When Tom Stoltman won the World’s Strongest Man competition, he never imagined he would conquer it again. The 28-year-old athlete was all about hard work and dedication to a solid workout routine. Ultimately his effort paid off as he defended the Strongman title the following year, without breaking a sweat.
“I think about all the hard work and sacrifice. I’m willing to sacrifice a lot of things to do what I need to, and I think that’s what makes me different – I work harder than the rest, and I sacrifice a lot to be the best in the world” – Tom Stoltman
To build a strong foundation in his lifting career, the World’s Strongest Man only relied on three exercises for a couple of months to increase his strength. Speaking to the Insider, Tom Stoltman explained that his brother, Luke Stoltman, who is also a strongman and ten years older, only let him train deadlifts, squats, and bench presses. Nothing else!
Only after Tom knew how to do these exercises perfectly with confidence and flawless execution did his brother allow him to progress and diversify his workout routine. After all, these three are bodybuilding’s base foundation exercises, and his dedication paid off.
The Top 5 Strongman GOATs
Through time, man has been obsessed with strength. After all, ancient Olympic games included brute wrestling competitions to determine who was the strongest of them all. Since its start in 1977, several men have been considered the strongest on earth. So, we’ve compiled a list of some great men who were the greatest in this era!
Leonid was born in 1956 in the USSR and set the world record for the clean and jerk (266kg or 58.2 pounds) and total (475 kg or 1,045 pounds) back in 1988, a record that has stood for eons. Even though weightlifting guidelines changed and his record no longer stands in the lifting federation, none comes close to equaling his power.
In 2004 and 2007, Virastyuk became the first person to be named the most muscular man in the World’s Strongest Man and IFAS World Championship competitions. Furthermore, he took second place in the Arnold Strongman Classic from 2005-2007. His legacy lives on in his retirement.
A unique aspect about Henry is that he is the only American to ever hold the US weightlifting and powerlifting super heavyweight championship titles at the same time. Despite his untapped potential in weightlifting and powerlifting, Mark Henry ventured into wrestling and forged a career in wrestling, WWE to be specific. We never saw his peak as Henry could’ve been the most muscular man alive.
Andy is heavily decorated in the powerlifting universe. He is the first person to deadlift 1,000 pounds, apart from holding the fourth highest squat of all time (1,213 pounds). At one point, he explained that his objective was to total 3,000 pounds.
Shaw is a two-time World’s Strongest Man winner (2011 and 2013) and has made the top three spots five times. He is known to have squatted 825 pounds, benched 535 pounds, and deadlifted 985 pounds with straps.
The Strongmen Of Our Time
|Year||Winner||Runner-Up||Third Place||Host City|
|2022||Tom Stoltman||Martins Licis||Oleksii Novikov||Sacramento, California|
|2021||Tom Stoltman||Brian Shaw||Maxime Boudreault||Sacramento, California|
|2020||Oleksii Novikov||Tom Stoltman||Jean-Francois Caron||Bradenton, Florida|
|2019||Martins Licis||Mateusz Kieliszkowski||Hafthor Julius Bjornsson||Bradenton, Florida|
|2018||Hafthor Julius Bjornsson||Mateusz Kieliszkowski||Brian Shaw||Manila, Philippines|
|2017||Eddie Hall||Hafthor Julius Bjornsson||Brian Shaw||Gaborone, Botswana|
Strongmen Sport Disciplines
Initially, there were eight competitions to test strength. But with evolving ideas and regulations, some new disciplines have been added over the years. Here are some events that feature in a typical strongman competition:
- Atlas lift
- Vehicle pull
- Overhead press
- Weight throw
- Hercules hold
- Farmers walk
- Carry and drag
- Log throw/ caber throw
Increase Your Gains With Compound Workouts
A mistake many enthusiastic strongmen fall prey to is focusing on isolation workouts which are not effective in building muscle, for example, bicep curls. However, bench-pressing, squats, and deadlifts are three compound workouts that are relied upon by renowned powerlifters like Zack George. Other go-to activities when branching out the strongman routine include lunges, farmer’s walks, and the overhead press.
Indeed, Tom Stoltman attests that compound movements optimize gains in strength and physique.
Many people focus on isolation routines because they are comfortable and still wonder why they look the same three months down the line –they are not doing any compound exercises.
Stoltman also recommends getting a trained personal trainer to teach budding strongmen the proper technique. The trainer should sort you out with the three most crucial lifts, and when you are confident enough to do these on your own, look to increase your workout inventory with other compound workouts.
How To Dine Like A Strongman
When you have to lift more than 500 pounds or pull a car, then you must eat the part. Caloric intake is essential since you need a steady supply of energy on demand!
Strongmen do not eat for quality, they eat for fuel. They eat tons of calories in a short span to be as efficient as possible when lifting weights. This can make all your daily three meals seem like a snack.
