How to Train Like A Strongman in a Commercial Gym (2016)

How to Train Like A Strongman in a Commercial Gym (2016)

How to Train Like A Strongman in a Commercial Gym

A lot of lifters growing up would look at the physiques of bodybuilders and be impressed, but I’ve personally always found that the strongman competitors had the best physiques. Yes its true that most of the strongman competitors aren’t as lean and shredded as the bodybuilders, but you can’t deny the fact they they are fucking huge.

Strongman competitors are particularly big in the traps, neck, upper back, shoulder and forearm area while obviously having huge glutes from all of the heavy posterior chain work. To say the least, they look like gorillas in clothing. Obviously genetics and other factors like drugs at the elite level do contribute to their look and build, but the way that they train also has a profound effect on their strength levels and muscle development as well.

Strongman training is a wild animal because it is kind of like Powerlifting in the sense that heavy weights are being lifting, but its also like bodybuilding in the sense that there is a lot of time under tension.

Some people aren`t that crazy about training like a bodybuilder or a powerlifter and want a little change of pace, something new. Some of these people watch strongman and become fascinated, but the big problem is that they are training in a commercial gym. Most commercial gyms don`t have the strongman implements so how are you supposed to train like a strongman in a YMCA?

Today I am going to show you 9 ways how you can mimic strongman training as much as possible even though you are in a commercial gym.

1)Thick Bar Training

The first rule to training like a strongman in the commercial gym is that you want to buy FatGripz in order to make your dumbbell handles fatter because strongmen competitors train with fat handles very often. Strongmen not only have extremely big forearms, but they also have very strong hands and almost nothing will get you stronger hands than training with fat handles.

2)Deadlifts/Rack Pulls Instead of Tire Deadlifts

A lot of strongman competitors also do tire Deadlifts which are basically just a fancy word for rack pulls so you are pretty much covered in that regard. Although it would still be a good idea to do Deadlifts from the floor because a lot of strongman competitors say that if you can Deadlift heavy weights from the floor then it will have a lot of carryover to many of your lifts in strongman events.

3)Trap Bar Deadlifts Instead of Car Deadlifts

The car Deadlift is a great exercise, but if you really think about it, its pretty much the same thing as doing a trap-bar Deadlift so if you have a strap-bar then you are pretty much covered. Just a side note, trap bar Deadlifts are a phenomenal exercise whether you are a strongman or not and I will be writing an article about the trap bar very soon.

4)Clean and Presses

The clean and press has been a staple in strongman competitions for decades. The lift is simple: pick weight off of the floor and put it over your head. Although it is simple, this is a very demanding exercise that will pack on slabs of mass all over your body.

5)Zercher Squats instead of Atlas Stone Work

The atlas stone loading is definitely something that you can`t do in your average gym because most commercial gyms don`t have atlas stones. Although the best way to try and imitate the exercise is to simply do Zercher squats. Zercher squats are painful and uncomfortable (so make sure you wear long sleeves when doing them), but so is atlas stone work.

6)Farmers/Waiter/Goblet Walks

I`ve written several articles on farmers walks so there is no need to re-introduce this bang-for-your-buck lift again, but since most commercial gyms don`t have the implements then you could simply do trap bar or DB walks.


Another cool variation that nobody else really talks about is the goblet carry. The goblet carry is like a husafell stone walk in the sense that the biceps are helping you carry something heavy in an isometric and walking fashion.

7)One Arm DB Push Press

The DB push press is also a classic lift in strongman, but if you pay attention to the right photo you can see that he is using a fat handle so you want to make sure that you throw your fatgrip on the DB to give it more of a strongman effect.

8)DB Lateral Raise Holds Instead of Crucifix Holds

The crucifix holds is one of the best lifts to test your side delt strength and endurance along with your mental toughness, but one of the main problems is that most gyms don`t have the equipment to do it. In this case you can simply replace the equipment with a pair of dumbbells, problem solved.

9)Seated Cable Rows Instead of Rope Pulls

The rope pull is a very popular exercise in strongman competitions, but it could be replaced by the seated cable row and if you want to take it a step further then you could use a rope handle with fatgripz to get more of a strongman feel.


At the end of the day there are no excuses and you could still get strong like a strongman in a commercial gym. I am not saying that it is the most optimal way because of the environment, but its definitely do-able.

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