Q&A with Australia’s Strongest Man Jordan “Biggie” Steffens (2016)

Q&A with Australia’s Strongest Man Jordan “Biggie” Steffens (2016)

Q&A with Australia’s Strongest Man Jordan “Biggie” Steffens

jordan steffens

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. 

On Fitworldexposed, we like to talk a lot about how you need to bring up your shoulders with vertical presses if you are trying to get that enhanced look and strongman competitors hands down have some of the biggest and strongest shoulders on the planet. They exemplify how you don’t need a massive chest to look big either. They may not be the leanest athletes, but who cares? As far as sheer size and raw strength is concerned they are unmatched and in my opinion they are the most entertaining athletes to watch.
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?

lifetime goals
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 :

push press

strict press

power jerk

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.

1 arm dumbbell 2 big tips are:
1) USE THE SWING, to get to the shoulder really use the moment between your legs to get it moving as I was told ” EASY CLEAN! EASY PRESS”
2) Open the shoulder up and watch the dumbbell out the corner of your eyes and when it goes over your head cause where you look is where the dumbbell will go, Dimitar Savatinov is the MAN!!! watch him lift! Now that’s how you lift a dumbbell!

How many days per week will you do vertical pressing variations when trying to improve your vertical pressing strength?

2 days

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?

I think the biggest benefit for athletes with behind the neck press (strict or push) is to open up the shoulders and not have a rounded shoulder from lots of  bench press and front delt work. In oly training we do behind the neck jerk or press to get the athlete use to the position of the bar over head and making sure the head is in the right spot but  in strongman is great for overloading muscle and weight also like I said before to open up the shoulder and increase mobility.

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/Stones/Truck Pull) these are only a few and all leg and back dominate, but as time has moved on log press has be come HUGE thanks to athletes like, Hugo Girard Raymond Bergmanis, Svend Karlsen, Mike Jenkins and the greatest of all Zydrunas SavickasClose bench is a great building lift but not a major lift this is perfect as a supplement lift at the end of training to overload the triceps and build triceps strength but still second to push press and strict press

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?

As a PRE building start point I can go upto 8s for sets and a great tool to build that SOLID foundation then work quickly into a lot of 5s/3s as I want POWER and STRENGTH with 5s/3s build that perfect!. keep the program simple don’t over do it! I spoken to many pro’s about this! how do you get stronger? TIME UNDER THE BAR! more you press the stronger you will press!

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?

I was a oly lifter for over 10 years never suffered a rotator cuff injury but you get a lot of carry over from snatch and rotators do get a work out in that lift sooo I see no harm in warming up those muscles with bands or light dumbbells if you feel the need to but personally I don’t.

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?

Watch Svend Karlsen training video he does an awesome training exercise for Crucifix holds he does Svend shoulders I use that for my training to build pain resistance and STRONG delts and rotator cuffs its worth a watch BUT big tip do not go to heavy cause you do not want  to tear anything in there as it could be a long way back! start light work up VERY slow!! form is EVERYTHING with this.

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)

Years of oly lifting
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)?

Not 100% sure!
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?

When I wrestled as a kid I use to do neck work EVERY session cause in that sport a broken neck could come REAL quickly soo neck rolls and neck bridging were awesome for that and was never hurt in the circle and in regards to re delt work keep on the strict press behind head! light and strict and svend karlsen delt workout also light and strict.
no cheating if strict press BUT if you want over load then do push press behind!!

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?

 not really, tend to stick to normal bars or axle or inch dumbbells unless the comp stipulates I need to compete with 3inch handles! light weight for long holds builds good grip!!! Svend Karlsen great quote ” captain of crush only makes you good at captain of crush”
But
always good to mix it up!!! 🙂

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?

YOKE!! HIGH BAR SQUATS and heavy beltless lifts now that builds CORE!!!!! had to do LOADS of bridging/planking are great to!!! a strong core builds a strongman and make sure to always do some lifting with out a belt to keep your body strong!

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

direct is:

Deadlift day

deads

deficit deads

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!!!


If you want to see more of Jordan Steffens then you could check him out at:

Instagram.com/JORDAN_BIGGIE

https://www.facebook.com/Jordan.celticwarrior.Steffens

https://officialstrongman.com/profile.jsp?profileid=41e1c3cb-c2e1-4e99-831c-d1abfa12d081

https://www.facebook.com/thestrengthsyndicate