There is no shortage of new training routines, techniques, and programs that claim to be the next big thing. After Crossfit Workout of the Day (WOD) training, people have been jumping on the bandwagon to creating high intensity routines for an extremely niche market: Mixed Martial Arts. One such program is Caveman Training. The idea behind caveman training workouts was conceived by Scott Ramsdell, owner of Athletic Performance Inc. (API), based in Minnesota. Here are three main things you need to know about Caveman Training before we continue:

  • Caveman Training combines traditional and novel strength and conditioning exercises to create a program that is specific and difficult.
  • There is no complex theory or methodology behind Caveman Training. It tries to be as simple and easy to understand as possible.
  • It is based on skills needed to survive in the “old” days, i.e. physical labor.

Caveman Principles As mentioned earlier, the principles surrounding Caveman Training aren’t rocket science. Most likely, they are things you’ve heard over and over again. Here they are:

  • More compound movements means more muscle and less fat
  • Take the best of a variety of training methodologies, and create goal-specific workouts
  • For Athletes, your training should be harder than your competition.
  • The exercises you use need to be effective. They should tax your body at a high intensity level.


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Caveman Exercises:

The following are the most common exercises used in most Caveman workouts:

  • Tire Flips
  • Sledghammer Swings
  • Pushing/Pulling Cars
  • Wheel Barrow Pushing/Pulling
  • Heavy Rope Swinging
  • Heavy Bag Training (Tossing, Swinging, Running with)
  • Sand Bag Training (Traditional Exercises + Tossing and Running)
  • Pull-ups
  • Box-Jumps
  • Overhead Press
  • Sprinting

Caveman Training Workouts Structure

Creating a caveman workout is just as simple as understanding their methodology. I have comes up with three tips to help you create your own Caveman Workout:

  • Workouts are organized as circuits – Circuit training seems to be a common theme in most high intensity protocols. Simply combine the exercises mentioned above into a circuit, and you’ll be one step closer to performing a genuine Caveman workout.
  • Trainees either perform a certain amount of repetitions, or perform maximum repetitions in a given period of time. – Most circuit training programs involves performing four or more exercises and assigning a set number of reps to them. Caveman workouts employ another method as well. They take four or more exercises and assign time intervals for each exercises. An example of this is performing a set of pull ups for 1 minute, followed by a set of sledgehammer swings for one minute.
  • Parameters used to train Athletes are based on their sports – If you are an athlete, you can use Caveman training to design specific workouts for your sport. For example, for MMA fighters, workouts are organized into five rounds of five exercises, each with 1 minute of work. This mimics the five minute rounds of most MMA fights.

Caveman Training vs. Crossfit

Caveman Training has often been compared to Crossfit Workout of the Day (WOD) training, and rightfully so. The two programs share very basic principles. However, there are some very distinct aspects that set the two methodologies apart:

  • Caveman Training routines are more goal-oriented and specific. Crossfit takes pride in being as broad and general as possible. According to Scott Ramsdell, Crossfit workouts just seem like “a bunch of difficult exercises are just thrown together.”
  • The movements used with Caveman Training are more involved. Crossfit sticks to basic, but natural, movements. Crossfit does use tire flips and other alternative training devices, but not to the same frequency as Caveman training.
  • Caveman Training claims to work at a higher intensity level than Crossfit. But that’s debatable. It really depends on what the athlete brings to the table when they go through a workout.
  • Caveman Training also claims to be next level of Crossfit, and regards Crossfit for setting the stage for the development of hybrid training programs such as Caveman Training. Crossfit has certainly introduced a new set of ideas into mainstream fitness training.

Check out this interesting video on UFC Fighter Sean Sherk’s Caveman Training:

Final Thoughts

I personally see no difference between Crossfit’s Workout of the Day’s (WOD), Caveman Training, GymJones, and Shah Training. It’s all the same stuff twisted over and over again and presented to you in a different format. I have learned from my own mistakes to not adhere to just one set of protocols. There are a hundred different training protocols out there, and you’re lucky if you even get a chance to try a handful of them. Be open minded and develop your own methodology.


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12 thoughts on “Will Caveman Training Workouts Replace the CrossFit Workout of the Day (WOD)?

  1. Tom Parker - Free Fitness Tips

    Thanks for the informative post Shah. Never heard of Caveman training before but after reading your post I agree with your conclusion. They all seem to be a twist on bodyweight training and circuit training. Being open minded and flexible when it comes to training is the best choice.

  2. Parth Post author

    Tom – True. I get a little pissed off when people say they’re a whole new system, but when you look at it, its all the same junk. Bodybuilding’s been doing it for a long time, with everyone coming out with a twisted version of stuff that already works. They sell a couple of books, gym memberships, and get some publicity and it all goes wayside.

    I do commend crossfit for bring this type of training to the mainstream. I feel as though bodybuilding is still the program followed by most typical gymgoeers, who should be following more of a full body functional program, esp if their only really goal is to drop some weight and look good on the beach.

  3. Joans Weight Loss Story

    Hi there,
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  4. Parth Post author

    Joan, congrats on your weight loss, but please do not post any links in your comment.

  5. dude

    intensity = Force * distance / time
    if caveman training claims to operate at a higher intensity level than crossfit workouts, then let’s see the numbers in ft*lbs/min

  6. Parth Post author

    Dude, I see your point. I haven’t found any exact evidence that proves that caveman training is in fact more intense than crossfit training. I would love to see some sort of showdown between a crossfit trained athlete vs. caveman trained.

  7. paul mzzqb

    Just an amazing site!

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  9. noname

    get together api vs crossfit. api would smoke “em” anyday

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