How Strongman Luke Stoltman Is Preparing To Press A 230kg Log

Luke Stoltman Log Press

Luke Stoltman (SCO) competing in the log press event of the 2021 Europe's Strongest Man event held in Leeds. Full image credit: EM2022, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons (Image credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Being able to deadlift more than 200kg puts you in an elite club. Being able to press that weight overhead means you can count yourself among the strongest men on the planet. 

Scottish strongman Luke Stoltman is a card-carrying member of the second group, and is currently training with the aim of lifting 230kg. And he’s not just looking to do this with a barbell either. The Highland Oak, as he’s aptly known, has the goal of performing a 230kg log press – a strongman-specific movement that involves moving a specialised implement called a “log” (see below) from the ground to overhead.  

This would set a new world record, breaking the one that currently belongs to Burkina Faso’s Cheick “Iron Biby” Sanou at 229kg. Stoltman faced Sanou earlier this year at the Giants Live strongman event in Leeds where the pair both hit 218kg before trying and failing to lift 230kg. 

Now, the 2021 winner of Europe’s Strongest Man has shared a behind-the-scenes look at a pressing session he’s using to build the power needed for another attempt. If you’re keen to develop serious shoulder strength, you could do worse than take a lead from the kind of strongman training Stoltman does. Just adjust the weight to suit your level, and be cautious at first. Shoulders are especially susceptible to injury.

He starts with large, compound exercises, moving heavy weights for a lower number of reps to build strength. 

“For my press day I start with the push press at 140kg for a few reps,” says Stoltman. “Then I move on to the strict press (or overhead press) just to work on that raw shoulder power I need.”

After this, he lowers the weights and increases the number of reps for several sets of the dumbbell bench press and face pull.

“[There is] nothing too heavy, but it just gets the blood flowing and gets the blood into the chest and shoulders,” Stoltman explains. This, he says, helps keep the joint strong and healthy, fending off injuries so he can train uninhibited. 

“As you can see I’m doing loads of reps here, really pumping, really getting that blood into the shoulders. The shoulders are very complicated and we need to cover all aspects here. This really helps with my log press, and my quest to press 230kg.”

Finally, Stoltman finishes with accessory movements and demonstrates the triceps press-down in the post – an exercise that can be overlooked when trying to improve overhead pressing strength, even though the triceps play a key role in extending the arms during the movement.

So, if you want to build superhuman shoulder strength, give this strongman session a go. You may want to start quite a bit lighter than Stoltman though.

Harry Bullmore
Staff writer

Harry covers news, reviews and features for Coach, Fit&Well and Live Science. With over a decade of training experience, he has tried everything from powerlifting to gymnastics, cardio to CrossFit, all in a bid to find fun ways of building a healthy, functional body.