The Viking Workout (Train Just Like a Viking!) – Vekhayn

The Viking Workout (Train Just Like a Viking!)

So turns out my ancestors were Vikings or something like that? Long story short, I got super into Viking stuff. And if you’ve played the recent Assassin’s Creed Valhalla game (I’m personally not a big gamer myself), you’ll know how cool this stuff really is.

Anyway, I got really interested in trying to mimic their training style. Viking raids involved pushing your body to the limit, so these guys had to train incredibly hard, to say the least.

The goal of this Viking workout is to make you an above-average Viking. The truth is, Vikings back then were super-athletes. They really did push their bodies to the absolute limit!

Here’s the thing: Vikings were known for their quick fighting ability, even the ‘berserkers’ that wore animal hats and had a blood rush so intense they were unstoppable in any form of combat. They were muscular, fast, agile, and super strong.

So this Viking workout has the goals of this:

  • Pack on muscle across the body. (gym will be required)
  • Have incredible forearm/grip strength to hold that heavy ax.
  • Target flexibility (Vikings were actually VERY flexible).
  • Target cardiovascular endurance (namely by rowing…)
  • Strengthen the core and hips to allow for strong swings with an ax.
  • Martial arts training/hand-to-hand combat training.
  • Turning you into a beast.

This isn’t going to be a simple ‘oh yeah do squats 5x a day’. This is like the REAL DEAL of Viking workouts. If you want to become a Viking, follow this massive program through the flexibility, cardiovascular, and strength exercises- and see the transformation into Thor yourself.

Let’s get into it! (And by the way, I do this program. It’s tough, but works.)

Photo by Gioele Fazzeri from Pexels, The Viking Workout will turn you into a complete BEAST.
Photo by Gioele Fazzeri from Pexels, The Viking Workout will turn you into a complete BEAST.

The Vekhayn Viking Workout Program

Okay, I know we don’t all have 50 hours a day to read this entire article.

So here’s the deal. I’m going to have the entire program outlined in this heading. If you trust me, then go ahead and start doing it.

I will preface this, this is a BIG Viking workout. You don’t HAVE to do everything. But, if you really want to become a true Viking- you should. But I do understand if you don’t want to do like the martial arts or flexibility stuff.

This program is designed so anybody, no matter their Viking goals, can reach them by plugging in and unplugging parts of the program.

If you want to learn more about why I picked certain things or have the program set up like this, feel free to read the subheadings below! Alright, let’s get into it.

Day 1/5 – Chest and Back, Axe Practice, Rowing,

On day 1, we are going to grow our chest and back. Vikings were notorious for having big backs as they needed it to carry their tools and make powerful swings.

Most people don’t actually know this, but your back is one of the biggest ways to become strong in the arms. When you activate your back muscles when you’re rowing or swinging, it adds a massive boost of strength that you can’t really get anywhere else.

  • Bench Press, 5 sets of 5
  • Incline Bench, Press 4 sets of 8
  • Pectoral Flyes, (use dumbbell or machine) 5 sets of 8
  • Lat Pulldown, 5 sets of 8
  • Barbell Rows, 5 sets of 5
  • Pull ups: 6 sets AMRAP
  • Dumbbell Back Rows, 5 sets of 5

Furthermore, we will do a little parkour practice to make sure we can roll correctly and get out of dodge.

So here is a great video just to practice that.

This is one of the more **optional** parts of the program: axe practice.

In this video, you’ll see this dedicated Viking use his ax to chop some trees in the forest.

This is an AWESOME thing to do for the Viking workout, as it will activate a ton of muscles across your body that will make you look bigger, but most importantly grow muscles that you’d be using if you were a Viking.

Again, this is optional. But if you have the chance to chop some firewood, it will turbocharge your Viking workout.

Day 2/5 – Arms Day, Martial Arts

Vikings need big arms right? We are going to specifically target our grip strength and arms here. But, we will also get big arms using this program as well.

  • Overhead Press: 5x5
  • Dumbbell Overhead Press: 5x5
  • Side-Lateral Raises: 3x8
  • Tricep Extension: 5x8
  • Reverse Dumbbell Tricep Extension: 5x5
  • Skullcrushers: 5x5
  • Reverse Forearm Curls: 5x5
  • Wrist Forearm Curls with a Barbell: 5x5
  • Hand Gripper, 3 sets 8 reps.
  • Hanging Leg Raises, 3 sets AMRAP
  • Ab crunches
  • Oblique Exercises

Then we are going to do some martial arts practice. If you know BJJ / Muay Thai practice with a partner or watch some videos, as shown below.

Vikings were incredibly skilled fighters, plus this martial arts will give you a ton of cardiovascular training!

Day 3/5 – Legs, Rowing, Flexibility

Today is going to be a leg and rowing day. No parkour/martial arts today because your legs will be sore. But, we will be going back to rowing.

