Many of us prepare for emergencies by stocking up on bug-out bags, knives, ‘hawks (tomahawks), and water purifiers. We make sure our stash of supplies is up-to-date to protect ourselves from danger. We gather knowledge on combat skills, weapons training, and wilderness survival techniques.
But what some people overlook is the importance of staying fit for survival. Staying fit means being physically prepared for unexpected challenges. Can you run a mile on uneven terrain without stopping? Could you climb a tree to escape from a predator? Are you strong enough to lift a heavy object to rescue a friend in need? Do you have the endurance to stay awake all night guarding a camp under siege, or carry five days’ worth of food, water, and gear on your back while venturing into an unfamiliar trail for a rescue mission?
If not, then it’s time to work on your fitness.
Even if you already exercise regularly, not all workouts are equally beneficial for survival situations. For instance, my gym isn’t your typical fitness center. In addition to the usual treadmills and machines, it features unconventional equipment like rock climbing grips, cinder blocks, a sledgehammer, and a tractor tire. These unique tools can help you develop the strength and agility necessary for staying fit in challenging situations.
While many gyms might not offer these items, you can usually find most of them at various fitness supply stores. To prepare your body for survival scenarios, I recommend doing the following exercises three times a week. However, it’s wise to consult with a doctor before starting any new fitness program to ensure you’re staying fit in a safe and healthy manner.
Staying fit – Recommended workout routine
Rope climbing can be a valuable exercise for staying fit and improving your grip strength. To boost your grip, don’t just hang on to the rope—squeeze it as hard as you can while suspending yourself off the ground. Aim for 30-second sets, and be sure to rest for 15-20 seconds between each set. Try to complete 10 sets in each workout. If you have difficulty staying suspended in the air, start with your feet on the ground and lean back at a 45-degree angle.
Don’t be discouraged if you drop four or five times in the first 30 seconds. Everyone has to start somewhere. Once you can maintain the position for a full 30 seconds, gradually work your way up to 90-second sets. Only progress to longer durations once you’ve mastered the shorter ones without dropping.
Building hand and grip strength is especially important for staying fit in survival situations. Whether you’re trying to climb over an obstacle, lift a heavy object, or pull something, your hand strength is crucial. Interestingly, even many of the muscular individuals you see at the gym can’t climb a rope effectively due to a lack of hand strength.”
Practice your pinch grip
Another excellent exercise for staying fit and enhancing your grip strength is the pinch grip. This exercise involves squeezing either a 15-pound or 30-pound cinderblock off the ground while keeping your fingers straight. It’s a bit more challenging than a standard grip, as it primarily targets finger strength rather than the entire hand.
To start, perform sets lasting for 30 seconds each, with no more than 60 seconds of rest between sets. Aim to complete five sets in your workout routine. As you progress, gradually increase the duration from 30 seconds to 90 seconds, counting how many times you drop the cinderblock. Your goal should be to beat your previous time without dropping it. Therefore, don’t advance from 30 seconds to 60 seconds until you can consistently maintain the pinch grip for 30 seconds without dropping the weight.
Developing hand and finger strength through exercises like the pinch grip is essential for staying fit in various situations. Whether you’re grappling with challenging objects, holding onto crucial tools, or maintaining your grip in a demanding environment, having strong fingers can make a significant difference in your overall physical preparedness for survival.”
In addition to delivering excellent cardiovascular and pulmonary conditioning benefits, jumping rope contributes to improved ankle stability and mobility. It also helps strengthen your core, shoulders, and grip, especially as you grip onto the rope itself. For optimal results, I highly recommend jumping with a weighted rope, such as a two-pound one.
The ultimate goal with this exercise is to build your endurance and agility for staying fit in various situations. Aim to work your way up to a continuous 10 minutes of jumping rope, without any pauses. However, it’s essential to recognize that achieving this level of proficiency might require some incremental progress. You may start by doing sets of 25 to 50 jumps, with minimal rest in between, gradually increasing both the duration and intensity of your rope-jumping sessions.
By incorporating jumping rope into your fitness routine, you not only enhance your cardiovascular health but also develop crucial physical attributes that can prove invaluable in survival scenarios. From improved ankle stability to a stronger core and grip, these benefits contribute to your overall preparedness for a wide range of challenges you may encounter
The dreaded burpees
If you’re looking to whip your body into shape within a relatively short timeframe, boost your overall conditioning, and build basic strength without requiring any equipment, burpees are among my top recommendations for staying fit. There are various variations of the burpee, but here’s how I prefer to do it.
To execute a burpee effectively, initiate from an upright stance and proceed to squat down until you’re in contact with the ground. Place your hands on the ground, mimicking the posture of entering a pushup position.
The subsequent step involves jumping your feet back together, all the while maintaining a tight core to prevent potential strain on your back. This positioning places you in an arm-extended plank stance. Proceed to perform a push-up while keeping your elbows close to your body.
Afterward, jump your feet back outside of your hands and contract your abdominal muscles while simultaneously raising your torso back to an upright posture. This technique is essential for conserving energy and preventing overuse of your back muscles. Finally, extend your arms skyward.
For an effective workout, aim to complete between 10 to 25 repetitions at a time. If you’re just starting out, begin with sets of 10 burpees, allowing for as much rest as needed between sets. Gradually, work your way up to performing 100 burpees in a session, three days a week.
