Training

The Juggernaut Method and Strongman


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The Juggernaut Method is a great training option for Strongman competitors. Strongman places a great emphasis on maximal strength, explosive strength, strength endurance and athleticism, all traits which the TJM will help you fully develop. Programming for Strongman is a very challenging task for many reasons such as; different athletes need to emphasize different aspects of their training (some have adequate maximal strength but are slow, some need to more event practice, some are well conditioned but relatively weak) and each contest is different and will place different demands on athletes. With those difficulties understood, I can’t write a program for every possible scenario of athlete strength/weakness, events and contest but I can say with great confidence that an athlete who is maximally strong in the squat, deadlift and overhead, explosive, athletic, well conditioned and technically proficient in the Yoke, Farmers/Frame and Stones, will have a great shot to compete at essentially any contest.

Juggernaut founder Chad Wesley Smith has successfully transitioned from shot put, to powerlifting, to strongman. JTSstrength.com

There are two methods by which I prefer to organize Strongman training templates. The first is to have a separate event day, in which you do 2-4 events only on that day. When I am referring to events here I mean moving events and stones, while deadlift and Log/Axle/DB press are events, they can and should be treated as normal training days. The second option is to include events into your gym days, doing the events that compliment the main lift of the day. Both options have their pros and cons; I think the 1st option is better suited for someone with a relatively higher squat/deadlift that needs to be able to focus more attention on their speed and event skills. Often times the way that your week is structured is dependent on what access you have to Strongman implements.

Here is an overview of how I would structure the week with a separate event day…

 

Day 1Day 2Day 3Day 4Day 5Day 6Day 7
Deadlift and Squat TrainingAerobic Capacity WorkOverhead TrainingAerobic Capacity TrainingEvent DayBench TrainingOff

 

In this template, the deadlift and squat are trained on the same day. The deadlift is a staple of Strongman contests and some variation of it is found at nearly every show. The squat, while rarely contested, is still a foundational movement to Strongman, having a huge influence on an athlete’s abilities in the yoke, stones, carry and drag events, as well as overhead work. The deadlift will be given top priority in the day and trained on The Juggernaut Method protocol and the squat will be trained using lower volume with 5/3/1. Overhead strength is a must to be a great Strongman! By the time this book is released, the first athlete may have gone over 500 pounds in the Log Press and there will be more to come. Maximal and repetition strength is necessary in the overhead events, as contests will often feature one max overhead event and another for reps. The event day will consist of training the stones and various moving events (Yoke, farmers/frame, carrying events, dragging events, or medleys, ie. a combination of 2 or more events). Moving events need to be trained in a well rounded fashion, brining up the athlete’s strength, speed and endurance for each event. Weights in the moving events, particularly the yoke and farmers, are getting heavier every year, athlete’s are getting faster and distances are getting longer. If you want to be a great Strongman, you can have no weak ares. To become well rounded and proficient in all events, I suggest choosing 3 events to focus on per wave and rotating each week through training one for max weight, one for max speed and one for max distance. The bench is the outcast of the Strongman world, but in my opinion still serves a purpose to develop pressing strength and will benefit your overhead abilities. Since the bench isn’t an actual Strongman event, you should use the closegrip or incline (or incline closegrip) as your foundation movement and perform only the prescribed reps during the Accumulation and Intensification weeks, so as to not take away from your energy for overhead training days. The aerobic capacity days are critical to helping you improve recovery and endurance and you should make sure to do 15-30 minutes of aerobic work, like Prowler Pushing, biking, stair climbing or running in water (all done at 60-75% intensity in a totally aerobic-alactic state).

Let’s look at a 3 week wave of training using this template…

WeekDeadlift/SquatOverheadEventsBench
11-Deadlift: TJM %/Sets/Reps2-Squat: 55/65/75%x5+3-GHR, RDL, Rev Hyper or Good Morning:3-5×12-154-Weighted Abs1-Log or Axle: Up to Heavy Set of 5 from Rack2-Log or Axle Clean Once and Press: TJM %/Sets/Reps3-Pullups or Chinups: 5×12-15 reps4-Accessory Work for Shoulders and Arms5-Unweighted Abs1-Atlas Stones: Up to Max Weight for a Given Height, ie. Load as heavy a stone as you can to a 48-54” platform2-Yoke: Perform 10 second long runs, going as far as you can with a given weight. Add weight each set, until you fail to go at least 50’ in the set time.3-Farmers Walk: Using a moderate weight walk as far as possible without dropping the weight at all.1-Closegrip Incline Press: TJM %/Sets/Reps2-Horizontal Row: 3-5×12-153-Accessory Work for Shoulders and Arms5-Unweighted Abs
21-Deadlift: TJM %/Sets/Reps2-Squat: 60/70/80%x3+3-GHR, RDL, Rev Hyper or Good Morning:3-5×10-124-Weighted Abs1-Log or Axle: Up to Heavy Set of 3 from Rack2-Log or Axle Clean Once and Press: TJM %/Sets/Reps3-Pullups or Chinups: 5×10-12 reps4-Accessory Work for Shoulders and Arms5-Unweighted Abs1-Yoke: Work up to as heavy as weight as you can successfully perform a 30-50’ walk with2-Farmers: Perform 10 second long runs, going as far as you can with a given weight. Add weight each set, until you fail to go at least 50’ in the set time.3-Stones: Using a moderate weight do stone over bar for as many reps as possible in 1 minute. Perform 2-3 sets1-Closegrip Incline Press: TJM %/Sets/Reps2-Horizontal Row: 3-5×10-123-Accessory Work for Shoulders and Arms5-Unweighted Abs
31-Deadlift: TJM %/Sets/Reps2-Squat: 65%x5, 75%x3, 85%x1+3-GHR, RDL, Rev Hyper or Good Morning:3-5×8-104-Weighted Abs1-Log or Axle: Up to Heavy Set of 1 from Rack2-Log or Axle Clean Once and Press: TJM %/Sets/Reps3-Pullups or Chinups: 5×8-10 reps4-Accessory Work for Shoulders and Arms5-Unweighted Abs1-Farmers: Work up to as heavy as weight as you can hold onto for a 30-50’ walk with2-Stones: Using a moderate weight, perform multiple sets of 2-3 reps as fast as possible. 5 to 8 sets should be done.3-Yoke: Using a moderate weight go as far as possible without dropping the Yoke at all.1-Closegrip Incline Press: TJM %/Sets/Reps2-Horizontal Row: 3-5×8-103-Accessory Work for Shoulders and Arms5-Unweighted Abs

