|Illustration of various strongman events. A = heavy sprint-style sled pull; B = log lift; C = axle press; D = farmers walk; E = arm over arm prowler pull.|
Before Winwood randomly assigned thirty experienced resistance-trained rugby players who had been assessed for body composition, strength, power, speed and change of direction (COD) measures before the study to either strongman or classic resistance training, he conducted a survey in 193 strenght and conditioning coaches. 88% percent of the respondents said that they'd use strongman implements in the training of their athletes, with sleds, ropes, kettlebells, tyres, sandbags and farmers walk bars ranked as the top six implements used.
In study two, which was undertaken to determine the injury epidemiology of strongman athletes, Winwood found that 82% of strongman athletes reported injuries (1.6 ±1.5 training injuries/lifter/y, 0.4 ±0.7 competition injuries/lifter/y, 5.5 ±6.5 training injuries/1000 hr training) with the highest reported areas of injury being lower back (24%), shoulder (21%), bicep (11%) and knee (11%).
"[a]n interesting finding from this study was that although 54% of injuries resulted from traditional training, strongman athletes were 1.9 times more likely to sustain injury when performing strongman implement training when exposure to the type of training was considered" (Winwood. 2015).Studies three, four and five were then devoted to a comparison of the biomechanical characteristics of three strongman exercises (farmers walk, heavy sprint style sled pull and log lift) with three traditional exercises (deadlift, squat and clean and jerk), respectively. These studies gave insight into the potential stresses associated with strongman training implements and the likely chronic adaptations associated with training with these implements. Data Winwood used to design the workout routines in the previously mentioned 7-week comparison between strongman and classic resistance training.
Overall, all strength and functional performance measures tended to improve with training (0.2% to 7%), thus providing evidence that both training programmes provided positive training adaptations (see Figure 2). However, no significant (p < 0.01) between-group differences were found for the functional performance measures, indicating that there was no statistically significant advantage between traditional and strongman training methods.
The seven-week training intervention involved participants performing either traditional resistance training or a strongman training programme (Table 1). The traditional and strongman exercises were paired based on biomechanical similarity and loads were equated between the two groups. The exercises chosen are commonly performed in strength and conditioning practice, and by strongman athletes for the development of muscular strength and power" (Winwood. 2015)
Table 1: Overview of the training regminen (Winwood. 2015)
|Figure 2: Minimal changes in body composition (left) and big changes in strength (right | Winwood. 2015).|
Furthermore it's not like strongman didn't have an advantage, either. The strongman training was found to elicit small-large greater increases in muscle mass (ES = 0.44), 1RM bent over row (ES =1.10), 5 m (ES = - 0.28) sprint performance and COD acceleration (ES = - 0.33) than traditional training.
- Winwood, Paul. Strongman implements training: applications for strength and conditioning practice. Diss. Auckland University of Technology, 2015.