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Unconventional Cardio: Strongman Conditioning Circuits

Unconventional Cardio: Strongman Conditioning Circuits

Author of “Home Program Design Mastery,” “The Ultimate Group Training System,” “Build ‘N Burn 2.0,” & “Build ‘N Burn



Need some ideas on how to shake up your clients’ conditioning workouts? Here are three fun circuits I designed for my small groups! The beauty of strongman-type exercises is that they are easy to learn & perform. In addition, they are less liable to cause a ton of soreness because they do not have an eccentric component. These types of exercises are great for recovery workouts!




This workout will take anywhere from 9-15 minutes depending on how many rounds are performed. It’s a nice mix of pull, push, and carry! As the slam balls become heavier, picking them up becomes more like a clean, which turns the movement into a pull along with the push.


 3-5 Rounds:

1) Slam Ball Push Press Toss Ladder: 10 lbs x 5, 15 lbs x 4, 20 lbs x 3, 25 lbs x 2, 30 lbs x 1, 40 lbs x 1, 50 lbs x 1 (you could add heavier balls depending on level of participants) (https://youtu.be/0bFNJDmSUHQ)

2) 30sec Rest

3) Farmer Carry 50-60yds (https://youtu.be/IUE4lrNSDMc)

4) 60sec Rest




This is a fun one! Perform the non-row movements for the same amount of time it took you to perform the previous row. The goal is sustainable movement without having to stop to catch your breath.


This workout should take roughly 30 minutes. It can be modified for a shorter duration simply by starting with a 40-calorie row instead of 50.


For Time:

1) 50-Calorie Row

2) Moderately-Heavy Slam Ball Over/to Shoulder (https://youtu.be/SBYX2la_qu8)

3) 40-Calorie Row

4) Sandbag Bear Hug Carry (https://youtu.be/FSUFtVw_7Jc)

5) 30-Calorie Row

6) Sled Push (https://youtu.be/jwPknsEwKb4)

7) 20-Calorie Row

8) Sandbag Front Rack Carry (https://youtu.be/81Xyyu8ZovI)

9) 10-Calorie Row

10) Plank



This circuit includes an exercise I call the “death march!” It’s an unconventional loaded carry variation. I use the high & low pulley system from Spud Inc, but you can also use a band attached to pegs or j-hooks in a rack (as seen here via Instagram: https://instagram.com/p/BfWPFf2FHju/)




The death march is a deceptive exercise. It will burn your hips & backside! A simple substitution would be any loaded carry variation.


This is a 30-minute workout. To decrease the duration, simply perform fewer rounds!


5 Rounds:

*60s work/60s rest

1) Belt Squat Death March

2) Heavy Slam Ball to Shoulder (https://youtu.be/lxA7floY-fA)

3) Moderately-Heavy Sled Push (https://youtu.be/jwPknsEwKb4)



Check out top level programming by Sarah Rippel :


Home Program Design Mastery plus Done for You programs,templates and more!













The Ultimate Small Group Training System”  The most Comprehensive Guide to Semi-Private and Small Group Training for Fit Pros.












Build N’ Burn  – Done For YOU 16 Wk Metabolic Group Training Program for Fit Pros











Check out The Done-for-You 12 week Build ‘N Burn 2.0 for Fit Pros:












Other articles by Sarah Rippel:

Density Training for Metabolic Conditioning & Strength Work

Using Cluster Sets To Spice Up Strength Programming

Wall Ball Conditioning Workouts+4 Tips to Improve Wall Ball Technique(Videos)

Using a Tempo Focus with Build ‘N Burn Workouts

Speed Ladder + Static Core Continuous 30-Second Circuit Version 2.0


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