If you’re on the lookout for something new to throw in your workout to kickstart weight loss, look no further than strongman. Strongman training is fun and extremely effective. You can do it practically anywhere and get great results in a surprisingly short period of time. Strongman is exceptionally good for fat loss for a whole bunch of different reasons. In this article, I’ll explain why Strongman works so well and then give you some brutal and effective strongman routines that you can try for yourself either at the gym or at home.
Strongman is Perfect for Fat Loss
Strongman training is made up of intense, heavy interval training. Believe it or not, anaerobic training like this is actually better for burning fat than aerobic endurance training because it forces the body to burn fat as fuel instead of muscle. Anaerobic training also releases growth hormone (HGH) which is a huge part of the body’s fat storage system. Aerobic training, in contrast, burns through the carbohydrates in your bloodstream and then immediately starts eating into your muscle. Aerobic training increases production of cortisol, a stress hormone that leads to fast muscle loss.
Anaerobic interval training works so much better than aerobic training because it forces the metabolism to adapt—in order to sustain the level of intensity needed, your body must burn fat. It also keeps the metabolism raging for 24 hours or more after your workout, which has been shown to have a dramatic effect on fat loss, especially from the belly region. (See Is Aerobic or Anaerobic Training Best for Getting Rid of Belly Fat? by Charles Poliquin)
This means that strongman trainers are burning more fat during their workouts and they actually continue to burn fat for over 24 hours after their workouts are finished! Strongman training increases Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) meaning that you keep on burning fat long after your workout is finished. A 2006 study showed that anaerobic workouts like strongman training produce higher EPOC values than long distance aerobic training because the muscles are forced by the intensity of the effort needed to restore nutrients expended by the cells; in other words they used a ton of energy. This is terrific for fat loss since it means your metabolism is getting jacked up like crazy. Lose fat while eating more, who doesn’t want that!
Another aspect of strongman training that accelerates fat loss is the use of uneven and oddly shaped objects. Typical strongman equipment like sleds, ropes, stones, sand bags, not only makes training exciting, but also makes it harder for you develop a perfectly efficient technique while you lift. While great technical efficiency is great for performance, a less efficient athlete is actually working much harder than an efficient one. This is bad for competition, but terrific for fat loss because of all the calories being burned by this inefficient movement. Efficiency is developed when your Central Nervous System “learns” which muscles should be activated and which ones should be relaxed for the best coordination of effort. However, when the balance point of the odd object you’re lifting is constantly moving around, your nervous system can never quite figure out how to adapt. The efficiency process becomes much harder and you will have to use every muscle in your body just to hold onto the weight. The more muscles you use, the more energy is expended and the more energy expended, the greater the fat loss results.
Get Motivated, Stay Motivated
One of the biggest challenges for fat loss is the motivation required. Strongman trainers are constantly motivated for their workouts because of the challenge and uniqueness of the movements. Every week they train something new and exciting. Not only does this sort of training increase your lean muscle mass, it also develops real-world strength and even helps improve poor posture and joint instability. Strongman training definitely improves mental toughness, as anyone can tell you who has done a heavy sled workout, flipped a tire for high reps, or loaded heavy atlas stones.