It seems like only yesterday I was preparing for the Inaugural USS Nationals (2015). Hell, it damn near was yesterday! But, there is no rest for the wicked, and your US Strongman is already hard at work getting ready for 2016 at 4th STREET LIVE in L’ville, KY
The 2016 Nationals will be co hosted by the McCann brothers. It is bound to be a good time. And I am sure that all of you will want to bring your A game and be fully prepared
And while I don't claim to be the greatest Strongman competitor ever, I have been doing this for quite some time with long duration of success overall. So this article will serve as the first in a series of preparing for nationals 2016.
First things first: you have to qualify. No one cares what you did last year 2 years ago or when you were 7 and you finally learned to use the potty the right way. What we care about now is that you're stronger than before you qualify for the contest and that you plan on going. So if you're qualified, start here…
As of Halloween 2015 you are 32 weeks out from the 2016 US Nationals. You should be starting to set up your training for the next 8 months. This training should include competing some more, especially if it helps your local promoters, because this sport wouldn't be anything without them and you would be qualified if they didn't host the show.
Right about now you should be breaking down your blocks been looking at getting stronger overall familiarizing yourself with any number of events so that you are well rounded in the sport of Strongman. Specialized training shouldn't happen for a few weeks still.
When it comes to lifting you should be focused on three major lift going the squat the dead and the overhead. Once you start planning where you're going to put those, choose your accessory left. Many of them should complement the other lives meaning if you're putting something over head you should be pulling something down from overhead if you're pushing something away you should be pulling something towards you if you're pulling something up you should be pushing something down. It doesn't really matter what program you follow at this point as long as you have one and as long as you're executing the lifts correctly. You are building up your base so that you can build strength and peak later.
As for the events you know you're going to have some sort of deadlift, overhead press, and a Stone event. It's funny how those mirror the weight room lifts. If you are able to mix in the events during your weekly training then thats your advantage and I would recommend doing that at least with the dead lifts and the overhead press. Either way you need to build and rotation of moving events. Work on some that you're not real good at. Choose three or four and rotate through them bearing the weight the distance and anything else you can. This will help round you out as a competitor, but it will also help keep you healthy overall because your nervous system won't be beat the shit from doing the same thing over and over again
I would recommend keeping your revs a little higher in the weight room, and your event a little lighter. Get good at the events and build from there.
This is your first base phase and should last about 4 weeks. You should feel good and healthy and ready to put on some strength at the end of it.
Over the next few months you will get some ideas on what you can do in the gym, with events and some general contest prep. Stay tuned!
Lastly, remember this: train smart and train hard, but when in doubt train smart because training smarter is training harder.
John Albrecht is a veteran strongman competitor and promoter. He is the Vice President of United States Strongman, co-state rep for USS in Indiana, and current National Record holder in the max axle and max log in the 220# class.