One of the most memorable scenes from Disney’s classic movie Mulan is when the soldiers are being trained and have to retrieve the arrow from the top of the post while wearing heavy weights around their arms.
If you’re looking for some unusual or more interesting methods of training than your standard gym exercises then this article is for you. From extreme obstacle courses to ridiculously heavy stones, we’ve got you covered. Some of these challenges may seem impossible or outlandish, but at the very least you can get some ideas on ways to workout without having to rely on standard routines.
The Baby Pig Challenge
This is a classic strength challenge that has many varieties. The basic challenge goes something like this:
You get a baby pig. You carry that pig up a hill every day and feed it at the top of the hill.
Every day the big gets a tiny bit bigger and you get a tiny bit stronger.
Granted, this may be more of a moral lesson than a practical workout but the point remains: start small and gradually work your way up.
It is likely that men have been challenging each other to lift heavy objects since the dawn of time. “Lifting Stones”, in particular, is an ancient form of strength testing.
There is an ancient 390 pound stone that was recently lifted for the first time in living memory by Wales strongman Mark Jeanes.
This hurts my back just watching!
Obstacle courses are a great way to improve your health on many dimensions at once. The rigorous exercise strengthens your heart. They take your mind off your problems and help relieve stress. The races require strength and endurance, balance and coordination, and mental concentration.
The Warrior Dash is a popular obstacle course with a reputation of being beginner-friendly. They have one course where you simply climb up a slope and then slide down. Well, there some complications thrown in as you might expect…
If you have more extreme tastes, something like this might be better suited for you:
If you find yourself discouraged by the fact that you have no audience at your local gym to be impressed by your weight-lifting showmanship then the Highland Games in Scotland might be a good pursuit for you.
How does chucking telephone poles, cannon balls, and ridiculously heavy spears sound to you?
Not only are the Highland Games a great strength of test, but they are also a great social event. The crowds and participants are very enthusiastic and you can listen to some great bagpipe music.
The Farmer’s Carry
You may know of this as a regular weight lifting exercise. But why not go old school? Instead of weights, try using logs and a rope:
If you want an added challenge, you can do the real farmers carry of 2 five-gallon buckets full of water. The challenge of not spilling the water means it’s both a test of strength and one of balance and concentration.
While some of these ideas are not practical for the everyday man (or woman), you at least can see that there are many creative ways to get fit without having to rely only on gym equipment. Obstacle courses and outdoor labor are a great way to get fit. If you want to actually follow through with the Baby Pig Challenge you’ll have a great story to share.
So the next time you find yourself tired of the gym and longing for some adventure, get creative! There are many ways you can do the same things with everyday outdoor objects (like pigs!)
Tongue-in-cheek humor aside the point is that there are many creative ways to spice up your workout routine. If carrying around pigs on your back is a little too absurd for your tastes you can do something a little more reasonable like using fitness apps to track your progress and giving yourself small rewards for sticking with your routine.