If you've ever watched The World's Strongest Man competition on TV, you might have the following reaction...
"Holy shit, these guys are monsters."
And while it is certainly true that it is unusual to see 350+ pound men moving bizarre objects as quickly as they do, that doesn't mean there aren't lessons for the every day person to learn.
Here are a few things you should take away from The World's Strongest Man and apply to your own training.
1. Develop A Powerful Posterior Chain
The first inescapable fact about strongman competition is these guys have developed their posterior chain to superhuman levels.
The deadlift is the ultimate test of brute strength.
The posterior chain is the musculature on the backside of your body. You know, all that stuff you can't see in the mirror? It's extremely important.
Hamstrings, glutes, spinal erectors, traps, rear delts...
Those muscles don't get enough love in the average person trying to look good in a bathing suit, but the posterior chain is incredibly important for strength and long-term health.
2. Lift Overhead
If you're a normal, gym-going meathead, you might watch the World's Strongest Man and think, "Hey bro, these guys don't even bench."
It's very true that these giants don't compete in the exercise that is universally practiced every Monday in gyms around the world, but you know what they do instead?
These guys throw amazing loads overhead. Overhead lifting is taxing to so much more that just the shoulders. The chest gets involved, the core is involved in stabilization, the legs are involved, and myriad more muscles have to fire to get that load overhead.
If you aren't performing your overhead pressing while standing, you are missing out on a ton of positive side effects.
3. Lift Oddly Shaped Shit
Ever notice some of the weird stones and other objects strongmen have to move around?
Notice how difficult that is compared to a barbell?
While you might not have access to things like a Husafell Stone, you can probably get your hands on some sandbags, barrels, or kegs.
In life, most heavy shit isn't going to have a nice handle that fits perfectly in your hands. Why train like it is?
4. Move Under Load
Several event's in strongman competition involve moving large loads over a distance, or moving it as far as possible in a given time.
You too should get moving under load. Again, these types of movements have a powerful carry over to every day life.
Yolk walks, farmer's walks, front carries, overhead carries, sled drags and pushes, rack carries...all of these are good options for getting your ass moving.
Add It To Your Training
These are four principles from the World's Strongest Man that you can easily use to add some variety to your training.
You will also find that these principle translate to highly functional movements with more carry over to every day life or athletic competition than sitting around doing a bunch of dumbbell curls.
Give it a shot, and stick with it for a while. You will see some pretty remarkable improvements, even if you never set foot in a strongman competition.