Strongman Brian Shaw's Chest Workout (Get Massive Results)

Tyler Sellers
Published by Tyler Sellers | Senior Coach
Last updated: November 27, 2023
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As a personal trainer with over 9+ years of experience, I always seek inspiration and helpful tips from pro athletes.

And when I saw the fourth most decorated strongman competitor, Brian Chaw, taking over Mr. Olympia's Instagram account, I knew I had to put together Brian Shaw's inspired chest workout routine.

So, whether you aspire to compete in a strongman competition or want a chiseled chest, try this Brian Chaw-inspired upper body workout routine.

Quick Summary

  • The best strongman workouts that target the chest muscles include seated dumbbell shoulder presses, incline bench presses, barbell flat bench presses, chest fly machine, and cable cross.
  • Brian Shaw consumes a staggering 2000 calories each day to maintain his physique.
  • Shaw's go-to supplements include Persist ISO, Recovery, and Structure by Undefined Nutrition.

His Stats

  • Age: 41 years old
  • Height: 6’8”
  • Weight: 440 lbs

Brian Shaw’s Chest Workout Routine

1. Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press


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A post shared by Brian Shaw (@shawstrength)

How to do this exercise:

  1. Sit on a bench with two dumbbells.
  2. Bring the dumbbells up to shoulder height.
  3. Push the dumbbells above your head until they are entirely straight while keeping your elbows in line with your hips and shoulder blades back.
  4. Return to the starting position and repeat.

2. Barbell Flat Bench Press

How to do the barbell flat bench press:

  1. Lay down with your back on a flat bench and feet planted firmly on the ground.
  2. Lift the bar off the rack and hold it with straight arms.
  3. Bend your elbows to lower the bar above your sternum slowly.
  4. Push the bar back to the top to return to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for your desired number of reps.

3. Incline Bench Press

Strongman Brian Shaw's Chest Workout, lifting barbell on an inclined bench

How to perform this exercise to target your upper chest:

  1. Set an incline bench to around 45 degrees.
  2. Lay on the bench and grip the bar with your hands shoulder-width apart.
  3. Slowly lower the bar to your chest, keeping your elbows close to your body.
  4. Pause for three seconds, then push the bar back to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for several sets and reps using light weight if you’re a beginner, then gradually increase the weight to prevent injury.

Also Read: 12 Best Bench Press Alternatives For Chest Workout

4. Cable Cross

How to perform this exercise:

  1. Adjust the pulley handles to the highest position and grab them with your palms facing down.
  2. Take a few steps forward, keeping your feet shoulder-width apart, and slightly bend your knees.
  3. Pull the handles down and together in front of your body.
  4. Slowly release the handles back to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for your desired number of reps.

5. Chest Fly Machine

Using the chest fly machine

How to perform this exercise:

  1. Start by adjusting the weight to a comfortable level, and then sit on the machine with your back pressing into the padded backrest.
  2. Grab the handles with elbows slightly bent.
  3. Slowly bring your arms forward and together, keeping them slightly bent throughout the movement.
  4. Maintain the contraction at the top of the motion for a few seconds before slowly returning to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for several reps, feeling the burn in your chest muscles.

Workout Principles

Brian has won the World's Strongest Man competition four times (2011, 2013, 2015, and 2016) and the Arnold Strongman Classic competition three times (2011, 2015, and 2017).

His Monday workout includes great exercises to build leg muscles, such as squats and other leg-focused exercises. On Tuesday, his routine incorporates chest press, shoulder press, and triceps exercises.

Wednesday is a rest day to refuel for the following sessions.

He starts up again Thursday with deadlifts and back exercises.

The former world's strongest man includes more than strongman training in his workout schedule.

He incorporates compound movements like squats, deadlifts, and bench presses to target multiple muscle groups simultaneously.

Strongman Brian Shaw's workouts are meticulously planned to ensure optimal results and his performance in the World's Strongest Man competition is a testament to his commitment.

An integral part of Shaw's training revolves around strengthening his upper body, particularly his chest and shoulders.

When it comes to his chest workout, the bench press is a staple.

This exercise works multiple muscles at once, making it an excellent choice for building strength and mass. Shaw often includes variations, such as the incline and decline bench press, to target his chest from different angles.

His formidable chest strength not only aids in his strongman events but also provides a stable base for other lifts.

Shaw's shoulder workout is just as rigorous. The seated dumbbell shoulder press is a frequent inclusion, challenging not just his deltoids, but also his triceps and core. This exercise has been crucial in building his impressive shoulder breadth and contributing to his overall upper-body strength.

Incorporating these workout routines is not only about strength gains but also about maintaining balance and symmetry in his muscular development.

After all, in competitions like the World's Strongest Man, it's not only about isolated strength but the ability to apply that power efficiently across various events. Shaw's training regimen illustrates a comprehensive approach to strength training that goes beyond the realm of strongman competitions.

Brian Shaw’s Diet Plan

  • Meal #1 - 6 eggs, 6 ounces of Trifecta bison patties, and waffles with syrup.
  • Meal #2 - Bison patties, 2 cups of rice, an apple, and duck fat.
  • Meal #3 - Chicken, rice, sweet potato fries, and a Rice Krispies treat.

“My favorite meal is grass-fed beef, but I do switch up my protein sources—everything from salmon, eggs, chicken, turkey, to bison.”

- Brian Shawn, Professional Strongman

Nutrition principles

Top view of high protein foods

Brian Shaw follows a high-calorie intake diet eating around 2000 calories a day.

He typically gets his protein from lean meats like chicken, fish, and beef.

Brian recommends eating a few good meals with slow-release carbs like brown rice and sweet potatoes for gradual absorption and sustained energy throughout the day.

Healthy fats are essential for hormone regulation, brain function, and providing your body with energy [1].

Brian consumes healthy fats from avocado, nuts, olive oil, and omega-3s.

Staying hydrated is also crucial for maintaining proper bodily functions and aiding in recovery after workouts [2].

Which Supplements Does Brian Shaw Take?

Supplements that Brian Shaw takes are protein, creatine, as well as recovery supplements.

  • Whey Protein - Brian Shaw’s go-to whey protein powder is Persist ISO by Undefined Nutrition, which packs 24g of protein.
  • Recovery Supplement - Shaw turns to Undefined Nutrition’s Recovery, which contains hyaluronic acid to help promote muscle recovery.
  • Creatine - Brian Shaw relies on Structure by Undefined Nutrition, which contains creatine monohydrate, creatine chelates, magnesium, adenosine, and calcium.


What Are the Best Chest Exercises Strongmen Do?

The best chest exercises strongmen do are seated dumbbell shoulder presses, incline bench presses, barbell flat bench presses, chest fly machine, and cable cross.

How Do You Train for Strongman Physique?

To train for a strongman physique, you need grip strength, back strength, overhead and pressing strength. You must perform deadlifts, tire flipping, heavy kettlebell swings, large grip lace pulldowns, atlas stone lifting, and prowler pushing.


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