Conan the Barbarian Workout

Welcome to our Conan the Barbarian workouts. Strongman circuits to test strength, stamina and willpower.

Welcome to our Conan the Barbarian Circuits, based on the workouts of both Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jason Momoa for their respective onscreen portrayals of the nomadic sword-wielding hero!! These circuits are classic Strongman type exercises, with low reps and sets aimed at building strength and power. 

Want to skip the intro and go straight to the workouts? Click below!

Steel isn't strong, boy, flesh is stronger!

Conan is a fictional sword and sorcery hero created by writer Robert E. Howard in 1932 for a series of fantasy stories.  The character’s popularity has since seen him go onto being adapted to other media including comic books, video games and popular films.

Conan is a Cimmerian, a barbarian of the far north. After his parents are murdered by a horde of ravaging marauders, the young Conan manages to survive the attack and escape.  He grows up quickly in the wild, and by age fifteen he is already a respected warrior.  He begins to wander the world and begins the exciting adventures as chronicled by Howard and other writers.  In his travels, he encounters various fabulous monsters, evil wizards, and beautiful princesses. 

In his illustrious career as a barbarian, he manages to travel throughout the known world and has many occupations including a thief and outlaw, a mercenary, a mercenary commander, and a pirate.

Over time, he begins building larger units of men, aiming for greater territorial ambitions, meeting with little success.  However, in his forties, he finally succeeds in becoming king of Aquilonia, the most powerful kingdom of the age, after strangling the ruler on the steps of the throne. In his sixties, Conan leaves his country—never to return—to seek new battles in the uncharted west.

Conan is a formidable and ferocious combatant both armed and unarmed and is very difficult to defeat in hand-to-hand combat.  Although Conan is described as being very muscular and possessing great physical strength. The character is also known for his speed and agility. Howard frequently compares his agility and way of moving to that of a panther.

The character is also known for his incredible stamina, enabling him to endure great physical hardship and pain and to push himself past the point of exhaustion.  In many of the stories, he endures torture and manages to go without sleep for several days. Due to his travels abroad, he also has vast experience in other trades. He is a talented commander, strategist, thief, as well as a born leader, known for using his brain as well as his brawn.

Conan has been portrayed in the cinema by both legendary actor/bodybuilder/governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger and by Khal Drogo himself Hawaiian Jason Momoa.  The Conan workouts are based on a fusion of training methods both actors used to prepare for the role of the fictional barbarian.  Arnold’s regime was more strength-based whereas Jason’s preparation was more in line with the physical qualities associated with Conan, a mixture of strength, speed and agility.  As such the workouts will be a mixture of strength builders (low reps and sets) combined with dynamic, power exercises, sprints and agility exercises.

About Arnold Schwarzenegger

Arnold Schwarzenegger, in full Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger, (born July 30, 1947, Thal, near Graz, Austria), Austrian-born American bodybuilder, film actor, and politician who rose to fame through roles in blockbuster action movies and later served as governor of California (2003–11).  Arnold has appeared in two Conan movies, ‘Conan the Barbarian’ (1982) and ‘Conan the Destroyer’ (1984).

About Jason Momoa

Joseph Jason Namakaeha Momoa (born August 1, 1979) is an American actor best known for portraying Khal Drogo in the HBO fantasy drama series Game of Thrones (2011–2012).  He has also starred as Arthur Curry/Aquaman in the DC Extended Universe films Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), Justice League (2017), and Aquaman (2018). Jason starred in Conan reboot ‘The Legend of Conan’ (2011).

“To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women.”

Conan (on being asked what is best in life).

Barbarian Workouts

Warm ups

(Always warm up before starting any routine).  Start by performing mobility drills on shoulders, hips, ankles, wrist and neck muscles.  Use light core stretches to activate the muscle groups we shall be using.

After mobility drills use three rounds of the warm-up drills below.

Quick warm up. Workouts. Functional Training. Super Soldier Project.

The Circuits

Circuit 1 - The Wheel of Pain

The first of the circuits is the Wheel of Pain.  These workouts are designed to condition you for the following two!  The exercises are in a circuit format and contain 12 exercises with 3-4 rounds each (dependent on your level and ability).  Concentrate on good effort and technique.

 Allow 2/3 minutes rest after completing each round before starting the next (as per your fitness level).  

