Apocalypse Training, Part #1- Training for the Slow Apocalypse and Zombie Armageddon - Chaos and Pain
Apocalypse Training, Part #1- Training for the Slow Apocalypse and Zombie Armageddon

Apocalypse Training, Part #1- Training for the Slow Apocalypse and Zombie Armageddon

Posted by Jamie Lewis on 29 Jul 2018

One question often asked of strength coaches, and answered in some of the most bizarre ways, is that in which one seeks to know how best to train for a given sport. My answer is invariably that I have never done so, and barely even bother to train with much specificity for powerlifting. Instead, I train my body to ensure that I am essentially encased in the most brutally strong suit of muscular armor I can produce, leaving few to no weak points. This has always worked well for me, but for some reason people are hell bent on training specifically for sports.


I've never been, and never will be, in the business of hand feeding the Chaos and Pain community, and I would assume sport specific conversation is boring an easy enough for anyone with more intellect than your average Bachelor contestant to figure out, so I'm definitely never going to write about it- I have far better ways to waste my time. Instead, I am going to drag you proverbial horses to the water, force your goddamned heads into the river, and make you chug a bellyful of delicious, watery knowledge before you can come up for air. Put another way, I'll bury my cock of wisdom down your throats and make you choke on it until I fire a couple of loads of genius directly into your stomach brain. However it helps you to understand what's about to happen, I don't care- just pick your poison.


When determining if and how your training is going to change for a given activity, be it a massive orgy, playing Australian Rules Football, or switching from powerlifting to strongman, it helps to make two lists- one for the the skills you will need in that activity, and another for your personal strength and fitness oriented weaknesses. For the latter, we're looking at movements, planes of movement, strength endurance requirements, and cardio requirements that you can add into a program built around brutal strength. That's right- brutal, single effort, catastrophic, soul-wrenching, face-smashing strength will always be the crux of a strength program, because it's a goddamned strength program. Anyone who tells you they don't need to be brutally strong for any sport is 1) not an athlete, 2) certainly never going to be strong, and 3) a full-blown retard, because hell- even badminton players are juicing these days.


Slow Apocalypse

This may not be considered one of the most exciting apocalyptic scenarios, but it's certainly the most likely. Also described as post-peak oil, this sort of an apocalypse generally involves the destruction of the world's remaining oil supply, the gradual decline of the West's standard of living and concomitant fall of the federal government, and the struggles of the survivors to pick up the pieces. In this scenario, travel is extremely limited, electrical power is often unreliable and difficult to come by, and edible resources are either difficult to reach or in short supply. For more on this, see: Ready Player One, The Postmortal, Mad Max, Patriots, Slow Apocalypse, The Wind Up Girl.


Clearly, the variety of scenarios here can make training for the coming apocalypse a bit daunting- this apocalypse could come in any number of varieties, from battling punk-rock biker gangs clad head to toe in body armor constructed from car tires and athletic equipment to holing up in a farmhouse and battling the UN when they try to conscript you into some sort of global army for the purpose of putting the entire world under a single "benevolent" socialist regime. No matter how it happens, however, you're going to need the following:

  • A reasonable degree of cardiovascular capacity. You'll likely not need to run long distances, but you'll definitely need to be able to hike long distances.
  • Crushing grip strength and endless grip endurance. In a slow apocalypse, there will be little to no electricity, which means you will be carrying and hauling things by hand. You'll also engage in your fair share of hand to hand combat, in which grip strength is always a boon.
  • Incredible back strength and endurance. Again, you'll be hauling and carrying a lot of crap. Back strength will be more necessary in the apocalypse than a handful of condoms in a Ugandan whorehouse.
  • Above average hand to hand combat skills. Between the roving gangs, starving thieves coming to loot your headquarters, UN storm troopers trying to manhandle you, and those pesky cannibals who always have a tendency to get a bit rapey, being able to defend yourself will be key.
  • Combined arm and shoulder strength and endurance. All of your daily activities will rely heavily on the strength and endurance of your arms and shoulders- you'll be erecting fences, digging ditches, mending all sorts of broken stuff, and battling ne'er-do-wells constantly.Weak arms will mean that you'll likely end up in a gimp suit with a constant flow of semen leaking from your ass.

