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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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February 21, 2011

WOW: Flip That Log

By Mark Sisson

Complete 4 cycles of:

25 Meter Log Flip
25 Meter Backward Log Drag


Warmup: 30 second Grok Squat, three light sprints at 70%.

It was the unholy confluence of corporate ethics lapses and shortsightedness, governmental/corporate collusion, and personal irresponsibility that set the stage for the “Flip That House” phenomenon, and we’ve seen what damage it wrought. As a nation, we’re still reeling from the effects. This week’s WOW, dubbed “Flip That Log,” also requires a triumvirate of preconditions – strength, speed, and a heavy log (or log analog) – for successful implementation, and it too will cause great microtrauma, only this time to your musculature. And the effects will only be felt for a day or two, rather than years. And it will all be beneficial.

“Flip That Log” is simple: flip a log end over end (using explosive hip extension to get the log up to chest height, then drive it up and over using your shoulders and by pushing/running with your legs) for roughly 25 meters, then pick it up by one end and drag it backward to your starting position. Rest for about a minute and repeat three more times. Don’t let the simplicity lure you into complacency; this is a tough, tough workout that hits your entire body. It’s a quintessential strength-and-conditioning routine. You’re lifting, pushing, extending, sprinting, and pulling. You work your hips, your glutes, your quads, your shoulders, your lats. Name it and it’s being used. Short, sweet and to the point.

The hard part will be finding the log. Railroad ties, big tires, a heavy bag, a slosh tube filled to the brim with water, small abandoned refrigerators, and heavy lumber will all work – basically, anything that requires significant effort to flip end over end. The taller and heavier the thing is, the more difficult the exercise will be (although the taller it is, the fewer flips you’ll have to make to hit 25 meters). What’s important is that it’s heavy for your skill and strength level. That might mean a thirty pound log or it might mean a two-hundred pounder. It’s all very relative. You’ll also most likely have to perform this outdoors, and, since it’s February, that could mean snow/rain/cold, depending on where you’re located. I can do this on the beach in 72 degree weather, and I realize that I’m lucky. Sorry about that, guys! Still, make it work. The workout is short, remember, and the intensity required will warm you up in a couple minutes. If you do it right, you won’t even notice the cold.

A few things to remember:

  • Because this is an explosive exercise, you’ll have to maintain a neutral back position, even as you’re tossing and dragging logs. Don’t let your form get away from you. Keep a tight torso to keep a healthy spine.
  • Go as fast as you can. This is geared toward conditioning, rather than strength.


  • Add a couple more cycles if you feel up to it. If you have access to different logs, try switching each cycle. Go long and lighter first, then shorter and denser. The movement dynamics are different depending on the height and weight even as the foundational movement stays the same, which means different logs will hit you in different places.
  • Do this WOW for time. How quickly can you get through it? Time yourself and share your details in the comment board.

What are WOWs?

  • Workouts of the Week (WOWs) are an optional component of Primal Blueprint Fitness that add a fractal and often fun and playful quality to the basic PBF protocol.
  • In most cases WOWs should only be completed by those that have mastered Level 4 of each Lift Heavy Things Essential Movement. Also, it’s recommended that WOWs replace one or both Lift Heavy Things workouts or the Sprint workout (depending on the WOW) each week instead of being done in addition to the Lift Heavy Things and Sprint workouts.
  • Learn more about WOWs and Primal Blueprint Fitness by getting the free eBook. And access all Workouts of the Week in the WOW Archive.

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8 Comments on "WOW: Flip That Log"


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6 years 7 months ago

I am so doing this. I have the day off. There is a field right outside the door of my apartment and there is a log that I have claimed as my own that I’ve used before for workouts. The stars are aligned. Haha.

Gary Deagle
6 years 7 months ago

Looks tough Mark. I have nothing close to a log that I can use so I am going to just try it with a big tire.

That should to the job in a similar fashion.

6 years 7 months ago

I thought about using the big tire, too, but the dragging it back part is troublesome for me. Are you using a sled?

6 years 7 months ago

Someone dumped an old recliner by the side of the road about a mile from the house. I live on a gravel road out in the country and this kind of thing happens once in a while. I had been meaning to haul it to the trash, but hadn’t been motivated to do it until today. I flipped it forward until I got tired, then turned around and pulled it until I got tired again. I managed to get it home in four rotations. It was quite a workout.

Anne Lawrence
6 years 6 months ago

Great! you got your exercise and also removed something thats been bothering you.I’m looking around my too clean house and yard. Its freezing rain out. I may just move the furniture, today. Tomorrow I’ll wander to the canal tow path and move branches off the path. I’ve got to do something.

6 years 6 months ago

I did this today! Chopped two logs of differing sizes and flipped them up and down the beach.

A bit chilly at first (Canada), but after a round or two – time to pull the hats off.

Thanks for the idea!

6 years 6 months ago

Log-flipping is one of my favorite parts of my back-yard circuit. As you say, truly a tough exercise, and uses many different big muscles.

6 years 1 month ago
I did something similar a while back: rock rolling. I probably wouldn’t have done it just for exercise because it was brutal, but I’ve been building a tipi over the last few years and have some rocks in and around it to sit on, which makes it a wicked and cool-looking chill spot for those lazy days, as well as a decoration to the otherwise bland side of the field, so knowing that my work was actually going to provide some benefit (reward factor) was enough motivation. I wore moccasins instead of shoes for extra benefit to my feet and… Read more »