My take on Strongman contest warmups

I spent many years competing in strongman and always questioned the lack of warm up equipment and thought it was a huge risk to the competitors, luckily this is something that has improved a bit over the years but is still far from perfect. Some contests their idea of warm up for the guys is stripping 20kg of the contest weight and letting you pick it up once or twice. I like so many people need plenty of warm up and if you asked me to deadlift 250kg when cold id struggle even when I was comfortably lifting over 400kg. I addressed this by doing band warm ups before they gave us the token lift to feel the equipment with maybe 75% of our maxes. I would do a full body warm up before contest then maybe before an event hitting a specific area (i.e. shoulders before the over head event if its not first event). I found doing this to be very beneficial and has definitely aided my performances in wsm.

I would always work my body from bottom to top but would first start with some light foam roller on legs and back. This would consist of rolling calves, hamstrings, it bands, quads, glutes, lower to mid back and lats, I personally found this very beneficial especially when doing a multi day contest like wsm. This I feel is not something that should be worked on very hard its more just to give your muscles a flush through.

After performing the foam rollering Id then work on some dynamic stretching of the lower body. This consists of :-

  • Knee to chest, this involves lifting your bent leg up and pulling you knee to your chest making sure you keep yourself upright, you then return your leg to the floor taking a step forward and repeating with the other leg. I do this approximately 10 times each leg
  • Walking lunge, this is pretty common as a gym exercise but when doing this its important to keep good posture and push the hips forward to get a good hip flexor stretch.
  • Side lunge, same principle as the walking lunge but trying to keep heals on the floor during the process.
  • Toe touch, this involves swinging the straight right leg forward up to touching your left hand at arms length then alternate legs. Again I would perform this 10 times each leg

Next comes the band warm ups

  • Calf raises, I perform these putting the band under the balls of both feet and the other end round the back of my neck, I then stand up straight and do 20 calf raises, these can be done with the band but with just adds a bit of tension
  • squats, from the same band position I do 20 squats
  • good mornings, same band position again and perform a good morning.
  • Thrusters, hold the band in a front rack position (like about to perform an o/h press) squat down and then back up continuing the movement into a press. If this is not clear search thrusters on youtube and you’ll get the idea
  • 1 arm rows, this I do by attaching the band to a fence post or similar, walk back with the arm fully extended and till you have some band tension, bend forward slightly then row with that arm. I perform this 20 times on each arm
  • bicep curls, I do these 1 arm at a time, hold the loop stand on the band and curl, you can add tension by standing further up the band so you’re pulling a shorter bit of band. Before stones I do these with arms in a hammer position rather than with hand suppinated.
  • last but not least individual 1 arm presses, stand on the band with right foot and press with right hand over head, do this 20 times on right then swap to left foot and left hand and repeat. I perform these always before overheads as a separate thing, so not just part of the all-over warm up.

Well that’s my warm-up covered, I hope this can be of help to some aspiring strongmen or lifters. You may need to purchase different levels of bands for different exercises but they’re a very worthwhile investment if they stop you getting injured, also they can be used for speed training in the gym so you get plenty of use from them.


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