STRONGMAN STANDOUT BRIAN SHAW REVEALS THE TRAINING AND NUTRITION PLAN THAT HAS HELPED HIM WIN ARNOLD STRONGMAN CLASSIC AND WORLD’S STRONGEST MAN CHAMPIONSHIP TITLES
Brian Shaw has established himself as one of the top strongman athletes in the world. Shaw, who started his strongman career in 2005, has won multiple titles, inclluding the Arnold Classic and World’s Strongest Man championships. Here, he serves up the training and nutrition programs that have made him, well, one superstrong dude!
THE STRONGMAN CAVE
If you want to be the world’s strongest man, you’re gonna need a place that has a lot of weights and specialized equipment. To ensure he had all that he needed, Shaw built his own gym, which is 2,000 square feet and uniquely his own.
“My gym has an intense vibe,” Shaw states. “Even before you enter there are a bunch of Atlas stones in the parking lot beside the door, so you know it’s not your average gym.” Inside there are the typical pieces of equipment you’d expect in a strongman’s training facility: a squat rack, bench press, and deadlift platform, as well as a pulldown machine, cable row, and dip bars.
Upon closer inspection, experienced lifters will notice that several pieces of equipment have been altered to Shaw’s specifications. “On my pulldown machine I’ve modified the bar with grips at various widths,” Shaw says. “It looks kind of like a ladder, thereby allowing me to grip it at different widths so I can target different areas of my back. And the bar is three inches in diameter, which helps increase my grip strength. After doing a set with this monster, your fingers are killing just from gripping the bar—and the pulldown bar at your local gym seems like a toothpick!”
Having a plethora of tools handpicked for strongman is crucial for event training. These include various size beer kegs, which he uses to train for the keg throw and keg walk. His Atlas stones and various-size circus dumbbells are also custom made; the latter are used for one of the most exciting events at the Arnold Strongman competition.
“Every year I have to get a new dumbbell made because they keep increasing the weight with every competition…and that’s because competitors keep smashing the record for reps!” he says. “It’s going to get to the point where they’re going to need an entire crew just to roll the thing out onstage.”
The Austrian Oak Press is another fan favorite. Shaw trains for it with replica logs. He offers a word of caution to aspiring strongman competitors unfamiliar with the coordination involved in the lifts: “All the strongman events are dangerous, so you have to know exactly what you’re doing. For example, with the log press, not only do you have to lift it off the floor, you also have to balance the log, which is over two feet in diameter at the ends, on your chest before you press it. It can really put a kink in your neck if you’re not careful.”
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