Build a Strength Base First
Strength is a choice, but you have to choose to start first.
If you are just starting a workout routine, recovering from an injury, or ready to take on the Survival Fitness Academy on this site, you have to start somewhere. I am going to give you a couple options. However, it is important to remember that the key to all of the workouts in this focus is strength. You can’t wield the power of the gods, if you can’t even squat your own body weight. I am a strong believer in two workout programs for building up your strength. The first is Stronglifts 5 x 5 and the second is Starting Strength . I will give the breakdown and advantage to each below, and you can choose which one suits you best.
Anyone looking to train Bear Gallagher Cole’s Survival Fitness program needs more than just strength. Survival Fitness is about having well rounded functional fitness aimed towards a goal, Survival Preparation.
Why Is Strength Important
Survival Fitness encompasses the idea that as a Survivalist you can’t just focus on stacking supplies, and preparing mentally. Any emergency or disaster situation is going to be draining physically. The motto of the Wild West Survival Fitness Academy is “Be Prepared For Anything”.
Strength is a key component to well rounded fitness because it gives you the explosive power necessary to conquer obstacles, lift heavy loads, and defend yourself!
You can’t just Power Lift all day to be a Survival Fitness trainee who is ready for anything. You need throwing power, explosive sprints, vertical jump, and much more.
To get ready you have to start somewhere. I have always been a huge fan of the 5×5 for any beginning strength and mass building program.
The reason I recommend starting with a 5×5 and running that program for atleast 2 months when you start Survival Fitness is that it protects against injury, and builds full body explosive strength.
Having you start right into throwing heavy rocks around your yard without building a strength base would just be stupid. I would be subjecting you to a very high possibility of injury.
Let me tell you why I believe a 5×5 is great for building a great strength base to start from.
As a soccer player and multiple sport athlete I have suffered from many injuries. Some of the worst were a collapsed sternum, partial hip dislocation, multiple hand and finger breaks, rotator cuff destroyed, and a very bad lower back injury I sustained when I was rear ended in a car accident.
These injuries have held me back from my fitness goals in many ways. When I was in my car accident I suffered a lower back injury that would require at minimum one year of physical therapy. At the time I was working as an Audio Tech for Corporate and Touring Audio. What that means is that I spent every day at work lifting, pushing, and loading huge boxes of equipment and cables.
Without being able to move and lift substantial loads, I was nearly useless for a great majority of physical tasks at my job. I needed to get better quick!
It took months of agonizing pain at physical therapy to get my back to start opening up and relaxing. As I gained strength my physical therapist started commenting on how athletic I was. He recommended that I take the lunges and squats we were doing for my lower back, and maybe start looking at lifting. That is after I had fully recovered.
I took his advice and started looking into Power Lifting. I had always loved lifting weights, but had followed more body building focused programs from my idols like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dorian Yates.
I’ve Head That Power Lifting Will Cause Injuries
Power Lifting damn sure will cause injuries and blow out your back and hips if you do it wrong. That is why I love the workouts I share here. They make you start light to improve your form and build up your strength slowly over time.
I started off with a 5×5. I followed the instructions at stronglifts.com and started with just the bar. After a month I felt great, after a few months my nagging hip and back injuries were a past memory, and I felt indestructible.
Your body is basically a complex sewn together back of bones, tendons, ligaments, and muscles.
The reason I recommend starting at the very beginning of a 5×5 or Starting Strength program and working up for a minimum of two months is that it strengthens all of these connecting tissues. It basically injury tightens and strengthens your entire structure.
Once you have done this, and we start to build in the flexibility and body control of Animal Flow movements, and then High Intensity endurance and stamina work, you will start to have the feeling that YOU ARE PREPARED FOR ANYTHING!
Here Are The Two Programs I Recommend
To get there you have to perfect the compound lifts, build a strong core, and strengthen you bones and tendons against injury. You have to start lifting heavy, and continue to improve your flexibility and grip.
Here is a comparison of Stronglifts and Starting Strength Programs.
|StrongLifts 5×5||Starting Strength|
|Workout A||Workout A|
|5×5 Squats||3×5 Squats|
|5×5 Bench||3×5 Bench|
|5×5 Barbell Rows||1×5 Deadlift|
|Workout B||Workout B|
|5×5 Squats||3×5 Squats|
|5×5 Press||3×5 Press|
|1×5 Deadlift||5×3 Power Cleans|
Both of these programs are very close to each other as you can see. Either one will get you started, and help you prepare for Battle!
If you want to go the simple route, use Stronglifts 5 x5 . They have a great site, a simple plan, and give you everything you need to make it happen. It is as easy as downloading an App to your phone, and using it every time you workout. Lets look at Stronglifts 5 x 5 a little more closely.
I Will Be Your Coach
If you keep up with the posts on my blog, and videos explaining form, you will be able to use these programs without doing any outside research. However, if you anything like me, then you love to learn as much as possible. For this reason if you keep reading you will find plenty of information and links so you can study up even more on these programs.
Power Lifting is an art and takes amazing dedication. Eventually, we will branch off from these programs and begin to add in other training and movements.
Don’t forget this either guys – you can always contact me through the form on this site, or directly at [email protected] I am always available if you have questions.
