Training

Off Season Training and Goals


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By Chad Wesley Smith

With my 3rd place finish at the Europa Platinum Plus Strongman show in Connecticut a few weeks ago, I failed to earn my pro card and am forced to change my training plans a bit for the rest of the year.

It was very clear the things that held me back at that contest was lack of grip strength and technique in the overhead lifts (both the log and dumbbell). My next contest will be NAS Nationals in early November and I’m determined to rectify both of those issues by then. I also weighed in at 336.8 for this contest, granted I was wearing shoes, had stuff in my pockets and had a serious carb bloat going, regardless that is more than I want to weigh both for competitive, business and personal reasons, so I need to tighten up my diet and do some conditioning, outside of just event training. I’d like to carry as much muscle as possible in the 315 range.

I’m determined to not let my grip be a weakness anymore

I am currently 16 weeks out from Nationals, which I know for me is too long for a heavy training cycle, I’ll either physically or mentally break down during that time. So I’m going to do a 5 week offseason plan aimed at bringing up my grip strength, improving my body composition, maintaining my strength using submaximal weights and giving my mind and body a break from the rigors of intensive meet training cycles.  Here is an overview of how my training will be structured…

Day 1

1-Primary Lower Body Pulling Exercise: For the purposes of this cycle I’ll be using the axle deadlift. Using the axle will help build up my severely lagging grip strength and also limit my output capabilities, so I wont be able to trash my back.

2-Secondary Upper Body Pulling Exercise: This will be pullup variations, because even though I weigh over 300 pounds, I still want to be good at pullups.

3-Accessory Upper Body Pulling Exercises: I’m just going to try to build a massive back with these.

4-Accessory Lower Body Pulling Exercises: As if my hamstrings and butt weren’t big enough already, I’ll be trying to put on some size here and improve their strength endurance because so many Strongman events are demanding to the posterior chain and it’s lactic capacity.

5-Accessory Bicep Exercises: Bicep strength/mobility is critical to being a successful and healthy strongman and my pipes could really use some improvement.

6-Extra Grip Work: My grip sucks and it needs work. This will either be wrist rollers, thick bar holds for time or Rolling Thunder work.

Day 3

1-Primary Upper Body Pushing Exercise: The timing of the 2nd dip on my log press is currently non-existent. This will be a great opportunity to use submaximal weights, focus on bar speed and technique and correct this flaw.

2-Secondary Lower Body Pushing Exercise: The belt squat will be a great option for me here to get in some serious volume without overstressing my back. I have never really used this machine much but I’m expecting some serious quad pumping.

3-Accessory Shoulder Work: I want boulder shoulders!!

4-Accessory Quad Work: This will most likely be sled dragging so I don’t induce too much soreness and it will also give me some aerobic work.

5-Accessory Tricep Work: Big presses need big triceps, time to build some horseshoes!

Day 5

1-Primary Upper Body Pulling Exercise: The bentover row is an exercise that has always helped build my deadlift and it also should have a high correspondence to strongman events like the Atlas Stones and any sort of carrying medley, as well as arm over arm pulling.

2-Secondary Lower Body Pulling Exercise: The deadlift hyperextension is an exercise that will build great hamstring, glute and erector strength but will limit your ouput some. I’ll also use the axel here.

3-Accessory Upper Body Pulling Exercises

4-Accessory Lower Body Pulling Exercises: I wanna focus on my glute strength here to help my moving events and deadlift lockout, so I’m gonna use barbell glute bridges here.

5-Accessory Bicep Exercises

6-Extra Grip Work

Day 7

1-Primary Lower Body Pushing Exercise: Front squats are something I haven’t done in a long time but overhead pressing exercises will greatly benefit from it. These will also be a better option for me during this time than back squats because I won’t be able to go as heavy and therefore won’t be able to beat myself up as much.

2-Secondary Upper Body Pushing Exercise: Incline Benches with the Log should do a great job of building my pressing strength without trashing my shoulders

3-Accessory Shoulder Work

4-Accessory Quad Work

5-Accessory Tricep Work

Day 2/4/6

1-Jumps: I haven’t done much jumping in the past several months, for those of you who have followed my training, you know I could get UP. I love being athletic and explosive, so I’m gonna jump.

