Mariusz Pudzianowski Training Regime & Diet

Throughout his strongman career Pudzianowski has attracted attention not only for his impressive physique but also because of  his irregular diet regime. Whenever he has been asked about his diet Mariusz has always replied with comments such as I eat everything. I do not follow any particular diet. I eat anything I want, anytime I want” and “No diet. More training!”. In an interview with Muscle & Fitness magazine Mariusz was quoted as saying;

“My energy comes from my diet. Breakfast is 10 eggs and 2-3 pounds of bacon. Between meals, I eat lots of candy…I need it for energy. Lunch, at 1 or 2 p.m., is a double meal of a Polish pork chop, sauerkraut and potatoes…An hour later, I work out, then take lots of supplements: magnesium, creatine, amino acids, all that stuff, and more chocolate…Dinner is whatever meat I can get: steaks, pork chops, bacon, plus more sauerkraut and potatoes. [After I work out] I have a protein shake and more chocolate… At 3 or 4 AM, I wake up and have more chocolate, then go back to sleep until morning”.

However, although his diet may not appear to follow a strict routine, his training regime is the complete opposite. At the height of his strongman career Mariusz trained 5 days a week for between 3 and 6 hours. He would often train two times a day; during which time he would demonstrate a formidable combination of muscular power and endurance.

For example, when training with two time American’s Strongest Man Champion Steve Kirit, Mariusz revealed that he lifted weights every single day in the off-season even before he began his diligent strongman competition training. Mariusz demonstrated to Kirit that, when preparing for a strongman competition, he will carry out squatting exercises on day one, dead lifts on day two, front squats on day three and then return once again to squatting exercises on day four. In addition to this gruelling regime, Mariusz also admitted that he would also train his shoulders with behind the neck jerks three times a week. In a singular 90 minute training session Kirit reveals that Mariusz was able to carry out the following exercises:

  • 10 sets of pull-ups and chin-ups (7 to 10 reps for each set)
  • 5 sets of lat pull-downs (10 reps for each set)
  • 5 sets of lat rows (10 reps for each set)
  • 5 sets of good mornings (6 to 10 reps for each set)
  • 5 sets of standing triceps skull-crushers (10 reps for each set with 155kg weights)
  • 5 sets of triceps push-downs (10 reps for each set)
  • 5 sets of deadlifting (working up to 655kg for several reps)

Pyramiding

In a separate interview, it was confirmed that Mariusz often trained twice a day in preparation for the World’s Strongest Man competitions. During this time he adopted a training regime that is commonly known as ‘pyramiding’; wherein Mariusz gradually raised the weights he used for each set but kept the amount of reps completed the same. An example of this technique is evident in Mariusz’s execution of the following exercises:

Standing Military Press: This exercise would usually be carried out by placing a barbell on a squat rack and adding discs up to your preferred weight. You would then slightly bend your knees and place the barbell on your collar bone. You would then lift the barbell up, keeping it lying on your chest, take a step back, position your feet shoulder width apart and then lift the bar up over your head, locking your arms. After doing so you would hold the barbell at shoulder level, lower the barbell back down to your collar bone and then lift the barbell back up again for the allocated number of reps.

Alternatively, Mariusz’s technique was to place the weight plates onto a barbell, place the barbell on the floor and spread his feet at shoulder width in preparation. He would then pick up the barbell with an overhand grip and position the bar under his chin by the front of his neck. From here, Mariusz would push the barbell upwards, extend his arms, lift the bar back down to his neck and repeat. He would carry out this exercise according to the following pyramid routine:

  • 60 to100kg warm-up sets
  • 4 to 5 reps at 110kg
  • 4 to 5 reps at 120kg
  • 4 to 5 reps at 130kg
  • 4 to 5 reps at 140kg

By carrying out the exercise in this manner Mariusz was able to isolate his shoulder muscles and tire them out to exhaustion without having to work his chest at all.

Barbell Squat: By carrying out these power lifting style workouts at a rapid speed, Mariusz was able to efficiently build significant muscle mass. For example, when training his lower back and quadriceps, Mariusz would use barbell squats. This exercise would involve Mariusz loading weights onto a barbell that rested on a rack, spreading his feet shoulder width apart, standing underneath the barbell and positioning the weight to rest on his shoulders behind his head. When squatting, Mariusz would bend his knees forward all the while keeping his back straight and continue bending until his thighs were practically parallel to the floor before lifting the weight upwards. This particular technique helped Mariusz develop an extremely stable core and formidable lower back strength throughout his career. Consequently, by combining pyramiding techniques with power lifting exercises Mariusz was able to develop the strength and skill needed to excel in strongman events.

