The Vikings series has always been a popular one, especially when you see how large and impressive the characters are. Stars like Clive Standen (Rollo) and Alexander Dreymon (Uhtred may have started as a Saxon, but did turn Viking, so he still counts), have made others dream about getting bodies that look like the impressive beasts on television. You have to go big and burly because that’s how the Vikings were; they had to be burly because of the weather conditions and all the fighting!
How to Look like a Viking
Most people aren’t aware that true Viking men were only about 5’7” tall. They came from Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, so you can see that it was always cold and they needed to have bulk to keep their temperatures regulated. Because there have been many stars who’ve played Vikings, it’s difficult to narrow the workout down to one particular body type. However, the good news is that the workout and diet can be tailored to your particular body style and needs.
For example, if you’re taller than a traditional Viking was, you may need to pack on a few more pounds and use heavier weights when working out to ensure that you’ve built up your upper body enough to look large and in charge.
A Real Viking Workout Routine
Vikings were, of course, warriors, so they had to train hard and eat well. They probably drank a lot of alcohol, too, but that’s beside the point. They had to be strong to pillage and fight to the death, but they also had to be talented. Therefore, the workout routine focuses on building strength, but also has an emphasis on small-tissue fiber movements.
Vikings also got to new locations by boat, which meant they rowed a lot. Therefore, you’re going to need a rowing machine for this routine!
Training should take place four or more times a week, but beginners may want to start with two or three days and build their stamina first. Regardless of gender, you can always add more activity, though this routine follows a strength platform.
It’s important to note that this workout focuses on super-setting the muscles. Therefore, you do the exercises all the way through without a break, take a small break, and do more exercises, all within the same cycle.
Chest and Triceps
- Rowing Machine – 1600 meters. While you can take as much time as needed, you should work on going as fast as you can and beating your time each time you perform the exercise, which should be approximately four times a week.
- Dips – To work the triceps and chest together, dips are the best exercise out there. There are two ways to do this exercise. To target the triceps (all three heads), keep the elbows close to the body. You can use weights when appropriate. Hold the weights by the sides and raise the arms so that the upper arm is parallel with the shoulder, but facing to the back. To work the chest more, complete the same movement, but lean forward and look down slightly. Do three sets of 10 or 20 repetitions, weighted if possible.
- Lateral Pulldown – This compound move focuses on the back (latissimus dorsi), but also works the biceps and forearms. To do the move, you need a weight machine with seat brace. Sit on the machine with your feet flat. The arms should be overhead and fully extended to start. Grab the bar with your palms facing towards you and pull down slowly until the bar is just under the neck. Variations of the move include spacing the hands farther apart or closer together or holding the bar with the palms facing away from you. Perform three sets of 12 repetitions.
- Bicep Curls – While simple and considered basic, they’re the best way to work the biceps. Holding weights, start with the arms by your sides and the palms facing away from the body. Slowly bend the elbows until the wrists and weights are close to the chest, and then slowly lower the arms. Perform three sets of 12 repetitions each.
- Weighted Step-Ups – This move targets the glutes, quads, and hamstrings; Vikings typically ran to their enemies and walked a lot, so they needed strong legs. To do the move, find a sturdy step or bench; the higher you can step, the better. While holding weights in your hands, step up carefully and slowly, using the muscles and not momentum, trying not to put the second foot on the bench. Repeat six times on each leg.
- Straight-leg Deadlift with a Kettlebell – Stand up straight with a kettlebell of appropriate weight between the feet. Keeping the feet about shoulder-width apart, bend over (keeping the back straight and knees slightly bent) quickly and grab the kettlebell with both hands, standing up straight again. Continue the motion for three sets of 12 repetitions.
What to Eat to be a Beast: The Viking Diet
The easy answer is to look up the Nordic diet, as the Vikings were Nordics. However, most people don’t want to hop around to other sources, so here it is:
Every hero requires a good diet that fits their needs and nourishes their body. It’s important to train, but you can’t eat unhealthily and train to make up for it.
Nordic people tend to eat fatty foods that are still high in protein. They choose items like herring, salmo9n, or mackerel, but they also get in plenty of root vegetables and berries. Modern diets also call for low-fat dairy products, whole grains, nuts, and other items. The goal is to cut out as many processed foods as possible, which does include frozen dinners. It also means cutting out high-fat meat, such as bacon or sausage.
Oils used typically include canola oil or grapeseed oil, though you can cook with any oil you like.
While the focus is primarily on plant-based foods (as Vikings sometimes found it hard to get meat), those who love meat too much should at least have one plant-based meal each day. If you dislike fish, you can also try bison meat, which is surprisingly lean.