Here we go! So excited to write my first article for Rx Muscle! I'm grateful for the opportunity and I hope this article adds to your repertoire of skills needed to get STRONG.
I get asked this question all the time:
"I want to train Atlas Stones like a Strongman but I can't afford expensive pre-made molds and I don't have space or materials to make them. I also can't justify paying membership for a Crossfit Box just to train that one event. WHAT DO I DO??"
First of all, why should you listen to me?
My name is Nick Brewer, I'm 26 years old, have a sick beard, 6' tall, 253 lbs., and I currently own and operate a Strongman Gym in Miami called Brewer Barbell. I've been a coach for six years and trained Olympic hopefuls in Minnesota for two years. I've also worked with top level athletes such as Derek Fisher (now head coach of the NY Knicks). I've been an Internationally ranked Strongman since 2009, competing against great heavyweights such as Dave Ostlund (3rd at WSM in 2008), Joel Dirks, and Carl Foemmel, to name a few in the USA. I've also been doing martial arts for 24 years and fought semi-professionally in MMA for two years in Minnesota and Illinois, fighting in some shows where Clay Guida won his championship fights.
That's enough of that for now; back to the main question.
How Do I Make Atlas Stones with Plaster Molds?
This is not the easiest way to make them. And I would never encourage you to do anything the easy or convenient way, but not to be self-destructive, but to LEARN Life Lessons through struggles. Making YOUR OWN Atlas doesn't just get you the Atlas Stones at the end. This is a great way to save money and make s*** happen when you have NO other options.
I developed this method to stand out with my Boot Camps in the Park and to introduce Strongman to the general population. I made these Stones on my balcony and risked heavy consequences and bills in case it all went to Hell. But now I've made enough money to run my own business. Aside from growing a larger (metaphorical) sack and Awakening the Viking in you, here's what you need:
1. Plaster of Paris and a plastic spreading tool (Home Depot)
2. 5000 PSI Sakrete Concrete (Home Depot)
3. Mixing tub for the concrete (Home Depot)
4. An empty water gallon jug for mixing the plaster
5. Several large or medium moving boxes
6. Inflatable kick ball from Walmart or Target (whichever size Atlas Stone you want to create)
7. Metal rod
8. A piece of plywood or drywall ($5 from Home Depot)
BREWER BARBELL METHOD & APPLICATION:
1. Spread a few moving boxes over the area where you're going to be working. It's going to get messy like any learning experience.
2. Set the piece of plywood or drywall anywhere over the boxed area on the ground.
3. Cut the quarter top of the empty gallon jug off so you can mix the Plaster of Paris.
4. Follow the Instructions on how much water to add to the dry plaster. You don't want it to look soupy! Remember, it starts to dry up quickly when it's ready. Lightly cover the top end of your ball with some plaster then add a handful of plaster on your working surface and set them on top of each other. Here's where you see what you're made of. This takes patience, consistency, and effort, just like your training. If you wuss out when things get tough and repetitive, you'll never get anywhere in life. Put on some music and get focused. Life never gets easier; you need to get STRONGER.
5. Keep building that base where the ball and drywall meet until it has covered all points of contact. You should spread out farther than the diameter of the ball because the finished mold isn't going to look like a big 'O' covering the ball only and having a shitty foundation. It's going to look like an upside down 'U'. Did you catch that life lesson right there? I hope you did.
6. Starting at the bottom, build your way up (another life lesson) until your 3/4 of the way up covering the ball with plaster. You NEED to have a THICK layer of plaster ALL OVER the ball and base. It should be about 1/2 inch or 3/4 inch thick depending on how big of an Atlas Stone you're making. The base should seem overdeveloped compared to the top layers. Make a big upside-down 'U'.
7. Leave a large palm or fist-sized hole at the top to be able to pour the concrete in. After 24 hours, the Plaster should be DRY, then deflate the ball and remove it to use for more stones you're going to make. The finished mold should echo when you knock on it. If there are any holes or inconsistencies in the mold, add more plaster to fill it up and detail it BEFORE moving on to the next level. Also make sure there are pieces of plaster lying at the bottom. It's concrete time, baby!
8. Mix the concrete in the tub you bought for it at Home Depot according to the instructions. Don't make a soupy, sissy consistency or you'll make weak Atlas Stones. It should feel slightly heavy in hand when shoveling and mixing through.
9. Start pouring the concrete into your plaster mold. Get halfway through and start shaking it (the mold, that is) to release air bubbles. Use the metal rod to help mix it up better. Add more concrete and repeat steps to release air bubbles until you reach the top. Let the concrete overflow slightly so you don't end up with an 'Almost Atlas Stone' when the concrete dries. You can add a towel over the top to absorb extra moisture.
10. Leave it for a couple days (up to four days) to completely dry up. You can use concrete patcher if necessary to fill up cracks in the stones. Now you need to break the old mold you made for yourself and earn that goodie you've worked so hard for. I prefer to use my AXE to break the plaster mold and 'Awaken the Stone!'
When you're done, you can sit back, finish up the details with your new found appreciation for life and hard work, and hopefully apply those lessons to something else you want to be better at!
Nick Brewer is owner of Brewer Barbell, Strongman, Actor, Personal Trainer, 2nd Dan Shotokan Karate, Strength Coach, and MMA Instructor
Discuss this article @ http://forums.rxmuscle.com/showthread.php?129936-Make-Your-Own-Atlas-Stones!