Article JOE D a day in the life of a strongman

A Week in the Life of Strongman “Big D”

May 2, 2014
Updated April 12, 2018
Category: Fitness

I got started in Strongman after  meeting the amazing Nick Best and Travis Otmeyer at the 2008 Mr. Olympia Expo in Las Vegas, yet I have been lifting heavy most of my life. I got a taste for the Celtic Highland Games thanks to Mandy K and have competed in those as well.

Let me say this, I enjoy both sports for a few reasons. Both have some of nicest and most supportive people you would ever want to meet. From novice to champions, you hang out with them all and are honestly embraced and guided while enjoying these exciting and challenging sports. The camaraderie shines on all levels and you’re able  to compete and train with some of the best of the best. That’s what I have enjoyed the most; the amazing men and women who selflessly, freely promote, teach, compete who make up these communities.

As for training, I will mostly train two days in the gym and one day on events each week. I have a great focus on any upcoming competitions and the events they include. I usually end up competing in 4 to 5 events or medleys to prepare for those.

A Week of Strongman Training

The sets in Day 1 and 2 are mainly comprised of warm ups with increases to heavy weight, many times with a 1 to failure max. Thanks to a great strength coach, Mike P, I now focus a bit more on flexibility during warm up and cool down.

Strongman Training Day 1: Push Day

A: Overhead Press B: Incline Press C: Push Press with the Squat Machine to simulate a Viking Press D: One-hand Dumbbell Press E: Leg Press 15- 20 mins of cardio before and after the session

Strongman Training Day 2: Pull Day

A: Deadlift B: Rack Pull C: Shrugs D: Leg Extensions E: Back Squat & Zercher Squat 15- 20 mins of cardio before and after the session

Strongman Training Day 3: Event Practice Day

Event day is the most intense session depending on whether I’m getting ready for a Strongman Competition or Celtic Highland Game event. It could include the Strongman Axle Press, Log Press, Circus Dumbbell Press, Yoke or Truck/Weighted Tire Pull, or a medley of a Carry & Drag; a great deal depends on what’s coming up. I always include stones no matter what, either in a series or reps over a bar or to a platform. There are so many choices. When I train for the Highland Games, we throw and throw and throw some more; from the Caber Toss to Light/Heavy Hammer, and Braemar Stone, heavy weight and light weight for distance.

Strongman Training Summary

This just is just the tip of what these sports offer. I just want to shout out to a few of the amazing people that have either taught, supported, and shared with me on this road: The Gillingham Brothers Wade, Brad, Carl , Nick & Callie Best, Mandy Keefer, and Odd Haugen just to name a few. Remember that anything you want to move can be moved if you stay positive, train hard, and more than anything else, believe in yourself.

How to Lift Atlas Stones by Darvez “Big D” Ballew

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