PTC Strongman: The First Session

TODAY was a great success. I was actually relieved to be starting with a small number of people; it makes instruction a lot easier, and I can assess them at a more comfortable pace. I had a pair of trainees who were sensible, attentive, and surprisingly strong considering their relative training levels. Ryan is a tall and gangly 103 kilograms, and required the second-highest setting on the yoke. He worked up to a ten meter walk of 255 kilograms, with a couple of drops. And Adrian, who has been training PL for about a year at PTC, worked up to the same weight and same distance, for a relatively smooth run. Both impressed me with their efforts.

We moved on to axle deadlifts, and as I could not find the appropriate blocks to achieve a 40 cm pull height, we used bumper plates and pulled from the floor. I made the mistake of using the silver axle, which is an odd weight (it’s more than 25 but less than 30, from memory), and so until I can go back and weigh it, the numbers we hit today will likely all be off a little. But I had them both work up in heavy triples till they were near failure.

This, combined with the impact the yoke has on a fresh young spine, was enough for the newbies for one day, so I decided we would perform some strict axle pressing from the racks instead of clean and press. Again, I had them work up in heavy triples. When they were around 75% of their 1RM, they did reps to near failure for the final set. This will assist me in building a better program for them both… press is something that, for me at least, requires more attention to detail. Things like yoke walk are simpler to program for a novice: they either move it, or they don’t. So long as they don’t keep trying to do it, one too many times. It’s important to know when to quit.

One of the various other things we discussed during training today was the importance of grip strength. I advised certain methods that I find effective for improving grip, such as going without using straps on axle deads for as long as possible. Train the grip – it will fail before the back, every time – then train the lift. Only in rare cases (such as Leroy, one of my trainees at Genesis) will a person’s grip exceed their pulling strength.

It’s all fun and games till they have their first heavy Farmers walk. That will drive home just how essential grip strength is.

This was a pretty much two hour session, which will become more like three or even four hours duration as more people attend and the older members become more conditioned. As I’m not competing in SM this year, I will be using these sessions to compliment my weekday PL programming, and not hittiThe 1st PTC Strongman traning session 1ng anything too hard (at least to start with) while focussing on the trainees.

I realise now that a near-300 kilo yoke walk for 20 meters with no belt is not taking it easy. Not for me, at least. I know plenty of Strongmen who do that to warm up for something actually heavy. But being my first SM events session in a while I could have started lighter. Now I have to do the same distance with something like 315, next time I yoke.

Yoke walk:
135 kgs x 20 meters
215 kgs x 20 meters
295 kgs x 20 meters (no belt)

Axle Deadlifts from floor:
65? kgs x 5
105? kgs x 5
145? kgs x 3
185? kgs x 1 PR (no straps)
185? kgs x 2
225? kgs x 3

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