10 Exercises You Can Do with a Rock

Here are the exact ten exercises I personally use to stay fit in nature using nothing but a rock. You’ll ideally want to choose a few smooth rocks with varying weights and sizes (such as a few flat ones and few round ones), but even if you just have one rock, you can do most of the exercises below.

Ben Greenfield
4-minute read
Episode #252

For the past week, I’ve been elk hunting high in the Colorado mountains. Although there was quite a bit of hiking, jogging, horseback riding, and general outdoor physical activity involved, I still felt like squeezing in some strength training. Needless to say, there wasn’t exactly a fancy gym hidden away in the woods, so I had to make do with a few heavy rocks that I found near my campsite.

Believe it or not, there are quite a few exercises you can do with common items you’d find in the forest or anywhere else outdoors, and I’ve discussed a few of them before. In the episode What Is Cropfit?, you learned a cheap, farmer-esque version of the popular Crossfit workouts. In the episode Strongman Workouts For Fat Loss, Muscle Gain And Performance, you learned that exercising with unorthodox items like logs, rocks, and kegs has been proven in research to get you equal or superior results to exercising with gym gear such as dumbbells or barbells. And in the episode 3 Ways to Use Natural Movement to Boost Athleticism and Fitness, you learned about all the mental and biological benefits of getting outside the gym and into the trees instead.

In this episode, I’m going to give you the exact ten exercises that I personally use to stay fit in nature using nothing but a rock! You’ll ideally want to choose a few smooth rocks with varying weights and sizes (such as a few flat ones and few round ones), but even if you just have one rock, you can do most of the exercises below.

1. Squat to Overhead Press

Find a rock you can hold to your chest. Clutch it to your chest, drop into a deep squat with your butt out behind you, then stand and press overhead. That’s one rep.

2. Bent Over Row

Bend over from the waist with your back straight and your knees bent. Look slightly forward. Hold the rock at arms length, then row, pulling the rock to your chest, then back to where it started. That’s one rep. Don’t round your back on this one!

3. Chest Carry

Hold the rock tight to your chest and find a hill or area you can walk in. Then simply walk as far or as fast as possible. This is a good exercise for hill repeats. For added difficulty, carry the rock up a hill while holding it to your chest, then when you head back down the hill, hoist and hold the rock overhead with slightly bent elbows.

4.  Floor Press

Lie on the ground on your back with the rock by your side. Carefully reach over and shift the rock to your chest. Now press it out and away from your chest, just like a “bench press.” Lower slowly and under control. That’s one rep.

5.  Walking Lunge With Twist

Hold a slightly lighter rock out at arm’s length, then lunge forward with one giant step, dropping your front leg so that the knee bends to 90 degrees, and simultaneously twist away from the leg that is out behind you while continuing to hold rock out. Then repeat for opposite side. If your shoulders get too tired, bend your elbows a little, or use a slightly lighter rock.

6. Thruster Throw

This one is just like the squat to overhead press, but when you squat and stand, explosively release and throw the rock as high as you can and slightly in front of you. Then go pick it up and repeat.

7.  Slam

Put the rock on the ground in front of you. Bend down, pick it up, hoist it overhead, then throw it down into the ground as hard as you can. That’s one rep. Pick it up and repeat.

8.  Weighted Get-Up

Lie in a sit-up position with knees bent and back on ground while holding the rock to your chest. Explosively sit up and stand while pushing the rock forward to give you momentum. Then slowly and carefully get back down into your starting position.

9. Rock Push-Ups

Put two rocks on the ground about shoulder width apart. Get into the pushup position with a hand on each rock, then do a pushup, lowering your chest between the rocks so that your chest touches the ground, then push back up to your starting position to complete one rep.

10. Pinch-Grip Farmer’s Walk

Finally, and not for the faint of heart, is the rock farmer’s walk. You’ll need to find a flat rock or two. Hold a rock in one hand or, if you have two rocks, a rock in both hands. You’ll have to hold the rocks with a “pinch” grip, simply pinching them as hard as you can using just your fingers and your thumbs in that pinching grip. Then simply carry the two rocks as far as you can before your grip gives out.

So, what do you think? Do you plan on trying any of these rock exercises? If you have more questions or comments about how to workout with nothing but a heavy rock, then head over to www.Facebook.com/GetFitGuy and join the conversation there! I’d love to hear what you have to say.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

All content here is for informational purposes only. This content does not replace the professional judgment of your own health provider. Please consult a licensed health professional for all individual questions and issues.

About the Author

Ben Greenfield

Ben Greenfield received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from University of Idaho in sports science and exercise physiology; personal training and strength and conditioning certifications from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA); a sports nutrition certification from the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN), an advanced bicycle fitting certification from Serotta. He has over 11 years’ experience in coaching professional, collegiate, and recreational athletes from all sports, and as helped hundreds of clients achieve weight loss and fitness success.