Brian Shaw, a leading strongman contender, shared his 12,000-calorie diet leading to the 2017 World Strongest Man competition. Here’s the rundown inclusive of the caloric intake:
The first meal is the most pivotal. You may eat six to eight eggs, toast, and peanut butter. In total, this accounts for 1,180 calories, 68g protein, and 74g carbs.
Protein shake/ snack
Shortly after the first meal, whip out an iSatori protein mix, granola bars, and peanut butter. This will provide 115g of protein, 92g of carbs, and 1,052 calories.
For the third meal, make sure to get enough calories, carbs, and protein for the next workout. Thus, your buffet includes organic beef, pasta, and red sauce.
Organic, grass-fed ground beef is Brian Shaw’s favorite since it is easier to digest than ordinary store beef.
Therefore, from this meal, you can expect an additional 2,000 calories, 190g of carbs, and 170g of protein.
Protein shake/ snack
As you probably expect, each major meal is followed by a light protein shake, iSatori in particular, as well as almond milk, peanut butter, and organic blueberries. All the ingredients can be blended into a smooth consistency for a potent protein mix.
This gives you an additional 1,000 calories, 112g of protein, and 90g of carbohydrates.
With a few more meals to go, you can top up your carbs and protein with ground turkey (organic), white rice, and broccoli. This adds a total of 1,400 calories, 117g of protein, and 140g of carbs.
Dinner typically has at least 2,500 calories, and meals may be planned by a nutritionist based on your performance and daily physical demand. However, most of the time dinner may consist of beef, potatoes, and asparagus. The nutritive index for this meal totals 3,000 calories, 704g of carbs, and 16g of protein.
Nighttime snack and protein shake
A nighttime snack is a must. An iSatori shake is great for increasing your protein reserve while cheesecake accounts for carbs. Therefore, this should add at least 100g of protein, 107g of carbs, and 1,690 calories.
The Workout Plan by Eddie Hall
Becoming the world’s most muscular man is no mean feat. Eddie Hall endured a back-breaking routine with a lot of dedication. While his diet played a crucial part in conquering the world, commitment to a strict fitness routine was essential.
Each group of workouts consisted of diverse compound exercises at 80-90% of full lifting potential. Because his muscles sustained immense stress and pressure, each routine lasted at least 3-4 hours, considering a 10–15-minute rest between sets; recovery is very important following heavy lifting. Usually, he targets to do 4-5 sets each per exercise.
Here’s all that Eddie Hall did in the gym to earn becoming the world champion.
Monday – Chest
To start on a high note, Eddie targets the chest, which is one of the large muscle groups in the body. For this he had various workouts and he would do four to five sets for each. Here are some of the exercises Eddie consistently kept in his routine: bench press, cable cross, chest press, incline bench press, dumbbell flyes, and dumbbell press.
Tuesday – Legs and Abs
For the next day, Eddie works his legs and abs. Legs have the largest muscles in the body and training these ensured he secured the world strongman title and set a lifting record of 500 kg. He recommends training quads, glutes, hammies, and core rather than small muscles like calves. Some great lower body routines should include: deadlifts, squats, leg extensions, leg presses, leg curls, lunges, donkey calf raises, stiff-leg deadlifts, and sitting and standing calf raises.
Wednesday – Cardio, Stretching, Light rest
Unlike many strongmen who have a complete rest day, Eddie’s typical midweek interval would consist of cardio workouts, yoga, and a session with his physical therapist.
While he did not do much lifting, this doesn’t mean that he did not work his muscles. Some of these workouts will cause extreme soreness and fatigue to the average person. But to Eddie, this is enough to enhance recovery.
Here is the cardio routine: swimming, tire-flipping, and sled pushing. He needed this all to recover from considerable lifting while increasing muscle strength and growth.
Thursday – Back and Arms
Following the recovery, Eddie works his back, another long chain of bulky muscles. He also used compound movement techniques that simultaneously worked his arm muscles, especially triceps and biceps.
Some back and arm muscle exercises include hammer curls, machine rows, dumbbell rows, bicep and barbell curls, lat pulldowns, tricep pushdowns, tricep dips and extensions, and dumbbell kickbacks.
Friday – Shoulder and Traps
The last workout day consisted of upper back and shoulder workouts. Some top picks include shrugs, delt flies, side delts, dumbbell press, side delts, front and lateral raises, log press, and Viking press.
Sunday and Saturday – Rest Days
The rest of the week was spent off the gym and getting much-needed rest. Otherwise, he would also visit the physical therapist for some tips on how to optimize recovery.
From the moment you decide to train like a strongman everything changes. First, your workout routine must be tailored for strength and muscle growth. Second, you should have enough meals to supplement your caloric requirements for heavy lifting. Third, you should get enough rest between sets and at the end of each workout week – recovery is as important as working out. Most importantly, don’t be scared to start off light and climb your way up the ranks.