 

This type of plan will develop a well rounded and well conditioned athlete and is a good option for those who have limited access to implements.

The other way to structure your Strongman training week is to pair events that share similar qualities to gym lifts and do them in the same training session. In this version, the events will serve as your supplementary work. Upper body training days will remain relatively unchanged, with the exception of if you have DB Clean and Press or a DB Medley as an event. When looking to pair events and lifts together, I suggest the following…Squat with Yoke and/or Tire Flip, Deadlift with Farmers and/or Stones. Our event training will follow a similar rotation to the template above, with each week focusing on a different quality, either weight, speed or endurance.

 

 

WeekSquatOverheadDeadliftBench
11-Squat: TJM %/Sets/Reps2-Yoke: As heavy as possible for 2-3 sets of 30’3-Tire Flip: As heavy as possible for 2-3 sets of 2-5 flips4-Weighted Abs1-Log or Axle: Up to heavy set of 5 from rack2-Log or Axle:TJM %/Sets/Reps3-Chinups/Pullups: 5 sets of 12-15 reps4-Accessory work for Shoulders and Arms5-Unweighted Abs1-Deadlift: TJM %/Sets/Reps2-Farmers: As heavy as possible for 2-3 sets of 30’3-Stones: Load as heavy a stone as possible to a given platform (this could be done prior to your deadlift training)4-Weighted Abs1-Closegrip Incline Bench: TJM %/Sets/Reps2-DB Clean and Press: As many reps as possible with in 1 minute3-Horizontal Rowing: 5 sets of 12-15 reps4-Accessory Work for Shoulders and Arms5-Unweighted Abs
21-Squat: TJM %/Sets/Reps2-Yoke: As far as possible in 10 seconds, keep adding weight until you fail to go at least 50’3-Tire Flip: A moderate weight tire for 6-10 sets of 2 flips, as fast as possible4-Weighted Abs1-Log or Axle: Up to heavy set of 3 from rack2-Log or Axle:TJM %/Sets/Reps3-Chinups/Pullups: 5 sets of 10-12 reps4-Accessory work for Shoulders and Arms5-Unweighted Abs1-Deadlift: TJM %/Sets/Reps2-Farmers: As far as possible in 10 seconds, keep adding weight until you fail to go at least 50’3-Stones: Load a moderate weight stone as fast as possible for 6-10 sets of 2-3 reps.4-Weighted Abs1-Closegrip Incline Bench: TJM %/Sets/Reps2-DB Clean and Press: As many reps as possible in 1 minute3-Horizontal Rowing: 5 sets of 10-12 reps4-Accessory Work for Shoulders and Arms5-Unweighted Abs
31-Squat: TJM %/Sets/Reps2-Yoke: As far as possible with a moderate weight with no drops.3-Tire Flip: A moderate weight tire for as many flips as possible in 60-90 seconds4-Weighted Abs1-Log or Axle: Up to heavy set of 1 from rack2-Log or Axle:TJM %/Sets/Reps3-Chinups/Pullups: 5 sets of 8-10 reps4-Accessory work for Shoulders and Arms5-Unweighted Abs1-Deadlift: TJM %/Sets/Reps2-Farmers: As far as possible with a moderate weight with no drops.3-Stones: Load a moderate weight stone as many times as possible in 60-90 seconds.4-Weighted Abs1-Closegrip Incline Bench: TJM %/Sets/Reps2-DB Clean and Press: As many reps as possible in 1 minute.3-Horizontal Rowing: 5 sets of 8-10 reps4-Accessory Work for Shoulders and Arms5-Unweighted Abs

 

This template will allow the athlete to place more emphasis on brining up both their squat and deadlift, as well as giving them frequent exposure to events. Obviously, you need to have unlimited access to event implements for this template to work. Continue to perform aerobic capacity development work on 2 or your 3 off days.

 

Juggernaut founder Chad Wesley Smith has successfully transitioned from shot put, to powerlifting, to strongman. JTSstrength.com

 

Strongman is a challenging sport that requires you to be well developed in a variety of physical skills. Use this template and modify for your needs to succeed.

 

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