Train Like A Viking

We all know the Vikings were said to be great warriors with massive strength and the ability to overpower their opponents. However, most Vikings were not full-time warriors. Their daily lives consisted of farming, hunting, building and operating powerful ships and training.

They believed in wearing very little armor to stay fast-and-light, but also having enough strength and muscle to conquer their opponents in battle. One other skill was their awareness of nature and its surroundings, giving them the ability to adapt quickly to their environment.

"Eagles should show their claws, though dying." -The Saga of Olaf Haraldsson

Berserkers were an elite group of warriors used by the Vikings during battle. They were known for their ferocity in battle, fighting with blind rage and intensity.

Glima was a system of martial arts that the Vikings used to prepare themselves for close quarter combat. It consisted mainly of grappling, using body leverage to throw or takedown their opponents.

"Wisdom is welcome wherever it comes from." -Bandamanna Saga

Chopping logs, carrying wood over long distances, rowing a Viking longship may not be easily accessible for you today. But have no worries. Below, we will list exercises that you can do to train like a modern-day Viking.

Chopping Logs – Have you ever tried slamming a tractor tire with a sledgehammer? It’s a tough and effective way to:

  • Develop core, rotational and grip strength
  • Increase your work capacity
  • Improve explosive power
  • Burn a ton of calories in a short period of time

Go to your local gym and aim for 100 reps each side. Your body will thank you later.

"Stand by your own trial and not by what others say." -Gudmundur Jonsson

Carrying Wood – Okay, you most likely don’t have heavy slabs of wood laying around. And if you do, you might look strange carrying wood around your local gym. But you can use heavy dumbbells for a Farmers Walk. Or you can use an Atlas Stone or sandbags that many strength training gyms may have. Aim to carry the object over a distance rather than a period of time. It’s better to see your end goal (Vikings running and carrying their battle axe towards an opponent) than wait for the time to expire. There are many benefits of carrying objects such as:

  • Develops grip strength
  • Improves your conditioning
  • Builds upper back, core and lower body strength
  • Will challenge your mind and body to not drop the weight until your end goal

"Even in the sheath the sword must be sharp - so too must the mind and the spirit within the body."

Rowing a Longship – Unless you are a skilled boat builder, and have access to the sea, you probably don’t have a longship sitting outside your house. However, building your back a much simpler and complete way includes pull-ups, deadlifts, good mornings, and bent-over rows. Building a strong posterior chain is a essential for any aspiring Viking.

"Where wolf's ears are, wolf's teeth are near." -Volsunga Saga

Glima – You're most likely not living in Norway/Iceland & you probably won’t find a local Glima school. However, there are many disciplines that practice similar methods such as Jiu-Jitsu, Grappling and Wrestling. Not only will you learn practical self-defense, you will build a strong total body and confident mentality.

Of course, there are many key movements not listed in the exercise section above. If you want to train like a Viking, you need to structure your training effectively to get in excellent physical shape. After this workout plan, make sure to check out our Hybrid Training Program to gain total body strength, lean muscle, core strength and conditioning.

Day 1 - Upper Body Strength

Pull-Ups 3x8

Bent-Over Barbell Rows 3x8

Viking Press (Standing Barbell Shoulder Press) 3x8-12

Push-ups 3xFailure

Sit-ups 100x

10 treadmill sprints - 20 seconds work/60 seconds rest/repeat

Day 2 - Lower Body Strength

Deadlifts 3x8-10

Barbell Squats 3x8-10

Walking Lunges 3x12

Viking Surrenders 3x20

*Start with dumbbells at your sides, bring your right knee to the ground then bring your left knee to the ground so you are kneeling. Lift your right foot up and plant your foot in front of you, and bring your left foot forward to stand up while pressing through your heal, and stand up with your feet shoulder width apart.

Good Mornings 3x12-15

Day 3 - Total Body

Atlas Stone Carry 5x50 feet

*Do Farmer's Walk with dumbbells as a substitute

Burpee to a Jumping Pull-up 3x10

Berserker Tire Slams 3x25 each side

*Any medium to large sledgehammer and a tractor tire will work

Double Kettlebell Complex - 3-5 rounds

5 Squats, 5 Rows, 5 Overhead Presses, 5 Deadlifts - Set the weights down and perform 15 Push-Ups

*Perform all 4 Kettlebell movements before setting the weight down. Once all movements are completed, perform 15 Push-ups.

Choose: Bike 3-5 miles or Run 2 miles

Day 4: Grappling/Wrestling/Jiu-Jitsu

If you have not tried a Jiu-Jitsu class, make sure to sign-up for a free trial at your local Jiu-Jitsu school. Adding this into your routine is the final element of becoming a modern-day Viking.


Training like a Viking may be tough, but worth it. This workout plan is meant to do for no longer than 4 weeks before changing your routine. Feel free to make this workout your own and add in additional exercises that you find challenging. But remember, Vikings were known to be balanced in overall strength. Don't skip an exercise because you aren't good at it. Make your weak points your strong points and you will be a beast!

Make sure to try our Hybrid Training Plan to keep the momentum going and turn your body into a machine!

*Always make sure to consult your doctor before starting any regular exercise program

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