View Full Version : Highland Games and other Heavy Lifting Events
05-21-2008, 11:30 PM
Aside from my main goal of preparing for a sheriff academy Ill be going to relatively soon, I have a secondary goal, finding a new sport. Since Im no longer in school, my choices are limited, but I have begun researching heavy lifting events, Scottish highland games to be exact, and want to shoot for that. Plan/hope to compete in my first competition by this time next year. Wondering what kind of strength training people do?
I found an old MILO article from 1994 (volume 2 - number 3 for those who want to see it) written by Steve Moran. Here he goes through each event and assigns points to various exercices than has one compiled list with all the exercises in order from most points to least (back squats on top all the way to 'rotate at waist with plate in hand' at the end).
Based on this list I wanted to put together a strength program (I mention it in my post about losing deadlift strength in 'Exercises') using back squats, front squats, 'power pulls' (power cleans, power snatches, etc), push press, 'back' (pullups, chinups, etc). Since Im a little vain to, wanted to throw in some bench pressing. This doesnt include the abdominal and grip work, which I will do seperatly. I thought of altering the template from Starting Strength, but Idk, just wasnt feeling it.
So, again, just wondering what kind of training others here that do heavy-event competitions do as far as barbell training, not so much your event specific training.
05-22-2008, 05:03 AM
I know Power and Bulk has a whole section of their forum devoted to throwing and highland games...etc
05-22-2008, 05:04 AM
The heavy events are pretty taxing by themselves and require a certain amount of skill, so you must practice, but you probably knew that. Dan John (see http://danjohn.org) recommends overlapping heavy lifting, a heavy throwing, and competition phases.
What are your heavy event goals?
What is your current strength level?
What kind of throwing experience do you have?
When are you planning to compete?
05-22-2008, 07:42 AM
I looked at Dan John but didnt see anything, maybe I just missed something, Ill double check it. And Ill take a look at power and bulk, didnt even think of that.
As far as the questions:
1.) My goals are mainly to have fun, but also not come in last. Like I said, Im just looking for a new sport, and in my oppinion, sports should be fun, even if you dont win. I just also dont want to look like an idiot out there.
2.) As far as barbells, by the basic strength standards from Rippetoe, Im novice for my weight in my Press (130), Bench (200), Squat (260), and a few pounds shy of novice in my power clean (160) and deadlift (275) which makes sense because I never really did either of those very much until recently.
3.) Not much throwing expierence. Threw the shot put in middle school, but wasnt able to do field in high school since it conflicted with swimming. Other than that, nothing other than maybe throwing stuff at my brother and throwing the water polo ball in the pool in high school.
4.) While games are held throughout the year near here, a group in San Francisco puts on a competition every year on the last weekend of May, so Im shooting for the 2009 competition of that. Id try for something a little sooner except since I have to divide my goal with preparing myself for the academy, I decided not to rush things and a year should be more than enough.
As a note to this, I wasnt planning on using this program all the way until the games, just for a few months to help increase my strength levels and give me ideas on how to design my next program, and the next one, etc.
05-22-2008, 08:00 AM
I should also note that while I am not trying to gain any size (Im already a big guy and with all the running in the academy, gaining isnt the best idea) but I dont want to lose to much lean body mass either, which if all my calculations are right, at last weigh in was 196 pounds (give or take a few point pounds) or like 77% of my body weight. In fact, in reality, since my long term goal is to drop to at least 10% body fat, gaining 10 - 20 or so more pounds of muscle wouldnt necessarily be a bad thing as long as I keep losing fat like I have been.
05-22-2008, 08:05 AM
Keep hunting Dan's site. Seriosly. Read some of his newsletters, too, the Get Up! And read the e-book, from the groun up. It's all free, has great training principles, and seems totally geared for what you want. He's a long time competitor and coach in throwing and highland so he knows this shit well.
Power cleans, push presses, heavy squats, yeah you got it. Maybe some heavy conditioning, like sled pulls, or sandbag stuff.
This stuff always sounds so fun.
05-22-2008, 08:24 PM
Your strength levels are decent, but remember that there is some skill involved in each event and there are about 10 (varies with each Highland Games). You should definitely begin learning the throws by practicing with someone who's doing this if you can. You do have room for improvement strength wise, as most of the guys doing this are seriously strong.
As John said, Dan John's site is worth mining. With a year to prepare, you'll be fine. I have a somewhat more compressed schedule. I decided to enter the Long's Peak Highland Games in March. These games are in September and are fairly big. Like you, I don't want to look foolish.
My plan is to do a Starting Strength cycle (finishing tomorrow), take a few days off, then test for 'sorta max' singles in back squat, shoulder press, deadlift, clean, jerk, and snatch. Next phase will be largely Olympic type training, alternating with light throwing, for 4-6 weeks. I'll enter my first meet in late June. I know I'll suck, but WTF, at least I'll be better prepared for Long's Peak. For the final six weeks before my target meet, I'll probably do one or two strength workouts, one metcon, and two or three heavy throwing days.
You can stretch things out with your planned competition a year from now, but I'd recommend finding a few small meets to compete in sooner rather than later. The experience will be good, and if this isn't the sport for you, you'll know sooner.
Dave Van Skike
05-23-2008, 08:52 AM
Doing my first highland games in July, Ran into a guy at teh hardware store with a highland game t shirt on and he steered my to a yahoo group for this region.
You might try a similar thing where you are, see if the local chapter has any groups or phone numbers to call, might get some good local coaching.
05-23-2008, 09:16 AM
Video of DJ winning a caber toss.
Dave Van Skike
05-23-2008, 10:13 AM
Video of DJ winning a caber toss.
Caber=snatch hi pull with sumo grip.
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