• Hulk Out: Back Day

    Oh Back Day…how I love you? Let me count the ways!

    1. A strong back = a great way to avoid future neck, shoulder, and back pain.
    2. A well trained back = a balanced physique (people tend to work their “push” muscles than their “pull” muscles).
    3. Helps improve posture – showcasing a “leaner” look.

    Back muscles are one of the most important muscle groups to ever work out (I’ll talk about Leg Day in a couple of weeks). Think about it, we use our back in almost everything that we do whether mundane like bending over to tie your shoe to getting out of bed or complex like bouldering and playing kickball (if you pitch to me, I prefer a baby bounce pitch…). So yes, it’s key to keep your back strong.

    Pull-Ups, Rows, and Deadlifts are the three quintessential exercises that workout your back, including the many variations out there. For this week, we’ll focus on the deadlift – my fave!

    With the Olympic barbell set on the ground with your starting weight, stand center of the bar with your feet positioned at shoulder distance apart and toes pointed at a 45-degree angle. Squat down with your knees and use a reverse grip to grab the bar. Take note that your elbows should be on the outside of your knees. Dip your hips down so that you are no longer bent over the bar and slowly stand up. Your arms should be straight with a slight bend at the elbow. As you stand, the bar should be raised up to your hips (slightly above or below depending on the person). Slowly lower the weight back down to the ground. That’s one rep. Keep your back straight throughout the entire exercise and your eyes should either look up or forward.

    Whether from rucking with XXX lbs of weight on you, heaving a giant log with your team on all of your shoulders, or stepping up to carry a casualty, you and your team will need your back to be healthy and strong. The last thing you’ll ever want to do during a GR event is to throw out your back while changing socks – so take care of yourself!

    Stay strong, keep breathing, and finish your m@#$%r f&*#@n’ set!

    What You Will Need:
    Foam Roller
    Jump Rope OR Treadmill, Track, or any place that you’re comfortable doing a light jog
    Pull-Up Station
    Cable Station
    Olympic Barbell + Weighted Plates

    10 minutes of foam rolling

    5 minutes of jump rope or 15 minutes light jogging

    4 exercises, different sets, various reps
    Rest for 1:30-2:00 minutes between sets.
    Rest for 2:00-3:00 minutes between exercises.

    Pull-Up (+ Seated Lat Pull Down Super Set): 3 sets of 8-10 reps

    • Set-up the Seated Lat Pull Down station before starting.
    • Starting from a dead hang, perform as many body weight pull-ups as possible.
    • If you can do 8-10 reps, great – you’ve completed your set.
    • If you cannot complete the 8-10 reps, quickly move to the Seated Lat Pull Down station and perform until the 8-10 reps have been completed.
    • That’s 1 set.

    Bent Over Neutral Grip Single Arm Dumbbell Row:  3 sets of 8-10 reps per arm

    • Using a flat bench, kneel over the bench.
    • Keep your back flat.
    • With a neutral grip, grab the dumbbell and slowly raise the weight so that your tricep is parallel to the ground.
    • Lower it back down slowly so that the dumbbell is hovering over the ground.
    • That’s 1 rep.
    • Complete reps then switch sides.

    Pull Through: 3 sets of 6-8 reps

    • Treat this as your warm-up to your next exercise – the deadlift.
    • Keep the resistance light and go slow.

    Barbell Deadlift: 9 sets

    12 reps ___________
    10 reps ___________
    8 reps ___________
    6 reps ___________
    5 reps ___________
    4 reps ___________
    3 reps ___________
    2 reps ___________
    1 rep ___________

    Regarding the deadlift, try using only the lifting chalk (to dry out your hands and maximize your grip) only when needed and apply right before approaching the bar.  Keep your use of the wrist straps and belt to a near minimal and only towards the end of the workout set as the weight increases. The reasoning behind this is that it will help increase your hand and forearm (aka grip) strength and to strengthen your lower back.

    Also as you lift heavier, it will be easier to drop the weights between reps. It’s a common practice with those who do heavy, heavy deadlifts. Be mindful of your gym’s rules and do your best to be safe about it.

  • Hulk Out: Bell Ringer

    Kettlebells. Yep, we’re using them.


    Whether you’re tight on time or limited in space, kettlebells are a great go-to for quick and easy workouts at the gym OR at home. These odd shaped weights are perfect for momentum-based workouts.

    If you don’t have one or don’t have access to one, don’t fret. GORUCK sandbags can work in a pinch or with a bit of creativity, your full loadout ruck will do great.

    The Bell Ringer is technique driven and meant to be performed as a circuit. Feel free to blast through this workout. Again, you won’t need much for this particular workout – weight and space. That’s it.