  • Squats: 5x5
  • Squats: 3x8 (important for endurance)
  • Lunges 3x8 (alternatives to lunges)
  • Quad Extensions: 5x8
  • Hamstring Curls: 5x8
  • Hip abductor/hip adduction machine: 5x8
  • Calf machine/calf raises: 3x8
  • Farmer’s Carry: Heavyweight, 3-5 minute walk- twice.
    • This is SUPER important. Carrying a sword or ax into battle isn’t easy. So you need to be practicing carrying these heavyweights over a long distance against your will. This will make your forearms BLOW UP. I used to bring the dumbbells onto the walking track and just do laps. This is a tested method to make your grip strength incredible and really become a Viking.

Now, we will go into flexibility. We don’t need to do anything too crazy, we just need to have a good range of motion so we can get over obstacles and recover correctly.

Now, for the flexibility.

Plus, if you’re working out your legs hard, you’ll want to do some stretches anyway to relieve some of the soreness and pain.

Then we will end all of it with 30-45 minutes of rowing! Sweet.

Day 4/5 – Chest, Back, Sword Fighting, Rowing

So we will be using the same workout template from earlier. But instead of rowing or doing axe practice, we will be sword fighting today. (This might sound crazy, just hear me out in the next section)

  • Bench Press, 5 sets of 5
  • Incline Bench, Press 4 sets of 8
  • Pectoral Flyes, (use dumbbell or machine) 5 sets of 8
  • Lat Pulldown, 5 sets of 8
  • Barbell Rows, 5 sets of 5
  • Pull-ups: 6 sets AMRAP
  • Dumbbell Back Rows, 5 sets of 5

Then we want to end with perhaps 30 minutes of rowing.

Swordfighting? Whaaaat?

So, you don’t need to buy an expensive sword. Personally, I had a ‘replica’ wooden sword (so I wouldn’t hurt anybody or myself) and I would do what’s called basically shadow sword fighting. Just pretend slicing, cutting, etcetera.

My point is if you want to do that- it works great. It gives you a great workout, really tests your grip strength, and builds your back. Plus, obviously helps you work with a sword. The wooden sword was like $5? or something. So you don’t need to go out and spend $5,000 or anything.

Here’s a video of what I used to practice.

While it’s not entirely practical, I liked the Witcher series, and it was set in the time period of the Viking era. Plus, this guy “The Sword’s Path” does an excellent job of explaining how to use longswords.

Day 5/5 – Arms, Martial Arts

Basically the same thing as Day 2/5.

  • Overhead Press: 5x5
  • Dumbbell Overhead Press: 5x5
  • Side-Lateral Raises: 3x8
  • Tricep Extension: 5x8
  • Reverse Dumbbell Tricep Extension: 5x5
  • Skullcrushers: 5x5
  • Reverse Forearm Curls: 5x5
  • Wrist Forearm Curls with a Barbell: 5x5
  • Hand Gripper, 3 sets 8 reps.
  • Hanging Leg Raises, 3 sets AMRAP

Try to switch up the martial arts style. For instance, if you did Muay Thai last time- try Brazilian jiu-jitsu this time. Or perhaps Greco-Roman wrestling, or even something like Judo.

Keep being proficient across all forms of combat to maximize your Viking training.

Day 6/7 – Rest

I recommend having two full days in a row to rest.

I felt like this was kind of similar to what Vikings probably did. They probably went out drinking on the weekend or something after a raid and didn’t train for a day or two.

Plus, your body will need time to recover from this, so two full rest days is nice.

The Viking Workout Diet Plan

Okay, we are going to try and mimic the diet of Vikings as close as we can here.

In fact, in my normal training I try to eat like a Viking.

Here’s the thing: Vikings didn’t always have an abundance of food. (Which is why they had to eat that disgusting food named Lutefisk to survive)

When Vikings were able to get a ton of food, they ATE. Like they dirty bulked, and this worked out well for them. With the amount of training and stress they put their body through, they would barely put on fat after a successful raid.

Now these days, we obviously have an abundance of food. But due to the stress you put on your body, I recommend dirty bulking for your first 1-2 years of training. Then slimming down once you have put on a ton of muscle and have become a new man.

Photo by Erik Mclean from Pexels, The Viking Workout will empower you to suddenly read nordic. Just kidding haha.
Photo by Erik Mclean from Pexels, The Viking Workout will empower you to suddenly read nordic. Just kidding haha.

But most importantly, meat is going to become your best friend.

According to Ancient.EU, a viking diet typically consisted of:

  • Dairy
  • Fruits
  • Nuts
  • Grains
  • Meats
  • Fish
  • Vegetables

And turns out, Vikings (well, most people in the norse countries) ate meat every single day.

There’s no secret why they had so much muscle and were so lean at the same time. Meat gives an incredible amount of protein, fills you up, and gives you long-sustained energy.

So, I recommend a diet with a wide variety of meats everyday to ensure your muscles are being repaired properly.

