“Damnation seize my soul if I give you quarters, or take any from you!” —Blackbeard

We pity the poor lifters who follow the same old prescribed workouts that their mentor or guru from afar recommended. Meet training is fine, but it causes one to eliminate so much that we refuse to commit to that sort of training. Add to this the time and emphasis spent on suits and equipment and lifting becomes more like a chore and is rather a bore.

Many question why we lift as we do with seemingly no regard to how it is helping our meet totals. Some individuals choose to lift with reckless abandon and are oblivious to danger because challenge fuels their lives. For us, striving to overcome new obstacles is the challenge. We refuse to be handcuffed to what is generally accepted as the norm. We strongly recommend doing some Berserker training every now and then just for the hell of it and not because it is what the doctor ordered.


Steel log cleans in the power rack. These are brought to slightly below the knee. The rule is that the log cannot be released or set on the safety bars. My record is 36 reps with around 185 lbs. This always makes me puke or at least regurgitate a bit in my mouth. This is rarely done because of the aftermath.

Kettlebell through the leg passes (or also called Crazy 8’s). My personal record is eight minutes straight with a 53 lb kettlebell. My goal for the day was to do these continuously through the Pantera song “5 Minutes Alone.” At two minutes, it gets uncomfortable and it is somewhat difficult to breath. If you break through this point then it actually gets easier. I reached a state of numbness and kept going. Yes, I did become comfortably numb. All these years and I did not realize the song was really about kettlebells and the euphoria associated with their use. For a greater challenge, put dish soap on your hands and on the kettlebell before doing these.

Giant tire pull with harness. This ranks as one of the dumbest things we ever did simply because we did not know any better and overestimated our feeble abilities. We wrapped the end of a harness around the tire and tried to pull it down the alley. Approximately 11 minutes later, I succeeded. We sweated so much that we literally were slipping on our own perspiration on the concrete. This was probably the most difficult thing we ever did, but nobody gave up.

Get a giant tire, grab the rim of the tire, and pull backwards. This works the entire posterior chain. Go 30–40 yards. When finished with the tire, take the time it took to pull the tire and divide by five. Then do that many double-handed kettlebell swings. For instance, if it took me 80 seconds to drag the tire backwards then I would do 16 double-handed kettlebell swings. Why this formula? I don’t know. I made it up on the spot. If someone does not like this, then by all means devise your own formula based on Bulgarian principles, or simply just gripe to gripe. I would guess that most people that question this would not do it anyhow.

Medley. A recent medley we did in the alley proved to be worthwhile. We set up four different stations around 40 meters apart. Each person participated independently, trying for the fastest time. First, we did the keg carry. Sprint with a full keg to the Prowler and then pull the Prowler backwards. The Prowler had 200 lbs of weight on it. Next, run to the vinyl log. This vinyl log is old vinyl flooring weighing 150 lbs that I duct taped so that it would not unroll. Shoulder this and sprint to a pair of 72 lb kettlebells. Pick these up and sprint to the finish.

Wheelbarrow sprints. Load a wheelbarrow with whatever you have. Our typical load is a full keg, 150 lbs of weights, and 150 lbs of sandbags. The total weight is guesstimated to be 500 lbs. Simply race this wheelbarrow for 150–200 yards. Our best guys go down the alley and back in 40 seconds or so. I know that some recommend just walking with a wheelbarrow for GPP, but why the hell would you want to do that? Race the sonofa*****.

Squats. Choose a weight that is 50–75 lbs over your bodyweight and do as many reps off a box for a timed minute. Try for 30–35 reps. Rest no more than five minutes and then do reps with 50 more lbs for a minute. Rest five minutes or less and then add another 50 lbs. Strive for 70–75 total reps.


I weigh 235 lbs.

First set: I would use 285–310 lbs (you can round; there is no magic formula)

Second set: 335–360

Third set: 385–410

This is challenging to do, and it leaves its mark for many days.

