Fitness and Survival
by David Munro
Many people believe that a zombie apocalypse is on the rise. And with that fear, they have begun to prepare accordingly. Among these preparations are stockpiling a-
mmunition, making bunkers, hoarding food, and of course: fitness. In the event of a zombie encounter, even the best “preppers” will occasionally engage in melee confrontations. It is this “eventuality” that I am writing about.
We all know that health and fitness are keys to longevity and happier lives; however, in apocalypse preparation they become more important. We see on TV and movies survivors of zombie outbreaks dispatching the undead with relative ease; one good swing usually decapitates it no problem right? Wrong! In fact, the level of strength necessary to behead a zombie is far higher than what most people think. A competent level of functional fitness conditioning is required to be successful in survival. That isn’t to say that all other aspects of fitness are useless in this scenario, on the contrary, EVERY aspect is vital to train for survive when the zombies arrive; however, here we will take a look how some functional fitness exercises can be applied to this scenario.
So, again we have seen people swinging bats, swords, boards, etc. to dispatch zombies on some of our favorite shows and movies, but have you ever wondered which muscles fuel those swings? And what exercises will strengthen them? Well, I have! And I have a list of different functional fitness exercises that will develop your muscles for more successful hits.
First, we must discuss the four major weapon based attacks. They have been broken up by lines of direction:
Horizontal Strike: A straight across swing that uses the momentum of the body to deliver a very powerful strike to your target. There are many different ways to execute a horizontal attack (2 handed forward swing, 2 handed reverse swing, or either with 1 hand). Anyone who has played baseball/ softball will most likely favor this attack because it mimics swinging a baseball bat.
Upward Strikes: Here we have a strike category that involves golf swings, cricket hits, uppercuts, etc. They all travel basically on the same line…an upward line. We start from a lower guard or position, corkscrewing your body up to a regular standing position, bringing your weapon up with you to make an upward slice upon your target. Among the martial arts, many sword disciplines (Krabi Krabong, Iaido, Kendo, Escrima to name a scant few) have very developed upward strikes that are capable of delivering powerful upward attacks.
Downward strike: The big Executioner slash!! Use gravity and momentum to your advantage!!!!! Bring your sword, club, pipe, dead cat, 2×4, etc. straight down upon your enemy. This attack takes a great deal of upper body strength; a lot of power derives from the back, abs and shoulders. If chopping wood is a regular “hobby” for you, then there shouldn’t be any trouble executing this attack.
Thrust Strike: This describes any kind of straight forward attack or pushing/pressing motion that includes knife stabs, lunge thrusts, pole strikes, etc. Successful attacks range from plunging a screwdriver into the zombie’s forehead to pushing a spear into its face. Chiefly an upper body strength heavy technique, power also derives from your legs by pushing off the ground (in the case of a pole arm weapon like a spear) most leg exercises will help the power of this push.
Generally speaking, any functional fitness exercise will strengthen the muscles needed to employ these strikes. Among the muscle groups utilized for all these attacks: The back, upper body (to include biceps, triceps, shoulders.) , your core (abdominals, lower back, oblique abdominals) and your legs all work in synergistic fashion. It is only obvious that we train multiple muscle group exercises and with exercises that are close to mimicking the real motion. And for that reason we choose functional fitness exercises as our answer. This is not an end-all-be-all compilation but rather a short list of some beneficial exercises to engrain into your routine for overall body strengthening and preparation.
Kettlebells and their multitude of variant exercises promotes many great qualities, many that can be applied to the strikes above: rotational strength, body synergy, aerobic capacity gains, plus other attributes that can all help you in your day to day activities as well as during a zombie apocalypse. Variations include: single and double hand swings, “Turkish Get Ups”, and the snatch. Every strike will gain power from this simple weight.
Sledgehammers have risen in the fitness scene in the past few years, and anyone who has used them can attest to their usefulness in fitness. Again, we have strength that comes from a rotational angle that helps develop the back muscles along with the shoulders and legs to deliver powerful strikes to whatever you are hitting. I’ve seen people using one large hammer, and two single handed ones at many different angles of execution, exercise names include: “Stoking the Fire”, “Digging the grave”, and of course “Chopping wood”.
“Battle Ropes”, another newcomer, has many variations, and all of them are useful: from the compulsory rope slam exercise, to rope jumping jacks; balanced strength comes from them all! You really cannot go wrong (as long as you have proper form and technique to avoid injuries). Power really develops in the shoulders and the legs lending strength to any one strike.
Wheelbarrows are another one of those manual labor implements that show great promise when applied in exercise. Simply putting weight on/in and walking/ jogging will stabilize your core muscles while working the driving force of your legs. This exercise, though simple in design is particularly effective in readying the body for thrusting and downward strikes.
This is just a short list of types of functional fitness exercises that can benefit your body and striking power. Despite this list being relatively short; still, one can create many different routines with all the variations available and never get bored. Though no part of exercise should be avoided (cardiovascular conditioning, static weight training, flexibility, etc.) in preparation for the end days, whatever they may bring, the importance of this style of training should not be overlooked. If you believe that zombies will attack one day or chaos will engulf our country, these strikes can benefit any scenario; protection is a must when the SHTF and when looters or robbers or zombies are about your front door, you will need the tools listed above to heighten your chances for survival.