Shovel Lift

In Strongman Mastery by admin9 Comments

The Shovel Lift is my new favorite exercise.

I first heard of this one from Steve Justa in his book Rock, Iron, Steel. But besides trying it out one time I don’t think I used it anymore.

But since I’ve switched my focus for the time being from bodyweight exercises to lots more weightlifting I wanted a good weighted exercise to target the abs.

My favorite bodyweight exercises for the purpose are hanging leg raises and various power wheel exercises. But I’d been doing those for some time so needed to switch it up.

Weighted situps can be great but they’re hard to do logistically, getting the weight in place and having it stay there, especially if you want to go heavy. (Just look at the people required when Bud did 600 lbs in the situp.)

Then I recalled the shovel lift and gave it a try. Wow! I’ve been doing it for a couple weeks now and I love it!

The Shovel Lift

This video shows just one method of doing the shovel lift and that is going overhead. This is one of the harder variations but there are many you can do including thrusting, side to side twisting and more combinations.

I’m working with a light weight, just 20 lbs on the end, and a bit higher reps than I’d done before. This is a lift where you can go both heavy and light. Of course those are relative terms. With the leverage involved just two plates would be very heavy.

This barbell exercise works the grip, forearms, upper arms, shoulders and entire torso. A phenomenal ab exercise including the obliques. Even the legs are involved as they must press into the ground to fight the leverage.

Give it a try the next time you grab a barbell and post your comments below.

(If you workout in a commercial gym I’m going to guess that this exercise will not be appropriate for that space. Do it anyway 😉


  1. I can’t imagine the weird looks I would get at the gym doing this lift…can’t wait to try it

    1. When I 23years old and 10.5 stone I was able to lift 17.5 stone on a shovel. It was many years of hard manual labour.

  2. Very cool, Logan. It reminds me of some of the old school martial arts training we do for conditioning work, particularly with heavy spears.

  3. That was insane trying that lift with you back in April, my hands were dying the first couple times and loved it. def need to try it next time around.

    1. Author

      Tony be sure to let us know how it goes.

      It really is isn’t it Frank?

      Jon, I’m sure there are some great other martial applications too.

      Ben, let’s do it again next time you’re in town.

      Thanks Jedd. I don’t think I’ve done that variation yet but it looks awesome.

  4. Fucking awesome, man! I’ve NEVER done that one before in my own Training… But I’ll definitely give this one a shot once I’m healed completely and fully recovered from my fucked up injury, 100%!

    Now I’m actually thinking about getting a THICK Handled Barbell (3″ to the bare MINIMUM) in the near future, and then Train Ferociously Hard & Brutal to at LEAST Shovel Lift 100lbs… And even going for the WORLD RECORD out there!

    That being said, Yo Logan… Do you have any idea what the OFFICIAL World Record is for this Shovel Lift? Because here’s the deal: I AM gonna set a World Record with it in the future! Why, because I CAN, that´s Why!

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