Archive for May, 2013

Since the Summer is upon us in the northeast many of my fellow urbanites are heading back to the gym. There are gym membership discounts advertised all over the place. This got me thinking, “is there a workout that would address the needs of an urban survivalist?”

Gym Meathead

I asked a personal trainer at a gym that advertised one of those special rates what he thought was a good workout for an urban survivalist. Okay, he never really did not understand what an urban survivalist is but he went on with his sales pitch anyway. He said all said the same things trainers have been telling me for years; strength training with cardio training…. duh. Of course now there are all these new machines in the gym that my money would be well spent on.

When I looked at all the meat heads at the gym, it reminded me when I was in the police academy. There were some very large muscle-bound guys there. The funny thing was that they consistently failed gym. They couldn’t run, do push ups or sit ups and could not hold up their own body weight for pull-ups. Wait a second! That’s it…. those are the skills one would need to employ to be a successful urban survivalist. You need to be able to run from danger, lift your own body weight to escape various situations, the strength to carry heavy objects and the stamina to not gas out when you are defending yourself. Frankly, the gym machines are not the answer. But I did find inspiration in the most unlikely of places.

Inmates exercise at the California Institution for Men state prison in Chino

I remembered many years ago there was a park in NYC that was a block away from the “tombs” …. the local jail. Every day there were these guys who would work out in the park using only what was in the park as their equipment. It reminded me of how inmates worked out. They even had the quintessential convict physique. If you live in any urban environment, you know what I mean. You can tell when someone just got of the joint just by the way they look. Now, they had no choice on the equipment, that is a given; but they adapted to their environment and were able to condition their bodies to do what they needed to do. Run, jump, carry and fight. I am not going to glorify what these guys do. Instead I will take what i learned from them and adapt it to our needs. Given the light-hearted theme of this blog…. I present the manly art of playground workout (see below). If you can get past the guy’s mustache, it is really a good balanced workout. As you progress, you can add other elements. My friend has taken to lifting boulders on the beach….. If you have any other good workout ideas, use the comment function and share with the rest of us.

Playground Workout