Are you curious about the Jim Wendler viking day?
Do you wonder how the creator of 5/3/1 pushes himself to the limit using strongman style exercises like rope pulls, sled drags, and prowler pushes?
Then you’ve come to the right place.
In this comprehensive guide, I will show you how to use the Jim Wendler viking day to take your training to the next level!
- Challenge #1: Rope Pull
- Challenge #2: Sled Drag
- Challenge #3: Prowler Push
He is famous for training with Louie Simmons and the Westside Barbell powerlifting club, hitting huge weights as a professional powerlifter including a 1,000 pound squat, and of course, for inventing the 5/3/1 training program!
Jim says the key to making long-term progress is to use a smart training program with slow, gradual strength gains. However, sometimes he just wants to test his mental toughness and push himself to his limits.
On days like this, he opts for his world-famous viking day!
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The Jim Wendler Viking Day
Jim Wendler says the Viking Day has nothing to do with his original 5/3/1 training program. Instead, Jim says it is an awesome way to test your mental toughness and to push yourself to your absolute limit.
Here is Jim Wendler himself describing his Viking Day workout:
“The Viking Day consists of 3 things: rope pull, sled pull, and Prowler push. Each of these things is done as heavy as possible and as stupid as possible.”
As you can see, the Viking Day routine is a modified version of a strongman workout.
It is a great way to build your conditioning level, and to test yourself with some real-world tests of strength.
Jim wants you to perform all of these exercises with as much weight as humanly possible. Your goal is just to go all-out on each and every exercise!
Challenge #1: Rope Pull
The first step in Jim Wendler’s Viking Day is the rope pull. Jim takes a large prowler or sled, and then attached a 100+ foot rope to it.
The basic idea is to pull the sled 100+ feet using nothing but your arms with a “hand over hand” motion. This is very similar to different events that professional strongman competitors perform in their competitions.
Here is Jim Wendler himself describing this exercise:
“This is the easiest portion of the Viking Day, but let's be clear, it's not really easy. The rope is a thick, 112-foot long rope that we attach to a dragging sled.
We lay this creature out in the street and each person has to pull the sled with a hand over hand motion.”
Don’t worry too much about the weight of the sled, the length of the rope, or other factors. The important thing is that you push yourself to your absolute limit!
Here is a sample sled drag workout that Jim Wendler has provided. Check it out:
Sample Sled Pull Workout:
- Warm-Up Sets: 2 x 112′ @ 75 pounds
- Work Sets: 2 x 112′ @ 190 pounds
Of course, the weight on the sled will vary depending on your current strength level.
You want this to be extremely difficult to perform, but not completely impossible.
Challenge #2: Sled Drag
The next Viking Day challenge is the sled drag. For this challenge Jim says using a sled harness is absolutely essential. He thinks that using a powerlifting belt (or anything other than a proper sled harness) is a complete waste of time!
Here are Jim’s exact thoughts on this event:
“For you to use any appreciable weight that even approaches a challenge to the hips and the legs, you need a harness. The sled strap through a belt is a total waste of time.”
If you have never performed the sled drag before, then you are in for a treat. This event is extremely demanding on your entire body, but especially your legs and conditioning level.
Here is a sample sled drag workout that you can try:
Sample Sled Drag Workout:
- 255 pounds x 50 yards, forward (warm-up)
- 525 pounds x 50 yards, forward
- 345 pounds x 50 yards, backward (backwards sucks!)
Jim Wendler recommends that you perform 1 warm up set, followed by 2 all-out sprints. You perform the first sprint facing forwards, and the second sprint facing backwards.
You want the weight to be heavy enough that it is hard, but not impossible to get and keep the weight moving. Of course, the backwards sled drag is much more difficult than the forward sled drag.
Don’t be surprised if you have to use significantly less weight for this movement!
Challenge #3: Prowler Push
The final movement in Jim Wendler’s Viking Day is the prowler push. If you have been following Jim Wendler’s writings for a long time, then you probably already know that Jim is a HUGE fan of prowler pushes for building strength and conditioning.
Here is Jim Wendler himself describing this incredible piece of equipment:
“The Prowler can truly bring people together – we can all agree it's horrible.
Despite what the lab coats say, the Prowler makes you strong, helps you breathe easier in just about any activity you do, and is simple to use.”
For the Viking Day challenge you are going to perform 2 all-out sprints with the prowler using maximum weight. Jim says he uses an incredible 395 pounds for this challenge. However, you may need to use less weight depending on your overall level of strength and conditioning.
Sample Prowler Workout:
- 395 pounds x 50 yards x 2
Jim says the key when performing the prowler is to stay low to the ground, lean forward, and focus on making strong and consistent strides with your legs.
It is very difficult to get the prowler moving initially, so do everything you can to keep the prowler moving once it is already in motion!
Conclusion | The Jim Wendler Viking Day!
Jim Wendler is one of the smartest strength coaches in the world today, and it’s easy to see why.
He understands that sometimes you just need to challenge yourself with some functional strongman style workouts to see what you are really made of!
If you are looking for a new strongman workout to test your mental toughness, then you have to give the Jim Wendler Viking Day workout a shot.
It may be just what you need to take your training to the next level!