Article written by Marshall White
A few months ago Brandon and I started discussing our current programming methods and comparing notes. While we compared there was one very clear thing that stood out, we were gaining but we weren’t gaining as fast as we wanted. We are both intelligent men and have been doing this for a while so we also know that impatience can be a common mistake among athletes, but we still theorized that we could gain faster. So, we went to work on figuring out and writing up programming that would get us the gains we desired.
The first thing B and I went after was making a decision on which sport had the absolute best strength based athletes and why. We had a set of parameters that we tried to work within and a set of minimums that the athletes had to meet in order to make the cut. After setting our criteria we started researching and examining every strength sport we could think of: Highland games, Weightlifting, Wrestling, Crossfit, Basque stone lifting, Arm wrestling, Strongman, Powerlifting, etc etc. We examined the best in these sports and tried to find as much information on their training methods as possible. After an exhausting couple of months we settled on the sport we feel has the most well rounded strength based athletes, Strongman. Yeah I know, we’re biased right?
Maybe so but here’s what we found out; a good strongman can step in to any one of these other sports and fare well, notice I said FARE WELL. I didn’t say kick the crap out of the top of the sport, I said they would do well with no specific training in regards to these other sports. We tried and tried to find athletes from these other sports that could or have stepped in to a strongman show and done well and we just couldn’t find an example. On the other hand we found quite a few examples of strongmen who had stepped in to these other sports and not just fared well but placed surprisingly high in the end. Just so you know, we took physique in to account as well, while looking good shouldn’t be a primary goal we are smart enough to know that if a person can look good AND be strong, that would be their preference. Even with physique as a factor strongman won again. I realize that the heavyweight strongmen are not always the most desirable physique, there is a whole lightweight class of strongmen that are ridiculous strong and look amazing as well.
|Talia and Marshall at their record-setting meet|
Ok, so now that we had the sport figured out we had to figure how the people in this sport were training. This is where we had an advantage, because of my experience I had access to the best strongmen around and over the years I have had hours of discussion on training methods with these athletes. What we noticed is that most strongman training looks absolutely sporadic and ridiculous on paper. There doesn’t seem to be rhyme or reason to why they do what they do, and to be flat out honest I don’t think most of them even know exactly why they do the things they do, myself included. As we delved into it more we started noticing some commonalities, we noticed that while things may vary there is a “method” to how strongmen train, no matter how loose that method may be. So we started writing down the things that strongmen and strongwomen’s programs have in common. After quite some time a set of parameters started to show up, basically as a strongman you could do whatever the hell you wanted so long as it fit in to this set of parameters. We plugged a load of programs in to the parameters and time and time again the program fit, unbeknownst even to the athlete who was following the program! This was exciting because we felt we had figured out a huge piece of the training puzzle.
At this time we had our parameters, and we wrote a program that fit within said parameters, what we had to do now was execute the program with an athlete and see if we were correct. We decided to use myself and Talia and Brandon as guinea pigs. We decided on ourselves because, we knew we could follow the program, we are also experienced athletes so the gains can’t be contributed to just being a new athlete, we all know all the exercises and have all the necessary equipment to execute the program to the fullest, but most of all we are all regular people who have regular lives that we have to train around. We thought it was very important for this program to be able to fit in to family life, work, vacations, school, and even other hobbies. So, we got started executing this program and the only way to describe what happened is JAW DROPPING!!! All three of us started gaining like it was our first year lifting, in less than 6 months Talia added 191lbs to her powerlifting total (33lbs off an elite total) without even training for a powerlifting meet AND just deciding the night before the meet to compete, I only mention powerlifting because its not her sport, she has had some amazing strongwoman achievements in that time as well!! In about 5 months time I have stepped out of my “sport” to compete in other strength sports and have taken first place in a weightlifting meet and a powerlifting meet, both without specific training and limited notice prior to competing. In addition I set an elite raw total in powerlifting, I’m not saying my form in these meets was perfect (especially the weightlifting meet, ugh!) but my strength was so high that form almost became secondary. Brandon’s training lifts have shot through the friggin roof!! He will be competing in a Strongman show in the heavyweight class at the end of June. We know its not just about your lifts though so we took a look at the health side of things as well. All 3 of us have lower bodyfat percentages at higher bodyweights, our blood pressure has improved and our overall feeling of well being has improved. We have noticed increased flexibility and mobility and our daily energy levels are at an all time high! This is how a strength athlete should feel!
We as athletes are ecstatic! We are finally gaining at the rate we have been wanting to gain at! We’re not stupid, we know these gains will slow down and we’ll have to change things up a bit to ensure continued gains, but that’s the beauty of this program; WE CAN CHANGE IT AS MUCH AS WE LIKE SO LONG AS IT FITS IN TO THE SET PARAMETERS!!!! It is an almost limitless program in it’s possibilities. Again, I would like to stress that this is not a sales pitch, you need to make your own training decisions, if you’re happy with what you’re doing, continue doing it. We just weren’t happy and we decided to do something about it and it worked like a bloody charm! Keep in mind though that if you decide to not follow LBEB programming you shouldn’t be surprised when you find us showing up at all your meets, lifting ALL the weight and snatching up all the medals!