You don't have to be jacked to thrive in the apocalypse, apparently.


Using myself as the trainee, I know my weaknesses associated with the foregoing are:

  • Cardio. I have the cardiovascular capacity, at the moment, of an emphysematic who barely survived a mustard gassing 50 years ago and only has one lung. I literally have gotten tunnel vision while masturbating in the last week. It's possible someone on an iron lung could outpace me in a three mile race. As such, I will need to up my game.
  • Flexibility. Though I didn't mention it above, I am so inflexible I have trouble putting on shoes and socks, and my lat cramps horribly when I wipe my ass. That might prove to be a problem if I have to actually use my massive strength for a real world purpose.
  • Grip Strength. My grip strength is more than adequate, but having worked white collar jobs my entire life, it's hardly what it would need to be to support constant manual labor.

The Mad Max Says Eff Yo' Couch Program

Because I always train 6 days a week, we will stick with that. I'll assume that the coming collapse is imminent and that I have a rough idea of when the bottom will drop out. Thus, for the next 16 weeks I will do the following:

Day 1

AM

15 Minutes sledgehammer slams on tire (for cardio and grip)

300 pullups, 600 dips

PM

High Pulls- 6x3

Snatch Grip Behind the Neck Strict Press- 10x10

Various arm work

Day 2

AM

Krav Maga or MMA

PM

Front Squat- 6x3

Stone Loading

Calves and Abs

Day 3

AM

Same as Day 1

PM

Bench Press- 6x3, 5x1, 2 death sets with 60% 1RM

Push Press- 4x3, 4x1

Various arm work

Day 4

AM

Same as Day 2

PM

Shrugs- 8x8

Pendlay Rows- 6x3

Hamstrings- high rep

Calves- high rep

Forearms- high rep

Day 5

AM

Steady state cardio- weighted vest walking or something similar

PM

Speed Squats or Jump Squats- 6x3 (for explosive strength)

Close grip Bench Press- 5x3

Pull-Throughs- 6x3

Weighted Pullups- 5x5

Day 6

Strongman Implements- Mix and Match (to build raw, real-world strength handling ungainly objects)


The program above would be easily modifiable, would meet all of the goals set forth, and would build a serious foundation of strength on which you could call in any situation. The interesting thing, here, is that this program doesn't really differ appreciably from what I already do, save for the cardio, mma, and strongman. As I stated at the outset, just about any non-retarded strength program should give you a great base of strength from which you could survive an apocalypse. the problem with the programs most people pick, however, is that they're so light on accessory training for fear of "overtraining" that they build into your body gaping holes in smaller muscle groups that play supporting roles. For real world applications, it's these muscles that actually need the most attention and conditioning. Despite what the internet gurus might tell you, neglecting your accessory work is retarded, and if you find yourself puking blood or turning into a bright green fairy or whatever the hell is supposed to happen when the overtraining boogeyman visits your butthole in the middle of the night, you probably have AIDS and should head to the hospital. It's not possible for a healthy person to be that weak.


Zombie Apocalypse

Ah, the zombie apocalypse. Who among us hasn't thought long and hard about the zombie apocalypse, and what our course of action might be during one? Well, I have news for you- although you might think you have the perfect plan for the zombie apocalypse, mine beats the dogcrap out of yours for a variety of reasons: 1) you've not taken into account the fact that proper attire in a zombie apocalypse is critical, and 2) your method of combat for such an event pales in comparison to my own.

Looking stupid is far less a concern to me than surviving, obviously.


