The Lord of the Rings Workout: One Plan to Rule Them All


Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men, doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

An incredible poem, from the greatest fantasy epic ever told (Tolkien had quite a knack for poetry).  A little while back, we posted a Star Wars Workout on Nerd Fitness and the response was overwhelming: “GIVE US MOAR WORKOUTS!” you said.  “KEEP THE NERD COMING” you said.

So I said, “Stop yelling at me!” and “Your caps lock is broken!”

And then we made more workouts.

In honor of one of my favorite stories, and a great companion to our “Walk to Mordor” guide, I wanted to bring you another fantasy-themed-workout.

Not only is this workout incredibly nerdy, but it’s also an epic workout that will go perfectly with your Star Wars Workout and  Beginner Bodyweight Routine (just remember to take a day off between each!)

So…shall we…GO to Mordor?

The Lord of the Rings Workout

LOTR Workout

In honor of the number of rings listed in the poem, we’ll be doing things a bit differently with this workout.

As always, make sure you start with a proper warm up!  Can’t have you pulling a muscle before we start our battle with the Nazgûl.  For exercises which require a dumbbell, pick a weight that makes the number of prescribed reps difficult, doesn’t cause failure.

There are 3 books, and thus three mini workouts. In each mini workout, you are going to complete 1 set of each exercise and then move directly onto the next one. Depending on your level of fitness:

  • I am a hobbit, and new to working out: Do each Book ONCE before moving onto the sequel.
  • I am an elf, and this seems like a fun challenge: Do each Book TWICE before moving onto the sequel.
  • I am a Dúnedain, ranger of the north: Do each Book THREE TIMES before moving onto the sequel.

What’s that you say? You don’t have time to do all three books in one single workout? Cool. Spread them throughout your day!

Now, we had far too much fun creating this workout – we all got a chance to geek out, even if we didn’t cover anything before the third age.  Sorry, we’re saving the Valar for the next one!

Superset 1: The Fellowship of the Ring

Hobbit Hole

3 “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!” Slams (3 medicine ball slams – feel free to yell “YOU SHALL NOT PASS” each time you do this.)

7 Legolas Bow Pulls (7 renegade rows).

9 “One does not simply walking lunge into Mordor” (9 lunges, each leg).

1 Minute: Hip “Bridge of Khazad Dum” (hip raises and hold at the top position for 1 minute)

Superset 2: The Two towers

two towers cover

3 Riders of ROWhan (3 bodyweight rows)

Gimli “Shall I get you a box?” jumps. (7 box jumps – REALLY explode)

9 Helm’s Deep-Squats.  (9 bodyweight squats – get your ass to the ground. Way down.)

1 Minute Tower of Orthanc Holds (Kick up against a wall and hold a handstand for as long as you can until 1 minute is complete, in as few as sets as possible. Can’t hold a full handstand? Check out the variations in our Guide to Handstands.)

Superset 3: The return of the king

Aragorn Legolas

3 Eowyn “I am no Man!”makers  (3 manmakers)

7 Light of Galadriel raises (7 arm overhead dumbbell presses)

9 “Army of Dead”lifts (9 light weight reps, barbell or dumbbell)

1 Minute Samwise Gamgee Carries (As demonstrated here by AKLulu carrying me at a NF meetup) A heavy sandbag over the shoulder works too.  No sandbag? Just carry two dumbbells around the gym for a minute.

destroy the ring! save middle earth!


Now, before you go complaining that you don’t have time to complete this work out…remember what Gandalf says: “All you have to decide what to do with the time that is given to you.”

If you can only complete two circuits per section, or 1 circuit per section, that’s okay. It just gives you an opportunity to level up the next time you attempt this work out. Do this workout every other day, or occasionally instead of your other regularly scheduled workouts.

Work your way up to the Dúnedain Level and beyond for each.

Remember, your diet is the most important part of any equation (“but what about second breakfast?”).

We’ll be adding this workout to our beginner fitness courses, Men’s Fitness 101 and Women’s Fitness 101, complete with high-definition demonstrations of every exercise (here’s a sample) along with high-definition warm ups and cool downs.

What other movies/games/books would you like us to cover in future workout routines?

What kind of questions do you have about this workout?

“The road goes ever on…and on…”


NF Meetup

PS: Thanks to all the Austin Rebels who came out this past weekend to hike/ruck the Greenbelt! For those of you who couldn’t make it, be sure to check our meetup page so you don’t miss the next Rebel gathering.


photo source: Andy Zeigert: GandalfJeff Hithcock: Hobbit HomeSanjeev Beekeeper: Art of Two Towers,  Andy Zeigert: Aragorn and Legolas, I_Believe_: One Ring, Riccardo Cuppini: LOTR Scene

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