Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Chad Howse. Awhile back, Chad did an awesome series for us on the basics of boxing. Today he’s starting a new fantastic series on hero training. Every other week, Chad will give Art of Manliness readers a workout based on building the strength and fitness needed to tackle a heroic task. Even if you never have to step in to save the day, it’s just a fun way to focus on functional fitness and motivate yourself to get in shape!
Every man wants to be a hero. We all have that desire to come to the aid of another human being, but do we have the skills and attributes to actually succeed?
If you witnessed a purse snatching, would you have the speed to chase down the bad guy even if he had a 50-meter head start? Do you have the leaping ability to jump from rooftop to rooftop, or the strength to climb a rope hanging off the side of bridge with hungry crocodiles waiting in the water below?
Are you strong enough, and do you have the muscular endurance to lift another human being and carry them to safety? Do you have the pulling strength to lift an object off of someone in distress, or the pushing strength to push a fallen beam off of yourself?
It’s great if you want to be a hero. But I’m here to show you how to actually succeed when–heaven forbid–you have to jump into action and save someone, or yourself.
During this series I’ll be going over just that: the training that will equip you with the skills needed to save the day. I’ll go over steps you’ll need to take to conquer each attribute, then follow it up with a video demonstration of what kind of training you would need to be able to confidently succeed in each scenario.
Let’s get started!
Mission #1: Chasing Down the Purse Snatcher
There are a few things to think about when training for this situation:
1. The explosive speed needed for the start of the sprint and the first 10-20 meters.
2. The endurance should the chase go longer than expected.
The “Chase Down the Purse Snatcher Workout”
The first part of the workout, when our bodies are fresh and energized, will be dedicated to improving our explosive power. We’ll have a weightlifting portion in the workout, as well as a plyometrics component.
The second half of the workout will be dedicated to improving our muscular endurance and lung capacity through a challenge workout, then putting our training into practice with some short sprints.
This is one of the best exercises for building athletic power, making it perfect for our mission. Make sure to start off with a light weight, improve your form, then begin increasing weight.
The deadlift is one of the best exercises for building athletic power in the lower body and hips. In the video, I’m using a relatively light weight to demonstrate, but if you’ve done this exercise before and have developed the proper form, you should be lifting around 85% of your 1 rep max.
Focus on a quick, explosive lift, then a slower and controlled down phase.
* Cleans and snatches are also great substitutions if you’re looking for some variation in the workout. They’re both a bit more difficult, and it’s harder to master proper technique, but I’m a huge fan of Olympic lifts for improving power from an athletic standpoint.
Plyometric exercises are designed to build our fast-twitch muscle fibers. We need to be explosive from the time we see the crime being committed, and each of these exercises will help us do so.
Plyometrics are used by sprinters, basketball players, football players, and any other type of athlete that needs to improve their power, speed, and quickness. They’re a great addition to our routine, and the best thing is, you don’t need any weights to do them.
The Catch the Purse-Snatcher Challenge Workout
To improve our muscular endurance and lung capacity, we’ll be doing a “Catch the Purse Snatcher” Challenge workout. You’ll be given a list of exercises and the amount of repetitions you have to complete for each exercise.
Challenge workouts aren’t just physical tests, but mental tests as well. They test our toughness and our desire to push through pain.
- Complete the total amount of reps in each exercise–with minimal rest–before moving on to the next.
- Start timing when you begin the first exercise in the list. Only stop the clock after you’ve completed every rep of every exercise in the workout.
- Time yourself each time you perform the challenge workout so you can see your improvement. The goal is to improve every time you do it.
We need exercises that will build full-body strength, but also get us used to having our blood pumping throughout our body, not just being isolated or relegated to one muscle group like you’ll see in bodybuilding. This will help us get used to being fatigued, while still having the wherewithal and ability to grab a hold of the bad guy and retrieve the lady’s purse.
We’re working on sprinting right? So we’re actually going to have to put our training into practice. We’re working on explosiveness, so we’re only going to be focusing on the first 10 meters of our chase.
Head outside for the sprinting portion of the workout; it isn’t as effective if you try and do this on a treadmill as you won’t be able to get to your top speed as fast as you should be able to. You can also do this portion of the workout up a set of stairs.
Make sure you get a good enough warm-up in! The first 1-2 times you do sprints, don’t go more than 90% if you haven’t sprinted in a while. It’s a great way to pull a hamstring (not what we want).
Splitting the Workouts to Save Time
If you’re pressed for time, split the workout into two days. Do all of the power exercises–which include deadlifts, box jumps, and sprints–on one day, then the Endurance Challenge on another day. This will cut the time down to around 20 minutes each workout.
The key to this workout is intensity. Jump as high as possible, lift as fast as possible, and sprint as quickly as possible; in short, push yourself as hard as you can. We’re going for quality over quantity so the intensity that you put into each workout will give you the tools to catch the bad guy.
Burpees: 2 sets of 10 reps
Rest for 120 seconds after each set.
1. Deadlift (use a barbell or dumbbells if a bar isn’t available).
A1. 3 sets of 3 repetitions (120 second rest after each set).
B1. Box jumps 1:
6 reps x 2 (120 seconds rest after each set).
B2. Box jumps 2:
10 reps x 1 (120 seconds rest).
3. Challenge Workout
50 reps of each exercise
2. Kettlebell Swings (use a dumbbell if no kettlebell is available)
3. Bodyweight Row
5. Lunge Jumps (50 each leg)
6. High knees (60 seconds)
4×10 meters – 120 sec rest between sprints.
Hero Training Workout Series:
Chase Down a Purse Snatcher Workout
Pulling to Safety Workout
Carry a Person to Safety Workout
Lift an Object Off Someone in Distress Workout
Leaping Ability Workout
Putting It All Together
Chad Howse is the founder of Chad Howse Fitness: a community dedicated to helping guys build a strong body and a strong life. The site focuses on building lean, athletic muscle, but also a range of topics including goal-setting, motivation, improving performance, and various other lifestyle and training content dedicated to helping readers build their best body and best life.