If you remember the movie Rocky IV when Rocky trained for his fight against the Russian powerhouse, Rocky’s training regime was crude compared to the Russian. You would watch Rocky train in the snow carrying a log or running up a mountain while the Russian trained in a state of the art gym. Rocky would chop wood or hang from a rafter doing abdominal training. So what happened? Rocky beat the Russian because of his old school training.
You can do many old school type of training in your own life. In an earlier article I talked about sandbag training and some others. In this article I’m going to bring in chopping wood/sledge hammer training and a couple of other types of training that you can use.
Chopping wood and using the sledge hammer are both similar. They will give you a great core workout as well as your shoulders, back, arms and legs. In this workout use a sledgehammer. You can get one at any hardware store and also find an old tire. If you’ve never swung a sledgehammer or chopped wood, go slow. You can get sledgehammers in different weight sizes. Start out with a lighter weight until you get used to swinging.
The goal is to strike the tire with the sledgehammer. The starting position is important. Depending on whether you are right-handed or left-handed the hold will be different. It is the same way when you hold a baseball bat you will hold the bat different in your right hand versus your left hand because of the side you’re hitting from. Now when you grip the handle of the sledgehammer you will start with one hand near the bottom and the other closer to the head. When you start your swing, lift up the sledgehammer over your shoulder (right or left handed) with the head just behind your shoulder. The grip is still in the same position at this time.
As you swing down the hand closest to the head will slide down to the other hand during the descent. Both hands will be near each other right before the strike is made. That will be the first rep. Repeat this for more repetitions. You can speed up when you become more proficient in the swing and strike.
The next exercise that is great for your whole body is the log carry. This exercise will work out your legs as the primary area. Your shoulders, arms, back, chest, and abdominals will be worked out as the secondary areas. This is pretty simple to do. Find an old log so you can carry on your shoulders. From this you would do lunge walks, runs, and regular walks. The lunge walks will tax your legs and hips as will the runs. You can even move from one exercise to another to keep it challenging. The goal is to get your heart rate up.
If you can’t find a log, then you can substitute it with a duffle bag filled with sand and a rod (for stiffness). In addition to the lunges, walks, and runs – you can do squats too.
The final exercise requires that you have a car tire. I would recommend that you have several different sizes for this. In fact, if you can get a large tractor tire, that would be great. Let’s start with the smaller tires. These will be used for tossing exercises. It will require a total body, dynamic type of workout. That’s one of the reasons I want you to start with the smallest tire you can find for this. There are two basic tosses that you will be doing. The first one will be the flip over your head. The way you do it is to grasp the tire with both hands and with a swinging motion, toss it over your head behind you.
You will use your legs to help in the swinging motion and to develop the power for the toss. You may want to practice without the tire at first. Focus on the technique and then move to the tire. Heck, even a bicycle tire will help with this.
The next toss is like a discus throw. You will be using both hands for this one (unless you are strong enough to use one hand). Grasp the tire with both hands on top, around the inner edge. Start swinging from side to side until you gain some momentum. As the momentum increases, spin your body in a circle (again like a discus thrower would) and let go of the tire – tossing it into the air. This will work your whole body and especially your abdominal area.
If you are able to get a tractor tire, use it for lifting & flipping it forward. It will be heavy, make sure you use a good dead lift like form to lift it. As you lift it, get it to where you can push it forward where it will be flipped over and then continue for several times.
Have fun and experiment. Like the ancient warriors, you will build your body for functionality. Keep training for health too.
Bob Choat works as a Peak Performance Coach/Trainer and has certifications as an NLP Trainer, Hypnotherapist, NASM-Certified Personal Trainer, & EEG Neurofeedback Practitioner. His formal education includes a Masters in Psychology as well as degrees in Leadership and Business.