We will start at the beginning- news reports around the country start popping up with accounts of vicious bouts of cannibalism. States of emergency are declared. What's my first step? I head to my local mall for a couple of sets of motorcycle racing leathers, steel toed boots, motorcycle helmet, and a couple of sets of goggles. Then I hit up my local army navy surplus for a combat tomahawk, a Camelbak, and a couple of combat knives after filling my car with all of the non-perishable food (mostly chili, for the protein) and water I can fit in there. My logic- no human bite could make it through motorcycle leathers, and the extra padding in the racing leathers will give me extra protection. Motorcycle racing gloves are basically armor plated, so I won't be that asshole in every zombie film that dies after getting nipped on the hand doing something stupid. I can always add 4 sets of soccer shin guards- one pair to act as greaves, one pair to shield my forearms, and the extra pairs can be cut up with tin snips and sewn into the leathers as extra protection from bites. In that full regalia, I would be all but impervious to short-lived attacks by up to five or six zombies.

I don't know if she looks trustworthy, but I would claim she was even as she was stealing my kidneys on the off chance I could lick that retarded panda tattoo.


After weathering the initial culling, people are going to start venturing out looking for other survivors. Once I've got a crew of about ten or so trustworthy people, we make quick forays into places where we knew the police tried to "hold the line". Those places ought to be littered with discarded riot shields, which we will collect and store. Having done so, we will find a solid brick building with few windows (or barred windows) and a very good line of sight in all directions, obtain heavy chain link fencing, and set up a perimeter with that chain link. Having done so, we will then send out teams to obtain brick and mortar for the purposes of building a ten foot wall inside the initial perimeter with firing ports set into the brick at regular intervals at varying heights.

Once the wall is erected, we begin training with the riot shields and homemade spears in group cmbat tactics using a phalanx. That's right- we would use the ancient phalanx against zombies, which would work perfectly and should result in zero cases of infection when used in concert with my motorcycle leather-based armor, and would draw no attention from other humans or distant zombies because this style of combat would be relatively quiet. As we picked up more survivors, we could incorporate skirmishers to draw in zombies for slaughter and to attack zombie hordes from the rear, and employ small groups with firearms to deal with brigands and raiders.


Lest you worry that I'm simply buying in to the myths of the ancient Greeks and Spartans, consider this- even in a situation wherein you're facing both 28 Days Later style sprinter zombies and the slower, less active Romero-esque shambler zombies, a phalanx would work well. A ten man team could form two lines of five in picked ground to fight in choke points into which zombies could be forces, as the Spartans did at Thermopylae, and larger groups of twenty could easily hold their ground in open ground with the first line going for head shots and the second line backing them up with more spears and the use of their "pig-sticker" butt spikes to ensure the job is finished as the line surged forward. These Phalanxes would have no need of the insanely long Macedonian spear, which would make close quarters combat impractical, but would rather use seven foot double-tipped spears and cudgels. Just as the Greeks gave rise to Western civilization in the past, their military tactics would again allow Western civilization to rise from the ashes of a zombie apocalypse, all because I'm a goddamned genius. 

For more information on zombie apocalypses, I recommend: The Rising, Doghouse, The Horde, The Stink of FleshThis Dark Earth.


Strengths This Would Require:

  • Incredibly strong shoulders with preternatural strength endurance. Fending off the zombie hordes with one arm will be brutal, but continually thrusting your spear overhand will be even moreso. Lacking shoulder strength or endurance here means you not only turn yourself into a zombie char siu bao, but you turn your whole crew into a veritable George Romero-approved pu pu platter.
  • Legendary arm strength and endurance. Same deal- unless you feel like getting nibbled on, time to do some curls for the girls.
  • Static pec strength more long lasting than Nick Manning in a porn shoot filled with ugly broads and a cock shot full of Novocaine. What do you think all of that forward push strength is going to flow through in a phalanx? How about your left pec. Bench bros of the world, unite!
  • Tree trunk legs that are unstoppable over a short range of motion. No need to squat ATG here, USAPL apologists- you've just got to be able to flex and extend, with a hell of a lot of force and support strength, over a few inches of ROM. Phalanxes might surge, but you're still not taking huge steps or leaping out of a third world squat- the key here is to be able to hold your position against a great weight.
  • Grip strength that would put Diesel Crew to shame. Just holding a spear, nevermind stabbing rotting corpses in the face with it, for long periods of time would require massive grip strength and endurance.

