Strongman vs. Power Cleans For Football - Part 2 by Elliott Hulse
In Part 1 of this series on Strongman Training for athletes I make the argument that Strongman Training may be a great option for building strong and explosive athletes and a viable substitute for Olympic Lifting.
Here I will discuss some of my favorite Strongman exercises for making your athletes super fast and angry!
This exercise is a staple in Strong Man and a big part of the football strength programs that I design for my athletes. If there ever was an exercise that trains the entire body from "The Rooter To The Tooter"- It's tire flipping.
Getting your hands on a 300, 400 or 700 pound tire is a lot easier than most people think. Also, the best part of this piece of equipment is that it is FREE! All you need to do is look in your phone book for a tire company in your city. They've got tons of these things and they need to dispose of them, and this costs them money. They are as happy as hell when someone calls and says that they are willing to take one off of their hands for free. This biggest issue will be finding a way to transport it to your facility. Many times the tire yard will drop it off for you; make sure you give the delivery guy a nice tip.
It's as simple as it sounds - push a car. That's it. But make no mistake, this exercise is not only fun and brutal - it's actually very useful. When pushing a car it is essential that you lean forward which creates a "positive knee angle". This develops the quads which are the dominant muscles being activated during short sprints and change of direction.
This is probably the most practical exercise to perform, from an equipment stand point. All you need it an automobile, the bigger the better. I've heard stories about Mike Alstott and how he used to push his Jeep around campus in college to get in football condition. If Mike Alstott does it, it's got to be good!
I am often asked, "What are the best overall exercises for strength AND conditioning?" My answer without hesitation is always - Farmers Carries. There is NOTHING that this exercise doesn't do. Besides a killer conditioner, farmers carries trains the arms, legs, core, shoulders, neck, grip, eye lids, eye brows and ear lobes like nothing that I have ever discovered.
What makes this exercise even more incredible is that anyone can do it, anywhere, with little or no equipment. Everything from the Torpedoes that you see those beasts on ESPN2 carry; to milk jugs filled with sand will get you strong and crazy fast.
Sand Bag Carry
This is another exercise that is easy to put together. In fact, when I first began training athletes at a local park, this is all I had to use. I simply went to Home Depot (there may be one in your city) bought a few 80 pound bags of pea gravel, threw them into contractor bag and duct taped them shut. After a while I noticed that we needed heavier bags so I bought a few large army duffle bags and tossed the smaller bags into it. Now I've got bags from 40 pounds to almost 300!
This exercise is as simple as - pick it up and go! But make no mistake, it is NOT easy. This exercise goes on my list of the best overall body conditioners as well.
Keg Clean & Press
We've all used or taught someone to use the famous Olympic lifts, in particular the power clean and press. And for good reason, they train the whole body and they produce faster and stronger athletes. But I do them a bit different.
When you use a half filled keg to clean and press, you are playing a whole new game. First of all, the neutral grip is more specific to football especially if you are a lineman. Second, the water (or beer) that you have used to fill your keg will be sloshing around in there, which turns this exercise into a real core conditioner!
If you want to get brutally strong and fast, you've got to add this super strong man exercise to your routine.
This is a staple is all of my training programs and I use this exercise for several different reasons.
First, upright forward sled dragging is a great posterior chain builder. Nothing gets those lazy glutes into tip-top shape like sled drags. Second, backwards sled drags does for the quads what forward dragging does for the glutes… fries em! Third, when done for distances greater than 50 yards or with short rest intervals this is one of my favorite work capacity / conditioning exercises. Finally, because your legs are always moving in a concentric fashion there is minimal soreness associated with doing this exercise. You can drag today and max effort squat tomorrow.
A thick, strong and powerful upper back is paramount for building upper body strength that lasts. Everything from an increased bench press to decreased risk of shoulder injuries are associated with having a strong set of traps, rhomboids and rear delts.
Nothing builds a strong upper back in conjunction with leg strength and agility like keg carries. Caring kegs weighing between 50 to 300 pounds for short distances is one of my favorite ways of training generally weak and unathletic athletes to build endurance, strength and mental toughness.
I've got a video at http://HulseStrength.com about a great example of how to set up a "keg run". You can train several athletes at the same time with a set up like this.
Keg or Sand Bag Loading
Want to increase speed and jumping capacity?
Keg, Sandbag or stone loading takes even the flattest ass and turns it into a J-Lo. And we all know that a strong set of glutes in synonymous with explosive hip extension and speed.
Strong Man Training is not only for those 300 pound beasts on ESPN2, it is a great way to train even the most deconditioned athlete and turn average boys into hulking men.
In Part 3 of this series I will show you exactly how I add these exercises to my training programs… stay tuned!
Back to PART 1 of Strongman vs. Power Cleans For Football
Elliott Hulse's eBook - The Critical Gridiron Program