I attempted the Stoltman's Strongman Health club Exercise - and here is why you need to do it

When my editor explained that there was a job by my name - right around the corner, nonetheless - that would require me to ditch the keyboard and train with two of the strongest men in the world, the Stoltman brothers: Luke and Tom Stoltman, fortunately, I may have jumped at the chance without a second thought.

I was beyond excited because I know it's the kind of crazy experiences that remind a 40-year-old writer like me that there's no substitute for stepping out of your comfort zone and learning from the best. So, wanting to hang out with the legendary Scottish giants without embarrassing myself completely, I hit a gym in Twickenham, London, all in the name of a great story.

Luckily, this turned out to be a life changing encounter and what I learned could change your life too.

First of all, you don't have to be one of the strongest men in the world to train strong man style. While Luke Stoltman is a five-time winner of Scotland's Strongest Man and 2021 European Strongest Man, and his younger brother Tom Stoltman has been recognized as the World's Strongest Man for the last two years, I am pleased to say that the boys have offered no ego, when they put me through one of their grueling workouts. In fact, both men believe that "strongman" training is beneficial for everyone because it's all about building mobility and explosive power, and it's something we can all use - at any age.

M&F writer Scott Falstead plays with strong contenders Luke and Tom Stoltman

Strongman style training is for everyone

As a former semi-pro wrestler turned content provider, it turns out my days of grunts and groans aren't quite behind me, as I found out here. Strength training often involves activating all major muscle groups, including the chest, back, shoulders, arms, legs, and core. It's intense, but one of the main benefits of this type of full-body session is that it increases your overall fitness. t only can this type of training lead to better flexibility, but it also burns a lot of calories in the process. It's not just for beefy guys like the Stoltmans, either, as studies confirm that full-body workouts are just as valuable for the fairer sex; Reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and certain types of cancer.

The next thing you need to understand about this type of training is that weak machines that buckle under pressure just won't cut it. Luckily, Primal Strength CEO Steven Rinaldi was watching our workout at St Mary's Gym in Twickenham. He was a rugby player and bodybuilder before throwing his hat into the gym supply business and now his Primal Strength Brand counts JD Gyms and UFC Gyms among his clients. St. Mary's Gym is also fully equipped by Primal Strength, and the Stoltman's are big fans of the brand too.

“I think if you look at products now, and we supply people like Stoltman's, the product has to be able to handle even 450 kg,” says Steven. Of course, I have no chance of ever reaching those dizzying heights, but I set several personal records that day.

This is how the training went and what I learned.

The Stoltman Brothers Strongman Workout

The farmer's path

Interviewing elite athletes and toned celebrities is a huge motivator, so I try to hit the gym five times a week. I'm far from where I want to be, or where I want to be in terms of fitness, but I came to this workout at a relatively good fitness level, and while the Farmers Walk may look intimidating at first, it actually is an exercise that the vast majority of people can do.

I was tasked with four rounds of farmers walks, starting with a light weight and then (a bit too trustingly) allowing the brothers to increase the weight with each round. Starting lightly and working your way up means you can find your own sweet spot. The farm walk should be challenging but not painful. As a fan of the trap bar deadlift, I found the Farmers Walk to be a great exercise and will add it to my regular routine.

Tom was keen to point out that as you turn the other way you start to sway sideways as the weight increases and I definitely felt that! The official World's Strongest Man also advised me to take good care of my grip so as not to drop the bar while walking. Luke explained that the Stoltman brothers lifted more than 400 kg/881.8 pounds uphill in the competition! Although such a weight will forever be beyond my reach, I was thrilled when I looked back at our video footage and realized I had set a new personal best of 130kg / 286.6lbs.

One Arm Jerk

As someone who has been lifting a barbell for more than 25 years, I had never attempted a one-arm jerk prior to this particular workout. So every lift became a PR! While many dumbbell moves are all about isolating muscles like biceps or triceps, the jerk requires the full body.

I could lift the lighter weights without mastering proper technique, but the jerk is all about positioning and explosive power to make real progress. The first step is to bring the dumbbell into a comfortable position on your shoulder before thrusting your whole body up. That means your legs and core are working before you even use your arms. In the early stages I could lift without working my legs, but as we increased the load the only way to get the bar up was to really push your feet down and bring your knees up while the arms were raised. After some trial and error, I was pleased to reach 35 kg/77 pounds here. In fact, I threw myself into that final jolt so much that the momentum on the way back down made me do a little jog, much to our amusement!

Primal Strength curved treadmill

The Primal Strength Curved Treadmill is ideal for internal training and sprints. It's also perfect for strong men like Luke and Tom Stoltman as they use it to condition themselves for pulling and pushing loads like a tractor! The Stoltman brothers turned me on through three rounds of 30 seconds and then off for 30 seconds. And while the Primal Strength Curved Treadmill already has its own heavy-duty resistance settings, Man-Mountains decided to add a little more friction in the form of their giant feet! While the guys had great fun at my expense (I thought the machine was broken!), they pointed out that the correct technique for this type of move is to push down with your toes and slam them into the ground to drive. Lessons learned.

overhead push press

As a regular at the overhead press, I was once again out of my element with the push press. Since I've always practiced a more rigorous press that doesn't involve as much lower body effort, I was shown how to lift more weight by lifting off with my feet and exploding upwards. In Luke's demonstration of the movement, he was on tiptoe in the final stages of his ascent. After some practice I was able to replicate the movement, albeit with a little more work with explosiveness. Despite this, I've accumulated a PR of 45 kg/99.2 pounds. "Nice," Luke said. "Good," said Tom. Is there anything more inspiring than receiving encouraging comments from those miles ahead of you!?

The Finisher: Single Arm Jerk Challenge

For the finisher it went back to the one arm jerk to test what I had learned in terms of using my legs and core and to generate some explosive power. Four dumbbells of increasing weight were laid out side by side in front of me, with the goal of the challenge being to lift each weight in turn. The Stoltman brothers pointed out that there was no racing here, instead focusing on great form to finish.

As the Stoltman brothers looked on with words of encouragement, I worked my way through each weight until I reached my previous best of 35 kg/77 pounds. Would I beat it after putting so much strain on my body since that first round? I took my time to give myself every chance and with a deep breath I gave it my all just to nail it! "Easy," Luke said. Well, I wouldn't go that far! Still, I walked the rest of the day in the air.

While sweat was running down my face from a great workout, I learned that it really isn't just about the numbers on the plates. What matters is that I've been training since I was young and threw myself into something new in my 40's with two guys who are at the top of their game and lifted me up with their infectious positivity. You can't underestimate the extra progress you will make when given the right encouragement!

What's also remarkable here is how much you could change your own life and attitude towards fitness by exercising "strongman style." You really don't have to pull a tractor uphill like Stoltman's to participate. Breaking personal records comes with a lot of self-esteem, and that shouldn't be underestimated, but this type of training is also a great way to shake up your routine. Movements like the one-arm jerk and overhead press are less about isolating the arms and more about building your body's functional movement. You'll engage your core without ever doing a single sit-up! After all, strongman training is just more fun, which means you'll get excited about trying something new.

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