The world is becoming a more challenging place to navigate everyday and if COVID taught us anything, it's that the world can go out of control very, very, VERY FAST.
In 2019 and 2020 cities across the country started to burn down as riots took place.
My question to you is; if society broke down or you found yourself in a combative situation, are you fit enough to protect yourself and family?
Too often when we discuss fitness, we of think losing weight, getting the jealous envy of our friends, or a million likes on Instagram.
In my experience 99% of time people start a fitness program to lose weight. Their motivation is driven by several reasons some of the most popular are another person, an occasion, or a life changing event. Unfortunately, once that person lets you down, the vacation is over, or depression kicks in from the divorce we tend to gain all the weight back and even a little more.
Prior to starting my apparel business, I was a Krav Maga instructor, and I owned a boxing fitness gym with my wife Outlawed Ink model Aneta called Punch Fit. We programmed workouts that combined CrossFit style workouts with Boxing/ MMA striking creating early version of weaponized fitness. Men really enjoyed our classes as we combined resistance training with boxing, so our workouts were not like your typical Title Boxing classes. Women really loved our classes because they were way more empowering then a I Love Kickboxing class but without the getting punched in the face during a sparring session at the local martial arts training facility.
I quickly realized the most successful people mind fuck themselves by replacing "a reason to exercise" with a "purpose to train". People that find the "why" remain consistent and discipline training everyday. That purpose drives them far beyond motivation, instead training to protect themselves, their family, the weak, and country.
I also had several members join that trained in various forms fight training and needed something a little more violent and explosive moves with weights.
Enter Weaponized Fitness, which is programing that is designed for real world applications that can be applied to challenges that you may find yourself in with today's society.
As my training program evolved I found that by combining compound movements to build strength, flow drills/ Olympic movements to build cognitive skills, plyometric exercises to increase power, and cardio to build heart strength I effectively created a program perfect for military, first responders, sheep dogs, or anyone preparing for the zombie apocalypse.
The great news for the average person looking to lose weight, build strength, and get stronger the Weaponized Fitness program was a fun way to do that. A lot of people don't realize that losing weight is really super simple; burn more calories than you take in and replenish the body with high quality carbs, fats, and protein that promote muscle building and fat burning. The hard part was committing and sticking to a fitness regiment.
More on that in a future blog.
Weaponized Fitness: The Program
The premise of the program is quite simple; pick movements and train with resistance in a way that mimics real world situation.
The movements should focus on explosive movements, muscle endurance, and cardio.
If physically able the person doing this program should make the workout the hardest thing they do that day.
There is nothing wrong with isolation exercises that target a specific muscle if your goal is to get ripped and sculpt an amazing looking body, however, as you will see this is not a good way to prepare for a zombie apocalypse or street fight.
A compound exercise is any movement where you're using more than one muscle group at a time. Why I like these movements is that your muscle will strengthen and grow in a uniformed fashion for example the Bench Press uses the pectoral, front delt, and tricep all in one movement.
I tend to start workouts with a compound exercise when I have the most energy with longer rest periods between sets. When I was younger I focused on low reps with heavy weights. As I have aged I now prefer lighter weights, more reps, and lest rest. As the world becomes more chaotic I am more concerned with endurance and power opposed to raw strength. At 5'6" and 165 pounds I find that my body reacts better to this style of training as I find it difficult to pack on a lot of muscle mass.
Here are compound movements I train every week: Bench (push), Bent Over Row (pull), Deadlift (hip hinge), Squats (knee dominate), and shoulder press (press) to name a few.
Maybe you are not training to step into the octagon or play for the NFL but ask yourself, if you were being chased by a dog could you jump up and grab a tree branch or if a group of guys are chasing you down could you jump over a fence and hopefully get away safely? Would have enough gas in in the tank to fight and effectively disable an attacker if needed?
Compound movements described previously build strength and Plyometric are explosive exercises that increase power that apply the maximum amount of force as fast as possible; on the basis that strength + speed = power. The best exercises train the body to explode to make you a better fighter, athlete, or prepare for real world applications.
The best movements for building power involve moving weight fast to recruit the most motor units possible. This typically involves a healthy dose of variations on cleans, jerks, and snatches.
If you are unfamiliar with those movements seek out professional training (not YouTube) as you can injury yourself badly if done incorrectly.
Safer way to train power is combine compound movements that you are familiar with power movements that involve lighter weights or body weight as resistance.
Using just your body weight is another great way to increase power through explosive movements. For example, the box jump is a great a movement that will increase leg power making you a more violent kicker, a more agile athlete, and condition the body to get comfortable with jumping.
Another example is replacing the standard push-up with a plyometric (explosive push-up). Start in the standard push-up position and lower yourself down slowly. Once at the bottom of the movement push yourself up so quickly that your hands leave the ground. Make it harder by adding a "clap" at the top of the push-up.