STRONGLIFTS 5 x 5
Read more: http://stronglifts.com/5×5/
This program is about as simple and effective as they get. You will be using five free weight compound exercises: the Squat, Bench Press, Deadlift, Overhead Press and Barbell Row. That is all you need to get started on the path towards becoming fit for survival.
Don’t focus on small muscle groups like biceps and triceps. Don’t focus on lifting TONS of weight, focus on your form. These 5 lifts will build your power, strength, and quickness.
The program is simple, you squat 3 times a week, and mix in the other lifts. This is the best program I have ever used to build strength quickly, not because it is the best, but because I am a busy guy and this program is so easy to follow. If you do not have experience lifting weights, or doing squats, deadlift, and bench press I recommend this program for you. It will help you perfect your form, and help you gradually build the strength needed to do more complicated strength and lifting programs.
I will also tell you this. On the site Mehdi will tell you to start off at just the bar for all of the exercises. That is a measly 45lbs. Almost anyone can lift more than that right? Well let me share my experience.
The first time I used Stronglifts 5 x 5 religiously, I was trying to put weight on my squat and deadlift. I was already deadlifting over 415 lbs. but had hit quite a plateau. I didn’t follow the directions on the site, and started at what seemed like a low enough point for me. I started both my squat and deadlift at 225lbs. I did make huge gains on the amount of reps I could do at these weights immediately. However, I would still hit plateaus, and had a couple minor injuries.
Fast Forward Into The Future
I had a bad back injury years ago in a car accident as I talked about before, and I had a tumble down a hill hiking in the mountains near my home. This brought the pain of the past injury back in full force. Add to that I went through a fairly hectic move, and started a new business. Needless to say, the injury and busy schedule I was keeping kept me out of the gym for months.
I continued walking and hiking, but could not lift at all due to re-injuring my back. I had lost a HUGE amount of muscle mass, most of my strength, and years of hard work. Well, that is what it felt like.
I still had the 5×5 app installed on my phone, and just like all of you reading this I had to start somewhere. I started back on the Stronglifts 5 x 5 program, and this time I followed the instructions exactly. It felt like a joke trying to squat and deadlift with no weight on the bar, but I did it anyway. Here is what I learned.
The gradual building of strength when you start at just 45lbs. is much easier on your system. It doesn’t take long for you to get back to the point where you have substantial weight on the bar, and this is great for perfecting your form. I would say that by the time I was back up squatting in the 300 lbs. and more range, my form had never been better.
Starting this light not only helps you to perfect your form, even if you have done these lifts in the past, but it helps to gradually acquaint your body and skeletal structure to the load. I did not have any issues with injury, because my body was well prepared for the load every time I hit the gym.
Read more: http://startingstrength.com
The Starting Strength System makes use of the body’s most basic movement patterns – barbell exercises that involve all the body’s muscle mass – utilized over the longest effective range of motion and loaded progressively, to force the adaptations necessary for increased strength.
Unlike other popular exercise protocols, Starting Strength is a training system – a long-term process designed for getting stronger over time, not a random collection of exercises that just make you hot, sweaty, sore, confused, and tired today.
Above is a quote directly from StartingStrength.com . This exactly why these programs are the best place to start. I could throw together some montage of Body Building, Cross Fit, and Strong Man exercises and tell you this is how you train for Survival.
I won’t however, because my goal is to help you gain strength, power, confidence, and ability. We need strength that translates into all kinds of activities.
Starting Strength puts Power Cleans in place of the Barbell Rows in StrongLifts 5×5, and you do less sets. However, the thinking is the same. Progressive strength built simply and intelligently.
I will say there is so much Starting Strength literature out there it can drive you crazy, and be a little overwhelming. This is a great program for you if you are the studious type, and you love learning about kinetics, strength, and diet just as much as you do lifting heavy.
Starting Strength is a time proven program developed by Mark Rippetoe who is one of the worlds best strength coaches. This guy knows so much about Powerlifting it can spin your head. I would recommend going to YouTube right now to watch as many of his videos as you can.
Not only is he a great Coach, we also share the same birthday, February 12th. So I guess both of us were always bound for greatness.
There is an App I found out there for the phone, but it is far harder to use than the Stronglifts App.
This program starts light as well, so don’t break the rules and try to start of too heavy.
The book is amazing, and I would recommend you purchase it, no matter which program you choose. You can purchase Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe here. It is the best exercise book you will ever read – period.
The Choice Is Yours
In the end, the choice is yours. You can even try both programs if you like. The key in starting this way is to familiarize you with heavy compound lifting, teach you good form, protect your body from injury, and prepare you for some of the more advanced workouts that will be available on this site. I recommend you download the Stronglifts 5 x 5 app here, and purchase the Starting Strength book here, no matter how you choose to start.
The main thing you think about when you think of a Survival Fitness Strength is a strong frame.
Run these programs from the lowest weight adding on weight as you go. This is how we can build your strength base and get you ready for Survival Fitness.
You can add in other
If you are already well into weight lifting or Crossfit and have a very good understanding of your strength abilities, you are free to skip this strength building phase and move on to other phases of Survival Fitness.
If you are up to it, I absolutely recommend running a 5×5 based on your current 1 rep max, and running that program for a full month. This will make sure we have explosive power, and a well tightened frame to avoid injuries as you progress in the Survival Fitness Program.
Let’s Train to Be Prepared For Anything!