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 Post subject: Vegan Strongman
PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2011 7:39 pm 
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Finch

Joined: Wed May 04, 2011 6:39 pm
Posts: 3
I have had a tough time finding informative resources for vegan strongmen anywhere. I have aspirations to accomplish Strongman feats and possibly even compete one day. I am overall interested in any sort of training focused on strength/powerlifting/functional muscle. I was wondering what a good weight lifting routine and diet program would be for a goal of functional mass and performance in strongman events? I am 18 years old, 5'10'', 165 lbs, and have been training in parkour and gymnastics for about 4 years and have been devoted to serious athletic training for about 6 months. I am an organic vegan, have been four about 4 years, and I eat mostly raw food, I still eat cooked grains and beans though. Anyone have any knowledge/programs/sources to help me out?

Thanks
-August.


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 Post subject: Re: Vegan Strongman
PostPosted: Thu May 05, 2011 11:09 am 
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Rabbit

Joined: Mon Feb 27, 2006 10:52 am
Posts: 116
Location: Derby, UK
First off, being vegan makes no difference - you still train in exactly the same way. You want a basic gym routine focusing on big compound lifts, low reps, few sets e.g. squat, overhead press, deadlift. You could also do with finding a venue where you can practice specific strongman events like farmers walks, log press & yoke etc.

Obviously you need to add some weight so you need to eat big - high protein of course but also plenty of good wholegrain carbs & healthy fats.

If you want to follow the training routine of a vegan strongman competing at a decent level check out a guy called JP in the training log section over at www.veganfitness.net.

An excellent website/forum for strongman stuff is www.sugdenbarbell.co.uk. There are a few vegans on that forum.


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 Post subject: Re: Vegan Strongman
PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2011 5:46 pm 
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Stegosaurus
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Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 7:00 pm
Posts: 3072
Location: Waukesha, WI
To ask, when you say "strongman", are you referring to actual strongman competition, or one who does strongman-style feats like steel bending, etc.? That'll make a little bit of difference, but one thing's for sure, the only way to get better at either is to practice what you want to excel at.

I've seen guys who are crazy strong in the gym struggle with fairly light weight on strongman events. Just as well, I've seen guys who blaze through heavy weights in strongman events who aren't as gym-strong as you'd imagine, so it goes both ways. But, it goes to show that practicing what you want to get better at is key to making progress, because it doesn't matter if you can do a powerlifting competition quality bench press with 500 lbs., it doesn't mean it will carry over to strongman events with much success unless you practice the hell out of them.

What I'd recommend for starting is to talk with Chewybaws from the board here regarding getting on a good program for starting to build a solid base via powerlifting, also being sure to work in essentials beyond such as overhead pressing (you don't want to go into strongman with weak shoulders, as there's ALWAYS overhead pressing in the events!), and once you've built a good base, move to focusing your attention on strongman event training specifically.

Typically, with strongman competition, it is difficult to find much in the way of competition in the featherweight class (usually under 200s, sometimes 180 lbs. or less), most times it's simply lightweight (231 lbs. and under) and heavyweight (anything above, unless they put the cutoff at 252 lbs. which is rare but does sometimes happen).

On top of that, the level of competition will have a great impact on it. If you're in the USA, most events are run by NASS (North American Strongman Society), and fall into three levels of difficulty - Silver (usually entry-level contests with weights that most people with some experience will be able to handle for most events if you have a good strength base), Gold (which is for more experienced athletes), and Platinum, which is top level and usually has a chance at winning a pro card for whoever comes out on top.