Using myself as the trainee, I know my weaknesses associated with the foregoing are:

  • Grip Strength. As I stated above, my grip strength is more than adequate, but having worked white collar jobs my entire life, it's hardly what it would need to be to support constant manual labor or battling zombie with a spear. Since I don't think strapping up on the spear is feasible, I might want to work that grip.

Since cardio isn't an overriding factor in this situation, I would happily use this broad to help me repopulate the world, provided one of our work-camp slaves would raise the kids and I never had to see them.

The Fearless Zombie Slaughtering Phalanx Program

Day 1

AM

Sled push for a half hour (this would work on cardio a bit and prepare me for second-line pushing in a phalanx)

300 pullups, 600 dips (dat arm endurance, bro)

PM

Squat lockouts- 10x2

Snatch Grip Behind the Neck Strict Press- 5x10

High Pulls- 6x3 (because your traps can never be too big or too strong)

Various arm work

Day 2

AM

15 Minutes sledgehammer slams on tire (for cardio and grip)

PM

Bench Press Lockouts (1/4 reps off pins with a ten second hold)- 10x2

Bench Press- 4x6

Grip, Calves, Abs

Day 3

AM

Light stone load for time- 165 lb stone onto platform as may times as possible in 30 mins (back conditioning and cardio)

PM

Shrugs- 8x8

Pendlay Rows- 6x3

Hamstrings- high rep

Calves- high rep

Forearms- high rep

Day 4

AM

Same as Day 1

PM

Squat Lockouts (top half, ten second holds)- 6x3

Push Press- 6x3

Weighted Pullups-5x5

Weighted Dips- 5x5

Day 5

AM

Thirty minute festival of nonstop light, high rep bicep and tricep work

PM

Close grip Bench Press- 5x3

Reverse Grip Barbell Curls- 10x10

Pull-Throughs- 6x3

Calves, Abs, Forearms

Day 6

Strongman Implements- Mix and Match (to build raw, real-world strength handling ungainly objects- focus heavily on yoke and farmer's carry)

It might prep you for skating away from rapists in prison...

As you can see- the two don't differ wildly, and there is no need for wobble boards, slide boards, agility ladders, or any of the other "sport specific" bullcrap you see brazenly spewing from the mouths of strength coaches who are neither strong nor formerly successful athletes. Instead, you take a proven method and alter it slightly to match whatever specific needs you might find in a sport or apocalypse and sally the hell forth.

Those of you who follow the Chaos and Pain Facebook page, which you should probably go ahead and like to get in on the fun, know I held a contest to see who had the best answer to the question of how to train for a zombie apocalypse. The winner of the competition (who's getting a month's supply of free CNP supplements) had a wildly different take than my own, mostly because he's not obsessed with the idea of using phalanx warfare against the zombie hordes. I'm assuming he's current of former military, as his answer was very heavy on rucking and hiking, and his name is John Scanaliato. While I may have taken an entirely different tack on how to train for the same apocalypse, our reasoning for training the way we are is what's important- he sees an entirely different skill set as necessary for this apocalyptic scenario. 

In any event, here's his take:


So we’ve got shamblers and sprinters. I’m starting with a few assumptions. First, no matter where I try to hide they will find me. I’m also going to assume that my selection of weaponry is going to be limited and my best friend for the immediate future will be a reasonable heavy blunt object. I’m also going to assume that we’re talking about physical and mental training. Survival training is a whole ‘nother can of worms and, frankly, out of the scope of C&P. Let’s focus on sport specific training.

I think that survival is going to come down to three main factors.

  1. Are you mentally strong enough to push through pain and possible injury to continue fighting and surviving?
  2. Do you have the legs and lungs required to move over and up long distances and unpredictable terrain?
  3. Are you strong enough to kill efficiently and effectively?

Out of these three factors I think number one is not only the most important, but also the hardest to train. Brute strength won’t mean jack when your ex-neighbors are chowing down on your carotid artery and turning your skin into a cloak. You need to be willing to fight and move when you’ve lost everything. We’ll touch more on training number one shortly.

