Non-Traditional Exercises Add Variety and Big Benefits

Battle ropes, sandbags, sledgehammers, prowler sleds, tractor tires, and my personal favorite, kettlebells – there are a variety of tools to support non-traditional exercises that create fast results.

Strength and conditioning specialist, Jim Lloyd, at Sanford POWER in Sioux Falls, SDThe intensity of non-traditional exercises is a great way to increase strength, power and endurance, while adding a new twist to your training routine. Below are some examples of non-traditional exercises and their benefits.

Battle Ropes

Battle ropes are a terrific all-around training tool. However, the true value of ropes is conditioning. You can perform for set of reps or time interval as a burnout set to reach complete fatigue of your muscles and energy systems. Make sure you switch between two arms together, alternating arms, crossing arms, and single arm patterns to get the best results.


Sandbags can be a substitute for barbell or dumbbell exercises. You can squat, clean, and press a sandbag. Since sandbags are not as stable as a barbell, you will hit the smaller muscle fibers used for stabilization purposes. It will also improve your grip strength since it is not a solid shape. Another great thing about sandbags is that you can slam them into the ground or throw them out in front of you.


Swinging a sledgehammer will engage your whole body from legs up to your arms, making it a great tool for working the core and conditioning. You can swing a sledgehammer against a tire for fewer reps with a focus on power, or from a time interval to focus on speed for conditioning. Changing the planes and motion of your swings will offer a challenge to your body from a variety of angles.

Bottom Line

By adding non-traditional exercises to your current fitness routine you will be activating nearly all of the muscles in your body with each move you make. This will boost your results and add a little variety and fun to your current workout.

By Jim Lloyd, CSCS