Exercise Guides

Best Strongman Exercises You Can Do Anywhere

strongman exercises

Are you looking to switch up your fitness routine and boost your strength without the need for specialized equipment? Strongman training isn't just for the giants on TV; it's accessible and incredibly beneficial for anyone, anywhere. Today, we're diving into a series of exercises inspired by strongman training that you can integrate into your gym or home workout space with ease.

Meet Your Guide: Professional Strongman Alex Kopp

Alex Kopp, a seasoned professional strongman, is here to guide you through each exercise. With his expertise, you'll learn not only how to perform each movement safely but also understand the unique benefits they bring to your strength training regimen.

Benefits of Strongman-Inspired Exercises

Strongman exercises are designed to build functional strength—the kind of power that helps you lift heavy grocery bags, move furniture, and handle real-world physical tasks with ease. Here’s what Alex will cover:

1) Full-Body Engagement

Unlike some traditional gym workouts that isolate specific muscles, strongman training involves multiple muscle groups, providing a comprehensive workout that improves overall strength and stamina.

2) Increased Core Stability

These exercises demand core engagement, which improves your balance, posture, and overall strength.

3) Enhanced Grip Strength

Many strongman movements require you to hold onto heavy weights, which naturally strengthens your grip.

Strongman Exercises to Transform Your Routine

For each exercise, Alex will demonstrate how to set up using common gym equipment or items you might already have at home. He’ll provide detailed instructions to ensure you’re performing each movement correctly, maximizing effectiveness while minimizing the risk of injury.

Farmer’s Walk

All you need are two heavyweights. Lift them and walk a certain distance or for a set period. This exercise builds endurance, strength, and stability.

Sandbag Lifts

Grab a sandbag or any heavy, flexible object. Lift and carry it over a short distance to mimic the lifting and moving of heavy objects in competition. This enhances your grip strength, core stability, and overall muscle endurance.

Truck Pull or Sled Pull Exercise

Attach weight plates to a sled and pull it using a harness or handles across a designated distance. This exercise improves cardiovascular health, leg strength, and overall power.

Continental Clean and Press

Lift a barbell from the ground to your shoulders in a clean motion, then press it overhead. This develops total body strength, explosiveness, and improves coordination.

Car Deadlift Exercise

Lift a car or vehicle attached to a frame by gripping handles or straps and standing up with the weight. This tests and enhances leg power, back strength, and grip resilience.

Maximizing the Benefits of Strongman Exercises

Consistency is Key

The path to improvement is paved with regular and dedicated practice. Consistently engaging in strongman exercises will accelerate your progress and enhance your overall strength more efficiently.

Listen to Your Body

While pushing your limits is part of the process, it's crucial to recognize the fine line between challenging yourself and risking injury. Pay attention to what your body tells you. If you feel undue strain or pain, adjust the weights and intensity of your exercises accordingly to maintain a healthy training regimen.

Stay Hydrated and Rested

The demanding nature of strongman workouts requires not just physical strength but also proper recovery. Ensuring you are well-hydrated and adequately rested is essential to sustain energy levels and achieve optimal performance during each session.

Farmer’s Walk Exercise with Dumbbells or Hex Bar

The Farmer's Walk is a classic yet powerful exercise that demands strength and stability. The Farmer's Walk combines simplicity with profound benefits. Utilizing just dumbbells or a hex bar, this exercise can significantly enhance your physical fitness. 

farmer's carry exercise

Farmer’s Walk Benefits

1) Increased Grip Strength: Holding heavy weights in each hand challenges your grip, forearm, and upper arm strength, helping you develop a vice-like grip.

2) More Muscle Mass: By subjecting muscles to prolonged tension, the Farmer's Walk stimulates muscle growth in the arms, traps, and core, sculpting a more robust physique.

3) Improved Core Strength: The uneven distribution of weight activates and strengthens core muscles, especially the obliques and hip flexors, enhancing overall stability and control.

4) Better Posture: Performing Farmer's Walks promotes proper posture by reinforcing an upright position with the chest up, shoulders back, and core engaged, reducing the risk of injury.

5) Great for Aesthetics: Not only does the Farmer's Walk build functional strength, but it also enhances the aesthetic appeal by defining the arms, traps, and obliques, contributing to a more chiseled physique.

How to Perform the Farmer’s Walk Exercise

farmer's carry form

1) Setup: Grab a pair of heavy objects such as dumbbells, kettlebells, or a hex bar. Choose a weight that challenges you but allows you to maintain proper form.

2) Pick up the Weights: Stand between the weights with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend at the knees and hips to grip the weights securely with an overhand grip.

3) Posture: Keep your back straight, shoulders back and down, and engage your core to stabilize your torso throughout the exercise.

4) Walk: Begin walking forward in a straight line, taking controlled steps with even strides. Aim to walk as quickly as possible while maintaining good form.

