Into the Wild: Call of the Todd Style

A friend of mine is getting a travelling job that will take him to the place where life has no warning label and everything can seemingly kill you: Alaska. Specifically it will take him to a remote section of Alaska where he might not have any access to a real gym or limited access at that. So our idea is with only having a weight vest and maybe a sandbag or two what type of training program can we put together for him to keep his strength up (and be awesome).

My first recommendation was to just go up there and fight bears, but that might be a bit imbalanced on the risk/reward ratio. So the goal now will be to put together a program that will test him and allow him to still make progress without the use of barbells as frequently as would be preferred. When he does get a chance to lift weights in a gym his goal should be to train total body, and specifically hit some squats and presses and see what other volume that he can get in with bar weight when he can. For the rest of the time here is what I would suggest:

Lifting days:

Day 1: Total body strength

With the vest on and any other extra weight he has available he does squats, push ups, and pullups. With the goal of; when he manages a solid set of ten then he starts to try and add in more resistance. Once he maxes out the resistance that he has available then it is time to keep adding reps. If the number gets above 20 then maybe try and find a harder variation like; handstand push ups, dips, one arm pull ups, or single leg squats (pistol squats). Aim to use simple progressive resistance on this with warming up with bodyweight and then add a little more each set. Hit a top set each day and then back down with sets of ten, or cut down to 60-70% of your highest external load and then hit 3-5 sets of 10 reps.

Day 2: work capacity circuit

Start with the light vest on and do a set of pushups, then perform walking lunges (ten on each leg) to the pull up bar, or body weight low rows bar and do a set, then  lunge over and do a set of sit ups followed again by push ups and repeat this circuit for half an hour. Take and track how many reps on each exercise you can get. Don’t worry about adding weight, in fact for the first few times just do this with bodyweight.

Day 3: Do fun stuff

Find an upper body push, upper body pull, lower body, and ab exercise and have at getting better at it. This could be one arm push ups, muscle ups, Bulgarian split squats, and dragon flags. Aim to get up to ten solid reps of each exercise and when you get to that point it is time to add resistance. The idea is to give yourself a challenge and have fun with it. Figure you are going to do at least 6 sets of each exercise with a top end of 20 sets. Quality trumps quantity here. Aim to do the best on each rep of every set. This is why you might end up doing 20 sets of 3 as opposed to 6 sets of 10 sloppy reps.

Conditioning days:

Day 1: Take a hike

You are in Alaska, freaking hike around and take in the sights while you can. Just go for long distance out there in the awesome and cover some serious ground (hike five miles at a minimum). Each time try to vary up where you go, but aim to at least power walk it so you are getting in some actually conditioning by doing it. Also keep a knife with you or otherwise to defend yourself.

For protection while hiking. Picture credit to Lauren Lane

Day 2: Run hills

Pretty simple, find a decent hill and run up it. Then walk back down it and repeat that again. Do this enough that you feel you have rationalized your existence for the day. Also feel free to do variations like bear crawl forwards and backwards, lunge, back pedal, slide, and crabwalk for the real masochist. For the first workout aim for 10 total hills and then try to slowly add in a few more reps each time you go out there. Also feel free to cycle between a long hill (100-400 yards) and a short hill (20-50 yards).

Day 3: Encumbered hiking

Do a shorter version of what you did on day one, now go hiking with your weight vest on. Aim to go out there for half an hour to an hour. You do this at the end of the week and not only will you get more fresh air and get to see more scenery, but get in better shape and conditioning especially in your traps and core. Go for time on this not distance like before.

Wrap up

Alternate between conditioning days and strength days through the week. Feel free to do both on the same day, but in that case strength first before training conditioning. So after these days of training take one day each week where you just relax, or go for an easy hike. Do be sure that you are hitting a good warm up before you start doing anything heavy and keep enjoying the great outdoors. Also, don’t fight bears, well if you do be sure that you have a solid living will. Thanks for reading and if you have any questions as always leave comment.


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