Objects you come across in your daily ventures aren't perfectly balanced with a 1.1" diameter knurled area that your hand can perfectly form around to maximize pulling capacity. Tasks you need to complete in life (not necessarily everyday) are a little more complex and cumbersome than that iron gift of physics bestowed upon us by the late Bulgarian astrophysicist, "Dr. Apollo Barbelshevik." Take that couch for instance. You can deadlift 525#'s for a 1RM, and can rep 405 solidly. How much does a couch weigh? Maybe 100#'s if it has a recliner on both ends and an internal beer cooler in the armrests. So why then does moving day suck so much for even the beastliest of lifters? It's because your training program has holes in it.
Enter Sandman....err I mean, Strongman.
Strongman competitions have been around for years as an extreme fringe sport only entered in by robust men named Magnus. The paradigm is shifting, strength is becoming sexy and more and more "average" people are lifting barbells and training like grownups. Good. Let's take that one step further and start training like strongmen. No, you won't become a fat, hairy, bearded man...unless you want to (or already are). The myth of the strongman, much like the myth of women bulking up from lifting weights is false. Unless you are a genetic freak with more IGF-1 receptors than hair follicles and a 5,000 calorie a day diet, adding strongman lifts once or twice a week to your regular training cycle won't turn you into this. To further remove the stigma and misogynistic feel associated with the term "strongman," we here at Axistence Athletics will start calling it, "Field work." We define field work as any type of odd object lift, carry, throw, flip, push or pull that you could emulate with items you might find in and around your basement, garage or local junk yard. Tires, rocks, axels, sleds, kegs, logs, cinder blocks, sandbags, transmissions, yokes and anything else your imagination can come up with. Just make sure that the object isn't rusty (or at least make sure you've updated your shot records before attempting to use rusty objects).
Working the field.
Two of the best training adaptations you can gain from field work are increasing your ability to deal with cumbersome objects (hard to grip/unbalanced loads) and increased efficiency of neuromuscular pathways due to time under tension (carrying things for a long period of time). When most people lift weights, they immediately put them back down again. How often do you pick something up around the house without moving it anywhere? So why then wouldn't you train picking up an object, carrying it to a different location and putting it down? Let us revisit the couch scenario. When you pick up that <100# couch, what do you do with it? You carry it. Sometimes long distances, up and down stairs, until you arrive at your destination. If you're training to be better at life, you need to start training this way!
Do it, do it now!
Add in some field work into your training regimen two times a week. Here are a few ideas for implementing field work into your current routine.
1. Use field work as a metabolic finisher:
Add in a few rounds of sled pushing after you finish your normal workout.
ex) 6 Rounds of 50ft Sled Push w/60sec rest in between rounds.
ex) 2 min A.M.R.A.P. of sandbag ground to shoulders.
ex) Carry two 45lb plates a total of 500ft (rest as needed).
2. Substitute one of your normal lifts for an odd object lift:
Instead of using that barbell for Fran or normal strength work, why not use a sandbag?
ex) Fran: 21-15-9 Thrusters (75lb sandbag) & Pullups
ex) 5 x 3 Atlas Stone Deadlifts
I'm not telling you to ditch the barbells completely, just think about new ways you can add fieldwork into your routine and fill in those gaps in your current training program!
Lift weird my friends,