5 Strongman Exercises Crossfitters should Include in their Training

Strength is such an important part of Crossfit. And can you imagine a person with more strength than a Strongman? Therefore, implementing Strongman Exercises into your training can help you blast through plateaus and reach the next step!

What Strongman exercises will offer you next to pure strength is a better grip. When you are in a WOD and your engine is easily able to to a lot more of Pull Ups, Cleans or Swings there is not much more annoying than a grip that does not allow you to to this.

5. Farmers Carry

Lucas Parker Crossfit athlete farmer's carries weights outside by the sea
CrossFit Games Athlete Lucas Parker using Farmer’s Carries to improve his strength, stability and mental toughness.

Probably one of the safest exercises you can do with weight is the “Farmer Carry” and you don’t need any fancy equipment to do them. Developing powerful legs and hips, strength through the core, a strong and stable back, and of course, phenomenal grip strength, to name just a few benefits. The key is going heavy. Grab two real heavy weights – dumbbells, kettlebells, sacks of concrete, or whatever else you can find.
To pick the weight up off the ground safely, half squat-half deadlift yourself to them with a flat back. Take a big belly brace and press your legs through the ground and to extension. The weight will now be at your sides with your palms facing towards your hips. Pin back your shoulder blades, make your spine as long as possible and walk as far as you can. Make sure you keep your belly braced throughout your walk.
Go for a heavier load if you made it more than 200 meters.

4. Atlas Stones

josh bridges crossfit athlete atlas stones wod
Be strong like Josh!

As with all strongman-style implements and exercises, Atlas Stoneswill help you develop a solid, constantly improving level of strength. They are fantastic for developing hip extension, explosive starting strength , as well as developing tremendous crushing (isometric) strength. Lifting an Atlas stone engages your erectors, lats, rhomboids, shoulders, and pecs. But to lift that stone at all you need an enormous grip strenght!

3. DeadBall

Jamie Hagiya crossfit games photographs 2016
Jamie powers through the D ball cleans

What makes Dead Ball training so effective and necessary is that unlike the normal well balanced and symmetrically loaded gym training systems , Dead Balls present as an awry, pliable, shape changing and awkward training tool that shifts the weight and load around your body.  This purposefully mis-loads your lifting planes of motion, making your job harder but far more effective at developing real world strength.

DeadBall Challenge

  1. Load up 100kg on a bar, and high bar squat as deep as possible as many repetitions that you are capable of. Most strong guys will complete 20 to 30 repetitions comfortably. This is the symmetrical model that most of you are used to with normal training systems.
  2. Now take a break and rest until you are fully recovered to be able to do the same squat test again.
  3. This time instead of using a nicely balanced bar with equal weight on either side across your shoulders, you will lift an 85kg Dead Ball from ground to shoulder, and whilst holding the Dead Ball securely on one shoulder (severely mis-loading the weight to one side of your body) brace and flex your core and squat deeply as possible for maximum repetition as you had just done with the high bar squats. This is an example of the non symmetrical model that Dead Balls present.
    http://www.derekboyer.com/dead-ball-training/

2. Sled Pull

crossfit athlete brooke wells making no nutrition mistakes
Train hard, eat well and put in the work

Sled pulls are a brutal functional exercise that hits the upper body, developing both aerobic and anaerobic capacity and targeting the back, shoulders, biceps and grip muscles.

How to do Sled Pulls

  1. Secure the weight plates onto the sled with the rope attached to it. Hold the other end of the stretched rope as far from the sled as possible.
  2. Face the sled, standing either side of the rope, gripping tightly. You should be bent at the hips and knees with legs well spaced apart for stability.  
  3. Pull the sled toward you with a hand-over-hand action at speed, until the sled is up close to you and you’re out of rope.

1. Sled Push

explosive leg power
Improve your ability to operate with intensity

Sled Pushes can be used for Speed, Power and Strenght Training by changing weight and moving distance

Load your pushing sled with the desired weight.

Take an athletic posture, leaning into the sled with your arms fully extended, grasping the handles. Push the sled as fast as possible, focusing on extending your hips and knees to strengthen your posterior chain. 

Sled Pushes for Speed Training

The goal of using Sled Pushes for speed training is to apply more force into the ground quickly. This is done by loading up the sled with a weight light enough that you can push it at a fast speed while also placing more force into the ground.

Percent Body Weight: Use 15-25 percent of your body weight on days you feel fresh. On days when you are feeling a little more run down, use 30-50 percent.

Distance: 10-20 yards

 The 10-yard distance is good for working on your starting speed. As you increase your distance, you will work on other speed qualities, such as speed-endurance.

Sets: 4-6

Rest: 45-60 seconds between sets

Sled Pushes for Power Training

By increasing the weight of the sled and trying to move it as fast as possible, you can work on power development. Similar to speed development, you are trying to put force into the ground as quickly as possible.

Percent Body Weight: 75-100

 Distance: 10-25 yards

Just like with speed, the shorter distance is good for developing short explosive power. As you increase the distance, you will work on increasing power-endurance.

Sets: 4-6

Rest: 60-90 seconds between sets

Sled Pushes for Strength Training

Pushing a heavy sled can do wonders for developing single-leg strength and leg drive, as well as building one’s confidence. Nothing looks better than a sled loaded up with a mountain of weight.

Percent Body Weight: 150-200

When choosing weight, go with how strong you’re feeling. Unlike with speed and power, you don’t need to move the sled with blazing speed. Just try to get it from point A to B in a reasonable amount of time.

Distance: 25-50 yards

If you are going real heavy, keep the distance to 25 yards. If not so heavy, go 50 yards.

Sets: 4-6

Rest: 60-90 seconds between sets

How To Implement Strongman Training Into CrossFit


Lucas Parker Crossfit athlete farmer's carries weights outside by the sea ©

josh bridges crossfit athlete atlas stones wod © Rehband

Jamie Hagiya crossfit games photographs 2016 © CrossFit Inc

crossfit athlete brooke wells making no nutrition mistakes © CrossFit Inc

explosive leg power © RX'd Photography

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About The Author

Simon is the Assistant Editor at BOXROX.
He has been Sport addicted since childhood and comes from a swimming and bodybuilding backround to Crossfit, which he does for 4 years now and it still challenging him every day. He tries to combine his passions for sport and writing.

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