Incorporating burpees into your fitness routine not only provides an efficient way to improve your conditioning and strength but also serves as a valuable tool for staying fit and ready for various physical challenges you may encounter.
Doing the plank
The plank exercise is an outstanding full-body workout that places a strong emphasis on strengthening the core, an essential attribute for staying fit and improving your ability to climb. The great thing about planks is that they can be practiced on any flat surface, making them a versatile addition to your fitness routine.
To perform a proper plank, it’s crucial to maintain correct form:
- Ensure your shoulders are directly above your elbows, not positioned behind them.
- Extend through your elbows into the supporting floor, engaging your lat muscles.
- Keep your feet together and balance on the balls of your feet.
- Place your palms facing down on the ground.
- Maintain a flat back without any bending.
For effective results, I recommend incorporating a five-minute plank exercise into your routine three times a week. To gradually build your strength and endurance, set smaller goals. Begin with 30-second intervals at a time within the five-minute session. Keep in mind that you will always aim for the full five-minute duration, but the key is to track how many times you need to take breaks during that time.
It’s important to note that when your form begins to deteriorate, it’s not advisable to push through and sacrifice your form in an attempt to reach the full five minutes. Doing so may hinder the benefits and increase the risk of injury. Instead, focus on counting how many times you break your plank position and strive to reduce these instances in your subsequent workouts.
Gradually, you’ll notice improvements in both your core strength and your ability to maintain the plank position, which will contribute to staying fit and prepared for various physical challenges.
When using a treadmill as part of your fitness routine with the goal of staying fit, consider incorporating short, high-intensity sprints. A suggested approach is to run at a speed ranging from five to nine miles per hour, adjusting it to your comfort level, and perform these sprints in 15-second intervals. Aim for a total of 25 sprints, allowing a 60-second pause between each sprint for recovery.
In emergency situations, the likelihood of needing to engage in prolonged long-distance running is relatively low. Instead, it’s more realistic to anticipate situations where you might need to make a quick escape or evade a threat in a matter of minutes or even seconds. Therefore, it’s advisable to focus your training efforts on sprinting, which can be a more practical and effective approach. For instance, if you need to evade an animal and climb a tree or take other evasive actions, you’ll likely have only a minute or less to do so before the threat catches up with you.
Moreover, sprinting has the added benefit of conditioning your heart for adrenaline response, which can be crucial in high-stress situations. By incorporating sprinting into your fitness routine, you not only improve your cardiovascular fitness but also enhance your ability to respond swiftly and effectively to urgent situations, ultimately contributing to your overall preparedness for staying fit and agile in a variety of scenarios.
Flip the tire
For a comprehensive workout aimed at staying fit, consider incorporating tire flips into your routine. Begin by performing 10 to 25 flips per set, and complete a total of five sets. The duration of rest between sets can vary, typically ranging from 30 to 90 seconds, depending on your current level of conditioning.
Tire flips provide a unique opportunity to develop the strength required to lift substantial objects, such as boulders, without risking injury. When performing a tire flip, remember to maintain proper form:
- Avoid bending over at the waist when you squat. Instead, drop your hips down and back, keeping your weight centered on your heels.
- As you squat down, prepare to lift the tire by placing your hands around it.
- Tighten your stomach muscles to engage your core, preventing excessive strain on your back.
- Simultaneously, press through your legs and lift the tire, exerting pressure against it with your hands.
It’s worth noting that for this exercise, using a tire that weighs no less than 100 pounds is recommended. This is because when flipping the tire, you’re likely only lifting around 65 percent of its total weight.
By incorporating tire flips into your fitness regimen with the appropriate weight, you can significantly improve your strength, particularly in your legs and core, ultimately contributing to your overall preparedness for staying fit and capable of handling various physical challenges.
Hit a tire with a sledgehammer
Using a sledgehammer to strike a tractor tire is an effective method for honing your skills in handling tools like large sticks, which can be crucial in breaking through various obstacles.
This exercise is a multifaceted workout that combines elements of a biceps curl, shoulder press, core rotation, medicine ball slam, ab crunch, and body weight squat, making it an excellent choice for staying fit and well-rounded in your physical training.
Here’s a recommended approach: Start by performing approximately 25 repetitions with each arm, totaling about 100 strikes. After reaching this milestone, take a well-deserved 90-second rest. Then, proceed to complete five more sets of 100 strikes each, allowing for the same rest interval between sets.
Engaging in this exercise not only enhances your physical strength but also refines your coordination, power, and endurance. It provides an excellent opportunity to simulate real-world scenarios where you might need to exert force or break through obstacles, thereby contributing to your overall preparedness for staying fit and capable in various physical challenges.
A closing word
These diverse exercises, ranging from rope climbing and plank holds to sprinting and tire flips, offer a well-rounded approach to staying fit and physically prepared for a multitude of scenarios.
By incorporating these workouts into your fitness routine, you can develop not only strength and endurance but also agility, coordination, and the ability to respond effectively in challenging situations.
Whether you’re aiming to enhance your grip strength, cardiovascular fitness, or overall physical resilience, these exercises provide valuable tools for achieving your goals and maintaining your readiness for whatever life may throw your way.
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