Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Gettin' Fit a Bit Late

Okay-OKAY!!! I get it!
Well, not really, but I'll pretend I do just to keep peace in the family.
I'm talking about a friend of mine who's getting worried about prepping and having a place to live. Currently, he's in a gov't Section 8 housing project- and been there a long long time. He's some kind of Social Worker who works with finding homeless some place to live. He's also one helluva lazy kind'a person who thinks 'fitness' is how many pencils he can push across a desk.
Anyway, we're on the phone and he's whining about his 'fibromyalgia' and how he can't 'do' anything without pain. Don't get me wrong, now, please- I also have 'fibromyalgia' according to the medics- but who can believe them? I'm close to 62 and aches and pains are part of growing old just as they are for teenagers. The thing I have about his fibromyalgia is I never hear the end of it. He can't lift a coffee cup or drive his car without 'extreme suffering' (he says). Personally, I told him it's cuz he sits on his ass all the time and won't do anything to help himself.
I digress again. Sorry.
He's looking for a place to live when 'it' happens. I told him not here, and started a war. "What kind'a friend are you?" he wants to know.
Well, I'm the kind that ain't gonna do all the work while you sit on your ass and I sure as hell ain't gonna listen to you whine about 'my fibromyalgia' hurts so much I can't do that (whatever 'that' is).
OOPS. Again, I'm digressing from the topic in mind: gettin' your bod where it should be- FIT.
(Oh, first, lemme apologize for the quality of the pix: rookie on the camera.)
Back 'in the day' the Army had what it called a 'daily dozen' exercises used to get the troops in shape. These were actually simple exercises every kid did in school- those days, anyway- with a twist. When teaching kick boxing, I used the same principal: activity-specific exercises. If it wasn't 'used in the activity, it was waste'. Today my thinking is the same: train for your particular sport using the muscles you'll be using in it. Everything else is waste. That said, here are a few exercises (I do them outside in 'nice' weather, but they're easy and great to do in an apartment while watching the Boobie-tube, too) every prepper can do.
First, though, think about going slow and easy, don't do the max if you can't. Instead, like all exercise, work your way slowly until the muscle can build. Too, if you think you need an aerobic workout as well, try these and don't pause between 'sets'. You'll be puffin pretty fast. If you aren't, then you're in pretty good shape and can just add reps/sets to get the workout. These aren't difficult or hard and they're a helluva lot more fun than a step-bench and grapevines.
Let's begin by warming up the torso a little, upper and lower body. Ready?
Ha! Caught you! First, grab your rifle or shotgun and B.O.B./pack. Now you're ready.
Two items we'll probably all be carrying- if we're prepped well- is our B.O.B. and a rifle. The idea here is to get the muscles used to wearing and carrying both.
The squat is done in the normal fashion: feet shoulder width, balanced, back straight and eyes forward. The differences: the BOB weight (pulling you backwards) and the rifle weight (pulling forward and maintaining balance).

As you bend your knees, inhale, raise the rifle- don't go above shoulder level cuz it won't do anything for you but aggravate the rotator cuff, and don't go beyond level thighs or you're going to injure your knees. Exhale on the rise. Do three sets of 50 (but don't let go of anything yet!- we're going to get some exercise!).

Without pausing from the last set of squats, reverse your grip on the rifle and begin doing three sets of 50 'curls' with your rifle. Don't get excited doing these- just go easy, slow, steady movements. Exhale when raising the weapon, inhale when lowering. Try to maintain a four-count movement: two up, two down. Here again, keep your feet shoulder width, weight even and knees relaxed, not locked, back straight. For variant, you can swap rifle position from butt-right to butt-left (exchanges weapon balance point). This is one exercise I do watching TV and don't waste time counting, just do them til I can't do any more. (Plus, when the bad guys are gettin' away, I help the good guys by shooting the tires outta the cars- fun while working out.)
Again, without pausing from the curls, go directly into the rifle-lunges. This is a modification of a bayonet lunge we did for countless hours in basic training. Hmmm...some of you Mosin Nagent fans just may have a use for this move- I'll demonstrate it later. These lunges should do two things for your muscles, besides relax them. First, there's the 'workout' aspect- good for legs and lungs; then there's the stretch factor. You want to take as long a 'step' as you can, really elongate that hamstring (back of your leg). Notice how the feet are facing: don't turn your back foot sideways more than 45 degrees. Doing more can lead to pulled groin (oh! my aching love-life!) and will lose much of the training effect of the lunge. While doing the forward step/lunge, elevate the rifle as we did in the squat. Again, watch the shoulder height, eyes forward.

