TEST Your Muscles & Grip Strength with Strongman Training & Arm Wrestling


Manasquan-Gym-Underground-StrengthAbove, The Manasquan Underground Strength Gym.

I have mentioned this before, and in my last post, where many of you commented on your favorite exercises being "Ground Based". We're on the same page.

I've been on the other side of the map myself, when I was a high school wrestler, using every machine in the gym, lying down, sitting down, smith machines, etc.

That training had me looking like a fitness model and performing sub par.

There are tremendous strength benefits that come from ripping weights off the ground, especially heavy, awkward Sandbags. If you're an athlete or compete in any sport, regardless of your age, ground based lifts are the exercises that give you the most bang for your buck.

The benefits of heavy ground based lifts are:

- Great for building muscle and working the entire body at once.

- Great for developing full body strength, teaching you to use your entire body as one unit.

- Great for developing power / starting strength.

If your goal is to gain more muscle, build more strength and to improve your performance, then focus on ripping weights of all sizes, shapes and types off the floor.

From free weights to odd objects, don't discriminate against the tool and put them to use.

Notice all the different carry variations we perform in this video as a finisher with this crew of Wrestlers and Football players at The Underground Strength Gym....

The workout was coming to an end and I planned on having the athletes carry all types of "weights" outside in the parking lot as a finisher, but, when weather doesn't cooperate, and in NJ it rarely does, you make due with what you've got. NO excuses.

For us it meant carrying dumbbells, sandbags, anvils, weighted vests, kettlebells  and even carrying our training partners.

Every set began with a power clean of some sort from the ground up, helping the athletes develop power, grip strength during the lift and the carry, conditioning during the carry and overall strength and mental toughness.

Strongman Finishers: You can do these finishers for time, such as 5 or 10 minutes of max work, or, 1 set of every object at your disposal. No rest between sets.

Test Yourself Outside of The Gym

In addition to using odd objects and even traditional tools for grip strength (Rolling Thunder, Captains of Crush, Wrist Rollers, etc) there are times when you need to perform bodyweight and manual resistance training for grip and forearm strength.

And ultimately, time to compete.

I was inspired to put my athletes in competitive modes more often when I saw this documentary on Arm Wrestling, highly recommended you see it as well.

Note the regularity of competing even in training from the movie above.

See this Video below, competing against your training partners in Arm Wrestling can be brutal.

Arm Wrestling at The Gym: Make sure you perform equal matches with both your left and right arm. I personally do a few extra sets of arm wrestling on my left side which is my non dominant side.

These arm wrestling challenges are a GREAT way to shock your muscles into growth and to TRULY test yourself and your training. It's easy to be a bad ass in the weight room. Anyone can do that.

Put your training to the test.

QOD / Question of the Day: I would love to hear how you make due with what you've got and how you turn a simple movement into an all around muscle building, strength building movement.

Post your advice, answers and comments below.

The Last post was just shy of 30 comments, let's break 30 comments this time!

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9 Responses

  1. Those boys are gonna grow up to have some Pop-eye forearms lol –

  2. Walter Dorey says:


    When I first moved to Tucson, AZ, all I had for a while was a barbell and some plates. No rack, bench, nada. So I would load the bar and my plates into my truck, drive out in the desert and lift.

    Every thing had to be pulled from the ground. So If ya wanted to press, squat, front squat, etc., ya had ta clean that puppy.

    One thing I would do was load up the bar, grab one end and stand the bar upright on end. Then get close to it and lift, lever it up to one shoulder and do one side squats or push press with one hand. When ya got done, ya’d tip one end down and then slowly lower the bar to the ground to repeat the set for the other side.

    Deads are great, but in some cases, man handling a bar around like this and learning to do a good clean are of great benefit to any ahtlete and develop the body in ways the dead lift can’t touch. It toughens you up.

    I’ve always said if someone can’t learn to clean a barbell, they ain’t much of an athlete, so they might as well pack it up and go home.

    Lottsa more where that came from…


  3. Bill Reed says:

    With my high school soccer team I put a log, a stone, a 75# sandbag and an old cooler filled with sand (50#) on one end line. Players pick one up, walk to the other end of the field, jog back, pick up another object, walk to the other end, repeat until they’ve made a trip with each object. Rest periods depend on how many athletes are training in that session and how many objects I can scrape together.

  4. Dude, that video was bad ass! You gotta be proud of those guys! By the way, where the heck did you get an anvil?!

  5. Kaiser – thanks bruddah, I wanna get you down here for a workout! stop by anytime!

    Walter! Dude, your barbell only workout reminds me of when I first started in my parent’s garage w/a 300 lb Oly Set. That was amazing times and I got stronger and bigger than ever before! You’re right dude, power clean city!

    Dio – snagged the anvil on craigs list! 130 lbs 🙂

  6. Wooh! that’s tough, those sandbags seems very heavy. I would love to try carrying them once.

  7. Odd objects. Particularly kegs, sandbags and stones.
    Then household items…
    As a track and field athlete in the throws, grip strength was always an issue. After hauling those odd objects around, the weight room seemed a lot easier.
    Not only did it make me a better thrower, it also helped me in life.
    I went to work later that year as a mover. Lots of big, strong looking dudes cracked after a hard day of moving households and offices, but I crushed it. Got hired full time and was moving pianos and pool tables, double recliner couches and well built entertainment centers for 8-12 hours/day. Up stairs, down stairs, around corners and down long hallways. THAT, with my base of barbell training got me pretty strong in a useful way.
    Never had real trouble in farming, landscaping, construction or moving after that.
    That’s the stuff that leaves one “dad strong”.

  8. Jared Mielke says:

    Yo Z! Good stuff. Before a lot of the current gear was readily a available(and we were broke lol) we used to do our farmer walks with buckets full of sand and mud or pinch metal 45s. Those are still some of my favorites.

  9. I know the question was what’s the “single movement” but a “single mindset” is the first thing I thought about.
    Programming is great but every once in a while you’ve got to throw your own wrench in the system. You’ve got to prepare yourself for when the shit hits the fan…”Get comfortable being Uncomfortable”.

    My “wrench” is a Midnight Madness-Soul Lifting session.
    Zach – you’ve talked about Soul Lifting and attacking movements/weights/reps/sets/time. Midnight Madness is just adding to the time factor by, you guessed it, starting at midnight. You can add the elements into the mix by going to a playground/jungle gym, just be prepared for the cops to ask you a few questions.

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