Build a Classic Physique with Strongman Training for Bodybuilders

February 09, 2017

“Bodybuilding is dead!”


“Bodybuilding just isn’t what it used to be.”  I’ve heard this complaint so many times from so many people that I’ve all but quit looking for the next Arnold. The next Lou.  The next Franco.  However, I realized that these individuals don’t define my beloved sport and that I’m just clinging to a past that no longer exists.  Besides, not living up to the accomplishments of previous generations is a common criticism hurled at revolutionary young talent by the change resistant Master’s Class of every worthwhile endeavor.


While it’s true that the aesthetic Olympians of yesteryear may have been replaced by box-like monsters that tout unattainable and, to many of us, undesirable physiques, all is not lost.  There is a new generation of ‘bodybuilders’ who attain tremendously aesthetic physiques using alternative training methods that also improve performance, strength, and athleticism.  You may not find these new titans of bodybuilding on the stage…yet…but, if you look hard enough, you’ll find some of the best classic bodybuilding physiques of any generation and you’ll learn how they’ve modernized classic bodybuilding.


Check out the video above to watch TEAM USPlabs bodybuilder Thomas Gibson try some off-season strongman conditioning.


Alternate training techniques, like the ones featured in our video, are nothing new at this point and social media is chalk full of how-to’s.  However, most gyms don’t carry a set of Thor’s hammers in 5 pound increments from 20 – 90 lbs.  Just where does one find this equipment?  The unfortunate answer is that most of us just don’t have access to a facility that supports the novel training styles that we’d like to implement.  So, how do we implement one of these calorie crushing, full-body strengthening, muscle building workouts with what is available to us?


TEAM USPlabs Holly Helton


Lucky for you, the Pros at USPlabs put together an advanced, alternate training protocol that focuses on revolutionary movements with standard equipment that can be found at nearly any McFitness center near you.  Check out our 5 Tips for the Modern Bodybuilder interested in improving aesthetics, performance, and mobility.

Improved Grip Strength


  • – Incorporate the use of towels into your back and bi training to Improve grip strength and forearm development.  Other tools, such as “fat bars” can be utilized to accomplish the same goal if they’re available to you.  Besides providing you with an epic handshake, improved grip strength can increase the amount of weight you can handle for deads, rows, and curls. Learn more here: How to Increase Grip Strength


Increased Force Production


  • – Adding bands or chains, if they’re available, to exercises like dips and deadlifts can help increase overall force production through adaptation to a progressive load. Use these accessories to help develop power and size.


Core Power



Alternate Movements


  • – Introducing exercises such as kettlebell swings, high pulls, jammer presses, farmers walks, and Olympic lifts can serve as excellent alternatives to strongman movements. These alternate movements can be easily incorporated into most conventional bodybuilding or strength programs as either a heavy stand-alone exercise or an auxiliary movement to improve compound lifts such as the bench press, squat, or deadlift.


Faster Workouts


  • – Implement interval training, such as Tabata, to improve overall conditioning. Interval training can be a complete workout by itself; however, if you decide to add intervals to your current routine, complete them first or early on in your workout.  Be sure to read our in-depth look at Tabata training prior to implementing intervals so you’re prepared to take this step in the best way possible.  Read more here: Tabata – Your 4 Minute Workout Solution


Try any of these techniques in your workouts for an added edge. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to ask.  If you’re a #USPlabsBarbellClub Member, tag us in your pics and videos of your workouts for a chance to be featured.  If you haven’t joined, you can sign up for a FREE membership here –

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of USPlabs or any employee thereof. Examples used within this article are only examples. USPlabs is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the authors of this article. Authors may have been remunerated by USPlabs.

The information provided in this article, as well as this web-site blog is intended for informational and educational purposes only and should not be interpreted as medical advice for any condition. Always consult a qualified medical professional before beginning any nutritional program or exercise program. By reading this disclaimer, you hereby agree and understand that the information provided in this column is not medical advice and relying upon it shall be done at your sole risk.

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