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!


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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!

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