I thought it would be good to answer some common questions on the Cube Method for Strongman. Some of these I answer in the book, but I think I could perhaps elaborate a little better here. Hopefully this clears up a few things with the program.
1.I want a simple program, is the Cube for Strongman complicated or can a beginner understand it?
I completely understand this question, as I believe the basis of any program should be relatively simple. The Cube for Strongman fits this principle. In the program you squat, deadlift, press, and train the events. It’s that straight forward. I simply rotate the training modes for each in such a way that the all around demands of strongman are met. In competition you will have to do max effort events, repetition events, and events that require explosion and dynamic effort etc. If you don’t account for all of these in your training, you will fail as a strongman. So the only ones who find the program complicated are the ones who are complicating it themselves.
2. Why so much accessory work, shouldn’t we just focus on the main lifts?
My reasons for the accessory work are several. First off I believe that more muscle equals more strength. So we try to hit every muscle group directly in addition to the main lifts. In strongman you do not want to have a weak muscle anywhere, period. There are those out there who believe that isolation work on a particular muscle is unnecessary. I do not agree with this, and neither do most of the other strongest men in the world. Just about any high level powerlifter or strongman incorporates assistance work. Perhaps for a beginner it is not as necessary, but that does not mean it is completely useless. Take for example someone who is weak at overhead because of lack of tricep strength. Perhaps this person gets all the leg drive in the world, but his triceps begin to give out early. All the overhead pressing in the world won’t help that the way direct triceps work will. Furthermore strongman requires lots of repetition strength. Doing the assistance work further conditions and strengthens the body for this.
3. Do I have to do the agility work?
The answer to this is pretty simple. If you are slow and not agile, then yes you should incorporate it. If you are naturally athletic, and feel like you don’t need it, then don’t do it. I would just say be careful to not lose any agility as you get heavier as this often is the case with guys who don’t do it. The goal with the agility work is not to make you as quick as an NFL linebacker, nor to get you better at ladder drills. The goal is simply to move your feet and stay active while weight and strength are being gained. I am naturally athletic so I only incorporate some agility every other week or so.
4. Do I have to follow the program to a Tee?
You don’t have to do anything but die and pay taxes…and squat. This actually falls in the category of complicating things. If you don’t have access to some of the equipment in the program then obviously you have to improvise. The basic tenants of the program should remain the same if you are truly following the program, but after that, switch up whatever you want. I am constantly switching things up in my own training in order to best prepare for a contest coming up or for whatever reason I need to and so should you.
5. How much can I expect to gain from the Cube for Strongman?
That all depends on you. If you are a beginner you will gain a lot more than someone who has been training for a long time. It also depends on how much effort you put into it, how your nutrition is, how much sleep you are getting etc. Because of all of these factors it is difficult to say how much you will gain over a set amount of time. Gains are determined by the individual.
6. I have never used the program and am 3 weeks out from my contest, should I jump on the Cube for Strongman?
7. So and so told me they didn’t see any gains on the Cube for Strongman what’s up with that?
I have several responses to this. My first instinct is to say that I don’t care, but that isn’t entirely true. Quite frankly the people who spout out that they don’t see gains are people who didn’t stick with it, or didn’t truly follow the program. Following a program for 3-6 weeks and not seeing a 50 pound gain on your overhead does not qualify you to speak intelligently on whether the program works or not. If however, you have followed it correctly for an extended period of time (several training cycles) and still have not seen gains, then by all means try a different approach. Here is a news flash, not every program will work the same for everybody. Just make sure you are busting your butt and trying your best to get better whatever program you are on. I do think the program is the best all around program for strongman but if it doesn’t work for you then that is fine, but you can’t speak on it until you have tried it.
8. Does the Cube for Strongman incorporate bench press?
I incorporate bench press as an assistance movement on the overhead day. I also incorporate incline pressing. Just ask most great overhead pressers in strongman and you will see that they use benching as a great way to overload the triceps in order to help the overhead press. I understand the annoyance strongmen have with getting asked about how much they bench, but it is still a good tool to have in the training arsenal. Remember that we want to be as strong as possible all around.
9. I want to do Powerlifting and Strongman. Is there a way to do both Cube Method for Powerlifting and Strongman?
Yes this transition can be made pretty easily. Only a few modifications need to be made. I would say a good way to do it is to alternate emphasis every week on the pressing day. So one week you can focus on bench first and then do overhead as an accessory and the next week do overhead first and then do bench. On the saturdays I would say at least 2 saturdays a month follow the strongman training protocol as well and then you are ready for either one. I actually think the Cube method for Strongman could also be used for crossfit, football, mma, etc.
10. How can I advance on the program from one phase to the next?
The way to advance on the program is two fold. Either increase the weight from each phase i.e. percentages, and try to hit the same amount of reps with that heavier weight, or do the same weight and try and hit more reps than you did on the last training cycle. On the strongman days do the same, but try and get faster or more reps etc. than last time. Either approach is fine.
Josh Thigpen is one of the top professional strongmen in America and is a 3 time ESPN Worlds strongest man competitor. His career has spanned 11 years with 7 as a pro. He has competed in over 50 competitions in countries all over the world. Josh is the author of the revolutionary training system The Cube Method for Strongman. In addition to this Josh is owner and CEO of Conquest Nutrition, a sports supplement company. Josh is a sought after public speaker where he has used his athletic platform to speak to over a million people world wide with an inspiring message.Website, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter