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Our 18-Minute Strongman-Inspired Session Builds Real Functional Muscle

scott britton
Our 18-Min Workout Builds True Strongman StrengthHearst Owned

Whether you want to build visible muscle or simply increase your lifts, you need mechanical tension and high effort. This strongman workout from MH Elite coach Scott Britton certainly delivers both, packaged in a full-throttle strength and stamina session.

The workout contains all the vital components in any seasoned strongman's toolbox; d-ball to shoulders, squats and push press. Based on the fabled atlas stone, the act of lifting something cumbersome has huge carry over to other areas of your life and increases the physical demand if you've become accustomed to standard free weights or barbells. As fatigue and reps increase, Britton's workout will push your endurance.

While it won't take more than 18 minutes, it carries enough clout to physically prepare you for running around and picking up after the kids, or bulletproof you for the next CrossFit Open workout.

You will need a heavy d-ball or sandbag and a dumbbell you can press overhead. Let's get to work.


The Workout

'Set the timer for 18 minutes and take 30 second rest after every set before hitting more reps', explains Britton.

d ball shoulder
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D-Ball To Shoulder x 3, 6, 9, 12 Reps

Begin with the d-ball on the floor with your feet either side. Squat down to scoop up the d-ball and bring it close to your chest in the low squat position. If you have chosen a particularly heavy weight, you may need to bring your legs together and rest the d-ball on your knees before bringing it up to your chest. With your core tight, push explosively through your legs so the momentum brings the d-ball to your shoulder. Let the d-ball balance for a split second before it falls back to the floor in front of you, to be repeated on the other shoulder.

Britton recommends 'The d-ball is inspired by the atlas stones. Make sure you're bringing that roll up to shoulder to get the control but also to learn the position that strongmen do. It isn't just cleaning it up, it's getting the ball to knee, rolling it up your body as you lean back and stand nice and strong at the top.'

sandbag squat
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D-Ball Squat x 3, 6, 9, 12 Reps

Start standing after the d-ball to shoulders, with your feet wider than your hips. Pick up the d-ball and hold it close to your chest using the same technique as the previous exercise and come to standing. Sit your hips into a low squat while keeping your chest upright and core engaged. Push through the heels back to standing upright and repeat. The demand of holding something cumbersome like the d-ball will be an additional challenge in comparison to the goblet squat. Brace your core and reset if you need to.

push press
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Single Arm Dumbbell Push Press x 3, 6, 9, 12 Reps

After your last d-ball squat, pick up the dumbbell and clean it to your shoulder with the palm facing inwards. With your core braced and chest open, create a slight bend in the knees to then push through the floor so that the dumbbell travels overhead. Let the dumbbell return back to your shoulder while controlling the downward portion of the movement. Take it back to the floor and repeat on the other side.

Britton recommends 'This needs to be heavy to replicate the old circus dumbbell, which was usually used in a split jerk. Learn to drop underneath to use your legs and core to stand the dumbbell up. Make sure you rotate through each hand as it is a single dumbbell movement. Get underneath and stand up nice and strong with the dumbbell.'

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