Heavy Stones – Interval Training Workout for Strength and Power

It was stone lifting time at MosLadder the other day, and it was wicked. The workout consisted of stone lifts and throws (with lighter stones) done in a circuit for 3 rounds.

This workout is great for building strength and power. Although it is short, don’t be surprised if 3 rounds of this leaves you sore for a couple of days. In the videos below I am throwing stones from 20# to 50#, and lifting 93#, 111#, 113# and 133#.

For the larger stones, I lift it like an Atlas stone and once it is at chest level, I push throw it off my chest with my whole body.

Here is the workout:

Homemade Mace Swings:  I have this homemade ‘macebell’ made of galvanized steel pipe, filled with rocks and topped off with a couple of plates and a flange. It weighs about 20 pounds. I started with this as a warm-up, then decided to keep it in to pre-exhaust the muscles.

-Side Throws: Throw all lighter stones, run out and throw them back with the opposite side.

3X lift:   Immediately run to heavy stones and lift. Pull the stone to your lap or straight up and to your chest, get your hands behind it and execute a push throw driving from the ground up.

Repeat for 3-5 rounds. For clarification, watch the videos below. Have fun!

Complete your home gym with the perfect suspension trainer or gymnastics rings:



Workout Motivation

To be honest with you, working out can sometimes be a real pain in the ass. If for no other reason than some days you feel like you are banging your head against the wall, and going nowhere fast. This mindset is easy to absorb in a society fraught with obesity, one in which dietary excess is glorified while ‘vain obsessed physical fitness/gym rats/insert your term here,’ are sometimes mocked for their dedication.

Then the excuses can kick in: ‘What’s the point? I don’t need to be in good shape, I sit in an office all day.’
‘I’m just too tired when I wake up in the morning/get home from work.’ ‘I need my energy for work/taking care of the kids, it is just not feasible to waste time and energy working out.’

What about the times you allow yourself to believe all the crap anyone ever helped you convince yourself of?

-There is no way you can get that strong, those guys/girls have been doing that for years. Plus they are naturally gifted.

-With all that extra weight on you, it’s not a good idea to run or overdo it, it might put too much strain on your already overworked heart.

-I’m too skinny, I can’t put on muscle.

-I’m too fat, I can’t run.

-This or that injury is something I have to learn to live with.

Damn, this could go on all day. You have to run errands, fix dinner, get a presentation together, make phone calls, etc., etc., etc. 

And you know what? Even if everything I said above, and anything you may have added to it is the absolute truth, it does not matter.

Exercise, whatever it is, is not done just to lose weight, or to get ready for competition, or to gain muscle and strength. These are direct benefits yes. But here is one more: Exercise is good for your brain.  Especially cardiovascular exercise. And when your brain is clear, every aspect of your day is going to go better.

Exercise is also a natural bodily function. We are designed to move, as a car is designed to run. Sorry for the cliche analogy but it fits. When a car sits, never turned on and never cared for, it rots; from the inside out. The oil gets thick and gunks up the motor. Batteries corrode and that corrosion crawls up the wires.

Sadly, the human body is not much different. Let it sit and neglect to run it often enough, and it develops circulation problems, muscles atrophy, and the motor begins to have trouble running smoothly (the heart.)

But the truth is, you and I don’t need any of these reasons to start moving;  to go after a physical goal, no matter how old you are or how ridiculous it may seem. Know why? Because you may only have today to do it, and personally, I don’t want to miss out on the feeling of being alive. That’s right. Alive. A feeling I get every time I push myself, feel my muscles straining, burning, my lungs laboring to suck in air.

I haven’t run in awhile? So what, thank God it’s burning, it means I was able to run fast enough that it hurt. I’m alive!

Not as strong as I used to be? Who cares? It feels good to lift heavy, no matter what heavy is on that day.  The feeling of power and strength surging through me is like a fountain of youth! I can’t wait to do more!

When the workout is finished it may have been shorter than expected, or maybe expectations were exceeded, but I guarantee it didn’t fail to teach me something about myself; about what it means to be human; and by the end it erases any doubts about why I started exercising today in the first place. It doesn’t take much, just start stepping, start moving, and don’t stop until you feel alive.

