View Full Version : strongmen events and muscle activation

09-20-2009, 05:12 PM
this one is for the strongmen or those just interested in the effects of the different strongmen events on the activation of different muscles. the following study is pretty interesting because it provides us with some insight of what the required for the body during strongmen events. knowing what muscles are stressed during strongmen events might give us info on what to specifically train or rehab.

mcgill et al. (2009) measured the emg of different muscle of the trunk and hip as well as multiple kinematic measures during strongmen events. the stongmen events were as follows: farmers walk, suit case carry (right and left), super yoke walk, keg walk (right and left), log lift, tire flip, and atlas stone lift. three participants were used and were all active competitors in strongmen events.

ok, the results are vast so bear with me with some global results. the yoke walk elicited the greatest back compression because of all the muscle cocontraction of the trunk. the tire lift generated a bit more compression on the back than the log lift. the stone lift had the least amount of compressioin likely because the load (stone) was so close to the center of mass. the stone lift showed the largest gluteal activation, upper errector spinae, and abs. all occuring at different phases of the stone lift. the tire lift elicited max activation of the lats, lower lumbar errector spinae, and hamstrings. again, muscles peaked different points of the events. if anyone wants to know more specific kinematics, just ask.

you can see already what might be needed to say- better perform on these events. you might specify latissimus training for better results during the tire lift.

some unique demands were seen in the yoke walk and suit case walk. large moments were required at the hip for abduction that far exceded its capabilities. but, the tasks were accomplished with the stiffening of the trunk muscles including other frontal plane muscles. a muscle such as quadratus lumborum helps support the trunk on hips and compensate for hip strength deficets. and the yoke walk had the highest compressive loads on the back probably just to keep the spine stable across all three planes. since strongmen events require complex movements across multiple links (ie., kinetic-chain) that all function together, discriminating relative weaks links might be good for those looking to improve performance and avoid injuries.

i will be back to speak on the specific results of each event.

Comparison of Different Strongman Events: Trunk Muscle Activation and Lumbar Spine Motion, Load, and Stiffness (http://forums.rxmuscle.com/nsca-jscr/Fulltext/2009/07000/Comparison_of_Different_Strongman_Events__Trunk.15 .aspx)
McGill, Stuart M; McDermott, Art; Fenwick, Chad MJ
The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research. 23(4):1148-1161, July 2009.
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e318198f8f7


McGill, SM, McDermott, A, and Fenwick, CMJ. Comparison of different strongman events: trunk muscle activation and lumbar spine motion, load, and stiffness. J Strength Cond Res 23(4): 1148-1161, 2009-Strongman events are attracting more interest as training exercises because of their unique demands. Further, strongman competitors sustain specific injuries, particularly to the back. Muscle electromyographic data from various torso and hip muscles, together with kinematic measures, were input to an anatomically detailed model of the torso to estimate back load, low-back stiffness, and hip torque. Events included the farmer's walk, super yoke, Atlas stone lift, suitcase carry, keg walk, tire flip, and log lift. The results document the unique demands of these whole-body events and, in particular, the demands on the back and torso. For example, the very large moments required at the hip for abduction when performing a yoke walk exceed the strength capability of the hip. Here, muscles such as quadratus lumborum made up for the strength deficit by generating frontal plane torque to support the torso/pelvis. In this way, the stiffened torso acts as a source of strength to allow joints with insufficient strength to be buttressed, resulting in successful performance. Timing of muscle activation patterns in events such as the Atlas stone lift demonstrated the need to integrate the hip extensors before the back extensors. Even so, because of the awkward shape of the stone, the protective neutral spine posture was impossible to achieve, resulting in substantial loading on the back that is placed in a weakened posture. Unexpectedly, the super yoke carry resulted in the highest loads on the spine. This was attributed to the weight of the yoke coupled with the massive torso muscle cocontraction, which produced torso stiffness to ensure spine stability together with buttressing the abduction strength insufficiency of the hips. Strongman events clearly challenge the strength of the body linkage, together with the stabilizing system, in a different way than traditional approaches. The carrying events challenged different abilities than the lifting events, suggesting that loaded carrying would enhance traditional lifting-based strength programs. This analysis also documented the technique components of successful, joint-sparing, strongman event strategies.
(C) 2009 National Strength and Conditioning Association

Go to Full Text of this Article (http://forums.rxmuscle.com/nsca-jscr/Fulltext/2009/07000/Comparison_of_Different_Strongman_Events__Trunk.15 .aspx)

robert da strongman
09-22-2009, 01:44 AM
great stuff

09-22-2009, 07:07 PM
great stuff

i knew you would like it. lol.

many of these events require spine stabilization or to be "stiffened." the muscles of the trunk are activated for the spine to stay errect while in the carrying events. earlier i gave the example of quadratus lumborum as a stabilizer though many other muscles exist that were not measured. errector spina is surely activated though it is mainly a prime mover not a spinal stabilizer. deep muscles such as the rotators, multifidi, and transverse adominas are spine stabilizers. maybe specific training for these muscles would increase performance and prevent injury.

another interesting not was the experimenters would different kinematics and mucles activatin between strongmen. one subject who was a world class lifter "braced" himself by coordination of the abdominals and hip extensors while another subject did not. so training of motor control could be an avenue to increase performance and reduce injury as well.

the stone lift is astounding because such a flexed spine puts it at the highest risk of end plate fracture. so injuries must be frequent.

robert da strongman
09-22-2009, 07:25 PM
i found out first hand about neglecting the erectors and the yoke. popped my back...

i see less injuries from stones but more from tire flipping. usually a torn bicep. but i understand, its not a good position to be in.