The movie “I am Legend” was an awesome film (several films actually) that makes me ask the question: What if the world as we know it was going to end? Worse yet, what if you survived the “end of the world” and had no shelter or food and a variety of environmental obstacles and dangers to overcome? Let’s say you know the end is coming and you have time to prepare (assuming the end of the world is going to resemble the “I am Legend” scenario and you are going to be trapped in a mangled, broken city). Collapsed buildings, heavy debris, and wild animals running down Main Street. How would you train mentally and physically for this type of urban environment?
Your training preparation should reflect your environment. What type of obstacles will you be faced with? In a collapsing city, you’ll need to pull yourself up and around cables, rubble, and ledges while also having the strength and power to move obstacles out of the way. Your “survival” fitness program should reflect the functional movements needed to do this: pulling, ballistic, and grip strength and power.
Survival fitness requires the big three: strength, power, and endurance. Without these aspects of fitness, your chances of escaping from dangers, navigating dangerous structures, and surviving out in the wild will not be good. You need strength to lift, pull, drag, and carry food and objects from one place to another, power for chasing and escaping game, and explosiveness for lifting and jumping. Lastly, you need physical and mental endurance to make it in a dangerous setting. Training now might save you then!
The following workout combines complex movements and incorporates aspects of power, strength, and endurance. To make this survival workout a bit more interesting, run through them aggressively with the mindset that the “end” is just around the corner, it will make a huge difference! Convince the mind to push harder and it will make these workouts increasingly difficult.
I am Legend Urban Survival Workout: Kettlebells & Bodyweight
A1: Rope Climb - 3 x 15-20ft
A2: Flipping Figure 8 - 3 x 10ES
B1: Muscle Up to Skin the Cat - 3 x 5-8
B2: Ballistic Swing Crisscross - 3 x 10
C1: Hanging Bar Walk - 3 x 30-60sec
C2: Kettlebell Walking Snatch - 3 x 25ft ES
D1: Parallel Bars Walk to Explosive Dip - 3 x 30-60sec
D2: Kettlebell Pull Up - 3 x 8-10
Kettlebell Figure 8 Flip
Kettlebell Pull Up
Muscle Up To Skin The Cat
Kettlebell Explosive Swing Crisscross
Hanging Bar Walk
Parallel Bar Walk To Dip
The Urban Survival Workout is both physically and mentally challenging to complete, and may take several attempts to finish. Each hanging rope or bar exercise will challenge your pulling power and endurance while also testing your grip strength, followed by an equally difficult kettlebell exercise that requires strength, power, and conditioning to complete. Each set is put back to back to simulate action after arrival; imagine climbing up to the second story of a building and finding yourself battling it out with another survivor or hungry animal. No time to rest your tired arms and hands! If done correctly (with sufficient weight and proper form), you’ll be lucky if you have enough strength to carry your kettlebell back home.
This workout offers huge advantages for survival fitness in an urban environment. To name a few, the kettlebell exercises train for power, strength, and stamina due to the constant explosive repetition. Kettlebells are excellent for building immediate power which could be used to move or lift heavy objects through a coordinated, explosive movement. The gym ring muscle up combination is extremely difficult and it enhances grip and upper body strength. This is perfect if you are in a climbing situation or hanging off a ledge. The combination of the two will test your mental limits when faced with difficult challenges, allowing you to test your will power to finish what you start.
Living out in the open and watching your back for safety are challenges that aren’t familiar to us in present day. Surviving requires planning, training, and a ton of will power. Consider that while you are running through these workouts…just pretend that your life depends on it.
Watch Jon Celis' Legend Kettlebell Workout
This article was featured in the Dec/Jan 2011 Issue of the My Mad Methods Magazine. “I am Legend” Urban Survival: Pulling Power, Ballistic Conditioning, & Grip Strength" was written by the Jon Celis. Learn more about the My Mad Methods Magazine by Clicking Here
Jon Celis is an elite fitness professional who specializes in real world fat loss. His degree in Kinesiology and reputable certifications has led to his success in becoming one of the newest yet profound trainers in Southern California. Find out more.
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