Sample Training Workouts

Listed below is an example of a Mariusz Pudzianowski pyramid training workout. Although the individual exercises may have varied throughout the course of his strongman career, the core structure of training twice a day, five days a week according to a pyramid regime remained consistent:

Day One

(Morning Training Session)

  • Back Squats: 8 sets of 6 to 2 reps
  • Leg Curls: 6 sets of 20 reps
  • Leg Extension: 6 sets of 20 reps
  • Pull ups: 6 sets of 15 reps
  • Chin ups: 6 sets of 10 reps
  • Behind The Neck Pull down: 4 sets of 15 reps
  • Barbell Rows: 4 sets of 15 reps
  • Abs Exercises that include Hanging Leg Raises & Side Raises amongst others:  6 sets of 30 reps each

(Afternoon Training Session)

  • Sandbag Carry (130kg on back): 3 sets of 170 meters
  • Conan’s Wheel (290kg): 3 sets of 5 revolutions
  • Tire Flip: 3 sets of 10 flips

Day Two

(Morning Training Session)

  • Leg Press: 4 sets of 15 reps
  • Calf Work: 6 sets of 15 reps
  • Standing Military Press: 7 warm-up sets of 5 reps (60kg to 100kg), followed by 6 working sets (pyramiding up from 110kg to 140kg) of 5 to 4 reps
  • Deadlifts: 6 warm-up sets of 5 reps (working up to 200kg), followed by 6 working sets of 5 reps (pyramiding up to 300kg)
  • Good Mornings (100kg): 8 sets of 15 reps

(Afternoon Training Session)

  • Bushman’s Walk: 3 sets of carrying 300kg for 15 meters
  • Presses with Machine Used in Strongman Competition: 3 sets of 10 reps (working with 120kg)
  • Parallel Crucifix Hold: working with 40kg weights for 30 seconds

Day Three

(Morning Training Session)

  • Bench Press: 8 warm-up sets of 8 to 2 reps (working up to 180kg), followed by multiple working sets of 8 to 2 reps (pyramiding from 150kg up to 220kg)
  • Barbell Triceps Extensions: multiple sets and reps, working up to 80kg
  • Standing French Press

(Afternoon Training Session)

  • Sandbag Carry (130kg on back): 3 sets of 170 meters
  • Conan’s Wheel (290kg): 3 sets of 5 revolutions
  • Tire Flip: 3 sets of 10 flips
  • Powerstairs
  • Parallel stairs

As well as this vigorous weekly weightlifting routine, Mariusz also carried out 15 minutes of skipping rope every day, participated in karate practice twice a week, medium distance running throughout the week and swimming practice three to four times a week!

The arduous nature of this routine would exhaust even the most advanced of weightlifters, but Mariusz was often able to carry out these training sessions in 90 minutes or less! When asked about how he could train so rapidly without sustaining injury, Mariusz explained how;

“The reasons I’ve never injured myself are probably because my reps are smooth, not explosive, and because I work so hard on conditioning…I do lots of swimming, three or four times a week, jump rope every day, and I run a lot, even while carrying heavy resistance: I grab a 200-pound bag of sand and run back and forth with it.”

Technique

As a result, it is no surprise that Mariusz’s strongman success was fuelled by his dedication to improving his form and his strength. As Steve Kirit revealed when he trained with Mariusz, the strongman “shows, in all his movements, champion form…extreme discipline and precision in the weight room” and that “Mariusz stresses proper form and technique at all times. He never sacrifices technique for more weight, ever, he says”.

Kirit went on to describe how Mariusz uses his extensive knowledge of correct weightlifting form and technique to instruct other athletes. He conveyed how;

“The one big thing I can say that earned Mariusz a bunch of new fans at my gym is the way he carried himself, simply like another gym member giving respect and props to others in the gym. At one point my friend and bench press competitor Mike Barravecchio was doing board presses with 700 pounds and Mariusz shook his head and smiled at him and said “too much!” On another occasion two high school kids where front squatting with horrible form, Mariusz ran over and offered assistance and a demonstration of proper technique to them…Overall, the experience was very positive and memorable for myself as well as many others in the gym…I learned that you can never have too much knowledge, whether it be about training, or your fellow competitors”.

All in all, it is evident that Mariusz’s gargantuan diet, intense training regime and long term commitment to perfecting his weightlifting form culminated in significant strongman success and the well-earned nickname of “The Dominator”!