Functional and Strongman Exercises

There are many exercises to do in the gym for all parts of your body. Functional and strongman exercises are some. Here we go over different reasons these exercises are good for increasing strength. 

Because you are normally having to keep your balance, lifting odd shaped objects, bending over, or carrying things in front of you, most exercise is the gym do not assist in these movements.


Functional and strongman exercises may be similar to some everyday movements and assist you with functional strength. You do get stronger in a gym doing barbell and dumbbell exercises, but due to the center of gravity being equal, balance is not an issue. Here we go over some different functional and strongman exercises you can do from home.

You should have someone instruct you on the proper way to do these lifts when starting out. This will decrease your chance of injury. These exercises will help you increase your strength and transfer over into every day movements you do. A lot of the equipment you may be able to make at home, or you may have to buy some equipment. This comes at a reasonable price.

Functional/Strength Exercises

Sled : A sled is a simple thing to use for exercises. Unlike you may think, you don’t have to use iron or metal to make a sled. Other things can be used as well: Here is a short video giving different sled exercises that can be performed.

Seated Pull: For this exercise, it is exactly like a row you would do on a machine at a gym. You are only using a regular rope with weights on a sled or other object for resistance.

Harness Pull : Here you will need a harness to put around your torso. A rope will be attached to the harness and then tied to the sled or other object you are using for resistance. You then get as low and as horizontal to the ground as possible, driving your legs to get the object moving.

Here are other sled exercises you can do as well to strengthen the legs.


For any stone exercises, you first need a stone. You can make your own stone, but it is much easier to use equipment provided which comes at a very affordable price. Here are some functional and strongman exercises using stones. 

Lift & Carry: This exercise is as simple as lifting either one or two objects and carrying them a specific distance. This can be done lifting the object and having it in front of you such as carrying a stone, or having objects in each hand. Either of these exercises will help with strength, endurance, and balance. Here is a video of different exercises and how to make any equipment you may need. You can also purchase many items for a reasonable price.

Atlas Stone Lift: For this exercise you need a stone. You can either purchase a mold to make your own stone out of concrete, or you can use any regular stone if they are available to you. You can either use something to put the stone on when you lift it, or you could use something like a bar in front of you to lift the stone over and drop on the other side.

Atlas Stone Clean: For this exercise, it is similar to a clean lift in the gym, only performed with a stone.

 Shoulder press: The exercise is like a shoulder press in the gym, just have the stone with both hands, pressing it overhead.

 Stone press out: For this exercise it is similar to using the seated chest press machine at the gym.

Stone Lunge: For this exercise, carry the stone in front of you, doing a basic lunge like with a dumbbell. You can do this standing in one place, or walking. You can also add a twisting motion to the exercise when you are lunged forward. This will work your core.

Press up: This exercise is similar to the basic shoulder press, but you use the legs to drive your body up, releasing the stone as high as you can get it. You should be very cautious when doing this exercise and make sure you move back away from the stone since you are not in control.

Properly lifting a atlas stone:


For any keg exercises, you can simply use water as resistance. Using water not only gives resistance, but it helps with balance as well. Other things such as rocks or sand can be used as well. Here is a good site to purchase a used keg. 

1. Keg Carry: For this exercise you need an old used beer keg. These are hard to find at first, but you can purchase one for a reasonable price. For the carry, you lift it in front of you, and carry it a set distance. Here is a video of different techniques you can use.

2. Keg Clean and Press: This exercise is similar to a clean that you would do in the gym with a barbell, you only have an awkward shaped object in front of you which makes it much more challenging. You can also do a simple shoulder press, starting with the keg at your shoulders, pressing up and out above the head.

3. Keg Snatch: For this exercise, you would lift the keg off of the ground to above your head in a single motion, similar to a snatch you would do with a barbell at the gym.

4. Keg Shouldering: For this exercise, you lift the keg, placing it on your shoulder.

5. Keg Row: This exercise is exactly like your basic barbell row, only using a keg.

Examples of Keg Exercises

As mentioned before, you may have to purchase some equipment, but you may either be able to make some equipment or already have it around your home. Here is a video of how you can make some equipment needed.


Atlas Stones

These are only a few of many exercises you can do that are functional and will carry over into your everyday life. As stated before, a lot of this equipment you may be able to find around your home, but you can also buy them at a reasonable price. Overall, these functional and strongman exercises make a great home workout and should help you become stronger and transfer to everyday movements.