Integration of the strongman movement/energy system into the constantly varied CrossfFit model is invaluable. By that — we mean bringing Old School Movements together with New School Programming.
The typical Strongman event consists of 5 workouts in one day. Each workout is less than 60 seconds so these athletes never tap into anything but the ATP/CP system. What would happen if you trained yourself to have that kind of output during a longer workout? For example, a 7 minute AMRAP of farmer’s carry with mixed gymnastics. This is a perfect expression of Old School Movements mixed with New School programming and the results are staggering.
This is the best, and most fun way we know of, to favor strength while still increasing work capacity across broad time and modal domains. THIS IS KEY! In CrossFit, we want a stimulus that is constantly varied so that we never stop progressing in our fitness. That’s true whether it’s a Games hopeful or someone who’s looking to get fit after a lifetime of being sedentary. Strongman movements provide a playground where athletes can test their brute strength while improving their conditioning.
Due to the often awkward size/shape/consistency of the objects we use in strongman the lifts become very inefficient. Take, for instance, a water-filled keg –a dynamic load that represents a challenge to the neuro-muscular system that a barbell cannot compete with. As athletes, we need to develop efficient movement patterns with inefficient loads. That response is at the heart of being a great athlete. Athletes are presented with a constantly changing field of play. The better athlete makes quicker adjustments and responds favorably to unfavorable stimuli.
Why do CrossFit and Strongman together?
Large loads, long distance, quickly. That remark is drilled into the mind of anyone who’s ever attended a CrossFit Level 1 certification. There is no better expression of that than moving a yoke that is 3x BWT across a football field in 30 seconds. Or carrying 1.25x BWT in EACH HAND the same distance in less than 30 seconds. How about Flipping a 700 pound tire for max reps in 60 seconds? Large Loads, Long Distance, Quickly. That is why we do strongman.
We do Strongman because it increases max efforts. The only way to improve your one rep max is to lift heavy in that domain. What strongman does is focus on max effort lifts using non-barbell weights for max exertion in the 30-90 sec range. This will improve and strengthen your work output in the glycolyticand ATP pathways. As the lifter becomes more efficient in these movements and max weight increases, the transference of power to objects (barbells) that can be sustained in closer proximity to the midline while being able to maintain a better mechanical advantage (set up positions etc.) will lead to heavier loads lifted. Take an athlete that can lift a stone 1.5 times his body weight and can carry a yoke 4x his body weight and see what their deadliftsand backsquats are compared to someone that can not stone their body weight or yoke carry more than 2x. Sure there is skill that is involved in these movements, but the bottom line is the body’s ability to brace and load under these huge weights with less than inefficient technique (picture of a deadliftand a stone lift) increases strength.
Our belief is that if you use Crossfit.com as your home base, and you supplement with our CrossFit and Strongman prescription, you will absolutely improve you maxes in everything from the powerlifts, to the olylifts, to the gymnastic movements (pullups, muscle ups, HSPU).
Midline stability is paramount to being a decent CrossFitter. The Yoke is king when it comes to training the midline. The word yoke refers to the area of the body around the rear deltsand lower traps. This is where the weight bearing occurs during a yoke carry. You will not find another implement that can load and apply force through the axial skeleton more than the yoke. A 400lb male back squatter can typically carry a 600-700lb yoke. The skeleton operates at it’s strongest through neutral joint positions. The yoke requires very little flexion or extension of at any joints. You are merely performing a very hard isometric hold at the core while allowing your feet to move in quick little steps underneath you. It is an unbelievable tool when it comes to bracing the spine. The opportunity to load that skeleton with that much weight is a huge stimulus for core strength, which is the limiting factor for most lifts ie. People that can leg press 800 lbs and back squat 225lb. The weak link is always the core. The lower body can produce far more force than the axial skeleton can translate. The body will only produce as much force as can safely be translated. It is part of our brain’s involuntary survival mechanism. Training this weak link has transferability to all activities of power. By firing up and getting a huge motor unit recruitment around the core, you can develop the kinesthetic awareness to engage the bracing during more dynamic movements of lesser load.
Consider these OTHER reasons…
• CrossFitStrongman increases real world strength (not everything is to Increase athleticism — we need the ability to adjust and adapt to changing surroundings on the field).
• Increase posterior chain development. All these things are a necessity to someone striving to become a decent CrossFitter.
• CrossFit and Strongman Programming TOGETHER Provides CrossFitters with a variety of different stimuli. All of those stimuli are aimed at achieving an increase in work capacity which translates to an increase in your CrossFit ability.
• Excellent way to simultaneously integrate metabolic conditioning and strength training.