Meet the Experts – City Strongman

Meet the Experts – City Strongman

Burn fat, generate energy, and become a City Strongman, says VPT Ben Gotting.

In 2010 following a year out of top flight rugby with a chronic injury to my right knee, I signed a professional rugby contract with London Welsh. At this stage they were a National 1 team, but in my head I saw it as a spring board back into the Premiership with either London Welsh through promotion, or that I may be picked up by another team after a successful year.

As it turned out, my knee never fully recovered, and I battled with that, as well as some very good competition for the starting shirt at Welsh. My time at the Exiles however was extremely productive for my personal development after rugby – I completed my personal training qualification during the evenings, and I also got an internship with PT Chris Walton.

During the many weeks and months of sitting on the sidelines again with an injury at London Welsh, I watched and learned from one of the smartest guys in the industry. One of the best chunks of knowledge I garnered there came from an unlikely source – Modified Strongman Training.

Strongman training is synonymous with barrel chested, chalk dusted, Eastern European men who shout a lot, but very few people know the benefits of modified strongman training as the ultimate tool for fat loss and hypertrophy. Due to the high demand on your various different energy systems when performing these staple strongman movements, your body quickly shifts gear to fat burning mode as a way to generate more energy during these workouts.

The multi-plane force production demands of strongman training created whilst trying to manipulate the awkwardly shaped objects stresses the body in a way many have never experienced before. If you're serious about attaining the physique you are striving for, then you should seriously consider looking into MST.

I now run a fast-expanding business alongside my VPT business at Gymbox, called City Strongman. Our classes are made up of a diverse mixture of clientele from ex-professional rugby players to female PAs from large City hedge funds. Our sessions are very much like an episode of the World's Strongest Man, aside from the silky voice of John Inverdale narrating for us! We use all the toys you'd expect to see but on much regressed loads allowing a longer time under tension which is perfect for fat loss. We vary the workouts across a plethora of demanding energy systems workouts, but always with a fun twist to keep smiles on people's faces.

Think log pressing, tyre flipping, sled dragging and you're there. Now imagine repeating those drills for a given time under tension, rep range or team based relay medley to induce a lactate burn like you have never experienced before. We use a tag line of #BetterThanTheTreadmill because it is… There is nothing fun about putting a treadmill on a full incline and sprinting for 12-40 seconds as fast as possible, but there is something frighteningly rewarding about flipping a big tyre or having a set of farmers walks in your hands as you waddle as fast as you can, with a much greater yield in fat loss.

Gymbox as always are way ahead of the curve in the fitness industry and are starting to incorporate these strongman toys into all their top class facilities across London.

Stop skulking to the gym after a busy day at work, only to repeat the same old routine in the weights room or on the treadmill in an effort to get that beach bod for summer? Why not consider strongman training as a much smarter alternative? If you want to give any of this type of training a go, feel free to drop me a message and I'll put you through your paces at the Holborn branch with our log, farmers walks and prowler sled, or alternatively check out my website, and book in for a class.

Photos: Vesna Nikolic