Recently by Sean Covell: You’re a Victim of the State — Don'tCall911
"Are you really ready for a SHTF scenario?" That was the question the fat clerk at a local gun shop asked of me when I asked his opinion on a handgun I was looking to add to my CCW permit. Now, I must admit that I'm a little prejudice. I have a major problem with fat people giving advice on any subject. I especially look upon fat Libertarians and self-proclaimed conservatives with a highly critical eye when they give advice on how to live better. Frankly, many of the fat people I've met in my life happened to vote Republican. Most of these folks are part of the cause for large deficits in Medicare and Medi-Cal in my state of California. They certainly have contributed to the rising cost of medical care. They should know better. That said, I couldn't help thinking while talking to the gun clerk, "Dude, your SHTF scenario will surely be a heart attack."
Seriously, what's the point in "prepping" when you're so out of shape that you can't run away from the jackboots breaking down the door of your bunker? A true believer in self-reliance should walk the walk when it comes to preparing and the best way to prepare for anything is to be in the best physical and mental shape possible. Reading is not enough. One has to take action. Therefore, I've laid out six exercises that any true believer and liberty and self-reliance should be familiar with in case government zombies attempt to break into your compound. Most of these exercises can be done without a gym. Start out slowly to ensure proper form and then try to incorporate all six moves into a circuit after a few weeks of practice.
1. Kinetic Rope Training
Athletes and chubbies alike are recognizing how versatile kinetic rope training is. Not only is it a great strength builder for the upper body and core, training with the rope can really elevate your heart rate, giving you a great cardio exercise. This exercise will really take your breath away, so I recommend starting with 20-second intervals of moving the rope up and down, creating a wave in the rope, followed by a 20-second rest period. The faster you move your arms, the more difficult the workout will be. The point of this exercise is to make the rope rise and fall like waves.
Advanced Technique: Try slamming the ropes with both hands as hard as possible against the ground and immediately raise both arms above your head. This should look like a smashing move and it will build explosive power in your upper body, the kind of power you'll need to slam and thwart the undead when the apocalypse comes.
How many pushups can you do? If the answer is zero, we have a serious problem. Even if you're a woman, you should be able to do at least one pushup. After all, the push up is quite possibly the most basic and well-known exercise in history. It is also one of the most effective. Pushups don't require any equipment, partners and they can be done anywhere at anytime (in any type of clothing). Perhaps the best thing about pushups is how many muscle groups they work: pectorals, deltoids, triceps, abdominals and lower back, hip, shoulder and scapula stabilizers. There's nothing about the pushup I don't like except for the terrible form I see people use when executing them. Please don't be that one person whose hips are touching the floor when doing a pushup. That's a yoga position, not a pushup.
Proper Form: Hands should be shoulder width apart or slightly wider. You should be on the balls of your feet with your feet together. Hips should be off the ground and nearly as high as the level of your shoulders, not above your shoulders. No one wants to see your butt sticking up in the air. Your body should form a straight line starting from your head and descending down to your heels. Don't lock your elbows. Lower your body slowly until your nose is about an inch from the ground. At this point your shoulder blades should be squeezed towards the spine. Press up slowly until you've reached the starting position.
Advanced Techniques: Change the speed of the pushup to get better results. Ultra fast and super slow pushups shock the muscle fibers in your body and force them to become stronger and be able to do more repetitions. I find that altering the speed of any exercise can give you greater results, just make sure that your form is correct. Work your way up to being able to do 25 pushups. A good prepper can do 50 in a row. I once won ten fiat dollars on a bet that I couldn't do 200 pushups in a row. That ten spot can only buy seven bucks worth of groceries today.
3. Box Jumps
The box jump is not for everyone, but if you want to be able to hop right over zombie dogs, avoid pot holes, and develop powerful legs that can send any foe through a fence with just one kick, you'll want to practice this exercise. The box jump is designed to develop explosive power in legs. It can also help with ankle stability as well as increase cardiovascular endurance. Jumping increases blood flow rapidly and can elevate your blood pressure quickly. After ten jumps in a row you'll realize this as well. Try to do three sets of 10 jumps in a row with a 30-second break between sets. Incorporate this exercise routine at least once a week until you're able to do five sets of 20 jumps.
