Armory, Self Defense, And EDC > Martial Arts, Unarmed Self Defense, Hand To Hand Combat, and Physical Fitness

Physical Training and the Prepper

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I think this is one that most of us instinctively recognize is a vital prep and yet we make SO MANY excuses for why we neglect it. I am as guilty of it as any.  I let too many things get in the way, especially when I travel.

We all survive every day, but as survivalists/preppers/etc. we all prepare for something more.  It can take many forms and likely the ultimate expression of survival may be interpersonal violence and the team form of interpersonal violence...combat.  Whether it is un-assing a crashed airliner on a runway, digging an expedient fallout shelter during an escalating global political crisis, packing a car like you have never done before because of an approaching wildfire, digging a fighting position for a Rawelsian retreat security plan as you can feel the hordes closing in, racing the winter to get a cabin up after fire took your last or conducting a deliberate defense with your neighbors against mutant zombie bikers...survival place extremely...unreasonable, physical demands on you.  The proper speed to run to the next covered position when you are being shot at is "as fast as you can."  Or you are being attacked by someone forty pounds heavier than you, you magically got a hold of their belt and collar, one chance to throw them into a wall as hard as possible. If you are in a burning bus and your spouse is unconscious, can you pick them up and carry them, nay, run with them out of the area of hazard? Ya got to be ready.

I am not talking about exercise.  Exercise is a thing we do to overcome our sedentary modern lifestyle.  Exercise helps prevent heart attacks and as far as it goes is allright, but it returns us to where we were as a people when we were active and life was merely hard.  It doesn't prepare us for when the situation really goes in the crapper.  Physical Training (PT) does.  Training is a deliberate program of physical development designed to prepare a person for certain activities.  What do I need to be able to do in light of my duties and responsibilities?  What metrics, tasks and such do I use to measure that physical preparation?  Where am I now?  How will I go about getting there?

Now, you are saying "I do a lot already. I am working my tale off on my homestead and get plenty of physical effort from that."  If you are deciding to take a calculated risk that is fine.  I want a big generator, but am taking a deliberate risk on it because of other priorities, I got that.  But working hard at your job, whether you are on a road crew or your farm or whatever doesn't cut it.  In that situation you are merely training your body to do what you normally do.  The point of physical readiness is to be ready for the unreasonable, off the charts demands of staying alive.  That takes a deliberate, directed effort.

So if you are neglecting the PT, make sure you are doing it with both eyes open and understand you are making a choice.  I can take the debit card out right before the crash and buy the generator, or in the opening phases of the crash pull my emergency cash out of the safe.  When the dollar tanks I can take my wad and buy something with it.  But when the fecal matter hits the rotary impeller you are not going to do 16 weeks of PT sessions in two days to get ready for the madness.  When we are back to barter you are not going to be able to get resistance training equipment.  Finally you are not going to have the time or opportunity to learn how to PT right after the event. The time to learn and figure it out is now.

Besides, if nothing goes wrong you are still in good shape. That is a good thing.

So choose, but choose wisely...  (I love a good movie quote)


Andy in NH:
I've had to suspend BJJ for the time being in order to let some (neglected) injuries heal completely.  Haven't rolled in over a month!  :(

In the mean time, now that winter has set in and hiking/walking needs to be curtailed (on call for work  :(), I've taken up the treadmill again. In cleaning out the old entertainment cabinet, I ran across all my old VHS movies. I set a goal to watch all of them one more time before dumping them into the trash.  So, I get on the treadmill and pop a VHS tape in the (still working) TV/VHS combo and walk for 1.5 to 2.0 hours depending on the movie.  So far I've "walked" to The Outsiders, Platoon (3x - original, then w/ commentary by Oliver Stone and again w/ commentary by Dale Dye), Shoot to Kill and Pale Rider.  Next up is Uncommon Valor.

After that I get some ab work in.  Usually a set of hanging knee raises and then a series of ab specific exercises.  Some time I run the card straight through, sometimes I'll double up on specific exercises/reps and sometimes I'll run the card backwards.

Then it's on to are few sets of lunges (forward and reverse) and stair stepping via the Harvard/Tecumseh methods.  This is in an attempt to get ready for the ski season.  Free your heels and ski for real!

Finally I'll finish up with short Kettle-bell and/or sledgehammer workout.  I really like the sledgehammer routine as it mimics a lot of the functional fitness movements that I need; digging, chopping, raising tools and of course swinging a sledge.

My fitness waxes and wanes. I've gone from elite amateur athlete mountain biking at the expert level to sloth (albeit with better manicured nails ).  Sometimes life happens. I try to maintain some standards, but my passion for 12-14 hours a week on a bike just isn't there anymore. I'll be lucky to maintain 7-8 hours a week now. I don't try to defend it, it just is the way it is.

Even though I am on a farm, I do count it as normal daily stuff, but I am building muscle and such with the repetition. I have been doing this for 40-some years. My arms and legs used to be ripped. It was from farming and hiking.

I pack 50 pound bales of grass hay to where they need to go daily, usually in muddy (lately slippery ice) areas and where I have to try to keep my balance. I carry 40 pounds of grain sacks to where they need to go, over the same conditions of possibly falling on my face, and since one area is pig swill runoff I am walking across, I really want to keep my balance to keep from falling in it face first. If I am feeling lazy, I will carry one on my left shoulder and one under my right arm (I cannot do it the other way around), as I don't want to make two trips with 40, but do it once with 80. I have done that since I was in high school and weighed not even 100 pounds. The years have taught me balance with a heavy load and carrying it distance.

Could I normally pull Z out of a burning vehicle? Probably not. Especially if it was uphill instead of gravity helping me. With adrenaline maybe. He is twice my weight. Would I try it? Would I be creative in trying it? Yes.

Every single day is packing something here. Pulling something here. Shoving something here. Lifting and holding it in place over my head. Moving thousands of pounds of concrete every weekend has been on the list lately.

Firewood in cutting up trees, hauling rounds, splitting, putting into the woodshed, taking out of the woodshed.


Shoveling manure. Approximately 3,600 pounds at a time.

Digging ditches with a shovel (we cannot use the trackhoe for everything).

I have had to hold down 300-400 pound calves, had a 1,500 pound cow on the end of a lead rope who did not want to be on a lead rope and I won. Often I may have been able to best a pro-wrestler I am thinking. Trust me, you did not want to go hand to hand with me then. Now? Yeah, you would probably win.

So don't overlook farmwork as PT.

That said, I have been a lazy ass for the last 24-ish months. In getting the farm up and running since we bought it, I have not gone on any hikes. Something I used to do daily, for a minimum of 5 miles a day. Dogsledding for 7 years, October through April..and most people who try this for the first time, cannot move for 2 days afterwards. Previous to that, I used to rockclimb and I did SAR for 15 years.

So Endurance has kicked me in the rear end and gotten me back out on the trail. I slacked off due to migraines every day for two years (and most weeks I still got in 20 miles), getting the farm up and running, and breaking two ribs last winter. So Endurance's 1,000 Miles is what I am doing for PT for now. As soon as I am making 6 miles in goat-country or 10 miles 'flatish', I will start adding weight.  I will add up to 46 pounds weight, which is 10 pounds more than my BOB.

I have been working on my Abs and core for 2 weeks now? And I could start working on my arms a bit more. Which will not be anytime soon I think.



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