Field day at elementary school means dunk tanks, water balloons, Italian ice, hanging with your friends, cool games and a bunch of other cool stuff. Field day for Arnold meant taking 250 lbs to the woods with a friend, some girls and plenty of beer (I said ARNOLD, not Alwyn!!). They squatted all day for hours on end, grilled chicken, drank beer, wine and gazed at the stars with their girlfriends and then enjoyed a romantic night under the stars (that’s the PG version). Arnold said they did this to break all the barriers and to live like Gladiators. He took himself outside of his normal training environment and literally became a different person. This helped him blast through the pain barrier and break all records. If he did this in the gym surely people would have gotten into his head telling him that he’s doing too much or they’re too tired. Gladiators don’t quit, cry or complain and this is why he needed the outdoors to train like one.

When I received the latest Elite newsletter and all their “Field” tools I wanted to write about it because I figured so many of the readers could relate to what I am about to write. I started training the summer before high school, I was 13 and now I am 29. For over half my life I have been training and change is always a good thing. Especially since I began incorporating a lot of old school and strong man training the outdoors lend themselves perfectly for this style of training.

One of my favorite quotes is, “If the sun is shining you have no business staying inside.” In NJ the weather is ever changing and after a long winter you can’t wait for spring to arrive so you can train outdoors more often. So after years and years of training in gyms through out NJ I eventually built my own dungeon with plenty of tools for “Field” training. I use sleds, kettlebells, logs, sledge hammers, my truck, stones and sandbags during the fall, spring and summer. I’ll throw a heavy sandbag in my trunk, a pair of kettlebells, a sled and a few plates. A sledge hammer stays in there on a regular basis and stones are found lying around everywhere I go.

There’s a different emotion that comes from training outdoors. Fresh air breeds high energy and encourages you to forget about sets, reps and all the other rigid rules you may follow endlessly. My work out might look like this on a field day:

      1. Warm up with movement, push ups, squats, lunges and some joint mobility.2. I’ll throw in some kettlebell swings, snatches, clean and presses for a few minutes to get more into it. Then I’ll crank out some heavy military press and snatches before moving on.

3. Next I’ll drag the sled forwards, then row for 5 – 10 reps, then backwards drag for a bit, then forwards again, then row some more, and drag some more. I’ll go for 10 – 12 minutes here, stopping for some water here and there.

4. Next, I’ll push my truck for 3 or 4 sets of 200 ft. or so.

5. After that I’ll do some sandbag training. Snatches for 10 reps, rest, military press with a squat for 10 reps, rest, squats and lunges mixed together and so on. I’ll work the sandbag for 10 minutes pushing myself hard.

6. I’ll finish with sledge hammer work, hitting a log overhead for 20 – 30 reps, then jogging to a tree and hitting the tree from the sides for 20 or 30 on each side. This will go on for 5 minutes or so.

When it’s over I might go to the pull up bars and dip bars and work them for a circuit or call it a day. I’ve got no desire for program on these days. My desire is to push myself physically and mentally. You can always quit when it hurts, but who wants to be a quitter?

Training is my therapy, I won’t lie. We all go through stress and sometimes it seems much worst than other times. I train hard and lift as heavy as I can to meditate myself into my own zone. Last week contractors began tearing up my house for the new work. They dug up endless stones and didn’t carry them away until today. I grabbed the heavy one and carried it to the back yard. I worked in dead lifts, military press, shoulder squats and bent rows. I grabbed the log in my back yard and did Zercher carries, squats, and hybrid RDL – Good mornings holding the log against my chest.

My neighbor keeps yelling from her porch, “You’ll hurt your heart, Zach!” I imagine that her cigarette habit is worse. I just have a hunch. I’m getting fresh NJ air, the kind of air that’s near 100 with high humidity. It works for me and keeps me in touch with keeping my edge. Nothing is worst than losing your edge. You start telling yourself that it is ok to go easy today and before you know it you’re doing everything that allows you to lay down and sit down on a bench or stability ball.

My body and mind crave this style of training. Through the years you beat yourself up and amass a good number of injuries that require you to change your style of training. I prefer to change for the better. I may not be squatting for 50 sets, drinking and eating and chilling with girls under the stars (Ferruggia still trains & lives like that though), but I get my fix with field training!

If I’m looking to work power and conditioning I’ll perform explosive squat – push throws with a kettlebell, jog up and repeat. I might go for time, distance or until I reach a predetermined number of reps. After that I’ll use a light sled and stroll through the park (literally). Last time I did this the local mount police (on horses) stopped me. I wasn’t sure if I was going to get a ticket. I snagged a 70 ft. rope from Home Depot so I’ll work on my hand speed and pulling endurance by doing hand over hand pulls with the rope attached to the sled or to both kettlebells. This is a great exercise!

I think you will thoroughly enjoy field training in connection with your own “gym” training. Get out there and test your limits. Lifting odd objects and getting out in the fresh air is good for the soul. If you’re having a rough day, heavy deads can be great for therapy, but so can stone carries, truck pushing and a stroll through the park with a weighted sled. Besides, you might meet the girl of your dreams dragging a sled through the park.

If you’re reading this article it’s likely you’ve become connected to in some manner to the crew at Elite. You read the Q & A and ask Wendler to show his chest, or you ask Mike how his diet is coming along. This article was inspired by everything and everyone on the Q & A. I read it all the time and I see how we’re all connected as brothers in one way or another, regardless of where we’re from. So in the end my friends, I’m thanking everyone for the inspiration. I hope this article gets some of you guys out there in the fresh air to train hard and live hard. You’ve all inspired me and I wanted to return the favor. Just don’t cry!