How to Get a Crazy Full-Body Workout with Stones and Rocks

Naysayers will claim they can’t reach their fitness goals by working out outside because they need to lift heavy weights. Well you know what’s heavy? Rocks.

Rocks aren’t just heavy, but awkward and natural. Lifting rocks will make you more strong, mobile, and naturally-ripped than any barbell or machine can. If you don’t believe me, give these rock workout exercises a try and tell me otherwise.

For a rock-solid workout, do all the warm-ups listed here, then pick any five exercises and do three sets 5-8 reps of each.

rocks for stone training
You said outdoor workouts don’t have enough weights did ya?

Warm Up Exercises Using Rocks

The Moving Pedestal

moving pedestal stone training exercise

The Movement:

Hoist a stone above your head with your arms locked straight, and walk back and forth along the beach for about 45-60 seconds.

Ideal Rock Size:

Heavy enough that by the end of the 45-60 seconds your shoulders are ready to give up and drop it. If you can barely lift it above your head, or it keeps falling, it’s too heavy.

The Smuggler

stone training
Practicing for motherhood…

The Movement:

Pick up the rock and hold it close to your chest/abdomen, wrapping and interlocking your arms around it, then briskly walk up and down the beach for 45-60 seconds.

Ideal Rock Size:

Heavy. It shouldn’t be easy to get the rock into position at your chest. With that weight, you’ll probably be able to make it about 45-60 seconds before giving in. I use the same rock as that for the Rock Clean exercise listed below.

Forward Rock’n Roll

The Movement:

Push a big-ass rock forwards along the sand by rolling and flipping it. It’s very important to focus on getting your butt low so as to engage your leg muscles and not put undue strain on your lower pack. And don’t try to muscle it with your arms; consciously engage your leg muscles to move the weight.

Ideal Rock Size:

Start with a medium-sized rock that isn’t too hard to flip over or roll 10-12 times. As you start feeling warm, fresh, and ready for a challenge, progress all the way up to the biggest rock you can find and can just barely roll or flip a few times before exhaustion.

Backward Rock’n Roll

The Movement:

Unless you’ve got rocks for brains, you can probably deduce that it’s the same as the Forward Rock’n Roll, but in reverse, pulling the rock backwards instead of pushing it forwards.

Ideal Rock Size:

Same as the Forward Rock’n Roll.

Strength Training Exercises Using Rocks

Weighted Jumps

The Movement:

Cradling a rock in front of you at chest level, bound along the beach with two-footed jumps. Jump as far as you can each time. Try to land softly and descend into a full, deep squat with every jump. Do about 6-8 reps. Beware: This exercise is way more exhausting than it looks.

Ideal Rock Size:

A medium-light rock. Holding the rock with your arms shouldn’t be the challenge; the challenge should be the burn your legs feel.

Rock Squats

The Movement:

A traditional squat, holding a rock out in front of you.

Ideal Rock Size:

For warm-up, pick a medium-light rock that you can do 20 or so reps with. You can also make this a full exercise instead of a warm-up by picking a heavier rock and doing less reps, or doing the squats with just one leg.

Rock Swings

rock swing exercise
Rock swings: A kettlebell swing minus the easy grip.

The Movement:

A kettlebell swing, but with a rock. If you’re not familiar with the kettlebell swing technique, here’s a guide.

Ideal Rock Size:

A rock that you can do 8-12 swings of with perfect form. Usually the same rock as you used for the Moving Pedestal and Forward Chuck is about right.

Rock Cleans

The Movement:

A power clean, but with a rock. If you’re not comfortable or familiar with the power clean technique, skip this exercise and get qualified instruction first.

Ideal Rock Size:

Big. Start small to get a feel for the exercise, but once you get familiar with it, see how big you can go! We typically shoot for a rock we can do 5 reps of.

Side Chucks

side throw stone training exercise

The Movement:

Hold a rock down in front of you with your arms completely straight and locked. Get into a semi-squatted athletic stance, swing the rock to your right side keeping your arms straight and loading your weight onto your right leg, then swing back explosively to your left, letting go of the rock and throwing it as far as you can to the side. Your legs and hips should be fully extended on release, with all your weight on your left leg. Do about eight throws, then do the same on the other side.

Ideal Rock Size:

The rock should be heavy enough so that you can throw it about 5 to 10 feet each time, and not so heavy that it slips from your hands as you throw it.

Forward Chucks

forward rock throw

The Movement:

The same movement as the Rock Clean above, but with the added step of exploding forward and throwing the rock from your chest after you’ve picked it up.

Ideal Rock Size:

One that you can do 6-8 reps of. Typically I use the same rock as I use for the Rock Swings and Moving Pedestal.

Overhead Throws

The Movement:

Stand with your legs slightly wider than shoulder-width and holding a rock with both hands and your arms straight. Squat down quickly, letting the rock swing back between your legs, then explode up, swinging the rock upwards with straight arms and throwing it high above your head. Try to throw as high up as possible, not far backwards. After you release your whole body, arms, and legs should be completely extended upwards. Try to get your feet off the ground. Don’t bend your arms at any point in the exercise. Keep the straight and locked at all times.

Ideal Rock Size:

One that you can safely throw at least 10 feet into the air 6-8 times.

Downward Slams

The Movement:

Kind of the reverse of the upwards chucks. Do a power clean to get the rock to your chest, then bend your legs and explode up to pick the rock straight above your head. Once you have the rock directly above you, throw it down to the ground between your legs as hard as you can. Engage your legs by pulling the rock down with them and dropping into a wide sumo squat (wide so that the rock doesn’t crush any of your toes.

Ideal Rock Size:

The same rock as you used for your Moving Pedestal warm-up.

More Exercises Using Rocks…

The above exercises are our favorites, but there are as many other exercises using rocks as there are rocks in the forest, beach, or wherever you are.

Check out our extensive library (AKA “toy box of toil”) of metabolic exercises for more inspiration.

And next time you’re in the need of some fresh air and to pump your muscles, get out there, get creative, and rock your body.

And More Unconventional Workouts

Discover more fun but effective outdoor workout ideas—like at-home, hammock, pool, and partner exercises—in our Fitness Archive.

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4 thoughts on “How to Get a Crazy Full-Body Workout with Stones and Rocks”

  1. I am a professional dry stone waller living in the UK. I am 67 and have been lifting and tossing rocks about for the last 40 years. Daily I lift around 5 tonnes of stone of varying sizes from fist size to torso size. Sometime I will move very large stones by hand, not lifting them off the ground but moving them about up wooden planks onto a wall up to about 5 foot high. If any of your followers want to give themselves a really good workout they should check out any stone wallers in their area and offer to help. There are stone wallers all over the world.


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