Assisted or Solo Deep Body Weight SquatsThis movement is excellent for building strength in the quads and gluts while increasing hip mobility. The hips are the foundation of most physical movement in the human body and are essential to movements as simple as walking and getting off the ground. A deep squat also serves a great seated position when if no chairs or stump, etc, is available. Instructions: Hold on to something such as a post at hip height, if needed. With your legs spread at a distance that feels natural, slowly sit into squat by engaging the quad muscles and gluts. Be sure while sitting to drive your heels into the ground and your knees away from each other. Your feet should remain planted flat on the ground, and your butt should come to a resting position as as close to your heels as your comfort allows. If this position if uncomfortable or you are unable to maintain your balance, do not force it! Slowly stand back out of the squat and continue repeat the process until it becomes easier and more comfortable.
- Remain in the squat position for 30 seconds on and off to gain mobility and reduce pain.
- Once the squat position is comfortable, work up to 5-10 squat reps, then adding two to three total sets with similar reps.
Assisted or Solo HangingBeing able to hang from a bar, tree branch, or even a ledge is important for survival climbing and general pulling movements like winding in a rope, dragging logs, etc . If you suffer from lack of overhead reach mobility, wrist or grip problems, simply hanging and letting gravity do the work is an excellent rehabilitation and strength building exercise. Instructions: To be clear, this is exercises is not a pull up, it's simply hanging and letting gravity lengthen and decompress your spinal column and allowing your shoulders and arms to stretch. You can hang from anything that provides adequate grip surface such as a pull up bar, tree branch, or a ledge of a wall. If your grip constantly slips and you are unable to hang at all, place something under your feet and ease in to a full hang by bending your knees to add or reduce the weight load on your grip.
- If needed, use support under your feet and build up to hanging for 10-20 seconds with no support.
- Once able to hang for 20 seconds with both arms, remove the support from your feet and ad two to four reps of 20 seconds.
Plank HoldA plank hold is one of the best exercises for core strength and stability and it helps posture, improves balance, and strengthens hamstrings, gluts and the shoulder girdle. While hip mobility is like an axle being able to freely turn, core strength is the engine that gives it power. Strength in other areas of your body, such as leg strength or back strength are often undermined if core strength is not adequate to back them up during more sophisticated and integrated movements such as climbing, pulling, or grappling. Therefore, nearly any movement relies on core strength making it a top priority for preppers in survival situations. Instructions: Place your forearms on the floor below the shoulders with your elbows and wrists in line with your torso. Use your toes to brace your weight with your forearms and use your core abdominal, thigh, and glut muscles to raise your hips to be alighted with your shoulders and legs. Keep your chin tucked while holding this position.
- Move into the plank hold and maintain it for 10-20 seconds
- Add two to three reps of 20 second holds.
- Build up to being able to hold the plank position for one minute or more.
Soft-Surface Medium Distance Slow JoggingThe aim of slow jogging is to build a foundation for cardiovascular and respiratory fitness without keeling over before building to more moderate to intensive cardio exercise. Look to run on a soft surface with some minor terrain variance such as a cut grass field or easy running trails. A soft surface will allow your muscular-skeletal system to slowly adapt to the light impact of jogging, by adding bone density and building muscle, fortifying joints, tendons, and ligaments. Jogging or running on varied terrain has shown to awaken the neuromuscular system by forcing it to make constant adjustments to adapt to the surface variations. Furthermore, it has shown to minimize risk of injury from over-repetitive movement which leads to imbalance from smaller muscles growing weak. Instructions: Find a soft yet slightly varied running surface such as a grassy field or mowed pasture. Start with jogging for two to five minutes and stop when you experience discomfort in your lungs and chest (cardiovascular system), or on joints and muscles (soft tissues). At this point your body as reached a level of stress that your body can respond, adapt and build strength from. Build on that until you can jog at a slow, relaxed pace for about 15 minutes without stopping. This will allow you to cover about a one to 1.5 mile distance.
I hope these exercises benefit some of you who have struggled to get a solid start with fitness. Please feel free to message me or leave comments with any questions. Stay tuned for our next posts that will be geared towards intermediate and advanced survival fitness with extra fun and dynamic exercises for preppers.