Workout duration: 4 weeks.

Workout A: Mondays/Weds/Fridays
Workout B: Tues/Thurs
  1. DB Farmers walks x 1 minute.
  2. Tire flips x 1 minute,
  3. Sledgehammers x 1 minute.
  4. Deadlifts x 12 reps 70%1RM.
  5. Sandbag shouldering. Medium to heavyweight x 12 reps each side.
  6. Military press variation DB/BB/SB/KB. 12 reps.
  7. Good morning variation. x  12 reps.
  8. Squat variation. DB/BB/SB/KB. 12 reps.
  9. Push press variation. DB/BB/SB/KB. 12 reps.
  10. Clean variation. BB/SB/KB/DB. x 12 reps.
  11. Weighted abs x 25 reps.
  12. Bent over row variation. DB/BB/SB/KB. x 12 reps.
  1. Barbell glute ham raise. x12 reps.
  2. Mace shoulder rotation. (or KB halo’s) x 12 reps each side.
  3. Sledge push x 1 minute.
  4. Sprints x10 (100 metres).
  5. Zercher squat variation KB/BB/SB/DB x 12 reps.
  6. Barbell landmines.
  7. Medicine ball slams x 20 reps.
  8. Trap bar deadlifts x 12 reps, 70%1RM.
  9. Pull-ups x10.
  10. Bench press x12 70%1RM.
  11. Push-ups to failure.
  12. Medicine ball to wall throws x 1 minute.
Workout A: Mondays/Weds/Fridays
Workout B: Tues/Thurs
Saturday/Sunday: Active recovery, cycling, walking, light runs.

Circuit 2 - The Tree of Woe

The Tree of Woe is a descending weights circuit.  The exercises are heavy sets with fewer reps. There are three rounds of each exercise in total.  Starting at 7 reps per exercise.  Undertake the exercise, allow 7 seconds of rest and then move onto the next exercise in the list.  Allow 1-2 minutes to recover between rounds.  For the 2nd round perform the same exercises in order but drop to 6 reps for each exercise with 6 seconds rest between each exercise. 3rd round 5 reps etc. 

 Concentrate on good effort and technique and try not to exceed rest times.  

Workout duration: 4 weeks.

Day 1: Chest

  1. Flat Bench Press
  2. Incline Bench Press
  3. Incline Dumbbell Press
  4. Dumbbells Push-Ups
  5. Triceps Dips

1st round: 7 sets of 7 reps with each exercise. 7 seconds rest after each exercise.

2nd round: 6 sets of 6 reps with each exercise.  6 seconds rest after each exercise.

3rd round: 5 sets of 5 reps with each exercise.  5 seconds rest after each exercise.

Do 3 rounds of each exercise, with 2-3 minutes of rest in between each round.

Day 2: Back

  1. Standard pull up.
  2. Reverse grip pull-ups.
  3. Close grip pull-up.
  4. Dumbbell rows.
  5. Barbell reverse bent over rows.

1st round: 7 sets of 7 reps with each exercise. 7 seconds rest after each exercise.

2nd round: 6 sets of 6 reps with each exercise.  6 seconds rest after each exercise.

3rd round: 5 sets of 5 reps with each exercise.  5 seconds rest after each exercise.

Do 3 rounds of each exercise, with 2-3 minutes of rest in between each round.

Day 3: Legs

  1. Body Weight Squat

  2. Barbell Straight Leg Deadlifts

  3. Barbell Rear Squat

  4. Bodyweight Jump Squat

1st round: 7 sets of 7 reps with each exercise. 7 seconds rest after each exercise.

2nd round: 6 sets of 6 reps with each exercise.  6 seconds rest after each exercise.

3rd round: 5 sets of 5 reps with each exercise.  5 seconds rest after each exercise.

Do 3 rounds of each exercise, with 2-3 minutes of rest in between each round.

Day 4: Core

  1. Medicine ball slams.
  2. Kettlebell swings.
  3. Burpees.
  4. Kettlebell windmills (7 each side).
  5. Barbell Landmine (7 each side).
  6. 40-yard sprints.

1st round: 7 sets of 7 reps with each exercise. 7 seconds rest after each exercise.

2nd round: 6 sets of 6 reps with each exercise.  6 seconds rest after each exercise.

