|This image of heavy sled pulls was taken during one of the strongmen training sessions in the study at hand - for the full protocol see Table 1 (Winwood. 2014)|
An even more recent study by Paul Winwood et al. that's about to be published in the upcoming issue of the #1 journal for everything strength training, i.e. the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, does not just support the findings of Schoenfeld et al. it claims "that short term strongman training programs are as effective as traditional resistance training programs in improving aspects of body composition, muscular function and performance." (Winwood. 2014)
Next to the fact that the two protocols in the study at hand were neither volume-matched nor based on the same exercises, there is yet another highly significant difference between the study at hand and the aforementioned powerlifting vs. classic resistance training study by Schoenfeld et al. the conclusion of the Winwood study is only "statistically correct". From a practical point of view, on the other hand, the body composition part of it is total bullshit.
If you take a look at the actual "body composition" data, even a blind man sees that the strongman protocol that consisted seven weeks /two obligatory training sessions per week) of the resistance training protocols outlined in Table 1 and two facultative, non-supervised and recorded sessions of prehabilition exercises, as well as two cardiovascular training sessions per week.
|Table 1: Outline of the training protocols; * indicates that the exercise is performed explosively (Winwood. 2014)|
Published ahead of print warning: I am not 100% sure that the data in the tables of the full text are accurate. The changes in strength parameters, for example are all negative. The article, on the other hand, speaks of increases, which is why I simply removed the "-", when I plotted the graph in Figure 1, which is now in line with the results discussed in the text.This alone wouldn't be that bad, if the conclusion that both training regimen had identical effects on the body composition of the subjects wasn't simply flawed.
|Figure 1: Changes in body composition and strength (Winwood. 2014)|
If the trend the researchers must obviously have overlooked (or ignored) continues, the guys in the "traditional group" will soon look like ripped men's fitness cover models, while the guys in the strongmen group will develop a pot belly. Not exactly what anyone could want. Even if you don't care about being jacked, looking at the effects on body fat, the "traditional" strength training protocol would also classify as the healthier training regimen.
- Winwood, PW, et al. "Strongman versus traditional resistance training effects on muscular function and performance." Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research (2014). Publish Ahead of Print. DOI: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000000629