As YouTube’s Buff Dudes, bodybuilding brothers Brandon and Hudson White have taken on their fair share of “old school” workouts, recreating a 1960s gym class, a 1970s strongman contest, and bodybuilding moves from the 1930s. For their most recent challenge, they turn their attention to some of the exercises used by early legends in the boxing world—including some less than conventional training techniques.
The Dudes begin their day of training with a 5K run. Which sounds smart, right? Start the day with some cardio to get the blood flowing. But it’s not quite that simple. The brothers run like boxers did in the first half of the 20th Century, which means switching their lightweight running gear for boots and workwear.
“I don’t think they had a 5K in mind when they designed these steel-toed construction boots,” says Hudson, joking that he probably lost a couple of pounds just by sweating under his heavy layers.
Timbersports may be an increasingly popular area of fitness today, but lumberjacking has also long been a staple in boxing training, building upper body strength and challenging the core’s rotational abilities. Hudson and Brandon each take an end of a crosscut saw and get to work felling a tree.
“Not only is this extremely physically taxing, it takes a lot of teamwork,” says Hudson. “You have to read your partner’s body language, you’ve got to know know when to pull… a lot of lat activation, biceps, a lot in the legs too, core. This is a full body workout.”
The brothers see the value in the way these explosive movements engage the back, but after 30 minutes of digging into the tough lava rock of central Oregon, they’re done.
“We were literally fighting with the earth,” says Hudson. “And the earth won.”
Jump rope is a staple of the sport, and Brandon and Hudson get competitive in seeing who can continue skipping for the longest. Both drenched in sweat by the end, they call this deceptively simple tool “humbling” and “one hell of a cardio workout.”
“You can see why boxers continue to use it,” says Hudson.
Medicine ball fight
The final ab-conditioning exercise is a bit of a curveball—or medicine ball, to be exact—and involves simply throwing themselves onto medicine balls, tensing the core as much as possible prior to impact.
“Every time I fell on my stomach, I mean yeah you have to brace like crazy, but my head started pounding. I felt it more up here than I did in my stomach… I feel beat up, I feel sore, I feel tired, and I feel old.”
Philip Ellis is News Editor at Men’s Health, covering fitness, pop culture, sex and relationships, and LGBTQ+ issues. His work has appeared in GQ, Teen Vogue, Man Repeller and MTV, and he is the author of Love & Other Scams.