CrossFit South Rockland

Tuesday, March 14, 2017


How do you build serious dad (old man) strength? Your kids think you’re superman, and there is no reason that you shouldn’t be. Use these six key exercises to building real dad strength.
When I was little I thought my dad was superman. He was strong, fast and could play with me and keep up all day long. Now that I am a father of two rambunctious boys myself; I want to make certain that they look at me with the same omnipotent invincibility I saw in my father when I was a kid.Of course as I got older I realized that my dad’s secret wasn’t really a secret he just worked out and took care of himself and that is why he was able to do all these incredible things when I was younger (and still today for that matter).
I want fathers everywhere to be able to do all the activities they can with their kids. Being out of shape is a disservice to your family and takes away from the potential you have of being the most awesome dad on the planet! Your kids want to play with you; they want to run and play tag, they want to be tossed in the air, the want to wrestle, they want to go on adventures. It is up to you to take care of yourself and be able to be there for them and do all sorts of activities with them. Here are six exercises that can help make you a more kick ass dad!



It is inevitable that you will end up hauling or carrying shit on any given family outing. Men have been human pack mules for their family long before mini vans developed stow and go storage. The suitcase carry helps develop unilateral strength and also gives you a free hand to help wrangle the kids. This is a great exercise, as you go heavier and heavier you will feel it just about everywhere. Start with a weight that is about as heavy as you can manage with one hand and position it by your side like a “suitcase” and take it for a walk.


The military has used ruck marches for as long as they have been around to condition their soldiers. This is another exercise for dads that involves carrying load, but in this case the distance is much greater than the suitcase carry. This is not only a great strength exercise but also a fantastic endurance builder. Bonus points for weight loss because you are way lighter once you take the pack off after your hike. (Get it?) To perform a ruck hike, take an old back pack, any will do but you will want a waist strap, I got an old canvas ruck at a military surplus store for $10, and fill it with weight. You can use playground sand, rocks, kettle bells, really anything that makes the sack heavier. I used sand in mine. You want it to be fairly heavy, start at around 20-30% of your bodyweight. Strap up and go see the world!


Push-ups require very little space, very little time, have hundreds of variations, and are great for building strength and size. You really have no excuse not to do them. The main reason I include push-ups on this list is because they are so low cost in terms of time, space and equipment. Sometimes life is hectic as a parent and you might not be able to make it to the gym or get your full workout in, but you can always bust out a couple sets of push-ups. This mindset of getting something done, even if it’s just a few sets of push-ups is the key to long term success and staying fit for life and fit for your kids. Also I cannot neglect the iconic push-ups with the kids on the back, kids love it!


Here is another big bang for your buck exercise, little space, and little equipment involved, all you need is a kettle bell. The TGU, as it is more commonly referred to is a tremendous full body exercise. It takes you through multiple movement patterns with load, and I really can’t say enough things positive about this exercise. It is time efficient which is good for busy dads and helps build strength from multiple angles which is great for playing with your kids because you will find yourself in some weird positions, at least I do.


Climbing a rope is hard. That is why I chose this exercise over a pull up. Pull-ups are great but I wanted something that translated to climbing a little better. Climbing a rope develops powerful upper body strength and really taxes your grip too. I like that you can climb with or without feet. Also I feel like one of the signature dad moments is helping your kids climb his or her first tree. So I want to make sure all the dads out there are good climbers. I will admit that a rope and a tree are not the same and the requirements are different but climbing a rope certainly won’t hurt and you should be able to climb lots of different things.


Another short sweet, big bang for your buck exercise! “Daddy chase me! Chase me!” I hear this all the time and I am sure many of you do too. Adding sprints into your routine will help develop explosive energy and increase anaerobic thresholds. Like most of the exercises on this list sprints take very little time to get the most out of them, no equipment and you really just need a yard or a road, neither of which is hard to come by. Sprint, it will help you keep up with your kids for longer!
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Mark Smith


Mark Smith is the owner of Asylum Fitness in beautiful Wilmington, North Carolina. He is a Movement and Strength Coach that uses unconventional tools and methods to make his students a little better with each practice. His main focus is movement, he believes, “We were born to move. Reclaim your birthright.” He encourages his students and all those he meets to just play, similarly to when you were a kid, believing that play is the foundation of movement and movement is life. “By learning to move better and improving our mobility, everything falls into place.” he says. Mark is an Outdoor Fitness Enthusiast, is well versed in corrective exercises, and currently holds a level 1 FMS (Functional Movement Screen), and is a MovNat level 2 certified trainer and is always seeking to learn from the best. He also has a background in track and field, martial arts, ballroom dance, and currently is practicing parkour.

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