Ever fancied spending your Saturday mornings trying to flip over big tyres? Or carrying heavy weights around a car park in East London? No? Why ever not? It’s exactly how I spent my Saturday morning a couple of weeks ago and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I’ve been curious about Strong Woman training for a while. My PT Jess Wolny used to compete (that’s her on the left carrying a yoke) and has told me on several occasions how much she thought that I would enjoy it. So when my regular Saturday Olympic Lifting class wasn’t on one week I decided to bite the bullet and give it a go.
Making my way to the East London Rugby Club in West Ham, home of Skorpion Fitness I’ve got to admit to feeling a bit nervous. I had an idea of what would be involved but didn’t really know what I was letting myself in for. I needn’t have been worried. James, the trainer got me to fill in a registration form and asked a few questions about my fitness background. On discovering that I do both powerlifting and Olympic lifting he proclaimed that I would be fine and told me that strongman training was more about brute strength than anything else.
We started by moving equipment out into the car park for the farmers walk and rolling the big tyres into the same area. I was assigned to the group who were starting with the farmers walk and tyre drag. The farmers walk involves picking up two weights and walking with them for a set distance. We would combine this with dragging a 55kg tyre back to our starting position. James talked us through safe technique and then we were off – starting with just the handles at 20kg each. This was relatively easy and we added weights 10kg on each side at a time until I was walking with 100kg, 50kg each side.
Dragging the tyre back in the other direction was seriously hard work. It kept getting ‘stuck’ on the car park gravel and my quads were on fire which I hadn’t expected. My heart rate was also through the roof – a serious high intensity workout!
Back to the farmers walk and the weights had been upped to 120kg, 60kg each hand. I just about managed to lift them off the ground but less than halfway along the walk my grip failed and the weights dropped to the floor. I picked them up and started walking again but soon the same thing happened. It took me about four attempts to cover the whole distance.
James suggested that that I drop the weight to 110kg and showed me how to grip the bars more securely than I had been doing. It worked!
Having successfully carried 110kg I decided to give 120kg another go and again had success. It felt great, heavy, but great.
Next up was tyre flipping. Starting at 75kg and moving up quickly weight from there to 130kg and then 150kg. There was a bit more technique involved here. Starting in almost a sumo position and then deadlifting the tyre off the floor, the most difficult part was finding somewhere to grip to get it moving! Once it was at a height where I could prop my leg underneath it was OK, but getting the 150kg off the floor was really quite difficult – James offered some assistance in the help of a ‘magic finger’ – just a small help to get things moving, then it was all my own work!
Types flipped we went indoors to do some keg loads. Pick up a keg and put it on a bench which was about shoulder height. I enjoyed these- a mixture of deadlift and then a bit of a push press. I got up to 40kg quite easily.
I really enjoyed my first taste of strongman training, it was exactly my kind of thing. Really great functional training and with the combination of strength with short spurts of cardio it’s also great for fat loss. I’m definitely going to be adding it in to my training schedule now and again.
At £7.50 a session it’s also amazing value! Sessions run every Saturday morning from 10am at the East London Rugby Football Club.