5) Distance: You can walk for a set distance, like 50 feet, or a specific amount of time, such as 60 seconds, depending on your fitness level and goals.

6) Safety: Be cautious when turning corners and ensure the area is clear of obstacles. If you feel your grip slipping or lose control of the weights, safely set them down before continuing.

Incorporate Farmer's Walks into your routine to enhance strength, stability, and overall physical performance.

Sandbag to Shoulder Exercise

The sandbag-to-shoulder exercise is a dynamic movement that targets multiple muscle groups, offering a plethora of benefits for strength and functionality.

Sandbag to Shoulder Benefits:

1) Functional Strength: Mimicking real-life movements like lifting and carrying objects, the sandbag-to-shoulder exercise enhances functional strength crucial for daily activities and sports.

2) Full-Body Workout: Engaging various muscle groups simultaneously, including the legs, hips, core, shoulders, and arms, this exercise delivers a comprehensive full-body workout in a single movement.

3) Core Stability: Lifting and stabilizing the sandbag demands significant core strength and stability, contributing to improved overall core strength and balance.

4) Grip Strength: The challenge of holding onto the sandbag boosts grip strength, a vital component for many activities and exercises.

5) Explosiveness: The explosive nature of the movement fosters the development of power and speed, making it especially beneficial for athletes aiming to enhance explosive performance.

6) Versatility: The sandbag-to-shoulder exercise can be easily modified to accommodate different fitness levels and goals, offering flexibility in weight adjustments and tempo variations.

7) Minimal Equipment Required: With only a sandbag needed, this exercise is accessible to individuals without access to extensive gym equipment, making it a convenient option for home workouts.

The sandbag-to-shoulder exercise is an efficient way to build strength, power, and stability throughout the body while also refining functional movement patterns.

sandbag to shoulder exercise

How to Perform the Sandbag to Shoulder Exercise

1) Starting Position: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, the sandbag positioned on the ground in front of you.

2) Bend your knees and hinge at your hips to lower into a squat position, maintaining a straight back and lifted chest.

3) Grasp the sandbag with both hands using an overhand grip.

4) Drive explosively through your hips and knees while simultaneously pulling the sandbag upward toward your shoulder.

5) Rotate your torso slightly as you guide the sandbag onto your shoulder.

6) Lower the sandbag back to the ground under control, returning to the starting position.

Repeat the movement for the desired number of repetitions, focusing on maintaining proper form and control throughout.

Truck Pull or Sled Pull Exercise

While the dramatic truck pull is a hallmark of strongman competitions, you don't need an 18-wheeler to reap similar benefits. In any standard gym, the sled pull stands as an excellent alternative, offering a dynamic way to build strength and endurance with practical equipment. A sled pull involves attaching weight plates to a sled, then using a harness or handles to pull the sled across a designated distance. Below are some of the benefits of performing the Sled Pull exercise.

Sled Pull Benefits

1) Full-Body Engagement: Sled pulls target both lower and upper body muscles simultaneously, making them a versatile choice for overall strength development.

2) Cardiovascular Conditioning: By adjusting load, distance, and rest, sled pulls can enhance various aspects of cardiovascular fitness, including your endurance, speed, and how quickly you recover after intense exercise.

3) Functional Strength: Sled pulls mimic real-life movements and challenges, improving overall functional strength crucial for everyday activities and athletic performance.

4) Simplicity and Accessibility: Minimal technique is required for sled pulls, making them suitable for beginners and advanced athletes alike. They're also easy to set up and execute in any gym environment.

5) Versatility and Fun: Sled pulls offer a wide range of exercises and combinations, keeping workouts fresh and engaging while preventing boredom.

sled pull exercise

How to Perform a Sled Pull

1) Setup: Attach a harness or handles securely to the sled. Load the sled with an appropriate amount of weight plates.

2) Execution: Securely strap yourself into the harness or grasp the handles. Lean slightly forward, engaging your core muscles for stability. Begin walking forward, driving through your legs and pulling the sled behind you. Maintain good posture and a steady pace throughout the pull.

3) Variations: Adjust the weight on the sled to vary intensity. Modify the distance and speed of the pull to suit your goals and fitness level.

Incorporating sled pulls into your workout routine can elevate your strength, power, and endurance while injecting excitement and variety into your training regimen.

Continental Clean and Press Exercise

The Continental Clean and Press is a classic strongman exercise renowned for its test of strength, power, and technique. Here's why it's a staple in strongman training:

Clean and Press Benefits

1) Full-body Strength: Engages multiple muscle groups simultaneously, including the legs, back, shoulders, and arms, fostering overall strength and power.

2) Functional Strength: Mimics real-world activities involving lifting objects from the ground to overhead, making it practical for daily tasks and sports performance.

3) Explosiveness: The lift's explosive nature, especially during the clean phase, develops fast-twitch muscle fibers, boosting explosiveness and power output.

4) Core Stability: Requires strong core stabilization throughout the lift, enhancing overall core strength and stability.

