The many benefits of Modified Strongman Training (MST)
Competing in Strongman requires strength, power, speed, agility, endurance and all in ‘functional’ activities.
Functional, that is, if you need to drag a Boeing 747 anywhere. Given the impressive feats of strength and the physiques on display (think Mariusz Pudzianowski) it is no surprise that this mode of training has gained popularity with athletes and Joe Bloggs alike.
As strongman training becomes increasingly common as a training mode it is essential to understand how and why it works.
I have been utilising this form of training myself and with clients with tremendous results over the past few years.
It has many benefits and can be a great addition to more traditional gym based training.
Want to know what Modified Strongman Training (MST) can achieve?
Here are my top 3:
- Structural balance/corrective (postural, pre-hab, rehab)
- Body composition (fat loss and/or muscle gain)
- Sport performance training (athletic transfer)
Plus it is great fun!
The feedback from sessions has been so positive that I feel it triggers something in the participant that resonates with them in a different way to traditional weight training.
“I feel totally alive after my Strongman class, with a feeling of achievement and accomplishment…..i feel stronger everywhere!” J. Knights
The reason MST works so well is that you have to handle awkward shaped objects often lifting them from the floor to overhead.
The full body challenge of MST builds true, functional strength from head to toe. In addition the camaraderie of clients working together in a team setting produces a work output rarely seen or experienced in 1 to 1 sessions. As my client Phill, described, “I reckon i get an extra 15% out of myself in these sessions!”
One problem with the majority of strength training programs performed in gyms is that they only work the body in a single plane of movement. Strongman lifts work the joints through multiple angles.
Since MST trains you in multiple planes of movement your body gets strong in all these planes, therefore, greatly reducing your risk of injury. You also tend to hit all those small stabiliser and synergist muscles that can often be ignored in regular training but are crucial to increasing power and strength.
According to Charles Poliquin the reasons to incorporate MST into your training regime include:
- Transfers weight room strength to the field (i.e. bridges the gap)
- A tool for changes in body composition/fat loss
- As a form of corrective exercise
- Fun – it offers an alternative training stimulus which keeps things interesting
- It builds mental toughness
- Strengthens limiting factors, Whether that be grip strength, anaerobic capacity, lateral speed.
- When performed in teams or groups can be excellent for team building
Using MST offers some of the most challenging training sessions you will have ever experienced.
MST incorporates many of the classical lifts in strongman competition like the Log Press, Farmers Walk, Sled Drags and Tire Flips. The sets, reps, and rest periods of these exercises can be adjusted like any other classic gym lift to meet the goals of our clients.
Here is an overview of the tools/implements that can be incorporated:
- Framers Walk Handles
- Battling Ropes
- Sledge Hammer
- Super Yoke
The most common use of these pieces of kit in my own training is High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) protocols. These can be manipulated to mimic the energy system requirements of the sports of my clients or, more often, as ‘finishers’ with my fat loss/body composition clients.
These tools are unparalleled when it comes to getting lean and maintaining (or even gaining) muscle mass.
For the sportsmen and women out there you get an anaerobic effect that will transfer better to your sports performance and causes a much greater weight & fat loss effect than traditional methods.
Using MST can provide an interesting training alternative and elevate your fitness to new levels.
Still not convinced? Have I mentioned MST practically melts the fat off you?
Because of the huge production of lactic acid produced during a properly planned MST session there is a huge growth hormone response. High growth hormone levels are key for fat burning and lean muscle. So with all the other benefits listed above, perhaps most importantly MST leads to a leaner, fitter, healthier you.
So what are you waiting for? Give MST a try now.