Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
21 Feb

WOW: Flip That Log

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.

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. 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.

    Ryan wrote on February 21st, 2011
  2. 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.

    Gary Deagle wrote on February 21st, 2011
    • I thought about using the big tire, too, but the dragging it back part is troublesome for me. Are you using a sled?

      ioelus wrote on February 21st, 2011
  3. 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.

    Keith wrote on February 21st, 2011
    • 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.

      Anne Lawrence wrote on February 25th, 2011
  4. 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!

    George wrote on February 28th, 2011
  5. 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.

    Warren wrote on March 18th, 2011
  6. 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 legs, though now that I’m more used to primal and no longer own the moccasins I think I’d probably just go barefoot. First I walked to one end of a hayfield where there were some fairly large rocks and carried them back one at a time to the other end where the tipi is. I carried them in different ways: against my chest, against my stomach, above my head etc. When I got tired of one way I’d switch to another. I had to take frequent breaks and sit down a bit on the way. After two or three of those rocks I decided to take on a gargantuan monster rock – a foreboding task, given the distance, which I’m pretty sure is longer than a football field and is made of bumpy terrain. However, I steeled my resolve by deciding I would not go back inside until I had this damn boulder across the field. By getting down low (sometimes on my knees) and pushing it over and also standing and bending over and flipping/rolling/tumbling it from the bottom, I slowly moved it across the field. Each push felt like a heavy bench press or one of the final pushups of a set to failure and each tumble from beneath felt like a heavy deadlift. I wasn’t even dressed that warmly and I was quickly panting and sweating quite a bit in the cold weather. I’m not sure how much the rock weighed, but it was a lot for me, and again I had to take many breaks on the way. I had my dog for company and I think she helped keep my spirits up as I sat on the rock wondering just how the hell I’d force myself to keep going. During random moments though, even out of a feeling of exhaustion, I got intense short bursts of energy where my breathing turned into grunts and growls and I went all out. Maybe the caffeine in the pot of black tea (my main vice) I had earlier had something to do with that, though I think by using so many muscles at once again and again, scraping up my hands a little, and getting down and dirty on the ground I was stimulating some potent adrenaline releases. In those moments I felt ecstatic, angry, tingly, and powerful. Savagely primal. Those pleasurable rushes gave me what I needed to keep going, and eventually, as it was getting dark out and around dinner time (I was probably out there an hour to two) I got the rock to the tipi. I felt very satisfied after and I think it was one of the best workouts of my life.
    I highly encourage anyone who lives by a forest to build their own tipi. It’s work – exercise with a purpose – that gives you something to look forward to and be proud of after. And few things are more primal than carrying and dragging heavy pieces of wood through brush and over uneven terrain and obstacles in order to build a shelter that looks like something from The Blair Witch Project and maybe the 13th Warrior. (I found some animal skulls, jaw bones, and an antler that I hung up on each other and on spikes from limbs broken off the logs above and around the entrance and I feel like I’m in a whole different world when I go there. Forget Ikea, decorations from the forest are way cooler, and only cost what it takes to replace the energy needed to carry them).

    Animanarchy wrote on August 14th, 2011

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