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Diesel Odd Object Training: Keg Lifting Basics

Keg Lifting Basics

Keg Lifting is a very fun and rewarding form of training.  Like Sandbags, Atlas Stones, and Logs, Kegs are considered odd objects.

What are Odd Objects

keg lifting training strongman strength

Odd objects are training tools whose center of gravity is unpredictable, often lying out away from the athlete.  Odd objects often have considerable bulk and gripping and controlling them is one of the primary challenges of lifting them.  While bars and dumbbells have a concise and predictable shape and center of gravity, odd objects force the athlete to react to the dynamic and unpredictable size, shape, and center of gravity of the object.


Because of the bulk and unpredictability of odd objects, the athlete must continue to react and make adjustments in the grip and core bracing throughout the range of motion of an object lift.

For more information on odd objects, you’ve got to check this post out:  Odd Object training

Where to Get Kegs

Kegs can sometimes be hard to come by. The most common place to obtain kegs are at the local beer distributor. You can go an buy a full half keg of beer and then keep the keg for training and lose the deposit, or if you speak with one of the employees, you may be able to get a retired or damaged keg.

You can also find kegs at junk yards and scrap yards. Prices will vary depending on what the going rate is for stainless steel and how willing the establishment is to let go of it. Some scrap yards seek to collect massive amounts of stainless steel so it can all be turned in at once.

How to Open and Fill Kegs

There are two main ways to open and fill a keg without compromising the strength of it. The first way is by opening or removing the tap. This can be done with some needle nose pliers. Once you take it apart, go to the hardware store and get a rubber cover that will fit over the tap and harness it on there tight with a hose clamp.

The other way to open and fill a keg is by removing the plug in the side. The plug or cork can be knocked out with a hammer or pulled out by stabbing it with a screwdriver. If the plug is lost inside the keg or damaged when removing it, a stopper can be purchased at a hardware store to seal it back up.

What to Put in Kegs

Kegs can be filled with many materials. Each material below is effective. Choosing the manner which you use to fill the keg depends on how heavy you want the keg to be once filled and how dynamic you want the keg to be when you lift it.

Water – One of the cheapest and lightest way to fill a keg, but also one of the most dynamic. A keg filled with water weighs about 150 to 170 pounds. The sloshing of the water inside the keg makes for a very unpredictable, challenging and fun training tool. Water can be easily drained out of the keg if it ends up being too heavy for the athlete to handle.

Sand / Dirt / Gravel – Materials such as these are also very affordable. They can also be removed fairly easy if the keg is too heavy for the athlete to effectively train with. However, these types of materials are more apt to settle inside the keg and result in a less dynamic training tool.

Scrap Steel – Many strength enthusiasts enjoy bending nails, bolts, and other steel, but later on have a hard time figuring out what to do with the steel once it is bent. Bent steel is great for loading a keg because it fits in very well and remains somewhat dynamic, shifting inside the keg as it is being lifted and moved.

Little or Nothing – Kegs can be kept empty or mostly empty and used for throwing. Kegs can be thrown for height or distance. The can be thrown bilaterally or unilaterally. The can be pushed straight forward like a chest pass, heaved backwards, thrown over the head in triple extension, or tossed diagonally when kept lighter and less filled.

How to Use Kegs

training with kegs lifting kegs odd objects

Many conventional movements done with barbells or dumbbells can also be done with kegs. These movements will be made much more difficult when using a keg because kegs are larger, their center of gravity sits out away from the athlete, and their shape makes them harder to grip and thus control. This additional difficulty makes the athlete work harder, increasing work capacity which will also increase performance in their sport later on.

Here are some of the movements that are possible when training with kegs:

  • Cleans
  • Front Squats
  • Press / Jerk
  • Clean & Press
  • Odd Object Conditioning
  • Bear Hug Squat
  • Zercher Squat
  • Deadlift
  • Swings
  • Shouldering
  • Snatch
  • Conan’s Walk (Zercher Carry)
  • Throw for Height
  • Throw for Distance
  • Platform Loading (Atlas Stone)
  • Bear Hug Get-up
  • Turkish Get-up
  • Keg Hub Lift (by Tap)
  • Shoulder Carry


Keg Lifting is a great supplemental form of exercise for athletes and strength enthusiasts alike, in addition to more conventional training methods using normal barbells. Kegs provide additional challenge to the lifter, building n-planar, chaotic strength, and mental toughness. The size, shape, and weight of the keg makes keg lifting a reasonable manner of training for the atlas stones in a strongman contest if purchasing or making atlas stones is out of the question or time does not permit.

Keg Lifting Video

Here’s a quick video on how to do some basic keg lifts and a review of some of the information above.

So, any questions? Please leave a comment below.

Got more examples of how to train with kegs?

What do you do in your keg training? Leave a comment below!

Thanks and all the best in your training.



How to Bend Nails | How to Tear Cards | Feats of Grip Strength Explained | How to Build Your Own Equipment | How to Lift Atlas Stones | The Sh*t You’ve Never Seen | Sled Dragging for Athletes | The Road to the Record DVD

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5 Responses to “Diesel Odd Object Training: Keg Lifting Basics”

  1. Vic Magary Says:

    Awesome post! Makes me want to replace my broken slosh pipe with a keg. I loved my slosh pipe, but I see from this post how a keg would be a more versatile training tool. Can’t wait for the crazy looks from the neighbors when I start tossing a keg around my back yard!

  2. brent Says:

    how would you clean a keg to use the alternated grip? I wonder because I have a comp coming up that allows the alt grip for pressing.


  3. Jedd Says:


    I can shoot that video in the future for you.


  4. Jedd Says:


    Yeah man, both slosh pipes and water kegs are awesome!


  5. Terrance givens Says:

    Thanks your a big help keep up the good work

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