Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Chad Howse. For this 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!
A hero is a man of distinguished courage and ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities.
Assuming you have the courage to attempt a heroic deed, you then need to develop the ability to be able to complete it successfully.
Courage is a great and noble attribute to possess. But without the ability to save someone, you’re more likely to risk your own life, as well as the life of the person you’re trying to save.
Carrying someone to safety is no easy task. It takes strength, endurance, and technique.
We’ve seen it in the movies a hundred times, but this is a situation that could realistically occur in real life as well. You could have to carry your wife if she sprains her ankle on a hike, or put your own life in danger, rescuing someone from a burning building.
Brute strength will definitely help with this task, as will proper technique. If you can carry someone safely and remain injury free yourself, you’re more likely to succeed–both strength and technique play a role in that.
Muscular endurance and mental toughness will be important as well. Who knows how long you’re going to have to carry this person or the dangers you’ll face in even attempting to do so? You’d better be able to withstand the pain that your body is going to go through–no matter how long it takes and whatever the dangers you encounter in the process.
The keys in successfully completing this mission:
- grip strength
- lifting strength/power
- muscular endurance
- lifting technique
The Carrying to Safety Workout
For lifting power, we’re going to focus on “Cleans,” one of the best exercises for building explosive, athletic power. We’ll be using lower reps, with a greater rest period in-between each set.
To build our strength, muscular endurance, and mental toughness, we’re going to be doing an especially hard challenge workout this week. Due to the fact that most of our lifting strength comes from our legs, we’re going to be focusing on lower body exercises. But we’ll also add in some pulling and pushing exercises that will help us lift and carry the victim.
For the challenge workout, complete each exercise for the allotted reps consecutively while taking minimum rest periods.
Exercise 1 – Cleans
4 sets of 3 repetitions – 2 minute break between each set.
The Challenge Workout
30 repetitions for each exercise unless otherwise stated.
1. Farmer’s walk – 60 seconds total
2. Hack Squat
3. Lumberjack Press
4. Front Squat
5. Upright Row
6. Lunge Walk (each leg)
7. Heavy Bag Walk – 30 feet 6x
Weights to Use (3 categories):
Note: You want to continue progressing, so use these weights as a starting point. But if you’re not failing at least 2-3 times per exercise, add weight.
- Cleans: 65 lbs, 95 lbs, 155 lbs
- Farmer’s Walk: 20 lbs, 40 lbs, 80 lbs
- Lumberjack Press: 45 lbs, 65 lbs, 95 lbs
- Front Squat: 45 lbs, 95 lbs, 135 lbs
- Upright Row: 45 lbs, 65 lbs, 135 lbs
- Lunge Walk: 45 lbs, 95 lbs, 135 lbs
Exercise Tips and Technique
Lift with your legs, keeping the weight close to your body throughout. As the weight gets to about chest height, drop underneath and finish with a front squat.
2. Upright Row
Use a bit of a heavier weight, but get your legs into the lift. We want to build power with this exercise. Treat it as if it’s a clean without the last phase of the lift.
3. Lunge Walk
Choose a lighter weight for this exercise and focus on technique. Your front foot should hold the majority of the weight. Make sure your knees, chest, and head don’t move past your front toe. Keep the weight focused towards the heel of your front foot. This will take stress off of your knees and place it on your hips which are much better equipped to handle the load without experiencing injury.
4. Front Squat
Make sure your chest, knees, and head don’t move past your toes. Keep the majority of your weight towards the heel as well. You want to keep your chest parallel to the wall in front of you while sticking your butt out during the lift. This helps take the stress off of your lower back and puts it on your quads and hips.
5. Hack Squat
The same rules apply to the hack squat that apply to the front squat. You want to sit back with the weight. At first it might be tough to balance, and you may scrape the backs of your legs, but it’s a great exercise for building strength in your quads.
Start with a light weight and work on your technique before adding any weight.
In addition to having the strength and endurance to carry someone to safety, you also need to know how to do it. Read this post to learn how to perform the fireman’s carry.
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