You need to realize you are putting a ton of stress on your body, and it needs that energy to repair everything and grow your muscle. So get on it, and keep eating big.

Imagine You Were A Viking…

You’ve just rowed a few hundred miles to the nearest coast. You now after all of that rowing have to sprint as fast as you can out of formation into the village.

Dodging potential arrows, other swords, other weapons being thrown at you, and you have to push your body to its’ limits to complete your task.

Most Vikings carried heavy tools and had to swing hard axes. But, what a lot of people don’t know- is that Vikings were excellent in hand-to-hand combat.

In fact, when Vikings met an army bigger than them, they would make a wedge formation and have the strongest men of the pack charge in, then they would attack hand-to-hand to minimize ranged attacks.

Pretty neat, huh?

So here’s the facts. Vikings are not what people actually think they are. People assume they’re just these big ‘brutes’ that are slow.

But the reality is, they were relatively average-sized but incredibly strong. It’s that idea of “muscle vs strength”, you can have a lot of muscle, but it doesn’t always mean you’re strong.

And Vikings were incredibly fast. It wasn’t their ‘strong swings’ that won them their raids, it was the fact they could attack way faster than anybody else in the opposing village.

So, our strength program is going to be targeting exactly that. We are going to make you have a ton of muscle and strength like you’re a bear, but also give you the speed and agility of lightning.

First and Foremost, The Rowing Machine is Your New Bestfriend

Vikings often had to row up to 200 miles in a single stretch!

So, you need to row 200 miles a day for this program.

Just kidding, but we will be using the rowing machine quite frequently. Your gym should have a rowing machine, every single gym I’ve ever been to has had one such as Anytime Fitness or even SNAP Fitness.

Personally, I wait until the end of my workout, then I do 30-60 minutes of rowing. Honestly, if you have a movie playing or a YouTube video, it’s not that bad.

But you can be a little more lenient with it, you may only opt to row for 20 minutes a day or something. Whatever works for you, just remember, the more you put in: the more you get out.

Rowing has INCREDIBLE benefits for you. It’s a great form of cardiovascular exercise. This will build your heart right up, allowing you to do things like a run, sprint, or even do martial arts at an intense heart rate without being exhausted.

The stronger your heart is, the stronger you are. And this is again, a critical part of the Viking workout.

Vikings had to run very far to get to the villages and had to sustain incredible amounts of fighting, pillaging, and looting without stopping. This could only be done with a strong heart.

Grip Strength and Forearm Strength

Carrying that sword, axe, and shield all day is tiring. But, it tests your grip strength and forearm strength immensely.

So in order to have the massive forearm strength and massive forearm muscles Vikings did, you’re going to need to be doing a ton of grip exercises and forearm exercises.

I have some grip training/forearm training exercises listed above on the workout days.

But keep in mind, even though nobody likes working out their forearms, it is super important that you do it to complete the Viking physique.

Agility, Flexibility, and Parkour

Most people assume that Vikings are slow “brutes” but this couldn’t be further from the truth!

Turns out these guys were actually incredibly fast and nimble fighters. The reason they were so successful in fights was that they attacked so much faster and were so unpredictable.

But also, Vikings did a ton of reconnaissance and were able to mount things with ease.

They were known for being able to attack virtually anything in site, no matter the cost. They had no rules, nothing was off-limits.

This unpredictability helped them be so successful as armies couldn’t repel against their strategy (because there was no strategy!). It was just utter chaos, and there was nothing to stop them.

So that’s why we have martial arts, flexibility practice, and some parkour practice. Those Vikings often had to jump fences, scale places fast, get over rocky terrain, whatever it be- to get to that village and get the loot.

Photo by Erik Mclean from Pexels, with the strength from this viking workout, you might just build your own nordic house and church too.
Photo by Erik Mclean from Pexels, with the strength from this viking workout, you might just build your own nordic house and church too.

Conclusion of The Viking Workout

Well, there you have it. You’re on your way to become a true norsemen.

Now, if someone tries to randomly rob you in the street, just go like full berserk on them or something? (Just kidding, don’t risk yourself, just give them your wallet)

But, you’ll be huge, your body will be incredibly strong, and you’ll be very impressed at how manly you are. Your grip strength and huge forearms will surely catch the attention of everybody around you.

Plus, you could probably grow out a viking beard or get some norse tattoos for added effect, but that’s up to you. (I’m a viking nerd, so you know I’m already getting one soon)

If you have any questions, be sure to comment below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can!

About the author

Tommy

Vigilant is an author extremely dedicated to his blog. From a hard life of growing up paycheck to paycheck, he somehow took advantage of the opportunity to make himself a stronger person and pushed through to keep on pursuing his career an Emergency Medicine doctor, wrestles, and lifts 2 hours a day all with a full-time job and in college. Learn more about Vigilant and the "mustang gang" here at the About Me section.

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