Events Saturday: Making a Plan

the Lilly seminar

I’ve just today had confirmation the WA Strongman qualifiers will be Saturday August 29th at Coventry square in Morley. The events will be much the same as the last qualifier:

Yoke walk: 350 kilograms (maybe more) for 20 meters.
Log Clean-press: most likely for reps over rising bar.
Deadlift: still not confirmed whether this will be bar or axle, rising or for reps. Any permutation, I am not concerned by.
Farmers walk: I believe the last qualifier involved 20 meters up and back with two pairs of picks, the second heavier than the first. Should be fun.

There was initially talk of a fifth event – a sack carry or carry medley – but this will probably be used in the state finals in October instead. While I have not trained it in quite some time, carry events were typically something I did not suck at. All the same, I am looking forward to getting a chance to re-hone my skills in some of the events we see less often in local comps.

With only six training weeks before the comp, last night I made the snap decision to introduce some new concepts to the clinic. Right now, PTC Perth does not have everything I’d like for strongman events training. But more stuff is on the way, and in the interim there are some movements we can and should utilise to assist with improving strength for the more obscure events we cannot train specifically as yet. One of them is the front squat, which builds strength for pick & carry events like stones.

10407958_10202471054634149_1929846659875471606_nThis time I had the crew use the axle and a zercher, or ‘Conan’, carry for variation, which proved to be challenging even for those who were proficient in the exercise. While this is not something I personally should keep doing every weekend as it conflicts with my existing squat program, I will have the clinic perform them more regularly. Then, when I do finally have the ability to train sacks and stones with them, they will appreciate the carry-over.

I was pleasantly surprised when my first ever trainee and good friend Ashleigh showed up to re-familiarise herself with the sport of Strongman after a long hiatus. She tells me in a month she will be back in top form. I have challenged her to prove it, and compete in August. If she follows through, it will be good to see her take the platform again.

In August 2013, Brandon Lilly visited Perth and spent some time with myself and the WA Strongman team. One of the pieces of advice he gave for improving overhead pressing ability is something I am calling a cambered bar walking press. But honestly I feel as though it’s name changes each time I discuss it. It’s not a movement I’ve performed myself for some time:

Stand and strict press the cambered bar overhead for a minimum of 5, maximum of 10 reps (higher reps are preferable but it will depend on the weight of the bar… ours is pretty heavy), then while holding it overhead and locked out, walk 15-20 meters. Stop,  press for 5-10, turn around (still with the bar overhead) and walk back. More presses at the end. Repeat if you can.

The cambered bar is particularly difficult to keep moving in a straight plane of motion during the press. The log we have is very small, and really does’t translate to the feel of a competition spec log (which is why we train axle a lot more often), but this assistance exercise will at least aid in building strength and rigidity in the press, no matter the apparatus. I and the rest of the team will be starting each clinic with this exercise.

As a basic template, the next 6 weeks of clinics will follow this format:
1. WARMUP: Cambered bar walking press
2. EVENT: Yoke walk
3. OPTIONAL: Front squat w/Axle
4. EVENT: Log clean-press
5. OPTIONAL: Deadlift
6. EVENT: Farmers walk
7. OPTIONAL: Dumbbell clean-press

The events are things I have to do as part of my own prep. If I’m not too taxed from my mid-week sessions, I may add in an optional accessory or two. But my main goals are:

* 375 kgs Yoke walk for 20 meters
* 130 kgs Log clean-press (or 120 for reps, that would be nice too)
* 150 kgs p/h Farmers walk for 20 meters

There are certain combinations we cannot use as they promote injury. For instance, things like zercher front squats and conan carries (another obscure event that trainees have asked about recently) cannot be used in conjunction with deadlifts or farmers walk. That kind of strain on the biceps is a stupid idea. If we had a heavy tyre for flipping, that would likewise be off the agenda in this circumstance.

So, if we add in front squats one week, trainees cannot also do deadlift or farmers walk, but they can do log and dumbbell press. Other than that, there are no caveats and enough variety to keep people engaged. And I can focus on the events I need to improve in time for the comp.