Core to Extremity Power (Trunk Rotation)
One of the most overlooked areas of fitness is the transverse plan of motion, also known as trunk rotation.
Generating core to extremity power is what allows a baseball player to hit home runs, a quarterback throw a ball 65 yards, and an MMA fighter knockout an opponent.
Trained fighters are so dangerous because they don't just strike with their arms, they grab power from the ground locking one foot driving off the other then snapping the hip towards the enemy and only then finally releasing the arm effectively turning the fist into a fuck'n cannon ball.
The result is a devisatening jaw breaking strike intended to remove the skull from the spine or at the very least knock someone out.
To build this type of explosive power use exercises that are in the transverse plan of motion that focus on chest/ hip rotation, as these movements often imitate striking.
Great exercises included medicine ball throws, cable rotations, and almost any movement with the TRX Rip trainer.
Flow Drills that Challenge Endurance and Cognitive Skills
Flow drills are a series of compound movements that effortlessly transition from one exercise to another without the need to stop to change grip or position. In my workouts I use the resistance to quickly fatigue the muscles then for the last couple of minutes I add a combative element.
These flow drills can be used with any form of resistance, the goal is to create a series of movements that effortlessly flow from one exercise to another. Here is an example of my most popular MMA workout.
Select a kettlebell with a weight that will challenge you for three minutes of uninterrupted work, the goal is to not put it down and to keep moving for the entire three minutes.
Program a timer for five rounds set for five minutes of work with one minute break just like an MMA match. Then break up each round as follows:
00:30 Swing Transition
00:40 Swing Transition + Clean
00:50 Swing Transition + Clean + Push Press
01:00 Swing Transition + Clean + Push Press + Squat
02:00 Cardio (boxing, jump rope, row machine, SkiErg, etc..)
This workout will increase your cognitive skills, endurance, strength, explosive power, and burn an insane amount of calories in under 30 minutes!
Running and Sprinting
Fight or flight running is a critical part of getting to a fight fast to overwhelm an opponent with violence or get away quickly from an overwhelming force to live to fight another day.
You want train in areas of cardio fitness that include quick burst, sprinting, and long distance.
If something happened, could you pack a bag loaded with survival necessities and travel long distances with your family?
One of the most overlooked trainings is a ruck march. There is a reason that all branches of the military incorporate ruck training. Rucking builds strength, stamina, increases endurance, and character builds mental toughness to name a few.
The great news is chances are you already have everything you need get started. Just grab a backpack and load it with shit you find around the house and go outside and walk! For best results choose a weight that challenges you just outside your fitness level to force adaptation.
Are you proficient with weapons?
I see so many people take out their guns once every 6 months, only train in a very comfortable controlled environment, and shoot at nonmoving targets.
If you conceal carry then you absolutely need to train on a regular bases from pulling to dry fire, under stress, at moving targets while using the gear you wear out on the street.
One of my favorite workouts that has destroyed many clients only requires only 2 dumbbells, G-Sight, and gun (holstered how conceal carry)
The workout is Every Minute on the Minute (EMOM). The rounds are broken up with thirty seconds work and thirty seconds break. The number of rounds is determined by how much ammo your gun holds.
Using the dumbbells complete as many man makers as you can in 30 seconds. There is a reason they call these man makers as on rep includes a push, pull, hip hinge, knee dominate, and press. If you can do more than 5 complete reps in 30 seconds increase your weight. If you can only complete 2 or less decrease the weight.
Starting in the plank position griping the dumbbells complete one push-up, then kick your legs out for stability and complete a right renegade row, then left. Kick your feet up to the dumbbell and hip hinge (think KB swing) the weight to your shoulders ending in a standing position. Then squat down and finish the movement with a thruster bringing the dumbbells above your head. Quickly transition to your next rep.
The weights are used to fatigue all the muscles, the exercise is going to increase your heart rate, and tying the movement together is going to challenge your cognitive skills.
When the timer goes off draw and dry fire at the target regardless of were you are at in the movement. You will find yourself shooting from the ground, squat, standing, and all sorts of awkward positions throughout the workout.
Add up your score at the end of the workout and log the total to track your progress.
Make the workout more realistic by training the way you fight. For Military and police train in your complete load out. Civilian/ Sheepdog try this workout using the equipment that you carry while wearing your daily clothes.
Join Some Sort of Combative Training
To truly weaponize your fitness I highly recommend finding a training facility that specializes in Krav Maga over all self-defense, Kali for weapons training, Jiu Jitsu or wrestling for ground fighting, and boxing to add to your toolbox.
This is a great way to train in a controlled environment where you can feel what it is like to be in combat with another human. Learn to feel getting punched and what it is like to be turned into pretzel in a training facility as opposed to the street
Bonus Tip: Buy a Got Damn Shirt!