helpful if you want to compete but you’re nervous about it. Finding a great group of folks to train with (like the crew here at PPG) can help you build the confidence to compete one day.

Ultimately, the best approach depends on your preferences, goals, and personality. Some people thrive under the pressure of competition and prefer to learn by doing, while others may feel more comfortable taking a slower, more methodical approach to skill acquisition. Whichever path you choose, remember that consistency, patience, and dedication are key.

Regardless of your choice, our team of experienced coaches is here to support you every step of the way. Whether you’re a seasoned athlete looking to take your training to the next level or a complete beginner eager to learn the ropes, we can tailor a program to suit your needs and help you achieve your strongman goals. Sign up for a free, no sweat intro today, and let’s start your strongman journey together!

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