WOW: Brave the Weather

Complete 4 cycles:

20 Walking Straight Leg Deadlifts (alternating sides)
10 Handstand Pushups
20 Walking Lunges
10 Pullups
5 Burpees


Warmup: One minute Grok Squat.

Supposedly, spring is here in the northern hemisphere, but I’m not seeing it. I’m seeing rain and overcast skies and cold weather, all staunch adversaries of outdoor workout enthusiasts (among which I count myself). What to do?

A normal person would retreat to the gym, or devise some living room workout routine – anything to escape the elements. But, this week, try something different. Instead of admitting defeat, challenge yourself and the unseasonably harsh cold/rain/snow by exercising outdoors with the express purpose of exposing yourself to momentary hardship. Consider that exercise itself is a type of stressor that, when applied to the body, creates a net beneficial result. Sometimes you fear the weights or the hills, but you do it anyway because it’s good for you. Well, this week, you’re adding another layer to overcome. The weather.

Pick the grimiest day of the week. Check your local forecast and plan to workout outdoors in rain, cold, snow, whatever. I want your forehead slick and muddy from grazing the ground on the pushups. Go hard and get it over quick.

These exercises work your entire body and require balance and concentration. In other words, they require focus. You’re going to have a lot going on with the weather, the balancing, the sheer ardor required of you, but these are good things. They will make you stronger. The burpees will help keep you warm in between rounds.

A few things to remember:

  • If you’re not clear on straight leg deadlifts, go over this great simple guide. If you do them weighted, I suggest doing unilaterally weighted deadlifts by holding a weight with the hand opposite from the leg being trained. Right foot down, weight in left hand. Bring yourself up, step forward, switch to the right hand and left foot down. Use a dumbbell, a kettlebell, or a sandbag.
  • Use the same weight (or double them up) for the lunges.
  • As always, use progressions for handstand pushups and pullups if you need to.
  • Go shirtless and barefoot for a nice boost.


If you’re blessed with excellent weather right now and can’t find a way to make this WOW work as prescribed, we all hate you. No, but seriously, go out and enjoy it!

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.

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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18 thoughts on “WOW: Brave the Weather”

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  1. Seriously, it snowed yesterday morning in Maryland and this morning was below freezing. Whatever happened to “out like a lamb?!”

  2. sorry jenn, that lamb went somewhere else – we got a couple inches of snow yesterday & about 5″ this morning & more on the way here in the Colo high country. :-/

  3. It’s 61 and sunny here in Sacramento. Be right back, going for a quick WoW 🙂

  4. Sounds like a lot of fun. Too bad the cold weather seems to be past us here in Grand Rapids, MI. It did not make it to 40 degrees today but will tomorrow and beyond. Fifty is in sight!

    1. I’m right south of you in Niles, and I keep thinking my daffodils and hyacinths are going to die of frost shock…23 degrees this morning. But yes, this time next week should be in the upper 40s. I can’t wait, especially with all the lake effect snow we had this season.

  5. hey mark and MDA readers: what could i sub here for pullups if i’m not pull-up ready yet? thanks! moreandmore

    1. jessie –

      modification is pretty easy to do for a pullup, and there are a couple of different options, based on what you have available. One way is to take some of the weight off by using your leg levered onto a chair (think about standing on a chair, then lowering yourself into the push up position by using one or both feet. I recommend one, so you can keep the other out to catch yourself, just in case). Another is to jump up to the ‘up’ position on the bar and hold a hang for as long as you can. When you can’t hold it any longer, slowly release and lower yourself back to full extension. Finally, many people use large rubber bands to reduce the amount of weight you have to lift over the bar. Simply attach the band around the bar, step into the loop, and use the band’s resistance to make the pullup easier.

      Pullups for many people can be pretty difficult. I would say that the best way to get better at them is to do some every day as best as you can. Eventually, you’ll get your chin over that bar. Good luck!

  6. Mark,

    it’s Mark !;-)

    Great stuff dude, I live up here on Iceland, top of the world … talk about weather !;-)

    I call it “alive weather”, because you truly feel you’re alive in the north wind … fresh indeed !;-)

    The beach is right in front of my door and I like to do my intervals as well as some body weight stuff there.

    Here’s a beginner’s routine that kicks butt:

    20 body weight squats, followed immediately by
    20 push ups, followed immediately by
    20 sit ups, followed right away by
    20 hip ups, or “table makers”.

    How do you like that?



  7. 2 quick questions from a total newbie: 1- would swimming laps and/or rock climbing be an acceptable sub for the grok crawl/rock-pushing? There’s not much in the way of grass around here.

    2- I’m a big fan of boxing. Does that count as a Grok workout?

  8. Seriously recommend this workout. Did it yesterday, and am still aching a little today because of it.

    Do it!

  9. This was surprisingly harder than it seemed. I did this in 50 degree mist. The single leg deadlift was a little harder than I thought.

    My hamstring, butt, and core were a little sore the next day.

    Good WOW. I wonder what Mark has planned for the next heat wave?

  10. This is an awesome workout. I made it a little more intense by holding 40lbs dumbbells to do the walking deadlifts and lunges. Great Workout. Keep up the great work.

  11. This was a cool WOW. I did this in 60 mph wind. went barefoot until my toes started to get a bit numb. boy that wind sure was cold!! Out of all of the diff reps the dead lifts took the longest