This is the first in what will hopefully be a recurring series on this blog. The question of “what is fitness” comes up a lot when discussing fitness. Although a lot of definitions of fitness exist, from the scientific to the esoteric, a good way of looking at it is, “am I fit for WHAT?”
I consider myself to be in excellent shape, however I’m in great shape for the things I typically do. I’m in awful shape for a triathlon, I’ll be the first to admit. So, the next logical question becomes, “am I fit enough to survive a shambling horde of hyper-contagious undead?”
I got the idea for this topic from the excellent article here, and I wouldn’t want to rehash any of the info therein, so I’m going to focus specifically on my area of interest, physical preparation for the Zombie Apocalypse. My advice is to follow the link above, read the guide in its entirety, and then come back here to understand how to get fit and avoid becoming another member of the living dead.
What You’re Up Against
For whatever reason, zombies are never slow and clumsy like in older movies. We’re going to need to prepare for the angry, fast, explosive zombies. Luckily, they still lack higher thought, cunning, or the ability to strategize. This may be the only upside, since the virulence of the zombie disease means it spreads like wildfire and we will be facing groups of zombies, not one at a time. It gets worse…the rotting legions of living dead feel no pity, fear, pain, or discomfort. Their tireless, inexorable, and when they get their hands on you, their grip is like cold, clammy, iron.
What Is Fit?
In this instance, you will need to have a good level of aerobic fitness to stay on the move, but the emphasis must be on anaerobic fitness to get yourself out of those frantic moments when your back is against the wall. You need to be strong, have a high degree of strength-endurance to stay strong even when tired, and be explosive enough to escape even if a zombie manages to get a good grip on you.
You are going to need to travel light with the absolute essentials. No room for a barbell or a series of dumbbells. My workout program will require a single kettlebell in a challenging weight. Yes, it sucks to lug around a heavy lump of iron everywhere you go…you know what else sucks? Being bitten in the face by an unholy rotting corpse. Suck it up!
Emphasis is on short, snappy workouts that don’t leave you too drained at any one time.
Day 1 – Do each exercise one after the other, in circuit fashion, with no rest in between. Several rounds.
- Kettlebell Floor Press – Hit both sides with this motion. Make sure you get some trunk rotation in the movement. Ideally you’d have two kettlebells and have to work against the combined weight of both, but given the circumstances I’ll understand if you left the second KB in favor of rations, ammo, etc. This motion mimics what it would be like to be knocked onto your back and be struggling against a zombie who’s pounced on you. Appropriately enough, the cold iron of the KB is reminiscent of the cold iron of the undead grip…
- Kettlebell Swing to Squat – Perform a one handed swing, toss the bell into the air slightly and catch it by the horns, immediately dipping down into a deep squat. That’s one rep. This dynamic movement keeps your hands quick, and your legs and low back strong and enduring.
- Heavy Pullup – Hang your KB from your foot, wear your rucksack full of supplies, etc. Find some way to add resistance to the movement to develop a powerful back. Being able to pull powerfully is of huge importance, from opening a jammed door, pulling a zombie off a comrade, or pulling your invaluable supplies up into the attic where you’re hiding.
Day 2 – Again, circuit fashion, no rest! Several rounds.
- Kettlebell Jerk – This movement keeps your shoulders fit, while teaching power transference throughout your body. The need for putting your entire body into explosive movements is covered in the next exercise.
- Kettlebell Split Snatch – Its important that you develop explosive hips and posterior chain. Face it, zombies will always be stronger. What you have going for you is that they’re mindless and often clumsy. While force against force you have no chance, an explosive Judo hip throw, suplex, or trip can send even the most savage zombie airborne. But you have to be able to generate that power.
- Muscle-up – This needs to be an explosive or fast pullup, with Muscle-Ups being the major favorite. The appeal here is self evident…you will be running from zombies a lot, and will more than likely encounter a low wall or fence barring your way. You can’t waste time getting your legs involved, you need to get a grip on the top of the wall and explode yourself up and over in one motion!
Day 3 – Circuit fashion, do several rounds
- Two-handed Swings – High rep, aiming for physical exhaustion
- High intensity shadowboxing – Roughly one minute of all out, high intensity punching, kicking, kneeing, etc. The point of this couplet is to train yourself to remain explosive and fast even when physically exhausted. You can run from the zombies all you want, but eventually you’ll be backed into a corner and be forced to fight. Its important to be able to do so even when dead tired.
There you have it! Stick with this and you should be well equipped to survive until the pockets of human resistance can unite and push back the living dead. Good night and good luck!