There are three areas of fitness that are very important to practice. You have to have endurance, some muscle strength, and flexibility. Endurance can be improved through cardiovascular work. Flexibility is another important area of fitness because not only does it allow you a greater freedom of movement, it also helps you feel younger. Finally, some muscle strength mixed with intelligence and ingenuity will allow you to get your work done. Those three areas are the basics of physical fitness. Regardless whether you start doing them now, or after TSHTF, they are necessary to your well-being and health.
The fourth area of physical fitness has many trade-offs and only you can decide if you want to include it in your exercise regime. That area of fitness is strength training. Now, when you have plenty of food, it is beneficial to have a lot of muscle mass. Not only do you have the extra strength to rely on to protect yourself and help you in physical labor, it is also allows you to more easily decrease your body fat percentage and improve your overall level of health. The trade-off to that is that muscle requires lots of calories to maintain. Those are calories that you might not have access to if the proverbial fan situation occurs. Plus, the other problem with having lots of muscle mass is that you make a larger target. Congratulations, you can win any hand to hand fight that you participate in but if a 105 pound lady has a .357 Magnum aimed at you, pulls the trigger and hits you in the chest, what good will that extra muscle do? 200 pounds of muscle is only worth something if you get a chance to use it. On the flip side of that: 200 pounds of muscle might make the tripod on your M60 unnecessary...
The exercises that you can do to achieve the "some muscle strength" requirement is broken down into four sections. In each section, I'll tell you how to do the exercise and give you a number of reps to do. That number will either be a goal to work up to or a base to start on depending on your level of fitness. If you are going to work up to that number then figure out how many you can do in one set without having to go over a 30 second break between sets.
Example: You can only do 8 push-ups without having to have a break longer than 30 seconds before having to do another set of 8 push-ups. As your strength increases, you will want to do more reps in one set without having to rest more than 30 seconds between sets.
Example: You can now do 10 push-ups without having a break longer than 30 seconds before the next set. Then you work up to 11 push-ups in a set. Once you get to my suggested number then you start reducing the length of your break from 30 seconds to 25 seconds to 20 seconds and eventually not taking any break at all.
If you can already do the number of reps in a set without needing to take a 30 second break in between then you will have to figure how much time between sets that you will need and eventually get it down to zero seconds and only taking a quick 1 minute break between the four body parts sections. Once you have it down to zero and you want to further increase this type of strength then you will have to increase the number of reps you do with each set. If you are doing that and you have a small amount of body fat then there is a very good chance that you will look like the guy who modeled for the sculpture in front of the Rockefeller Center in New York City. One word: chiseled. Anyway, onto the first section, Chest and Shoulders.
Chest and Shoulders
The first exercise will be the good ol' standard push-up. Start at, or work up to 20.
The next exercise will be a tricep push up. You make a triangle or a diamond, whichever you are more comfortable with, with your hands, spread your legs a little farther apart to help keep your balance, then do a push up so your nose is a just a couple of inches above the triangle shape that you made with your hands. Work up to or start at 15.
Next, Dive Bomber push-ups. You know how
they say to keep your butt level with the rest of your body when you do
a regular push-up? Well, don't do that. Start out with your body
making an upside down "V". When you do the push up, pretend that
there is a string that is 12 inches off the ground. You have
to dive down under that, and then push yourself up on the other side of
Reverse the motion to get back to the starting position. That was one rep. Work up to or start at 15.
We're going to stick in neck rotations in here. You are going to do 10 of them one way, the another 10 the opposite way. Just do 10, no more, no less. Lay on your back and do them, that way gravity and the weight of your head is providing resistance.
Now, repeat those three exercises.
Nice job, last thing that you are going to do for your Chest and Shoulders is a superset. That is where you go from one exercise to the next with no break. Do 10 Tricep push-ups, 10 dive bomber push-ups, and 15 regular push-ups. After that, you're done with this section!
You need to have a strong stomach. It is very important. When you are doing these exercises, make sure that you get a good contraction. Just going through the motions will not make your ab stronger. Actually concentrating on the muscle contraction and trying to make it as intense as you can will make your abs stronger. Don't just pretend you are working out, work out.
On to the Exercises...
First off is a reverse crunch. Lay on your back. Lift your knees almost up to your chest then move them back to the starting position. Do 20.
Next is flutter kicks. Lay on your back. Know how you kick your legs when you are swimming. Same thing, except you are on your back and on land. Do 20.
The next exercise is an L-crunch. Lay on your back with your legs straight up in the air (Or almost straight up in the air) so that your body forms an "L". Then do a regular crunch in that position. Do 15.
Now do a cross reach sit-up. It's like a crunch except you are reaching with your right arm to the left, and then reach with your left arm to the right. Do 12.
Next is the Alternating Leg lift. Similar to the flutter kick except your legs are going perpendicular to the ceiling. Do 10.
Now we are going to do an Oblique sit-up. Lay on your side then square just your shoulders to the ceiling (or to the sky if you are outside). Then just do a regular sit-up. Do 12. After you have done 12 on one side then do 12 on your other side. Look at the picture.
Now is when you are going to blast your abs. It's a six step exercise. You are going to do a crunch to your left (touch your right elbow to your left knee), go back to the starting position, do a crunch to your right (touch your left elbow to your right knee), go back to the starting position, do a regular crunch straight ahead, then go back to the starting position. That was one. Do 10 of those without stopping.
Lay on your back point your toes and stretch your arms above your head. Take a couple deep breaths. You're now done with this section.
Biceps and Back
Last section. You've made it this far, it will soon be over. This is the only section where you will need something besides your own body. You need to find a pull-up bar or something that you can do a pull-up on. When I'm at home, I use a door chinning bar. It's cheap (about 35 bucks), it doesn't take up a lot of space, and it works. If you have something else in mind that you want to use, great: use it. Definitions real fast: a pull up is when you have an underhand grip and you are using mainly your biceps. A chin-up is when you have an overhand grip and are using mainly your back muscles. A wide grip chin-up is when you are using an overhand grip and holding your hands farther apart on the bar.
Start with a wide grip chin-up. Do 10.
Now do pull-ups. Do 10.
Do chin-ups. Do 8.
Take a short break and repeat.
That's it, you are completely finished with your basic strength part. Next up is your cardiovascular workout.
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