    If you’re familiar with GORUCK events, then you know that your ruck is your greatest asset as well as the Cadre’s preferred torture device for PT. With the Bell Ringer, you’ll get a taste of what that’s like by using only a kettlebell throughout the entire circuit. Choose your weight wisely and NO SWITCHING WEIGHTS MID-CIRCUIT!

    Stay strong, keep breathing, and get swingin’.

    What you will need:
    Foam Roller
    Rowing machine or jump rope

    10 minutes of foam rolling

    3 sets of 500m row (1 minute of rest between sets)
    5 minutes of jump rope

    5 exercises, 10 reps each exercise, 6 sets
    1:00 – 1:30 minute rest between sets

    Alternating Kettlebell Push-Up

    • Lay the kettlebell on its side so that the handle portion lays it flat against the ground.
    • Start with your right hand on the kettlebell, go down, push-up while quickly switching hands and repeat with left side until your right hand is back on the kettlebell. That’s one rep.

    Kettlebell Overhead Press

    • Cradle the kettlebell with your hands around the rounded part (not the handle).
    • Start position is at chest level.
    • Press the weight overhead then back to the start position. That’s 1 rep.

    Russian  Kettlebell Swings

    • Keep your back straight throughout the exercise.
    • Have your legs at shoulder width apart.
    • Explode through the hips and raise the kettlebell up to shoulder height then in a controlled motion, lower the weight back down to the start.

    Sumo Squat with Kettlebell

    • Have your legs slight wider than shoulder width with your toes pointed at a 45-degree angle.
    • Keep your back straight throughout the exercise.
    • Use an overhand grip with both hands to hold the handle.
    • Go at a 30X1 tempo (refer to GORUCK’s Guide to Tempo Training)

    4-Count Flutter Kicks

    • The start position is both feet 6 inches above the ground.
    • Keep your legs perfectly straight and toes pointed throughout the exercise.
    • Cadence is a 4-count: 1, 2, 3, (rep #). Perform until all reps are completed.


  • A Special Message from Cadre Bert

    In early May, Cadre Bert sent out a special message to the GORUCK Tough family. As a power lifter, you’ll see why I’m excited.

    “Check it out…..there is an art to rucking. Some people are naturally gifted and can ruck the lights out, others like myself have to work hard at it.

    For those of us that are not naturally gifted at rucking….we have to train all aspects of the body and engage those weaker areas will well rounded strength-training. Obviously being 300lbs and a ball of muscle is not the best setup for rucking, but being well-rounded and strong in lower body, core, and upper body will only make you a better rucker…..especially when the weight increases.

    Arguably the three primary lifts always have been and always will be Bench Press, Deadlift, and Back Squat. Since as early as the 1950’s, different American sports teams from high school all the way to the pros have had a special lifting clubs.

    Well Meatheads…you asked for it so now you got it. I would like to introduce the “GORUCK 1000lb Club.” There will also be a 500lb Club and 750lb Club for women only and a 1200lb Club for the super Meatheads.

    500 lbs750 lbs

    1000 lbs1200 lbs


    The GORUCK 1000-Pound Club is a combination of your squat, dead lift and bench press. A lifter must meet or exceed 1000 lbs., with any combination of these three lifts, to become a member.

    Specific Cadre will be designated as graders.

    Each participant has to schedule an appointment with a Cadre coming to their area and must use their gym/box as well as provide their own spotter for Bench Press and Back Squat.
    Gloves, Wrist Wraps, and/or Lifting Straps are permitted. Bench Press Suits/Shirts are not allowed.
    Weight lifting belts are permitted for all 3 lifts.
    All 3 lifts must be completed in one session, monitored by same Cadre for all 3 lifts.


    Power arch is permitted, but participant’s glutes and upper back/shoulders MUST stay in contact with the bench at all times.
    Feet must remain stationary throughout the lift.
    Spotter may assist participant in liftoff, but not during lift. Participant gives “READY” signal to spotter. Cadre will look for a “SHOW OF CONTROL” in which the bar and the body must be completely still.
    Weight bar must come down so the elbows reach a minimum of 90 degrees.
    Bar MUST touch the chest, but no bounce is permitted.
    Full extension must be reached before re-racking the bar.
    Bad lifts include:
    Extreme instability of the bar
    Extreme body movement (I.e. feet leaves the floor).


    Participant must have full control and stability during entire movement.
    Thighs must be parallel, or close to parallel, to the ground during completion of squat.
    Bad lifts include:
    Uneven, or excessive, leaning towards one side.
    Rounding of your lower back.
    Extreme instability of the bar.
    Taking steps during lift.


