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The Best Strongman Training Kit

a strongman about to perform Farmer's Walk on a pair of Farmer's Walk handles

Strongman training is by far the best way to build whole-body strength – and not just static strength. By incorporating strongman exercises into your training routine you’ll begin to build a body as strong and robust as an ox’s and also you’ll develop a functional physicality that serves a purpose beyond the parochial confines of a gym.

Brian Shaw, 4 X World’s Strongest Man, advises people to incorporate strongman exercises into their regime because the strength these exercises build help to make everyday tasks easier. For example, when you can flip a 100kg tyre or carry a 50kg keg, carting the shopping to the car or picking up the kids become comparatively easy. So does twisting off that stubborn jam jar lid or uncorking that bottle of vino.

In addition to forging functional strength, strongman training is a superior muscle and mass builder. If you’re looking to bulk-up or add a bit more size to your frame, including exercises such as deadlifts, tyre flips and barrel carries to your regime, could contribute to a noticeable increase in lean muscle mass.

Below are some other benefits of strongman training

Improved body coordination

Functional exercises, unlike their inferior static counterparts, require that we move across unconventional planes. This forges functional strength while also developing synergist muscles.

Augmented biomechanical synchronicity

Basically, because functional exercises require that the trainer coordinates their lumbering mass through multiple movements while transitioning three dimensions, out of necessity they will improve their mind/body connection.

Re-correcting strength imbalances

Functional exercises, which are a hallmark of strongman training, develop whole-body strength. As a strongman it’s not enough just to be strong in one exercise or discipline. To be competitive a strongman must cultivate cross-discipline competency; meaning they must maintain whole-body strength.

Strongman kit is relatively cheap and surprisingly easy to procure

Contrary to popular opinion you don’t need to spend a fortune on strongman equipment. As well as being cheap strongman equipment is eminently durable. For example, prior to purchasing a tractor tyre, you’ll not have to concern yourself with the returns policy. The same can be said for all strongman training it.

Benefits of strength training include

Increased muscle mass
Increased strength
Stronger tendon and ligaments
Increased metabolic rate
Anti-ageing benefits
Reduced fat
Increased one density
Reduced blood pressure
Reduced blood cholesterol and blood fats
Improved posture
Reduction in injury susceptibility
Improved psychological well-being
Improved appearance

(List adapted from Anita Bean’s Strength Training: The Complete Guide To)


Strongman kit

1: Mirafit M1 Weight Drag Sled and Harness (£79.99)

Product Overview (click image for availability)

  • Mirafit M1 weight sled & harness.

  • Super strong steel construction.

  • Curved edge on platform ensures plates are well protected.

  • Suitable for use on most terrains including grass, Astro turf and sand.

  • Suitable for Olympic weight plates.

  • Collapsible fold flat post for excellent portability.

Sleds make for excellent training tools. They boast a breadth of exercise applications and are far more versatile than their simplistic design suggests. Consequently, they are one of the most underrated and underused pieces of exercise equipment available. Bit of shame that because they are stellar for developing superior whole-body physicality. And, if you’ve got access to a good stretch of grass, they can build explosive sprint performance.

With Mirafit’s exceptionally well-made sled, which looks like a Robot Wars champion, you’ll soon possess the pulling power of a carthorse. Constructed from industrial grade materials this strongman training tool promises to last a lifetime.


2: Tractor Tyre EVO AGG (£175.00)

Product Overview (click image for availability)

  • Big, cylindrical rubber tyre.

  • Constructed from rubber!

  • Super durable.

  • Weighs a lot.

As far as quintessential strongman disciplines go, tyre flipping is perhaps second only to the Atlas stones. Strongmen have been flipping tyres since there were tyres to flip. And there’s a perfectly rational reason why aspirant strongmen flip tyres. Reason: because few if any single exercise develops whole-body strength like heaving a recalcitrant cylindrical lump of rubber from the floor and pushing it over.

In performing that single movement, which is actually an assortment of many, the major muscle groups are recruited along with every synergist in the near vicinity. In addition, if you’ve got it in you for a tyre flipping AMRAP, the muscles of the cardio-respiratory system will also receive a ruddy good workout to boot. AGG’s tractor tyre, with its deep tread and thick tyre wall, will make for the perfect flipping partner.


3: Mirafit ‘Hex’ Bar with Quick Release Collars (£119.00

Product Overview (click image for availability)

  • Mirafit chrome 'Hex' bar which includes two quick release spring collars.

  • Heavy duty solid steel 16kg bar with chrome finish.

  • Multi-grip knurled handles - For use with standard 1" weights.

  • Maximum weight capacity 300kg.

Truly, if it’s strength you’re after then you absolutely must include the deadlift into your training regime. As Delavier says, as well as working ‘virtually every muscle . . . it builds terrific hip, lower back, and trapezius muscles mass.’ But the benefits of regularly performing this power-packed exercise do not stop at developing superior strength and size. Deadlifting will also improve your physical performance in other fitness and sporting disciplines – such as ergo rowing, rugby and most all combat sports.