Stone Lifting Workout for the Backyard Gym

Rocks, stones, Atlas stones, call them what you want. They are nature’s free weights in every sense of the word, and they will kick -your -butt.

Despite a garage full of homemade clubs, kettlebells, a barbell and dumbbell set, I love to revert to lifting heavy, and not so heavy stones whenever possible. The variation in grip, necessity of using so many muscles to get the stone off the ground, and the unbalanced weight creates a challenge you can’t find with traditional weights.

Today’s workout was the triple extension lift (X3) and bent over rows, after a good warm-up of course. For the X3 lift, I start the lift like an Atlas stone lift, pulling it to my lap as I drop underneath it. Then the hands are repositioned, and the body drives upward, extending at the hips, knees and ankles. All the while the stone is squeezed tight to your chest. See the video below for a demonstration.

Although the video shows 1 set, the actual was 5 or 6, between 2-5 reps for the X3. I usually go for 5 sets of 3, and save the reps for the lighter weights.

The second part of this was bent over rows with the same rocks. This is not your barbell bent over row. It hits the lats very deep, probably because of the open hand ‘grip’ used to pick up the rocks. You will also feel this in your biceps, biceps brachialis and maybe your pectorals as well. Holding onto the stone can create an obstacle to giving the lats proper work, especially as the weights get heavier. So far I’m still feeling it in all the right places. See the video below for a demonstration.

I did about 6 or 7 ‘sets’ of bent over rock rows, from 1-5 reps each, most for 3. For the record, I warmed up with a light jog/walk, joint rotations, a couple sets of easy pushups, and a long set of clean and press with a lighter rock. Also, I stretched the hell out of my hamstrings before hitting the stones.

Talk about functional training! Great pump in my back and arms too. Mix up your training and have fun!

Equipment that keeps getting better: TRX FORCE Kit. Now only $174.95

Medicine Ball Slams with NO Medicine Balls-40th Birthday Workout

November 9, 2011. Today is my 40th birthday. For those of you who have passed this hallmark in your life and moved on, good for you. For me, 40 sounds like a big number right now. So, how do I start off this epic year? With an outdoor workout of course!

If you have ever done heavy medicine ball slams, you will love my twist on the traditional exercise. Rock Slams. A great strength endurance set here. Check it out:

Warm up: 

40 joint rotations each for neck, arms, hips, legs.
40 jumping jacks
40 air (bodyweight) squats


40 Rock Slams @35#. View it here:

Ok, 41 rock slams. Happy Birthday to me. Now go grab a rock and celebrate.

The Home Gym/Outdoor Gym Workout Videos

I have finally started posting videos! So if you are interested in seeing what a stone throwing workout looks like or want to check out some other homemade gym equipment in action, bookmark this page. I plan to post every workout, unless it is redundant, so stay tuned.

These workouts are just a record of my progress, and sometimes they will illustrate something I have written about. As of today I am about a week into a new effort to build up my strength, so this is an ideal time to begin this video training log; at the beginning. Have mercy, I’m in the video learning process!

Today’s workout:


– Joint rotations, running.
-Hindu pushups, side planks, isometric pushup holds (x2 sets)


-Dips (between sawhorses) 3 x 6


3 rounds of:

-Turkish get-ups w/ 53# dumbbell x 3 (goal.)
-Ring Pushups x 10 (goal.)
-Jumping Burpees

The dips weren’t recorded, sorry, maybe next time.

Here is are the clips of the workout:

For a quick tutorial on putting together the rings in the video, click on the link below:

how to make homemade gymnastics rings

Heavy Stones and Homemade Macebell Swinging:

Heavy Stones – Interval Training Workout for Stren…

Circus Dumbbells for the Home Gym Made Cheap and Easy

About 22″ long and 15 pounds as shown.

The circus dumbbell. A challenge modern strength trainees have rediscovered in recent years, and one the old time strongmen implemented regularly in their workouts.