5) Improved Grip Strength: Challenges grip strength during the clean and press, beneficial for various activities and lifts.

6) Athletic Performance: Enhances performance in sports requiring explosive movements like sprinting, jumping, and throwing, due to its dynamic nature and emphasis on strength and coordination.

7) Variety and Challenge: Provides diversity in training routines and presents a unique challenge compared to traditional weightlifting exercises, keeping workouts interesting and engaging.

clean and press exercise

How to Perform the Continental Clean and Press Exercise:

1) Starting Position: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, barbell on the ground in front of you.

2) Grip: Grab the barbell with an overhand grip slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.

3) The Clean: Bend knees and hips to lower, then explosively extend hips and knees while pulling the barbell upward. As the barbell reaches mid-thigh height, quickly pull elbows underneath the bar and "catch" it at shoulder level.

4) Rack Position: Elbows should be in front, upper arms parallel to the ground, barbell resting across front deltoids and collarbone.

5) The Press: Brace core and press barbell overhead by fully extending arms, locking out elbows at the top.

6) Lowering: Lower barbell back down to rack position at shoulders under control.

7) Return to Starting Position: Lower barbell to ground with control, returning to starting position.

The Continental Clean and Press is a challenging and technical lift, often seen in strongman competitions for its unique techniques and demanding nature.

Car Deadlift Exercise

Car deadlifts are a signature event in strongman competitions, testing athletes' strength, power, and grip like no other. Car deadlifts involve lifting a car or vehicle, typically attached to a frame or rig, by gripping handles or straps and standing up with the weight. This exercise demands significant strength from the legs, back, and grip due to the vehicle's awkward shape and weight distribution.

Car Deadlifts vs. Barbell Deadlifts

Car deadlifts and barbell deadlifts are both popular strength-building exercises that target many of the same muscle groups, including the glutes, hamstrings, lower back, and forearms. However, they differ significantly in terms of equipment, execution, and the specific demands they place on the body. Here are the key differences between these two exercises:

1) Direction of Pull: While a barbell deadlift requires lifting straight up against gravity, the car deadlift involves a circular range of motion due to the lever-like structure of the frame.

2) Height of Pull: Car deadlift frames sit higher off the ground than standard barbells, shortening the range of motion and altering the lifting mechanics.

3) Hand Positioning: The wider hand placement on a car deadlift frame increases the range of motion but allows for a more advantageous neutral grip, reducing torque and strain on the back compared to a traditional barbell deadlift.

car deadlift alternative

How to Perform Car Deadlifts:

1) Set Up the Car Deadlift: Position yourself in front of the car deadlift frame with proper spacing and alignment. Adjust the frame and handles to your desired height and grip width.

2) Approach the Bar: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointed slightly outward, and shins close to the frame.

3) Grip the Bar: Bend at hips and knees to squat down and grasp the handles or straps with an overhand or mixed grip.

4) Set Your Back: Engage your lats and core to set your back in a neutral position, maintaining a straight line from head to tailbone.

5) Initiate the Lift: Drive through heels and extend hips and knees simultaneously to lift the car off the ground. Focus on maintaining a strong, braced core throughout the lift.

6) Lockout: Continue driving hips forward and pulling shoulders back until reaching a fully upright position. Squeeze glutes and engage upper back to complete the lockout.

7) Lower the Car: Reverse the movement by lowering the car back down to the ground under control.

8) Repeat: Perform the desired number of repetitions, focusing on proper form and technique with each lift.

9) Car deadlifts offer a unique challenge and are a testament to true strength and power. Incorporate them into your training routine for a full-body workout like no other.

Elevate Your Strength with Strongman Exercises

From the gripping challenge of the Farmer's Walk to the rigorous demands of the Sandbag to Shoulder, the exercises we've explored today are proof that strongman training isn't just for the behemoths of the world stage—it's for anyone aiming to elevate their strength and fitness. Under the expert guidance of professional strongman Alex Kopp, we've uncovered how these potent movements can be seamlessly integrated into your daily routine, whether you're in a gym or your own living space.

These strongman-inspired exercises enhance muscle coordination, build formidable core stability, and significantly increase grip strength—skills that translate into everyday life and sports performance alike. By engaging in these comprehensive workouts, you're not just enhancing your physical strength; you're also fortifying your body's ability to tackle real-world physical tasks with greater ease and confidence.

Adopting these exercises into your fitness regimen is more than just changing up a routine; it's about embracing a lifestyle that champions strength, resilience, and endurance. With Alex Kopp's insights and your commitment to consistent practice and proper technique, you're well on your way to reaping the substantial benefits of strongman training.

Embrace the challenge, push your boundaries, and watch as you transform not only your physical capabilities but also your mental fortitude. Strongman training is here to prove that with the right approach and determination, extraordinary strength is within your reach. Ready to lift, carry, and move like a strongman? Let's get started and push beyond the ordinary, one heavy step at a time.

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