3rd round: 5 sets of 5 reps with each exercise.  5 seconds rest after each exercise.

Do 3 rounds of each exercise, with 2-3 minutes of rest in between each round.

Day 5: Arms

  1. Barbell military press.
  2. Bodyweight triceps dips
  3. Diamond push-ups.
  4. DB Preacher Curls.
  5. DB Triceps extension.

1st round: 7 sets of 7 reps with each exercise. 7 seconds rest after each exercise.

2nd round: 6 sets of 6 reps with each exercise.  6 seconds rest after each exercise.

3rd round: 5 sets of 5 reps with each exercise.  5 seconds rest after each exercise.

Do 3 rounds of each exercise, with 2-3 minutes of rest in between each round.

Saturday/Sunday: Active recovery, cycling, walking, light runs.

Circuit 3 - The Riddle of Steel

The Riddle of Steel is a classic Pyramid workout.  Each exercise starts with lighter weight and high reps.  With each round, the weight increases but the required reps decrease.  Starting with 10 reps at 60% of 1RM for each exercise.  2nd round of each exercise is 65% of 1RM for 8 reps. 3rd round 75% of 1RM for 6 reps.  The final round of each exercise is 85% of 1RM for 4 reps.  Allow 2-3 minutes for a full recovery.  

 Concentrate on good effort and technique and try not to exceed rest times.  

Workout duration: 4 weeks.

  • Day 1 – Chest and Back
  • Day 2 – Shoulders and Arms
  • Day 3 – Legs and Lower Back
  • Day 4 – Chest and Back
  • Day 5 – Shoulders and Arms
  • Day 6 – Legs and Lower Back
  • Day 7 – Rest

Days 1 and 4: Chest and Back

Exercise:

Sets:

Reps:

Bench Press

Incline Bench Press

Push-ups

Dumbbell pullovers

Chin-ups

Renegade rows

Bent over rows

Deadlift

Weighted crunches

3-4

3-4

3-4

3-4

3-4

3-4

3-4

3-4

5

12. 10. 8. 6 reps.

12. 10. 8. 6 reps

12. 10. 8. 6 reps

12. 10. 8. 6 reps.

12. 10. 8. 6 reps.

12. 10. 8. 6 reps

12. 10. 8. 6 reps

12. 10. 8. 6 reps.

25 reps.

Perform each exercise in order, moving onto the next only once all reps and sets are complete.  Allow 2-3 minutes of rest in between each set for a full recovery.

Days 2 and 5: Shoulders and Arms

Exercise:

Sets:

Reps:

Barbell clean and press

DB lateral raises

Barbell upright rows

Military press

Standing barbell curl

Dumbbell Zottman curl

Close grip bench press

Barbell/Eazy bar French Press

Wrist curls

Reverse wrist curls

Reverse crunches

3-4

3-4

3-4

3-4

3-4

3-4

3-4

3-4

3-4

3-4

5

12. 10. 8. 6 reps.

12. 10. 8. 6 reps.

12. 10. 8. 6 reps.

12. 10. 8. 6 reps.

12. 10. 8. 6 reps.

12. 10. 8. 6 reps.

12. 10. 8. 6 reps.

12. 10. 8. 6 reps.

12. 10. 8. 6 reps.

12. 10. 8. 6 reps.

25 reps.

Perform each exercise in order, moving onto the next only once all reps and sets are complete.  Allow 2-3 minutes of rest in between each set for a full recovery.

Days 3 and 6: Legs and Lower Back

Exercise:

Sets:

Reps:

BB Back squats.

Barbell lunges

BB upright rows

Nordic Raises

Straight leg deadlifts

Good mornings

Standing calve raises

Weighted crunches

3-4

3-4

3-4

3-4

3-4

3-4

3-4

5

12. 10. 8. 6 reps.

12. 10. 8. 6 reps.

12. 10. 8. 6 reps.

12. 10. 8. 6 reps.

12. 10. 8. 6 reps.

12. 10. 8. 6 reps.

12. 10. 8. 6 reps.

25 reps.

Perform each exercise in order, moving onto the next only once all reps and sets are complete.  Allow 2-3 minutes of rest in between each set for a full recovery.

Saturday/Sunday: Active recovery, cycling, walking, light runs.

Whichever workout you undertake. Remember to cool down, stretch and drink water!

Workout Complete!!

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