Dan McKim’s Highland Games Off-Season Training

Dan McKim’s Highland Games Off-Season Training

Aug 4, 2012

Dan McKim’s Highland Games Off-Season Training

By: Dan McKim
2011 IHGF World Champion

When I decided I wanted to take this sport seriously and compete at the highest level possible, I knew it would take sacrifice in the gym and on the field throwing.  During the off-season (October to April) I lift five days a week and do not throw.  In season when I don’t have a games, I’ll lift five times a week and throw two or three times.  During a games week, I typically lift on Monday and Wednesday and throw on Tuesday and Thursday.  Now, if it’s late in the season, and I’m looking to peak at a big game, I might take tweak the training a bit to make sure I’m fresh and ready for the big games … oh, and lots of eating during that week too!  My typical week’s workout looks like this:

Monday – Chest and Tris (main lifts: bench and close grip bench)
Tuesday – Clean and Legs (main lifts: hang cleans and back squats)
Wednesday – Back and Bis (beach lift day)
Thursday – Shoulders (main lifts: incline and strict standing overheads)
Friday – Snatch and Legs (main lifts: hang snatches, front squats, straight leg deads)

I’ve found that I respond best to a training cycle split into four week blocks with a “back off” week in between that includes either just two days of light lifting or a complete week off, depending on how my body feels and what I think it needs):

Block One:
– Week One: Sets of 12
– Week Two: Sets of 12
– Week Three: Sets of 10
– Week Four: Sets of 8

Block Two:
– Week One: Sets of 6
– Week Two: Sets of 5
– Week Three: Sets of 4
– Week Four: Sets of 3

Block Three:
– Week One: Sets of 3
– Week Two: Sets of 2
– Week Three: Sets of 1s
– Week Four: Sets of 1s – max week

At the end of this long stretch, I’ll take a week off to recover, then it’s back to the top!  Some have described my training as “power body building,” but all I know is that it has worked great for me and it’s something I’m constantly adapting and changing.  For example, this off season I’m looking to include some jerks.  Where do I add them?  What do I take out?  It’s a tough call!

My personal bests in the weight room (no gear, unless noted otherwise):
Bench: 525
Incline: 445
Strict OHP: 275
Hang Clean: 420 (straps and belt)
Hang Snatch: 335 (straps and belt)
Back Squat: 550 (knee wraps and belt)
Front Squat: 455 (knee wraps and belt)

More importantly than training for my sport is the training I must do in the Word.  My faith in Jesus Christ is what my life is all about.  When I started competing, I wanted this journey to be about God and His impact on my life, and less about me and my pursuit in greater distances and more accolades.  To help me do this, I wear a red shirt that on the front reads, “BELIEVE,” and on the back “Jesus said, ‘The kingdom of God is near.  Repent and believe the Good News.’ Mark 1:15.”  My goal is not that people see me as a great thrower, strong athlete or fierce competitor, but rather, just a man who loves Jesus.  God has gifted me with the ability to throw, and I can’t thank Him enough for the chance to throw; but more importantly, the chance to live eternally with Him through His Son, Jesus!

Check me out at www.believethrower.com for more information about my training, competing, background, and more!


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