Brian Shaw, 3X World's Strongest Man

One of the best functional strength tests in the sport of strongman is picking up, moving with, and loading heavy objects. It takes a lot of practice, strength, balance, coordination, and athletic ability to load unwieldy objects. One of the most commonly used items for this event is an empty keg shell filled with sand, gravel, lead shot, water, or a combination of things (no beer, sorry, frat bros). An empty keg shell weighs around 30 pounds, so it’s great for any level of strength. For anyone who has a hard time making it to the gym, you can always fill a keg shell and get a great functional workout at home in very little time.


1. Pick a keg weight and find a good area where you can drop it. I like to use rubber mats so the keg doesn’t damage the ground. A good range is about 50 to 75 pounds on the low end and 200 to 300 pounds on the high end.

2. You can press the keg with a regular grip (both hands on the same side) or with a staggered grip (one hand on top, one hand on bottom). Try both grips and see which one you like better.

3. Lift the keg into your lap, pull into your body, and flex your upper back. Bring your hips forward and roll the keg up your body to your upper chest in one explosive movement. Once the keg is on your upper chest, make sure you are stable and then press it overhead. Lock out your arms and drop it to the ground. That is a full rep. Do three to six sets of three to eight reps.


1. Beginners would probably start with about 75 to 150 pounds. Stronger individuals could use 250 to 300 pounds. A good distance would be around 30 to 50 feet, but you can go longer than that if you want to.

2. Carry the keg the full distance and set it down, then run back to the start line and back to the keg, pick it up, and carry it back to the start line. That full series would count as one set. Do three to six sets with 60-120 seconds’ rest between sets. Another challenge would be to superset keg loading with keg pressing. Do one set of loading followed by one set of pressing. Rest and repeat. – FLEX