    Lift must start from the ground.
    Participant must maintain straight or slightly arched posture.
    Hip and knees must move evenly during lift.
    Body must reach full extension before dropping weight.
    Bad lifts include:
    Uneven, or excessive, leaning towards one side.
    Extreme Instability of the bar.
    Rounded back posture.


    Start training now……more to follow and standby. The patches are being made as we speak. You want this one….you gotta earn it like all the other GORUCK patches, but this one you have to earn by yourself.

    You’ll pass out before you die!”

    Guess who’s gunning for the 1250lbs club? BOOM!

    Stay strong, keep breathing, and my life for Iron!

  • Hulk Out: Shoulder Day

    Technically speaking, Shoulder Day can easily be lumped into Arm Day (Biceps/Triceps) workouts or in tandem with Chest Day. I tend to give Shoulder Day its own routine due to past injuries – I subluxed both of my shoulders playing sports. IT SUCKS!

    The Push-Press is a great exercise. It not only target your shoulders, but also work your bi’s, tri’s, lats, and traps – yes, go ahead and call me a meathead! Also, it works your legs and hips.

    Variations include the seated/standing military presses using dumbbells, Olympic bars and weighted plates, or the Smith machine. If you’re new to doing these kind of presses, I suggest using a Smith machine to get used to the motion while seated.

    For this particular workout, we’ll focus on the Push-Press as the heavy lift. It’s important that you warm-up thoroughly. Normally, there’d be an exercise or two before doing the heavy lift. However, I like to go straight into it! This workout is flexible enough that you can do the push-press later in the routine.

    The following link has a great step-by-step diagram + video of how to properly execute a push-press.

    Here’s a bit of a summary. You’ll need a squat rack with the Olympic bar adjusted to shoulder height. Approach the bar so that it touches your upper chest. Cradle the bar in a way that your triceps are parallel to the ground, the bar lays across your upper chest, and the bar rests slightly past your biceps.

    Keep your back straight, unrack the bar, and then step back a bit. You should have a loose overhand grip of the bar at this point. While keeping your feet shoulder width apart and fixed to the ground (your feet should not move at all), slightly dip your knees to not even a partial squat. As you explode up (i.e. stand up straight and tall), tighten your grip and press the bar overhead. Then lower the bar back down to your upper chest. That’s one rep.

    As you perform this exercise, your back should be straight the entire time. Breathing wise, you’ll want to exhale as you press the bar overhead and inhale as you lower it back down to start. Practice the motion a couple of times with just the bar and be careful to not hit your head as you explode up and lower down. This is about technique after all.

    So why shoulders (aside from strengthening my personal injuries)? Because with GORUCK events, logs. That’s all you need to know. The above photo makes fun of it, but you will encounter heavy logs from time to time. Whether it’s doing group or individual log PT, there will be plenty of times where you will be doing a version of a push-press. Throw in ruck presses or overhead ruck holds then you’ll see why it’s important to have strong shoulders. Another bonus: you’ll gain some extra padding (from muscle gains) on your shoulders for buddy carries. Your partner will thank you!

    Stay strong, keep breathing, and get to work.



    What You Will Need:
    Foam Roller
    Rowing Machine or Jump Rope
    Olympic Bar
    Various Weighted Plates

    10 minutes of foam rolling

    3 sets of 500m row (1 minute rest between sets) OR 5 minutes of jump rope

    5 exercises, different sets, various reps
    Rest for 1:30-2:00 minutes between sets.
    Rest for 2:00-3:00 minutes between exercises.

    Push-Press: 9 sets at a 30X1 tempo (See GORUCK Glossary for Tempo Training.)

    • Record your weight progressions for the following pyramid set
      -12 reps ___________
      -10 reps ___________
      -8 reps ___________
      -6 reps ___________
      -5 reps ___________
      -4 reps ___________
      -3 reps ___________
      -2 reps ___________
      -1 rep ___________

    Y-T-M: 3 sets of 6-8 reps

    • Adjust a cable station so that the handles are both at shoulder height.
    • In a controlled motion, pull the cables into the Y position. Return to start.
    • Pull the cables into the T position. Return to start.
    • Pull the cables into M position. Return to start.
    • That’s 1 rep.

    Weighted Plate (or dumbbell) Raise into Truck Driver: 4 sets of 8-10 reps

    Single Arm Elbow-Supported Dumbbell External Rotation: 3 sets of 6 reps

    • Perform this with the lightest weight possible first then adjust as needed.
    • GO SLOW!

