Movement Minute - Log Lifting

Well, this has been a heavy week, hasn’t it? 

Like many people, I have been doing my best to process what is happening. Everyone has their opinion ranging from keep calm to freak the fuck out. The only certainty is that this is something of massive significance. This is not just business as usual. Personally, I’m not sure about it all yet and I’m not going to sort things out here in this post. 


Today, I just want to offer a simple (and familiar) message:

Take some space for yourself. Step away from the swirl of social media and news reports, if only intermittently.

Quiet your mind while the emotions simmer. Find some stillness so you can be intentional in your actions moving forward.  

Done on that.


I’ve continued to spend a lot of time in the parks this week, getting the most out of my autumn training.  Today I just needed to get away from the computer and out of a walk.  Along the way, I came across a log and a little practice ensued, hence the title log lifting.

What stands out most to me about this (interacting with natural objects, in general) is how foreign it seems if you're the product of the city / suburbs.  We kind of treat walking on a trail like walking the halls of a museum. Take in all the beauty but don’t actually touch anything along the way.    

Nonsense. This is nature, our home.  We should interact frequently and it doesn't have to be overly structured.  Prime example: you’re out walking, why would it seem absurd to carry something with you along the way? Especially if doing so were going to make you a super strong badass. Ironically, the coolest thing about lifting awkwardly large objects is the mental challenge to figuring out how to do so (nerd factor). The uneven weight distribution and the rough texture are two elements that make these objects far more challenging than their traditional gym counterparts.  


In MovNat, we have some specific techniques for approaching log lifting.  Understand the basics and then figure out how to apply them to each unique piece of context you come across. I practiced for around 30 minutes - 10 minutes of shoulder carries along the trail and 20 minutes playing with different variations of pulling, pressing, get ups, and carries.  Below is a list of techniques seen in the video.

Clean & Press - Not much of a challenge with a small log like this but a 1-arm version was a lot of fun.

Half Kneeling / Crouching Press - It’s interesting to feel the log fall towards you, absorb it and press it up.  Holding the proper tension and stability in these low positions is challenging.

Half Kneeling Lapping / Get Up - I had never tried this before but proud when it worked out so well.  Your thigh serves as the fulcrum for the log. When it’s balanced you can rest or stand up with it.

Squat Lapping - You can transition from half kneeling to a hinge or squat position for the classic lapping technique. Always amazed at how efficient this is.

Zercher Squat - Hold the log in the crooks of your elbow and stand up.  A favorite squat variation for me made even more bad ass with the log.

Log Flip - A variation of the front swing throw.  This one would be cool to do with a partner back and forth or keep flipping for the length of a field. The power output will get ya.

Rolling - This one satisfies my love for tactile feedback, fingertips on tree bark is great. I get so focused on the touch I don’t even realize I’ve squat walking and am now out of breath. Sneaky.

Carries: Waist, Shoulder, Rack, Overhead - All these carries are just fundamental human stuff. It really doesn’t get more practical that carrying something heavy for distance. 

Overhead Press - Figuring out how to keep the log balanced while repositioning my hands and then while going overhead.  Another sneaky skill and I’ll take it over a barbell any day.


So maybe the resistance comes from the dirt factor or the scrapes & scratches. Maybe it’s just not being familiar with how the form changes. Mostly, I think log lifting just gets completely overlooked as a viable opportunity - it's extra weird.  But the take away here is that if you managed to get all the way out into the forest (where there aren't that many people) you might as well complete the experience and get your hands a little dirty. You are in museum of sorts, so be respectful; but it can always be a hands-on experience.