Q&A with Australia’s Strongest Man Jordan “Biggie” Steffens (2016)
Jordan Steffens is a professional strongman from Australia who has had a very powerful impact on the strength and conditioning world. He deadlifts over 700lb and 375lb while simultaneously conquering other strongman related exercises as well.
This is why when you are trying to get good at anything you want to study the people who have mastered the craft that you desire if you really want to excel!
So without further ado, lets get into it!
What made you want to start competing in Strongman, how old were you when you started and did you play any sports before? What do you feel differentiates the strongmen from other athletes?
well I started playing Australian Rules football (AFL) as a kid but took up Freestyle Wrestling at 13 and won a national title as a school boy but at 15 was scouted in school for Olympic Weightlifting and from there I took up the sport where I have competed for Australia 2 times and was training for Scotland commonwealth Games till injury stopped me. What got me started into strongman was my chiropractor and his cousin they were the first REAL strongman competitors here in South Australia I was invited up to watch a strongman comp in 2007 I was 17 at the time my chiro said “well Jordan you are here you might as well lift” so never training strongman before at 100kgs I came second over all in the u105 class. Since then I have competed at 2 Giants Lives, World Natural Strongest Man, Won the Australian Stone lifting title 3 times in a row, multi Australian record holder, Arnold Strongman competitor and the youngest Australian to make pro show at 21 years old!. how are strongmen different to other lifters we have to be 100% good at everything or you wont win, so you got to train everything and be good at everything to be a real strongman.
What are some of your goals for this year as far as lifts are concerned?
I have a few big shows coming up this year and hope to do some travel around the world as I am in touch with a few promoters from around the world BUT I am looking to do a lot of charity work back home in Adelaide with the Leukemia Foundation and The Varity Bash as I believe strongmen can be doing more for are community as the showmen we are. In the gym always looking to push up my weights and might push my oly lifts up a little more as well so keep your eyes open for some big lifts.
What are some of your lifetime lifting goals that you will be extremely happy, satisfied and content with if you eventually hit them?
I been lucky I have hit a lot of them by 26 years old still to go is making it to
my big 3
I need to make WSM/ make a Commonwealth Games also to compete in a highland games in Scotland
plus would like to take a few strongman record with me! love yoke and would like to go over 700kgs in the near future!
also like to behind the head jerk over 270kg currently set by my hero Misha Koklyaev.
How many days are you currently training per week and how long are the sessions usually lasting?
in the gym 5 days a week 3 hours a session always a lot to cover
How many days per week do you soft tissue work with foam rolling, lacrosse ball work along with stretching? Also how long do you usually do it for?
rolling at least once every day, lacrosse ball all my injuries once a day and I bar roll before every session! (Great tip from MR all time record holder Kristos Papanotis ) and I am BIG of massage and chiro together to keep my boy strong!
What is an underrated technique tip on the strict press that most people overlook?
underrated is the tight body/core and explosion off the shoulders, you need to be aggressive with this lift or it will crush you.
Do you incorporate Z Presses into your program and if you do then what benefit have you gotten from them exactly? If you do incorporate them then at what height do you usually set the pins and why?
If I have a comp with HEAVY log or with 1rm, I will use Z press as a supplement exercise to build tri strength and lock out power as a oly lifter that is a weakness.
Do you ever incorporate shoulder pressing rack lockouts in order to increase your top half strength?
Yes when I first started strongman that was a exercise given to me by Australian Strongman legend Ben Maddern and took my log lift up and up by over loading the area at this point strict press/Z press I would use more in a program to build up lock out strength as I was so leg dominate which to a point I still am but I am a lot better then I use to be.
What are your top 3 favorite direct triceps exercises to do in order to help improve your lockout for your vertical pressing variations? What rep range do you also work with in these triceps exercises and how many direct triceps exercises do you typically include in your program when you are really trying to bring up your press?
I build my program for pressing around these 3 lifts :
I follow of a very simple periodization program with these lifts to bring up my lifts like log and axle also my oly lifts
and use supplementary exercises like, Tri extension, skull crushers and close grip bench press to help and direct tricep lift
lots of 5s and 3s best to build strength and power.
Strongman competitors do a lot of One Arm DB shoulder push presses, what are some tricks/tips/cheats that you could give the viewers on how to use more weight on this exercise? A lot of people underestimate the weight that they could use on this lift because if you use your whole body properly while having your technique dialed in then you could move a lot more weight.
How many days per week will you do vertical pressing variations when trying to improve your vertical pressing strength?
Event day (log/axle depending on comp)
overhead day, push press/strict press
oly day will have some form of power jerk or split jerk in it
Here is more of an aesthetic question, whats your take on doing the behind the neck press for building bigger shoulders? Do you think that it is really that essential for bigger delts? Also do you find that they have a good carryover to strict press and what grip width do you usually use if you do them?
Since strongman is a sport that is based a lot on the shoulder press, how much horizontal pressing variations do strongman competitors usually incorporate? I know that sometimes certain strongmen guys don’t want to get too caught up in the benching because then it could potentially affect their overhead pressing so how do you program benching in a way that doesn’t hinder your vertical pressing work? (Ex: closegrip benching for stronger triceps…etc)
Strongman is such a dominated sport for leg and back (Squat/Deadlift/Yoke/Farmers/
How much can you Military press x 1 vs Bench press x 1?
Not a huge military presser as I depend on my leg power as a weightlifter
Push Press 180kg 396lbs
Close Grip Bench Press 190kg 418lbs
Overhead Jerk 220kg 485lbs
We all know that low reps are important for getting stronger, but so are high reps as well. What is the highest rep range that you ever go to for vertical presses and why?
Direct rotator cuff work is a controversial topic in the lifting world because some people say that its not necessary if you are doing a lot of work overhead while others say that they can’t do an upper body session without doing it, do you incorporate any?
Crucifix holds are a staple exercise in strongman events, do you find that they help your OHP strength and improve your side delt muscle development? Also what is the heaviest that you have ever done on crucifix holds?
You have one of the thickest upper backs I’ve ever seen, are there any movements that you really swear by for thickness or is it just a variety of different exercises? (Ex: high pulls)
snatch high pull
clean high pull
4/5 days aweek builds that part of your body REAL fast! push builds POWER!!plus stones and deads build up a BIG BACK and BIG ARMS!!plus row!! row row row!!! builds up muscle and size and helps your deadlift!
What is the most weight that you have ever rack pulled in your life (from around knee level)?
I have done well over 400kgsmight have to try again put a video for you guys 😉
What exercises do you do for direct rear delt work and do you ever do any direct neck work? Also do you see any benefits in doing your direct rear delt work in a cheating motion or do you like to keep your reps smooth and controlled for the most part?
What’s the fattest handle that you ever had to hold on to during a strongman competition? Do you ever use 3 inch+ handles in your training for grip work?
What are your favorite exercises to directly hit your core and do you do any direct oblique work? Also tell me how you progress these movements overtime in order to make them a lot more challenging? Whats your take on stuff like Reverse Weighted Crunches, Weighted planks and leg raises?
Strongmen need really strong lower backs to have a longer career especially with all of the stress they put it through with all of the vertical presses and deadlifts. How heavy do you go on direct lower back training, what rep ranges and exercises do you like to do on average?
lower back training
with rows to finish
then squat day
I chuck in Snatch or Stiff leg deads
BUT to finish my fav exercises for lower back back extension!!!
Thank you for your time!
no problem thanks so much!! was a pleasure!!!