    Dumbbell Shoulder Shrugs: 3 sets of 6-8 reps

    • For this exercise, make sure to apply a decent amount of chalk to your hands and/or put on wrist-straps.
    • With the dumbbells on the ground, squat down with your feet shoulder width apart (my preference), grab the dumbbells with a tight neutral-style grip, and while keeping your back straight and tall, stand back up.
    • When ready, keep the dumbbells close to your sides and shrug your shoulders.
    • Inhale as you shrug. Exhale as you lower the weights back down to your hips.
    • Your head should be at a relaxed and tall position, with your eyes looking forward.
    • Once reps have been completed, reverse the motion to lower the dumbbells back to the ground.
    • Depending on your gym/box, DO NOT DROP THE DUMBBELLS!

    For another variation of the push-press, use dumbbells instead of the Olympic bar. The dumbbells will challenge your core more as well as your stabilizing muscles in your shoulders.

  • Hulk Out: The Multi-Tasker*

    The Multi-Tasker is an AMRAP-style workout. What’s AMRAP you say? As Many Rounds/Reps As Possible. If you’re familiar with GORUCK’s Training page, one who practices CrossFit, or a crazy meathead (-points at myself-), then this is a cringe worthy acronym.

    This particular workout is to be performed as a circuit: complete one exercise then move on to the next. Although it is only 4 exercises with 4 reps each exercise, this workout can sneak up on you quick. Make sure to get your stations at the ready ahead of time. We’re looking for total rounds completed during a set time. How long you rest and what you do between each set is entirely up to you. And as always, STAY TRUE TO FORM.

    With GR events, you’ll never know what the Cadre wants you to do until you’re instructed to do so. The Multi-Tasker is meant to keep you on your toes but keep you moving, while at the same time testing your abilities to concentrate.

    This is a gym friendly workout…well, figuratively speaking. You will be hogging a squat station for some time. If you’re lucky, grab 2 Olympic bars (one on the ground ready for the power clean/push press combo and one prepped for back squats). So be prepared to make gym-emies. It can be done at home as long as there’s enough space and can be easily modified by using sandbags or a heavy ruck.

    It’s you versus the clock. How many complete sets can you do? Only you will know so keep your head in the game.

    Stay strong, keep breathing, and don’t stop.

    What you will need:
    Foam Roller
    Rowing machine or jump rope
    Timer, Clock, or Watch
    Olympic barbell (preferably 2)
    Squat rack
    Various weighted plates

    10 minutes of foam rolling

    3 sets of 500m row (1 minute of rest between sets)
    5 minutes of jump rope

    4 exercises, 4 reps each exercise, AMRAP in 1-hour
    1 – 1:30 minute rest between sets

    This workout is flexible. You can stick with one weight load for each of the exercises or adjust as you see fit. Personally, I start off light with each of the exercises then progressively add more weight as I continue more sets. The thirst for Iron never stops!

    *The Multi-Tasker is what my girlfriend decided this workout should be called considering all its “moving parts” and testing one’s ability to concentrate.

  • GRH-PEP Week 10: Day 7

    Tony Robbins

    Week 10: Day 7

    REST DAY and recover over the next few days for the HCL. Stay loose and walk unloaded; 3-5 miles daily.

    See you on the mountain!

  • GRH-PEP Week 10: Day 6

    you can only lead

    Week 10: Day 6

    Warm Up:

    Self-Myofascial Release (Foam Roll)- LatsThoracic Spine (Back)Piriformis/GlutesHip Flexors/TFLIT BandQuadsAdductor ComplexHamstringsCalves


    Perform a 3-hour ruck w/ full load. You move as quickly as possible with little rest for duration of conditioning.


    • Cool down stretch and foam roll after exercising
    • Consume water
  • GRH-PEP Week 10: Day 5

    to have what you never had

    Week 10: Day 5

    Warm Up:

    Self-Myofascial Release (Foam Roll)- LatsThoracic Spine (Back)Piriformis/GlutesHip Flexors/TFLIT BandQuadsAdductor ComplexHamstringsCalves


    Feet-Elevated Scap Push-up x8/side

    Lateral Band Walks x8/side

    Knee-Break Ankle Mobilization x8

    Glute Wall March Iso Hold x4/30s side

    Overhead Lunge Walk x6/side



    Circuit Training– Rest 60-90s after circuit. Perform 4 sets.

    A1) Alternating DB Bench Press— 8/side

    A2) Barbell Sumo Deadlift— 8

    A3) DB Step-up to Balance— 15/side

    A4) Close-Grip Push-up— 25

    A5) Prisoner Squats— 25

    A6) DB Reverse Lunge from Deficit— 8/side

    A7) Flutter Kick— 30s


    • Cool down stretch and foam roll after exercising
    • Consume water
    • Consume post-workout nutrition (if needed).
    • Eat real food!


    Use enough weight/resistance that’s allows your first 50 reps before failure. After the first set to failure, rest for 15s then perform as many reps until next failure or you complete 100 reps total.