Need a simple and challenging workout? Grab a log in your yard.
A log is a unique and simple, yet effective training tool that's great for obstacle racers, military personnel and overall functional training. Log training is also good for sports the require stability and strength such as football and basketball.
It's one thing to train with a bar in a stable environment, but what about when you're sprinting or dodging while getting shoved by an opponent? You need to train how you play, and a simple log can help you do that.
Here are a few more reasons to train with a log.
- You get to play outside. Can't get to the gym? Get your training in your back yard, a park or wherever else is convenient. Carry it in your car and you'll always be ready to go.
- Unlike a bar, logs are not comfortable. They toughen you up.
- Best training partner. Your log is always there waiting for you. It has no excuses, even after you throw it around.
We'll look at three great exercises that focus on single-leg stability and strength, along with a sample interval conditioning set that is great for obstacle racers, military/tactical athletes, and anyone looking for an excellent functional training set.
All the exercises below are shown in the demonstration video.
Log Forward Walking Lunges
How To: This exercise does require other simple equipment. A rope and harness or a weight belt works. In the video, I use a weight belt with GripSlings attached.
Perform Walking Lunges dragging your log behind you. Your dragging knee should touch or be close to touching the ground. As with all lunging exercises, make sure to keep ankle-knee-hip alignment—i.e., don't allow your knee to collapse in. You can either take a step between Lunges or perform them without a step and with proper opposite arm movement for sprint/run form. The video shows both variations.
Benefits: Increased stability. The difference with the log is that it bounces, requiring additional stability. The effects are similar to getting a little push. The better your stability, the more efficient you move.
Football players should keep moving when their opponent tries to prevent their forward movement, include tackling.
How To: Place the log on your shoulder, back, or even bear hug it in front of you. Place your right knee down to the ground, followed by your left knee. Then stand up with your right knee followed by your left knee. You can switch sides with each repetition or perform half on one side then switch to the other side. This exercise is tough! Make sure to keep your knee in line with your foot. Don't let it collapse in.
Benefits: Leg strength and stability. Especially great for getting out of mud pits or having to tackle a nasty hill.
Log Backward Walking Lunges
How To: Similar to the Forward Walking Lunges, except you walk backwards. I used a weight belt with GripSlings attached.
With your hands placed either behind your neck (as shown in the video) or crossed in front of your body, perform Lunges walking backwards while holding the log.
Benefits: Glute firing and increased stability. Your glutes should fire first when you run. Runners and sprinters are especially susceptible to altering this firing pattern, with relatively overactive hip flexors and inactive hip extensors. This exercise reinforces the proper firing pattern and especially strengthens those glutes!
You have to stabilize the log in the front position. Football players, for example, have a lot of pressure/jostling at the front.
Sample Interval Training Routine
- Rest 60 seconds between sets. After your dynamic warm-up and 3-4 strides, perform the routine twice through.
- Set 1. 20 Log Forward Walking Lunges. Drop the belt and immediately sprint 100m.
- Set 2. 10 Log Up-Downs (5 per side). Run or walk with your log for 200m.
- Set 3. 20 Log Backward Walking Lunges. Drop the belt and immediately go into a 100m sprint.
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Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock