I recently began to start working with my father doing construction work (he is a welder and mainly deals with steel). Naturally, he uses heavy equipment (propane tanks, welding generators, heavy sledgehammers, etc). As I'm the apprentice and assistant I would carry the tools/equipment and make sure everything is prepared to either do the work or for cleaning. As my body is not used to this type of labor I was thinking of doing calisthenics as I'm not really into weights or the bodybuilder physique. I heard stories from older tradesmen about the importance of taking care and preserving your body so you are not in constant pain and functionable in your older years.

I don't want to overdo or place unnecessary stress on my body and I am by no means a fitness expert (obviously lol). What would be a good workout/conditioning to gain the necessary strength to be able to handle the heavy equipment routinely but also not overdo or place unnecessary stress on my body? Thank you.

  • 3
    I would suggest 3-6 months with no additional training to get adapted to the work you are currently doing. Make sure you eat a decent amount of of proteins and complex carbohydrates.
    – Andy
    Nov 8, 2021 at 9:18
  • 1
    @Andy Simple, to the point, and effective. Thanks for the response, Mr. Andy.
    – יהודה
    Nov 8, 2021 at 16:32
  • "as I'm not really into weights or the bodybuilder physique" Not trying to talk you into anything here, but you will not get a bodybuilder's physique by accident. The people you're thinking of do special "get bigger" workouts, it's their job, and they're on steroids. Dec 21, 2021 at 19:05
  • @user3742898 hey, how are you. Actually, when I work out with weights I do get a bodybuilder physique (I guess by accident because I do not try lol). The regular benchpress, dumbells, rows, etc.
    – יהודה
    Dec 23, 2021 at 2:09

2 Answers 2


You should workout what you don't through work.

An example: People walk. This uses the calf. The shin is not utilized to a similar degree. Thus a person that walks should workout the shins.

Another: A person pushes a cart. Thus they should pull it too. This is conducive to health and fitness.

Another: A person pushes and pulls a cart for 10 hours a day. They should push and pull something much heavier for a short period of time to get their strength up (and exercise in more athletic ways that hit each part of the muscle but that's not the point).

Everyday do 1 set of each to failure. After a month do 1 set to near-failure then 1 set to failure. After another month go ahead and do 3 sets to failure. After another month add the second part of the program:

Sit- ups because lifting involves your back not your abs and hips. Put hands on shoulders not head.

Shin lifts. With your butt against the wall, legs straight, put your feet out a couple feet away and lift your toes. Just look up shin lifts against a wall.

Squats. Keep your heels off the ground and track your knees past your toes with torso vertical.

Pull ups. Vertical pull is not usual in your work.

Dips. Not usual in your work either to push down and get a stretch in the shoulder.

Second part, do 1 set to failure the first month of doing this, 1 set to near failure and 1 set to failure the second month of doing this, and 3 sets to failure the third month of doing this.

Neck curls, extensions, side bends and twists. A bench helps you stretch or support torso whilst doing these across the short end. Place hands on head for added resistance; interlock fingers behind head for neck extensions, in front of head for neck curls, on side of head for lateral bends. Do a head turning motion at the end of sets for each kind of bend to round the exercise out.

Calf extensions. Toes turned in toes turned out. Go ahead and do 1 calf at a time.

Wrist bends with sledgehammer. 4 directions, including the lateral bends, and 2 twist motions with weight on thumb side or pinky side.

Finger extensions with a weight plate sliding across the ground is good. Starting with heaviest weight then getting down to 25% and going going going is great. So you just stick your finger in the hole and slide it forward, getting a stretch in the knuckle, then pull it back and just keep going going for each individual digit. Circular slide motion is great and rounds it out.

Horizontal sledgehammer swing. Take it easy starting out and don't worry if it hurts. You want to get a decent stretch so things don't crack and squeeze into place and cause too much pain. Just swing an 8 lb hammer like a baseball bat pretty slowly and stop the swing at the end instead of hitting something. More difficult than hitting something. Do both sides.

Back bridge. A wrestling bridge but not on your neck. Not a hold, repetitions of getting into the back bridge.

The reason I suggest 1 set to failure is that you can develop the routine of things and put in your willpower to get the 1 set done for each exercise, making sure you give it your all. After a month you add another set near-failure to help progress the physical training. On the third month you should be accustomed to training the movements and the exertion required, so I suggest 3 sets to failure. Instead of more sets more exercises are added to completely hit every body part that isn't trained by work. These exercises go from 1 set to 3 in a few months as well. This is designed to be a lifelong program you can do in your 90s. I would suggest doing even more if you stop working a physically demanding job.

If you get into easy work, add 1 set to each exercise and start doing Jeffersion Curls. Look them up. You just need some sort of box and some sort of weight. Start with 1 set and 5 lbs then add another set and weight each month until you reach at least 25% body weight and 4 sets.

You could incorporate more into this entire program but fundamentally what is there is a complete health and fitness routine. Many dissuade others from training everyday but that's ridiculous. It's 15 minutes of working out to start. How many people have had to dig ditches for a living? As long as the work is balanced and you get nutrition you're good to go.

If the routine is missing anything it's cardio and some dynamic power. 30 second sprints with 1 minute rest for 4 sets followed by a mile jog will take care of that.

Good luck work hard.

  • 1
    Thank you, Mr. Schreiner. I really appreciate that and will incorporate this into my routine.
    – יהודה
    Jan 3 at 7:16

Note// My answer specifically to you is farmers walks with any equipment available, anything laying around your house would work fine that weights something. my answer is made for the hundreds of people that might come across this and might have equipment, but research has shown farmers walks are the best at what you are describing TO A 100% PERFECT T!

Any and all workouts you do will help to some extent, but I wouldn't recommend calisthenics, as it is more about moving your body not heavy equipment. If you're concerned about longevity, these exercises not only will help you in your field but might extend your lifehttps://www.t-nation.com/training/news-bodybuilding-longevity-workout/. These are the PERFECT exercises for your field, and I'd recommend them over anything. If you don't have access to a gym at least do the below(note, if you don't have the equipment then just do the two below, the rest is extra):

  1. Farmer's walks - Hold dumbbells in each hand and walk, for you I'd recommend endurance so 2 minutes, and add weight to challenge yourself. you can also use sandbags for a more realistic application to real life

  2. offset farmers walks - Carry just one dumbbell in one hand and after 2 minutes, switch hands and repeat

Here are additional exercises that might assist you(meaning this is extra, supplementary work if you have the resources)

  1. Deadlifts -you have to pick up heavy objects
  2. Squats - picking up heavy objects
  3. zercher squat - strengthen your thoracic extension and legs(helps upper spine, corem and stabilizer muscles)
  4. Core workout - a solid core should be a mainstay of any fitness goal
  5. back extensions -strengthen your lower back and helps lower spine
  6. Meadow Rows,bent over rows, seal rows, etc.. --Build strong back muscles to protect your spine

The list below will also make your job easier or improve life longevity. You might already be doing these so you may not need to include them in a workout:

  1. get 10k-12k steps a day
  2. do cardio, and not just jogging but sprinting as well
  3. hammer swings and hammer workouts(striking a tire with a sledgehammer,working out with loaded hammers)
  4. do whole body workouts every other day rather than one body part a day
  5. do conditioning such as workout circuits where you dont rest a lot in between sets.

Here is a sample workout:

Workout day -you could also do the first 4 as a circuit, rest 1 minute, and repeat

  • Deadlift 4 sets 6
  • Squat 4x6
  • Zercher 4x8
  • Seal row 4x8
  • deadbugs(core exercise) 3x12
  • farmers walk 3 rounds of 2 minutes (these can double as a core workout, especially if doing one handed)

cardio day(pick your poison):

  • 6 rounds of 60M sprints with 3 minutes of rest
  • jogging
  • jump rope
  • tire/hammer strikes (if you're doing these, do your cardio 8-10 hours after your weightlifting day as they can be taxing)
  • 3
    That's a lot of equipment-based training for someone who specifically said they weren't into it.
    – Alec
    Nov 9, 2021 at 20:54
  • Actually if you read I said to do just farmers walks which he could do with literally anything, the rest is off you have resources
    – Ace Cabbie
    Nov 11, 2021 at 18:31
  • Also thousands of people read these pages, someone reading this may want to learn for themselves and better themselves more, as this person has a very specific request. still, all im suggesting based on research is farmers walks which you can do with literally anything around the house.
    – Ace Cabbie
    Dec 1, 2021 at 22:40

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