Form: The starting position of a box jump should look like a squat. Your feet should be planted firmly on the ground with your back straight and your glutes lowered as if you were sitting down. Your arms should be out in front of your face. Simultaneously swing your arms behind you while you jump up onto the box. Your finished position should look exactly like when you started. Step down slowly from the box and repeat. Those who are advanced and in great shape, can jump down from the box. Once you master this move, men will fear you. Fences will fear you. Honestly, I'm a little afraid of you right now.
4. Dumbbell Pushup/Row Combo
This exercise looks cool and it works great. You're familiar with the pushup and its benefits. This incorporates the pushup with the dumbbell row in a push-pull movement. Also, this move will strengthen your core as well as the stabilizers in your wrists. By incorporating your back and biceps into a pushup, this movement is a great total body workout.
Form: Begin your basic pushup position with a light dumbbell in each hand. Your feet should be wider apart for this exercise. When you push up, stabilize your core, keep your hips square to the ground and row up with one hand. Lower your body again, push up, and row with the other hand. Continue to alternate rowing hands back and forth until you've completed a set a 10 repetitions. Take a 30-second break between sets.
5. Hanging Leg Raise
I would argue that the hanging leg raise is the best abdominal exercise there is. The movement activates every muscle in your core as well as your hip flexors, serratus, and lower back. The movement also provides traction for your spine and increases your grip strength. Envision an attacker diving to take you down, but you jump up into a hanging leg raise and he misses you completely. It's not just the stuff of Jackie Chan movies. If the grid goes down, you may be forced to jump out of harms way. Doing this movement will help you do that.
Form: Hanging from a bar with your body completely straight, raise your knees up to your chest while exhaling. Slowly let you legs down and repeat 20 times. You may be sore if you haven't done these before, but you'll remember that you actually DO have abs the following day.
6. Suspended Row/ Pull-up
The suspended row with a TRX trainer or even just a good old military style pull-up (chin-up) is a must in any prepper's arsenal. The ability to pull your own bodyweight will be crucial when SHTF. However, I'm sad to report that most of the population, even in the gym world, cannot perform a single pull-up or suspended row. Don't be one of those who can't pull themselves up from a ledge to save your life. Pull-ups and suspended rows are a great back and arm exercise that will make you look and feel better.
Form: If you know you cannot do one pull-up, start off with a suspended row with your feet on the ground. This will allow you to develop your back and arm strength so that you can do the more advanced pull-up. The next step is to have your heels on a chair or stability ball while performing the row. Then, the almighty pull-up will be within your easy reach. When doing a pull-up, palms should be away from your face on the bar. Your body should be hanging straight down with a tight grip on the bar. Engage your lats and begin to pull with your back and follow through with your arms until your nose reaches the bar. Slowly lower yourself and repeat.
Lessons: Supporters of individual liberty and property rights should realize they own and are responsible for their own bodies. As far as I know, you only get one body, so it would be wise to take care of it. If you think the grid is going down, you must get healthy now. When SHTF, insurance will not save you. You doctor will not save you. Speed and strength will save you. If you are truly a responsible prepper and you care about the lives of yourself and your family, make exercise and healthy eating a priority before stocking up on guns and canned meat. (And if you sell guns, at least look like you are able to run with it for a quarter mile without collapsing. I'll take your advice much more seriously.) When the zombie jackboots come, the ability to move quickly and forcefully will be just as important as the ability to shoot well.
Sean Covell [send him mail] is a certified personal trainer and owner of Liberty Labs Nutrition and Fitness System health club chain. He is an ardent supporter of liberty, Austrian economics and freedom for personal choice in health and supplementation. Visit his website.