Strongman Success with 5/3/1 - Ryan Vance
(From Jim: Here is an email I got from Ryan Vance, strongman competitor. I saw a picture of him on wearing an NOV shirt after loading the Atlas Stones and asked him to write something short for the website. Thank you to Ryan for sharing and congrats to him on battling and competing to become better. The picture of Ryan is of him loading a 340 lbs stone to a 54" high platform at 2012 WCSM.)
First have to thank you for 531 and articles relating to it. It is amazing what intelligent programming can do for someone. Ever since I was little I wanted to be big and strong to be able to do stuff that other people can't do. Until I found 531 I bounced from program to program with no focus. I can honestly say my strength has progressed faster than the prescribed +5 or 10 lbs/months increase for press or squat. For the days when the workouts were tough or working through an injury I would always try to stay NOV. This offseason I hit new PBs of a raw 545 squat (close stance high bar deep) and 605 DL. Through the first 3 competitions of this summer I have hit new PBs with weight or new rep maxes that wouldn't have been possible without 531 and NOV mentality.
I've been following the 3 days/week full body workout for 8 months or so, this works well because there is a lot of carryover in strongman event training. Certain days focus more on a press, squat or deadlift but the plan is always the same. Push ONE (and only ONE) big movement first then assistance and conditioning to finish. Squatting every training day makes a difference, nothing wakes up the body like squats. Can't remember the name of the assistance outline I have been using from the 531 2nd Edition. Goes from 3x10 in Week 1 to 2x8, 1x6 in Week 2 then finishes with 3x5 in Week 3.
I have been a trucker for almost 10 years and my diet has not always been consistent (and downright bad at some points) If you are in the strength game most times it is more important to get down large amounts of protein and carbs, fats will take care of themselves. Only addition there would be Udo's Oil, helps to lessen joint pain and keep the body running smooth. The addition of a protein shake before 2-3 meals everyday has made it easier gaining/maintaining BW when eating on the road.
If any of this makes it to the website I would leave a few things with your readers:
1) Read and reread the 531 books, it's all laid out in a simple straight forward plan, just do it.
2) Buy quality gear; thick 4" belt, Oly WL shoes for squatting, Chucks for deadlift, knee+wrist wraps. Use the top brands (Metal, Elitefts, Inzer, Titan) don't cheap out looking for the best deal on some cheap knockoff.
3) Follow the programs day in day out, progress will come.
4) Do a proper warmup every training day and 5-10 minutes of foam rolling EVERYDAY will make all the difference. I'm 270 lbs now with little or no more joint pain then when I was 50 lbs lighter moving significantly less weight.
Note on conditioning: The Prowler workouts have been HUGE in pushing along development. The article you wrote outlining the 3 Prowler workouts on t-nation. Cycled those 3 week after week, helps balance out legs+prevent injury. Those 3 workouts have helped conditioning immensely, many thanks.
Full photo credit for the NOV T-shirt shot is Sandra Provick and Jessica Lena Photography.
Note: Making that lift of the stone in the pic I had three thoughts going through my head: 1) My back or leg will break and I drop the stone. 2) I drop it in front of me and break mentally. 3) I make the lift and place it on the platform no matter what happens, just don't break and be NOV.
Attached a second pic, something you might not see every day. My dislocated elbow from 12 years ago, old football injury.
Thanks for the time Jim.
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