Hades. This is what I call my garage. Normally, we lift in the friendly confines of my basement gym in my humble abode. It is glamorous and rather cushy compared to the outside facility known as the B annex. I decided to add to our challenges by lifting in my garage with all the doors shut. It is outrageously hot and stagnant in there. The air is thin, much like at a high altitude. The rule is that no one can exit the inferno until the work is done. This is borderline dangerous and hinges on the insane.

Recent workout in Hades:

72 lbs kettlebell




This means five swings with the right, five with the left, and five with both hands. The 15 is tough when air is sparse and sweat is prevalent. Between sets, I just sit and sweat and try to catch my breath. Again, I would not recommend this to everyone. I must say that the extreme heat eliminates all my aches and pains. For some reason I am addicted to this. Also, this diminishes the need for a weighted vest because my clothes weigh thirty pounds after this.

Another Hades workout/follow the leader. Do kettlebell swings for five reps. Immediately follow these with bent-over rows for five reps and then barbell curls for five reps. Then do 6, 6, and 6 and so on up to ten reps of each exercise. We use these types of workouts to do movements such as curls that we would not normally incorporate into our workouts.

Grip workout. Grab some 72 lb kettlebells or heavier and do 20 nice shrugs. Then hold them at your side without touching your body for 30 seconds. Proceed to do 15 shrugs and then hold for 45 seconds. Finish by doing 10 shrugs and holding for a full minute. The object is to do all of this without ever putting the kettlebells down or resting them against the upper thigh.

Triceps death, part II. These are done at the end of a bench workout. Choose a weight such as 225 lbs. Using a close grip, do five full reps immediately followed by five reps off a 1-board, 2-board, and so on, up to a 5-board. When the five reps are completed on the 5-board, promptly go to the 4-board and go back down until you finish with five full reps. You should have 55 total reps completed. This is fun and teaches the lifter to stay tight and concentrate. Plus, someone once said that 50–60 reps is optimal for triceps work so I just do all of them at once.

Timed dumbbell presses. Start with 60 lb dumbbells and do as many reps as possible for one minute. Rest no more than five minutes. Then do the 70s for a minute and then the 80s, 90s, and up to the 100s. By the time the 100s roll around, you will be lucky to get double figures in reps, and you will feel like a prepubescent little schoolgirl. I like these when I hurt and cannot do my usual stuff because they are lighter than usual but still challenging.

Log, sledgehammer medley. With a 100 lb log, perform ten clean and jerks. Without resting, swing a sledgehammer 15 swings per side. Rest one minute. Do this three times through. Rest five minutes and then do another three sets. You will learn very quickly how to perform the log clean and jerks efficiently.

Prowler + kettlebells = BFF. Push the Prowler for 35–40 yards. Pick whatever weight you want, but it doesn’t have to be nut busting. After each push, perform ten sumo style swings with the 53 lbs kettlebell. Rest two minutes. Repeat this fiasco ten times for the optimum results.

Fun with up-downs. This is a two person medley. The first person performs kettlebell swings using five different kettlebells. We use a 35, 53, another 53, 72, and 88 lb kettlebell. These swings are two-handed sumo swings and are done for ten reps per kettlebell.

The kettlebell person determines the pace. The other person must perform up-downs for the entire time that it takes the kettlebell person to do all the reps. If you are a good teammate, you will go as fast as you can. We only did this three times through. I’d rather do the up-downs than the kettlebell swings in case you were wondering.

Stairs and squats. I did this at the high school and found out it was a great way to get in shape. There are two variations to this. First, perform 15 push-ups, run up the stairs, perform 25 squats, and jog to the next aisle. Repeat this 12–15 times.

If your knees hurt you like mine do, put on a 75 lb weight vest. Do the same thing but just walk up the stairs…don’t run. Just so you know, there are about 45–50 steps per aisle to give you a point of reference.

Kettlebell conditioning. This is not as bad as the others, but still something to do. All of the following exercises are done with one kettlebell for 15 reps. There are no breaks (or minimal breaks) between sets. Make sure you chalk up. I’ve used a 53 lb kettlebell for this.

· two-handed sumo swing

· right arm sumo swing

· left arm sumo swing

· right arm snatch

· left arm snatch

· right arm standing press

· left arm standing press

· two-handed sumo swing for one minute