If the lightweight class is just 231 and under, expect that most guys in that range will be able to overhead log press 250-320 lbs., will be able to farmer's walk with 280-330 lbs. per hand for at least 150 feet (or, do a frame carry with 550-700 lbs. for the same distance), do a yoke walk for 50-75 feet with at least 600-700 lbs., be able to load a series of stones weighing up to 350 lbs. to a 52" tall platform, and plenty of other stuff. Those are, based on what I've seen at silver and gold level contests in the past, a fairly reasonable range of knowing what you expect you'd be up against. Events can be different, sometimes you'll find more deadlifting events (sometimes a regular bar, more often a 2" diameter axle, and occasionally a car deadlift setup), sometimes there'll be throwing events, it all depends on who is running the contest and whether or not it's being done under NASS' banner of approval. Sometimes, you can find non-sanctioned contests that are usually much more casual and better "fun" places to get your feet wet, where you'll find a lot more who are new to the sport and want to simply test out the equipment and see what things feel like. Those are always a good place to start, but are tougher to locate since they don't have a major organization promoting them nationally.

Of course, you don't NEED to be able to hit the numbers above in order to compete, but to have a chance at being able to complete all events and/or have potential to come in for top 75% placing in a contest, this is reasonably what to expect for what most other competitors will be able to do.

That's why I recommend that it would probably be best to take a year or so to build more standard powerlifting strength and to see if you can get your size up a bit closer to 200 lbs., as strongman is VERY taxing and many events are harder if you don't have the size on your frame to offer optimal support for carrying heavy loads for distance/time. Spending a year focusing on improving your squat, bench, deadlift, rowing and overhead pressing would be the best place to start and work on increasing general major lift strength while putting on more size, then start dabbling in strongman once you've got a solid base set to really build on.

Hope this long-winded explanation helps a bit!

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"A 'hardgainer' is merely someone who hasn't bothered to try enough different training methods to learn what is actually right for their own damned body." - anonymous


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 Post subject: Re: Vegan Strongman
PostPosted: Tue May 10, 2011 6:35 pm 
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Finch

Joined: Wed May 04, 2011 6:39 pm
Posts: 3
Thank you very much for both of your replies, they were extremely helpful.
I guess I would like to work towards both but what I had in mind mostly was strongman competitions.
How low should I keep my reps? 1-3, 5-6, or 6-8? How many sets of each exercise should I do in one day's workout? Are there any reccomendations for abdomninal work, as in traditional core and abs or resistance ab training?
Are all of the preceeding questions answerable by reading up on powerlifting routines?
Can I expect to still build mass to make it to 200 lbs if I keep my reps low?
I recently upped my caloric intake from 2,400 to around 3,250, my protein intake is equal to my body weight (163 grams) and I have started eating around 450 carbs a day, and 64 grams of healthy fats. Are these macronutrient levels sufficient or would it be better for my goals to follow one of Robert Cheeke's nutrition plans on here?
Sorry for my mouthful of questions and sorry if they are already answered by obvious sources. Thank you once again for the help.


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 Post subject: Re: Vegan Strongman
PostPosted: Tue May 10, 2011 9:33 pm 
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Manatee
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Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2010 2:41 pm
Posts: 472
Location: SF
I'm no expert, but I imagine most people here would tell you that your food plan sounds fine unless you find that you're not gaining with that (in which case, up the calories). You don't need to get mired in these kinds of details though. Just eat a lot and make sure there's at least a fair amount of protein and that should be fine for where you are now.


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 Post subject: Re: Vegan Strongman
PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2011 2:57 pm 
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Stegosaurus
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Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 7:00 pm
Posts: 3072
Location: Waukesha, WI
August wrote:
How low should I keep my reps? 1-3, 5-6, or 6-8?


You'll want to do some training in multiple rep schemes for strongman as it's going to test you both for max 1-rep strength as well as strength endurance. For example, one contest may have an overhead log press for max weight, another may be for max reps with a set weight, it will always change from one to the next. If you're great for your max rep strength but can't knock out more than 3 reps with 80% of your max without feeling like you're going to pass out, then obviously that weakness will hold you back in competition. So, it's a good idea for strongman training to be varied with different periods where you may work primarily on max strength, then later focus more on the strength endurance aspect.

August wrote:
How many sets of each exercise should I do in one day's workout?


Again, there's no specific "best' way to train at all times. I've seen strongman competitors who have marathon training sessions that last hours, I've seen some that only hit the weights and train events for an hour 3x/week tops. If you're talking about buiding a good base via the standards powerlifts, again, I'd suggest talking with Chewybaws about his experiences with the 5x5 program as a good starting point to add some mass and build that base strength. Powerlifting is a great way to really build your base before moving on to strongman, as having the time spent really pushing your squats and deadlifts will be very beneficial in crossing over to strongman competition. But, if you're still working on building a good base to get stronger and add more size, you shouldn't need marathon training sessions, just a good, solid program with reasonable expectations and you'll see thigs happen in due time.

August wrote:
Are there any reccomendations for abdomninal work, as in traditional core and abs or resistance ab training?


Initially, I wouldn't worry much about it. Squatting and deadlifting will help get you a great base for core strength, and strongman events where you're supporting weight such as via farmer's walks and yoke carries, you're going to be working your core even when you don't realize it. Rarely did I ever see much with strongman competitors doing much direct ab work, but when they did, it was usually just some heavy weighted ab work, like sit-ups with weight behind the head or held on the chest, rep scheme was kept low as there's no reason to do endless crunches for building a strong, supportive core. Being able to do a thousand sit-ups without resting won't do as much for your supporting core strength as being able to do 20 with a 100 lb. plate on your chest.

August wrote:
Are all of the preceeding questions answerable by reading up on powerlifting routines?
Can I expect to still build mass to make it to 200 lbs if I keep my reps low?


There are so many diferent powerlifting routines out there, it's best to keep it simple with something like the 5x5 program. Many of the other ones are much more geared toward experienced powerlifters who are struggling to put a few more lbs. on their competition lifts and won't have as much positive effect on those still building their foundation. As far as getting larger on lower reps, I gained about 30 lbs. with keeping my reps on most sets between 1 and 6, rarely going above. But, everyone responds to varying rep schemes differently, so it's not unreasonable to consider doing something that covers multiple ranges with some lifts done low rep, some medium to high rep. There's a lot of trial-and-error to find what you'll respond to the best, so expect that some things that SEEM like they'd be great may not work as well as you'd hope, and some routines that seem like they'd barely pay off may in fact give great returns.

August wrote:
I recently upped my caloric intake from 2,400 to around 3,250, my protein intake is equal to my body weight (163 grams) and I have started eating around 450 carbs a day, and 64 grams of healthy fats. Are these macronutrient levels sufficient or would it be better for my goals to follow one of Robert Cheeke's nutrition plans on here?
Sorry for my mouthful of questions and sorry if they are already answered by obvious sources. Thank you once again for the help.


Upping calories will definitely be the start of working to get bigger/stronger, I'd consider possibly adding more protein if you don't see things moving forward fairly quickly (say, over the first 3-4 months, it'd be reasonable to expect to put on 3-5 lbs. with a big spike in food intake and a good program for someone who hasn't been stuck in a plateau). There's always going to be varying opinions on macronutrient ratios as some will insist you barely need any protein (yet, I've never met anyone who had a large and impressive physique who did it on low protein, so that speaks volumes), some will suggest massive amounts beyond what most people will want to eat or need to take in. I myself don't need massive amounts of protein (usually no more than 1g per lb. bodyweight for gaining, but I need more to retain lean mass while cutting), but again, everyone's different and will respond differently to varying macronutrient ratios. Again, you're going to have to do the usual trial-and-error to find what's best, but so far, the plan of attack you have for food intake seems like a fair starting place.

_________________
"A 'hardgainer' is merely someone who hasn't bothered to try enough different training methods to learn what is actually right for their own damned body." - anonymous


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 Post subject: Re: Vegan Strongman
PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2011 7:21 pm 
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Finch

Joined: Wed May 04, 2011 6:39 pm
Posts: 3
Okay, I think I'm going to start a 5x5 routine soon then. Thank you once again fo all the info, it has helped a lot.


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