Ok, if you’ve read my introduction to survival fitness, you are now ready to take action. But before we jump into training, there’s one critical aspect we need to discuss (and do): warming up.
You may have noticed that every professional athlete does thorough warm-ups. No exceptions. So, if they’re doing it, so should you; warm-ups are essential to preventing injuries AND for increased range of motion.
The effects of warm-ups are many, including: increased heart rate, a small adrenaline rush, capillaries dilatation, more elastic muscle fibers and so on.
Now, there are two types of warm-ups. First we have the general warm-up before each workout, whether you’re jogging, lifting weights skipping rope and so on.
The second type of warm-up is done mostly before weight lifting and other anaerobic exercises. If you’ve been to the gym before, you know what I’m talking about.
So, if you were to do a weight training workout for your upper body, you would first start with a general warm-up of your head, torso and limbs.
After that, you would do 2 warm-up sets of push-ups and 3 to 5 sets of actual pus-ups. Then, as you would move to over-the-head triceps curls, you would again do 2 warm-up sets of curls and then the actual sets with a heavier weight.
You may think doing warm-ups before waking, for instance, is a waste of time, and I would agree that it’s true for some people. However, you need to keep in mind your age and your health before skipping them.
If you’re going for a 2 hour walk with your bug-out bag through the woods, for example, and you step wrong off a curb or into a hole, if you’re not warmed up you could get hurt.
That’s exactly what a buddy of mine told me that happened to him a few hours ago. He went jogging through the woods and it happened. Of course, he’s 26 so he recovered quickly but that may not be your case.
If you’re embarrassed to warm-up right before hiking or by the pool, I suggest you do the following exercises at home, right before you leave.
Warming up your neck
Let’s begin by warming-up top to bottom. Stand straight with your hands over your hips then, in a controlled motion, move your head up and down. Simply look up at the ceiling, then down on the floor.
Next, slowly rotate your neck for 5 to 10 seconds clockwise, then counterclockwise for the same amount of time.
Warming up your shoulders
Note: This doesn’t mean your shoulders will be ready for heavy weightlifting that involves your shoulders, such as military bench presses. For those exercises you’re gonna have to do separate warm-up sets as I explained to you in the beginning of this chapter.
Standing straight with your arms parallel to your body, move your shoulders up and down 5 times. Then rotate your shoulders clockwise and then counterclockwise for a total of 20 seconds.
Warming up your arms and wrists
Simply rotate both your hands clockwise and counterclockwise at the same time for a total of 15-20 seconds. Don’t rush it.
Next, let’s do some arm swings. With your elbows straight and arms at chest level, stretch both of them as far back and try to swing them. Don’t hold the position, just let the arms come back naturally once they reach the farthest point back.
With your arms parallel around your body, simply swing them back and forth as much as you can. When one arm is up, the other arm is down; then switch.
Warming up your wrists is also very easy. With your wrists in front of you (elbows bent at 90 degrees), simply rotate both your wrists for 10 seconds, then switch direction.
Warming up your midsection
The easiest way to quickly warm up your core is to do torso twists. With your elbows bent, rotate your upper body to try to look behind you, first on the left, then on the right. Twist as much as you feel comfortable, there’s no need to push it.
Another good exercise to try is to raise both your hands above your head (elbows straight) and bend over to try and touch your toes. Bring them back up and repeat 6 to 10 times.
Last but not least, I invite you to try toe touch crunches. Lay down on your back and raise both your legs at a 60 degree angle from the floor. Put your hands above your head and, in a medium-paced controlled motion, raise them as if to touch your toes (that doesn’t really have to happen).
Warming up your lower body
With your arms stretched a little bit to your side for balance, raise one leg forward. Don’t hold the position, just let your leg come back in a natural motion. Do the same for the other leg.
To warm up your ankles a little bit, raise one leg in the air and rotate your toes in a circular motion, then do it in the other direction. Now switch legs.
Now, what warm-up is complete without kicking our own butts? Butt-kicks are great and there’s two ways you can do them.
The first one is to raise one heel at a time toward your butt in a somewhat swift motion. Don’t rush it, you don’t really want to touch your glutes but you can’t do it slowly either. Raise one leg back then do the other.
Once you’ve done at least 10 kicks for each leg, it’s time to do a variation of the butt-kick where you’re actually running. Now, you can do this while running or you can do jogging in place. Either way, the kicks are going to be faster than the ones you previously did.