I think that legs and lungs are going to be more important than brute strength. Anyone, trained or untrained, can swing an aluminum pipe or bat laterally into someone’s knee hard enough to cause irrecoverable damage. That needs to be the goal here – reduce sprinters to shamblers and keep moving.

I’m assuming that we’ll be carrying supplies in backpack. I think that the bread and butter of my training would be weighted step-ups and hiking. I’m talking about putting 40# - 60# in a pack and hiking or climbing until I’m absolutely smoked. Wash, rinse, and repeat. Look at the issues that US troops first had upon engaging the Taliban in Afghanistan- we were plenty strong enough in the gym, but they were better adapted to fighting in mountainous environments. You’re going to be moving up and down stairs and up and down hills, as the high ground is the strong ground. I’d also be sure to include sprint, sled and hill sprint training, preferably with a pack or body armor (to add weight). You will need to be conditioned to moving for long periods and at high speed carrying weight. I also think that all long distance training should be done carrying a 10# iron pole. You need to be comfortable carrying your weapon. It’s foolish to think that you’re going to be able to find a samurai sword or a reliable machete. Pipes and bats however, will be plentiful.

Strength training will need to be focused on legs, static and dynamic core strength, and shoulders. You’re not going to punch these zombies to death and, if you try, you’re not going to live long enough to realize your mistake. Once again, all of my training would be done with either a weight vest or body armor on- you NEED to train with that extra weight above your center of gravity. Lifts I would focus on would be squat variations (high bar, pause, jump), deadlift variations (deficit, rack pulls, standard), core work (planks, rotational work, sledge swings, bat swings), explosive shoulder work (push presses, BTN push presses, jerks) and pullups/dips (you need to be able to move your body weight). Outside of the gym I’d start bouldering 2 – 3 times per week and maybe pick up weakass yoga once a week to teach me relaxation techniques. You’re going to need to be able to calm yourself down.

Ranger Up literally has zombie apocalypse gear, in case you're in the market.

In terms of a training program we’re looking at something like this

Mon

AM

Weighted hike/stepups. Start and work your way up to 2-3 hours.

PM

Pick a squat variation, a deadlift variation, a press variation and put together a pullup/dip/core circuit. Limit the rest periods and do everything with body armour/weight vest. Aim for 5x5 and add weight weekly

Tues

AM

Rest

PM

Bouldering and sprint training (sprints are done with a vest), “fight” training i.e. swings, heavy bag

Weds

AM

Long slow distance run – work up to 1 hour at least, preferably 1.5 hours

PM

Same as Monday, take 75% of the weight and do a 3x3, also do your core/pullups/dips

Thurs

AM

Rest

PM

Bouldering/hill sprints/sled drags (sprints and sled are done with weight vest/armour) and “fight” training

Fri

AM

Yoga [Editor's note: My dick goes to yoga / yo' dick... fruit roll up]

PM

Same as Monday, except work up to some heavy doubles.

Sat

AM

Weighted hike/stepups. Go long, ideally being able to hike for 3 hours with a pretty heft weighted pack

PM

Rest

Sun

AM

Long slow recovery run. 30 – 45 minutes., easy fight training afterwards, focus on swinging a variety of objects and weapons.

PM

Rest

I think that doing everything with a weight vest or armor will slowly but surely help to build the psychological resilience that is going to be needed in order to survive. I think that a plan similar to this one will build legs, lungs and the fighting core that will allow you to move, fight and then keep moving. You wont be over-encumbered by carrying weight in a backpack and you’ll have the strength and skills necessary to climb, run, sprint, pull yourself up, and move efficiently and effectively.

Not pictured- magic.


Since I am enjoying this and doubtless about to field 43,000 thousand questions from rugby athletes, all of whom seem to think that I am some sort of weightlifting wizard with a magical potion I can infuse into their systems via repeated and deep colonics that will magically make them into Jonah Lomu, I will continue this in a second installment covering programming for a robopocalypse and a nuclear holocaust. Maybe, just maybe, some of you will catch on. All except the rugby players, of course.