Hex bars are brilliant for performing deadlifts and Farmer’s walk. Because you can stand inside the hexagonal frame, the lifting position is more natural and thus more comfortable. The same cannot be said for the Olympic bar, which puts you behind the load. Consequently, when executing heavy lifts on an Olympic bar, you are forced forwards which inevitably places excessive strain on the lower back. This does not happen when lifting with a hex bar.

Received lost of solid feedback: 5 stars with over 200 reviews


4: PELLOR Fitness Weights Sandbags (£38.99)

Product Overview (click image for availability)

  • Fillable inner-bags enables progressive load training.

  • Each bag is equipped with 6 handles to provide a variety of grip options for your workout.

  • The outer shell and filler bags are made from highly durable 1200D Oxford fabric which reduces leakages.

The functional fitness utility of power bags has long been recognised. In addition to being neigh on indestructible, which makes them great value for money (a common characteristic of all strongman kit), power bags can be used to develop strength, functional strength, muscular endurance, core stability and, if you dare do burpees into overhead heaves, they’ll have your heart hammering at your chest after just a couple of reps.

As well as offering a unique and dynamic dimension to your fitness sessions, PELLOR’s sandbags affords the trainer with multiple exercise options. For example, because of the multiple handle positions, you could perform conventional movements – such as squats and deadlifts – or get down and functional by integrating them into exercises like burpees and (my personal favourite) hanging snatch into overhead throw.


5: Mirafit Sandbag for Strongman Training (£Price varies depending on weight)

Product Overview (click image for availability)

  • Mirafit sandbags for strongman training: 50kg - 75kg - 100kg - 125kg - 150Kg.

  • Suitable for a variety of strength training including carry exercises and platform lifts.

  • Heavy duty 1000D cordura nylon for increased durability.

  • Reinforced triple stitched seams with extra strong zipper.

  • Double fastening for a more secure seal.

The barrel lift and carry is a quintessential strongman discipline. It’s also a real tough guy, big boy back slaps, beer chugging exercise that makes you feel like a ‘proper man’. Seriously, after a couple of sets of keg carriers you’ll be strutting around with imaginary carpets under your armpits.

But as well as imbuing you with the ‘gorilla complex’ the barrel lift and carry is a class act at building whole-body strength. Also, if adopted as a permanent fixture of your fitness regime, this exercise will help you forge enviable physical robustness.

Because barrels are a bit of burden – to pack and post – Mirafit, in their infinite wisdom, have developed an alternative. Their sandbags – which are different to power bags – are designed to imitate the exercise experience of lifting and carrying kegs. However, in many ways these sandbags are better.

For starters, they are not as ‘compliant’ as is a keg. Because the sandbags contort and deform (for want of a better word) they can be quite challenging to pick up. This requires greater strength and tactile astuteness to master. Furthermore, the weight, unlike a keg, does not sit evenly and when you pick them up you’ll find that the load is unevenly distributed. Again, this is great for developing core and functional strength. And finally, because they’re fillable, and thus collapsible, they a breeze to pack and post.


6: Yes4All Farmer Walk Handles (£63.00)

Product Overview (click image for availability)

  • Nearly 5 stars with over 8 reviews

  • These Farmer’s Walk handles are constructed from solid steel.

  • They can support up to 330 lbs each.

  • Smart design ensure that they won't take up much room making them perfect for home gym use.

  • Suitable for Olympic or standard weight plates.

The Farmer’s Walk is a classic strength building exercise and one that always features in World Strongman events. Simple though it undeniably is, few exercises develop whole-body strength like carrying by your sides two evenly weighted objects.

In addition, unlike static strength exercises, such as deadlifts, squats or standing overhead press, the Farmer’s Walk facilitates the augmentation of functional physicality – that is, strength with a broader purpose beyond the parochial one of impressing people in the gym.

Yes4All Farmer’s Walk Handles have been constructed from industrial grade materials meaning that they’re virtually indestructible. They have been stress tested to a load capacity of up to 330lbs (just shy of 150kgs). The beauty of these Farmer’s Walk handles is that they are super compact. Thus, they take up little space and are portable – much the same cannot be said of the frame version. In addition, the all-steel handles are coated in a black powder paint, which increases durability while preventing rust and corrosion.


To Conclude

Strongman training is a sure way to develop functional strength and build rock solid muscle. Introducing strongman exercises into your training regime has never been easier in the advent of affordable and accessible equipment.

For a relatively small price you can procure super-durable, highly-functional training tools that can help you build enviable strength.


(As we are very interested in user experience here at Hungry4Fitness, we would be very grateful if you could take a few seconds out of your day to leave a comment. Thanks in advance!)

Blog Author

Adam Priest is a former Royal Marines Commando, personal trainer, lecturer, boxing and Thai boxing enthusiast.

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