Dad Strength

Dad Strength

Posted by Doug Katona on

Lifting 40 pounds of Chloe (my daughter) is different than power cleaning or deadlifting 40 pounds. Got me thinking about dad fitness. We have to roll around, jump, run, lift moving objects with one arm and often move quickly to catch or prevent injury to our kids. Oh, and do it all without injury. I don’t want to be that dad who is limited by his lack of fitness or athleticism.  If anything, having kids makes me train with more precision while I add in additional (truly functional) movements.


So, in honor of dads out there or for those of you just looking to enhance your athleticism and real functional application of moving load with intensity, here’s a training session to try out. 


Option 1 (no equipment available)


3 min brisk walk or 3 min on a stationary bike at 60-65% of MHR

3 x 20sec on, 20sec off moderate run intervals at 65-75% of MHR

3 rounds at a comfortable tempo of:

            6 push-ups

            6 walking lunges

            6 squats


rest 2-3min to stretch, mobilize or check on your baby


6 sets of the complex, resting no more than 10s between movements and 1min between sets

5/5 speed skaters (jumping laterally 5-6 ft staying low and touching the ground with the opposite hand from the anchor foot)

8 switch-hand push-ups (switch hand positions with each rep and get chest to deck with each rep)

8/8 stationary lunges (touch those knees to the ground)

8 ground to oh with any object weighing 20-40 pounds depending on what you have (bag of water softener pellets is what I’ve used…slam ball works best)

Run 1min at a challenging intensity (approx. 300m depending  how speedy you are)


Rest 2-3min to check on your baby or order groceries (dads always multi-task)


5 sets of max reps full sit-ups for 15sec on, 30sec off


Option 2 (you got a cool garage gym)



4 sets at a comfortable tempo

20 jump rope or running in place

20 jumping jacks

10 KB swings (Russian)

5 front squats at 15kg or 20kg pending ability

5 shoulder/push press  at same load


rest 2-3 minutes to change laundry, check on baby or bring wife a snack


6 sets of the complex, resting no more than 10s between movements and 1min between sets

5 Power Clean at moderate load

5 Shoulder to overhead at moderate load

5 pull-ups or ring rows pending ability

5/5 Dumbbell snatch at moderate load alternating arms

Run 1min at a consistent speed (or approx. 300m pending your engine)


Rest 2-3 minutes to fold laundry, check on baby or tell wife you’re almost done training so that she knows when you can go do more stuff around the house


4 sets of the following for strength and accessory work

12 standing, banded tricep extensions or tricep pushdowns

12 good mornings, banded or with a barbell pending how many  times your kids jumped on you the night prior

12/12 1-arm DB row at moderate load

1min plank (putting a bumper  plate on your back is optional)

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