Strongman Versus Power Cleans for Football, Part 3: (How to Integrate Strongman into Your Training)

This is part three of a three-part series.

At this point, we’ve discovered how Strongman training can be a viable substitute for Olympic weightlifting to develop brutally strong football players who not only display explosive physical capacities but have explosive attitudes as well. If you’re anything like me, you’ve become excited at the prospect of training your athletes with the fun and highly effective exercises like tractor tire flipping or stone loading discussed in the Part Two of this series.

But you also have questions. You’re wondering, “How exactly do I integrate this stuff into my already established strength and conditioning routine?” There are a few different ways that I like to integrate Strongman training into my athletes programs. Below, I’ll outline each and give you a few sample workouts to use.

1. Strongman conditioning: When coaching young athletes (ages 9–13) or very weak and de-conditioned clients, I like to use several Strongman exercises as “conditioners.” In other words, I use these as a means for building functional capacity, strength, and fitness. Because Strongman exercises are done using the whole body, they are great for muscular, neurological, and cardiovascular conditioning—the exact physical capacities that most young punks are lacking.

Sample “Strongman conditioning” circuits, repeat 3–6 times:

1. Light tire flips X 5–10 reps
2. Keg carries X 20–60 yards
3. Sledge hammer slams X 10 right/10 left

1. Light sand bag loading X 10 reps
2. Light farmer’s carries X 20–60 yards
3. Backward sled drags X 20–100 yards

1. Light keg clean and press X 5–10
2. Light sand bag carries X 20–100 yards
3. Small car or Prowler push X 20–100 yards

2. Strongman power development: With older, stronger, and more experienced athletes, I will often substitute max effort lower body lifts with “Strongman power” exercises to build a more explosive athlete with attitude! These should be performed at the beginning of a workout followed by bodybuilding.

Sample “Strongman power” workouts:

Heavy tire flips, 5 X 5

Walking lunges, 40 yards X 3

Reverse hyper, 3 X 10

Barbell Russian twist, 3 X 20

Timed hangs, 1 X as long as possible
Heavy sandbag loading (150–200 lbs), 5 X 3–5

Barbell step-ups, 3 X 12

Forward upright sled drags, 20–100 yards X 3

Hanging knee raise, 3 X 15

Plate pinch for time, 1 X as long as possible

3. Exercise substitutions: Some Strongman exercises are great substitutions for bodybuilding exercises that train the same muscles. For example, farmer’s carries are a great exercise substitute for shrugs and grip work. In fact, I feel like farmer’s carries are one of the best exercises for developing overall strength and conditioning.

Shrugs and grip work è farmer’s carries

Deadlifts è tire flips

Front squats è sandbag loading

Barbell clean and press è keg clean and press

Abdominals è yoke walk

Seated rows è hand over hand rope pull

Straight leg deadlifts è keg carries

Upper back and biceps è keg carries

Hamstring and glutes è forward sled drags

Quadsèbackward sled drags

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About the Author

"Elliott Hulse, CSCS, has successfully integrated strength training, nutrition, and lifestyle in order to maximize every facet of his clients’ physical and human potential into a single program, which he has trademarked, “The Primal Edge.” For ten years, Elliott has dedicated his life to excellence in the fields of sports science and holistic health. He is certified by the most notable institutions in the fitness industry including the National Strength and Conditioning Association (CSCS) and the C.H.E.K Institute (EC, HLC). As the author of the groundbreaking e-book Unleash Your Primal Edge, Elliott has utterly defied conventional methodologies with regard to human performance and fitness. It’s his firm conviction that latent within every human being lie the seeds of extraordinary health, fitness, happiness, and longing for a return to our natural and primordial lifestyles that hold the keys to our “primal edge.” Get his two free reports, “How to Flatten Your Abs Forever” and “Maximum Fitness Results” by visiting"