Man Training

Dallas is home in BC until the 19th, leaving Melissa in charge of the blog.  Exciting!

Our last couple of posts have been kind of, well, heavy.   First we unceremoniously took away your “heart-healthy” Quaker oats, then we went public with our break-up with CrossFit.  (Technically, I suppose we were dumped, but no girl wants to admit THAT to her friends.)  Since it’s been such a tough week, I decided to put a stop to all this seriousness and get back to my roots – an Urban-Gets-Diesel style training post.

Last Saturday brought gorgeous spring-like weather to Maine, and not a moment too soon for us cabin-fever-crazy New England-ers.  I was planning to break in my new Oly shoes at a friend’s garage gym, but when we arrived, I realized I didn’t have the patience for an indoor training  session.  I just wanted to MOVE, out in the sunshine,  getting sweaty and dirty and ripping it UP.  And no, I’m not talking about some fluffy wall-ball, sumo deadlift high pull, running backwards B.S.  I’m talking Man Training. Dragging stuff, throwing stuff, hitting stuff, carrying stuff, jumping on stuff.  Getting dirty and sweaty and maybe even ripping a hole in the knee of your pants.  Man.  Training.

Now, I know calling this stuff “Man Training” is kind of silly.  It’s not like I’m some guy named Magnus, competing in the Highland Games or ESPN strongman contests.  I’m just a chick in pigtails trying to get stronger by any and all means available to me, including getting her butt kicked by a big hunk of rubber.  But I’m making this kind of silly point because I imagine many people tend to get caught up in their structured, “constantly-varied”-yet-somehow-still-Groundhog-Day workouts.  The same “Girl” met-cons, the same 21-15-9 rep scheme, the same 5×5 back squat, the same four-walled confines of your everyday gym.  Every now and again, I imagine we could ALL use a change of scenery, a dose of Vitamin D and some good old-fashioned HARD WORK – the kind the old school, great and beastly REAL strongmen do. (But scaled down to a chick-in-pigtails level.) This weekend, I found myself in exactly that place… and the silly yet inspiring moniker “Man Training” was born. 

So if you find yourself bored with the same old met-cons, tired of being cooped up indoors and in need of a serious dose of self-appointed bad-ass-ery,  today’s post (and the below Dallas-prescribed workout) is just for YOU.  Man Training.  Get some.

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Warm Up:

  • Tire jumps (28”).  As many as possible while Dallas gets the other tire set up.


  • Tire drags.  Strap on a harness and drag a tire the size of a Mini Cooper* up and back across the parking lot.

Dallas estimated the tire to weigh between 250 – 300 lbs, but since he’s Canadian and thinks in kilos,  I’m pretty sure his math was bad.  That thing must have weighed at least 972 lbs, because for the majority of time I spent in front of that tire, I was darn near horizontal.  And, not going anywhere.

Total time spent:  17 hours*  Total distance moved:  4 feet*

*Estimates based on my perceived exertion and the amount of time Dallas spent laughing at me. I did, in fact, get it up and back across the parking lot.

Man Training:

4 rounds, for time*

  • 10 med ball throws (20# ball)
  • Sprint to tire
  • 20 sledgehammer tire hits (10# sledge)
  • Sprint to gas cans
  • 40 steps, farmer’s walk (2 x 75# sand-filled gas cans)

Time:  11:24

The med ball throws were all for distance under D’s watchful eye – no wimpy tosses allowed.  I managed to find a good rhythm with the sledgehammer, but I did catch one nasty rebound right on the shin, which pretty much incapacitated every body part but my dirty sailor mouth for 6 full seconds.  (Sorry, Mom, but that HURTS.) The gas can walks were the hardest part by far.  They were heavy (well over body weight), awkward to carry and hard to hold on to.  Hook grip, baby.

*Note, while we timed my effort, that was only because I get lazy if I’m not running against a clock.  The number means nothing, so choose your own adventure and don’t worry about trying to compare.

Cash Out:

Stand around in the sunshine, wondering how to fix the small hole in the shin of my Lulus.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

This workout was perfect – short, heavy and hard. I like these “strongman” sessions to be more grind than cardio, so we went extra heavy on the farmer’s walks and I made every sledge swing COUNT.  (You can either go fast and let the momentum of the swing carry you through the movement, or you can swing that smucking hammer as hard and fast as Thor himself.  I aimed for the latter.)

Don’t have some of this equipment?  For the love of Magnus, don’t let that stop you. Just GO OUTSIDE AND PICK UP SOMETHING HEAVY.   Find something.  Anything.  Throw a rock, your kettlebell or a big log.  Jump on the next tall thing you see.  Drag, push or pull anything you can get a handle on.  Carry something big and awkward until you drop it.  Move fast, keep it heavy and challenge yourself.  That’s what Man Training is all about.

Post your best non-conventional training implements, dirtiest workouts or most embarrassing sledgehammer incident to comments.

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  1. says

    I expect nothing less from the person who levered the axles into place while I hung the big ass new springs on the Jeep. That’s my girl !

  2. says

    @Dad: I would give ANYTHING to have that Jeep back. That car was the bomb.

    @Jennifer: I don’t know… they weren’t right next to each other, but it wasn’t far. I threw the med ball in the driveway by the gas cans, then ran to the sledge/tire in the backyard, then back to the gas cans for the farmer’s walk. The point was just to keep moving.

  3. Claudia says

    SOUNDS…AWESOME…You rock Melissa, keep it up! Can’t wait to see you guys in June, please keep me posted!

  4. says

    Mox! Good stuff…we just got atlas stones this week…theres reliable chatter that they may be involved at sectionals hehe. So fun to play with…and we did some tire flipping last weekend which was fun too.

  5. Dawn says

    I’m so glad you posted this. When I saw your post on face book I was hoping you would give details. Good to have you back in the writing seat, just what the doctor ordered! I took a 16# wall ball to the chin the other day and learned 2 things. 1. Huge respect for boxers and other fighters, because after they get hit they manage to stay standing (most of the time). and 2. There really are cute little birds circling your head just like on the cartoons!

  6. says

    Tim! You totally beat me to the punch! I was going to point to that dude, too. Talk about unfair: he’s super strong and lean AND he’s in Paris. Someone has clearly stolen my life and given it to him.

    Moxy-Boss, this looks like so much fun! and hard! and fun! Reminds me of the workout you gave us when we had to throw the kettlebells… we were a muddy, ecstatic mess by the time we were done. LOVE it.

  7. Jordan M. says

    In Hawaii, we sometime find a heavy rock and try to walk underwater while holding it. Fun (CHALLENGING) stuff!

  8. Robbie says

    We have a group of non affiliate belonging crossfitters in my town..we meet at the beach and drag a pile of plates with a rope tied through them(through sand), flip tires, barbell clean and throws(oh man), sledge tire hits and we are plannig to bring a wheelbarrow and shovel this spring and fill it and run it. I like the gas cans with sand! That’s a Mantastic session you had there.

  9. says

    @Everyone: This post was so fun to write! I’ve missed these training adventure write-ups, and Dallas programs me some MEAN workouts, so you’ll be seeing more of them in the Whole9’s future.

    @Jordan: I love anything that combines training + water. That sounds awesome – I’ll have to try that when I’m in the Keys in May.

  10. says

    Awesome training, Sledgehammer, farmer walk, sprints, medball what more could a man or woman want!! Love the blog and just added to my reader and KB site, nice find!! Cheers Rob

  11. says

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