If you aren’t familiar with the circus dumbbell, this is a long, thick (and thin) -handled dumbbell with large balls on either end. The balls have removable plugs covering holes which were used to fill them with lead shot. Resistance could be increased fractionally, and fully loaded they were serious weights. The circus dumbbell was often longer than today’s dumbbells, but shorter than a barbell.

With any luck we’ll soon have a commercial version or two to choose from, but for now one usually has to create a design and fabricate some parts. This can be costly, especially if you want an exact historical replica, so I came up with a simple, no-brainer homemade circus dumbbell anyone can make-as long as they have the parts.

You will need:

-Standard sized weight plates
-1″ x 10-12″ galvanized steel nipple
-Two 1″-3/4″ coupling reducers
-Two 3/4″x 4″galvanized steel nipples
-Two 3/4″ end caps.

(About $23 dollars without the weight plates.)

-Assemble the reducers to either end of the 10″ steel nipple.
-Screw the 3/4″ nipples to the reducer ends
-Slide on the desired amount of weight, followed by a 3/4″ end cap. Do one side at a time to prevent slippage.

A couple of notes:

-Be sure to wipe these parts down before you use them, unless you like having dirty hands.
-Adjust the size of the bars to your preference. I wanted to go thicker, but my Home Depot didn’t have the parts at the  time.

So for example, for a circus dumbbell with a 2″ handle:

-Olympic sized weight plates
-2″ x 10-12″ galvanized steel nipple
-Two 2″x 1 1/2″ coupling reducers
-Two 1 1/2″ x 6″ galvanized steel nipples
-Two 1 1/2″ end caps.
This would make for a more substantial weight, both in terms of the weight it can hold, the length and the increased grip challenge. It would also cost a few bucks more. But then again, you can put it together and be lifting within 2 or 3 minutes.
Keep in mind that if the plates don’t fill up the exposed steel nipple space, there will be some shifting. Be sure to tighten all parts down well, just to be safe. If the slipping gets annoying, try putting a short piece of pvc pipe over the steel nipple (leaving room for the plates of course.) 
So there it is. If you can buy the parts, you can make a circus dumbbell as fast as you please. Is it worth it? Consider the exercises you can do with it:
-Bent Press
-One arm snatch, clean and jerk
-One arm overhead press
-Turkish Get-Up
…and so on.
Go ahead, make yourself a circus dumbbell. This is going to be fun. 

Sandbag Training – A Super Cheap and Easy to Make Sandbag

Sandbag training can build serious strength and muscle. This is probably why major strongman competitions love to load up giant bags to over 260 lbs. and have their athletes go sloshing through the water with them. But you don’t have to spend a lot of money on this training tool, and it is very easy to make. In fact you can make this sandbag very quickly once you have the materials. It doesn’t have to be filled with sand, either.

Here are three examples of different ‘recipes’ for a making a quick ‘sandbag’ to train with:

-Traditional Sandbag:  Buy sand from the home improvement store, usually 5 bucks a bag for 50 lbs. Buy as many as you need and can fit in your bag. Stuff as many of these as you can into a polyester laundry bag (usually two) Cinch it up tight and start lifting. For added security against sand leakage, wrap the bags in a plastic trash bag first.

-Salt Sandbag: Same as above but using water softener salt bags instead of sand. These are usually sold in 40 lb. bags, so if 50 or 100 lbs. is too much, here is your answer. Cost is about the same as a 50 lb. bag of sand.

Advantage: Less likely to leak.
Disadvantage: Doesn’t yield its shape as well as sand; therefore it can be harder to stuff inside a bag.

-Dump it and fill it: Use rocks, dirt, gravel or another material that won’t hold it’s shape. Dump it into a plastic  bag and then into a duffel, or a laundry bag as above. Seal it up tight and you’re done. You can also do this with sand and salt, which may allow you to fill the bag with more material and consequently, more weight.

The last option is to mix and match any of the methods above. The key is to make sure that whatever material you use to fill the bag is sealed up tight. Leakage is not fun. So go get a good bag and fill it with something, you’ll have fun and get a great workout!

For a sample workout, go here:  http://mosladder.hubpages.com/hub/A-Great-Functional-and-Fight-Workout-To-Build-Whole-Body-Strength