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How to train like a viking

Whenever a newbie sets out on a training schedule, they’re usually looking to someone for their inspiration.

It might be another lifter or a personal trainer from their local gym. It might be a relative or family member, and it might even be a celebrity they wish to emulate. Perhaps they wish to be like Ed Coan, one of the best powerlifters of all time, or maybe they wish to sculpt their body like Chris Hemsworth, who plays Thor in the Marvel movies. Whoever they wish to be like, all that matters is the motivation to train.

There is a chance they could be inspired by Vikings in general, especially in 2022, which seems to be a return to the Viking age. Long beards are everywhere, and a look at your local streaming service will deliver Viking-inspired shows, including the critically-acclaimed The Last Kingdom, described as ‘better than Game of Thrones’ by Games Radar. Even those who play video games have been soaked in Viking titles of late; Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is the first AC game to reach the next console generation, whilst God of War Ragnarok is close to release. Even on mobile, you can find Viking titles; Gala Spins has Viking Unleashed Megaways, featuring plenty of iconic Norse imagery. Meanwhile, the War of Clans games remain popular on iPhone; wherever you turn, there’s a beard-wearing, axe-wielding invader ready to inspire you to be more powerful than ever before.

Whether making your lady swoon on the TV screen or secretly empowering you on a video game, Vikings are definitely in fashion, which might make you want to train like one.

How would you do it? Easy. Grow a beard (a big beard) and follow these simple exercises.


If there’s one thing Vikings knew well, it was how to row. They had huge longboats and would row up and down the coast of the UK, landing where they saw fit before pillaging, ransacking and looting. Whilst that was generally bad for the indigenous people of the time, it is good for you in terms of exercise. The rowing machine is a staple of any gym, and it gives your entire body a workout, not just your arms. Most rowers have a sliding seat, meaning your calves, quads, hamstrings, glutes, obliques, abs, pecs, biceps, triceps, and the upper back all get a good workout as well. It’s also considered low impact, which means less chance of injury during your workout.

Axe Chop

There’s one weapon that Vikings were very familiar with; the axe. You could imagine them coming ashore after rowing here from their homeland, terrifyingly wielding axes. Again, what didn’t work for the people of the day is good for you. The axe chop uses a cable rack and single cable, and it can help you with not only your axe skills but wielding a bat in sports and other past times. This exercise works your abdominal muscles and obliques and activates your back, shoulders, and legs.


There are no obvious links between dips and Vikings, not like the last two exercises, but they are great for upper body strength, and if there’s one thing all Vikings have in video games and TV shows, it’s good upper body strength. Dips work your chest, shoulders, triceps, back, and abs, which is essential for being stable during movement. Dips are a good exercise for those who work out for combat sports, and perhaps therein lies the Viking element; after all, every video game and film puts the Vikings in some sort of conflict, and they usually win out by strength over everything.

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