2-MB Throws: Medball throws are a great total body explosive power builder and I pride myself on my explosiveness, also when done with a bit shorter rests these will really get the heart rate up.

3-Prowler Sprints: I’ll be keeping all the prowler work alactic and interspersing each sprint with either abdominal work or bodyweight exercises for the upper body (pushups/blast strap rows).

Day 8

Off

I feel very confident that this plan is going to help me improve on my weakpoints and lean me out, all the while allowing me to enter my next hard training cycle, healthy, refreshed and hungry to get after some heavy weights. Try out this training cycle in between your next competition cycles and you’ll be very happy with the results.

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Off Season Training
Day 1 Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4
1)  Axle Deads 4×8 4×6 4×5 4×4
2) Chinups 15, 12, 10, 20 12, 10, 8, 15 10, 8, 6, 12 8, 6, 5, 10
3) Cable Rows 15, 12, 10 12, 10, 8 10, 8, 6 8, 6, 5
Lat Pulldowns 15, 20 rep drop 12, 25 rep drop 10, 30 rep drop 8, 35 rep drop
Reverse Flies 1×20 1×20 1×20 1×20
GHRs 3×15 3×12 3×10 3×8
BB Curls 3×8 8, 8, 6 8, 6, 5 6, 6, 5
Hammer Curls Rest Pause Rest Pause Rest Pause Rest Pause
Zottman Curls 1×10 1×10 1×10 1×10
Day 3
1) Log Press 4×8 4×6 4×5 4×4
2) Belt Squat 15, 12, 10, 20 12, 10, 8, 15 10, 8, 6, 12 8, 6, 5, 10
3) DB Military 15, 12, 10 12, 10, 8 10, 8, 6 8, 6, 5
Front/Lateral Raise 15, 20 rep drop 12, 25 rep drop 10, 30 rep drop 8, 35 rep drop
Flies 1×20 1×20 1×20 1×20
Sled Dragging 4x80yds 4x60yds 4x40yds 4x20yds
Overhead Dicks 3×8 8, 8, 6 8, 6, 5 6, 6, 5
Swiss Skulls Rest Pause Rest Pause Rest Pause Rest Pause
Band Pushdowns 1xFail 1xFail 1xFail 1xFail
Day 5
1) Bentover Rows 4×8 4×6 4×5 4×4
2) Deadlift Hypers 15, 12, 10, 20 12, 10, 8, 15 10, 8, 6, 12 8, 6, 5, 10
3) Cable Rows 15, 12, 10 12, 10, 8 10, 8, 6 8, 6, 5
Lat Pulldowns 15, 20 rep drop 12, 25 rep drop 10, 30 rep drop 8, 35 rep drop
Reverse Flies 1×20 1×20 1×20 1×20
BB Glute Bridges 3×15 3×12 3×10 3×8
BB Curls 3×8 8, 8, 6 8, 6, 5 6, 6, 5
Hammer Curls Rest Pause Rest Pause Rest Pause Rest Pause
Zottman Curls 1×10 1×10 1×10 1×10
Day 7
1) Front Squat 4×8 4×6 4×5 4×4
2) Log Incline Press 15, 12, 10, 20 12, 10, 8, 15 10, 8, 6, 12 8, 6, 5, 10
3) DB Military 15, 12, 10 12, 10, 8 10, 8, 6 8, 6, 5
Front/Lateral Raise 15, 20 rep drop 12, 25 rep drop 10, 30 rep drop 8, 35 rep drop
Flies 1×20 1×20 1×20 1×20
Sled Dragging 4x80yds 4x60yds 4x40yds 4x20yds
Overhead Dicks 3×8 8, 8, 6 8, 6, 5 6, 6, 5
Swiss Bar Skulls Rest Pause Rest Pause Rest Pause Rest Pause
Band Pushdowns 1xFail 1xFail 1xFail 1xFail

 

Day 2/4/6
1) Box Jumps to Foam 3×5 4×4 5×3 6×2
2) MB Throws X10 each X8 each X6 each X5 each
3) Prowler/Calisthenics/Abs 2x10x20yds (1 min rest) 2x10x20yds (50sec rest) 2x10x20yds (40 sec rest) 2x10x20yds (30 sec rest)
4) Stretch

 

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