From the lunges, go directly to the Front Leaning Rest position, rifle across the back of the hands and begin your pushups. Here again, keep the back straight (a challenge with the B.O.B. on- be sure it's buckled at the waist for all the exercises). Again, go for the four-count: two down (inhale); two up (exhale). Do three sets of 50 (thought I was gonna go easy on you, didn't you?). Okay: honestly, with the BOB on, I don't do all 50, either. Still, it's a goal. Also, when TSHTF, you just may need to low-crawl a lot and this is the exercise that gets you in shape for it.

(My preferred method of doing pushups is on my knuckles, hands close to the lower rib cage. Reason for this is punching: it strengthens the muscles used in punching techniques rather than the chest and shoulders, though it does exercise those muscles as well. Again- technique specific exercise. This is done by making a fist with the hands [duh! like we're gonna use our foot? ], inhale on the way down, exhale on the way up. Again, a four count move. Yup, you guessed it- do 50.)
Rising to our feet (panting like steam engines by now), keeping the rifle at hip level, stand in a walking pose. From there, drop to your right knee, elevating the rifle to sighting position (inhale). Take aim and lock on a target, pause two seconds (to shoot) and rise (exhale). Do 50, then change rifle position and repeat with your left/off hand side. Do 50 more.

From the kneeling position, rise to your feet and assume a walking stance (foot position). Now we're going to move to a sitting shooting position. Again, strive for good hold/lock on target- don't practice bad shooting position. All it'll do is teach you bad aiming habits. Again, do 50 reps both sides- never neglect training your 'weak' side muscles cuz you'll never know when the 'good' side will be disabled.

You can take twenty second's breather now and off-load the BOB and rifle. Go into a lunge step position- left foot forward for starters- raise your hands to a 'boxing' position in front of your body. Now, explode off your back foot/leg and bring it high as you can toward your chest. Exhale sharply while doing this and strive for speed- fast as you can. Inhale as you return the foot to the lunge/starting position. What you're looking for here is maximum output/speed of the rising leg/foot and nominal movement of the hands, head, and upper body. You guessed it: do 50 with each leg. The idea here is to imagine driving your knee into a groin or hip- an exercise that will come in handy for future classes.
We're going to conclude today's exercises with some fun: Pistol Practice. Here again, strive for doing the best you can. Only good practice produces good results. First: remove the magazine from your pistol or empty the cylinder of your revolver, then holster it. With your pistol/revolver holstered, spend half an hour practicing draw/target acquisition techniques. (Understand: I am no firearm instructor, just a participant in the sport, and am offering exercise ideas that lead to skill improvement.) The idea behind this exercise is to practice drawing/aiming from every position you can imagine- even laying on your back, target behind your head. (You never know when those blankety-blank Zombie's are gonna come at you!) If your range allows it, or you can find some 'alone time' there, it doesn't hurt to practice these drills 'live-fire', also. Just one more notch in your list of skills on your way to surviving whatever Fate and our infamous Uncle send our way.

Regardless of your fitness level, it can always be improved and I'm offering up some different ideas on getting exercise and trained- hopefully to everyone's benefit.

Coming up there will be some serious training blogs- if I can find a bettererererer photog to get clear pix and figure the best way to demonstrate my ideas. Hopefully they help someone.

Again: any and every time you pick up a weapon, insure it's unloaded, then check again. Never point at something you don't want to shoot, and never pull the trigger until you're sure of target and backstop. Safe practice makes for safe people.

Bless God, All. Have fun.



  1. Can't do it but I like it! I'll work on it some Spring. I'll use a push plow instead of a rifle. On long rows push plows are good exercise.


  2. Chucklin, Michael- you're right: push plow will make a lot more exercise. Guess I should'a been a bit more in depth, remarking these are for those not having any fields to plow, wood to chop, dogs to run, too much time on their hands due to living 'city' lifestyle, or spending too much time in front of the tube doing nothing else.
    But, instead of pushing a plow, I'd rather follow a tiller :-D
    Thanks for commenting- Shy

  3. Great post took me back to the boot camp days!!!!!!! What about holding a canteen in each hand? With arms to straihgt out to the side those used to burn fter a bit!

  4. Ugh! Exercise? Waaaaahhhhhh!!!! Heh heh heh. Fortunately for me, I hoof it anywhere between 4 to 6 miles a day at work. Me legs are hard as iron, and I can walk/ hike forever. The upper half, now that's another story......

    I got upper body strength, but no endurance. It doesn't help that at 35 years of age, my shoulders are already shot.... Too much hand sanding, sawing, buffing, carryin' heavy crap...... I gotta baby the shoulders now, or I'll pay for it the next day. Now my definition of "baby" is lift nothing over 50 lbs., and use power tools.....

  5. My Dad does exercises similar to those every morning, he's 88 and still plays 18 holes of golf every week, does all his own yard and house work (he refuses to let us help). He moves, he does weights, he's had some health issues, small stroke and cancer, but he never stops.

    And he never complains about the aches. Something to be said for keeping the body ready.


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