Feb 12

Prepper Fitness Assessment (PFA)

You have a 2 year supply of food in your bunker and a way to filter thousands of gallons of water from the river which runs by your property. You can shoot the hair off of a gnat’s anus at 1000 yards. You own a lifted 450 HP 4×4 on 33 inch tires which runs on banana peels and MRE pound cake wrappers. You own guns, thousands of rounds of ammunition and think nothing of dropping $1,000 per month on survival supplies. Yet despite all that, you cannot do 20 pushups, run 4 blocks without puking, do 1 pullup, and have never shouldered your 75lb BOB much less attempting to walk anywhere with it on. You my friend…are doomed if SHTF ever occurs. Sure you might outlast the unprepared sheeple initially but if your fitness level is anything similar to what I have described above there will come a time (despite your preps) when physical strength/endurance (or a lack thereof) will mean the difference between surviving and becoming a statistic.

This might be the point where some might interject that mental toughness supersedes that of physical toughness, and I would disagree. While it is important to be mentally tough, to have the fortitude and “never quit” attitude to survive in tough situations, all the mental toughness in the world isn’t going to magically give a couch potato the strength to carry a casualty a few hundred meters over uneven terrain while physically exhausted. The good news here is none of us need to be tri-athletes or Olympic gold medalists to survive SHTF but we should be capable of moderate physical work without keeling over and begging for mercy.

What follows is the Prepper Fitness Assessment (PFA). It reflects the MINIMUM standards which should be achieved when completing any one of these events. It’s safe to say that if you can successfully pass all of the events and achieve the minimum standard, you should consider yourself able to meet most of the common physical demands that could be presented during SHTF.  For best results do all of the events at once and in order, giving yourself 10 minutes between each event.

Minimum Standards for the PFA

Pushups. 1 minute: 25 reps. Make sure to go all the way down and up, keeping your body in a generally straight line while you conduct the exercise. Make sure to stay in the pushup position during the entire 1 minute, do not drop to your knees.

Situps. 1 minute: 30 reps. Have someone hold your feet or stick them under the couch. Your hands can be folded across your chest or behind your head. Make sure to go all the way up until you are vertical and come back down until the base of your shoulder blades touch the ground.

Pullups. 1 minute: 15 reps. Palms facing towards you or facing away, it doesn’t matter. Full extension is necessary when completing this event, in that you go all the way down and then all the way up (chin over the bar). Try to avoid too much body swing. You have 1 minute to complete the event, it’s ok to drop from the bar to rest as long as you complete 15 in the time prescribed.

1 Mile run. 10 minutes. The most basic test of physical stamina, remember these are minimum standards. Make sure to wear decent running shoes and appropriate clothing. Additionally, 1 mile in 10 minutes on the treadmill does not count (it should be done outside).

Casualty Carry. 100 yard fireman’s carry, non-stop. During your bugout your wife slips and snaps an ankle while out in the woodline taking care of her business. You can hear shouting which might mean bad guys have spotted your car (up on the road) and they are heading your way: fast. You need to be able to toss your wife over your shoulder and get both of you back to the car so that you can evac that position ASAP. This event will measure your ability to do just that.

Rucksack march. 6 miles, 45lb pack, 90 minutes. It’s been 6 months since T-SHTF. The golden horde is coming and there is no way you can defend in place, you have to leave but the roads are blocked and there is no gasoline avaialbe. That fancy bugout bag filled with goodies isn’t going to carry itself now is it, and the real question remains: are you even capable of shouldering the load? This event will give you a good gauge as to your abilities to do just that. In addition it will help you ensure that all of your straps on your pack are set up correctly.

Swimming. Tread water: 3 minutes. An often overlooked element of fitness, being able to swim is a critical skill. You never know when you might end up in the water struggling against a river current or trying to pull a non-swimmer out of a lake. If you can complete this event in swim trunks, try doing it in full clothes while wearing hiking boots.

As always use caution and understand your limits before attempting these events. If you have been sitting on the couch for the past 5 years not doing much of anything, I do not suggest trying to go out tomorrow in order to give this a go. If you are out of shape fear not as there is no better time to start than now. Start slowly and build on your successes and in no time you’ll be able to complete the PFA and much more than you ever believed!  Remember everyone has to start sometime, and there is no better day than TODAY to start.

Disclaimer stuff:  I have no idea what type of shape you are in, and I have no idea if you are phsycially capable of doing the events described above without hurting yourself.  If you are in doubt check with your Doctor prior to attempting any of this, better safe than sorry.  If you need to start working out check out some of these tips I posted earlier and good luck!


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  1. Ranger W

    Like the PFA… the people that will be the problem after SHTF will be young, fit trouble makers. If someone has no problem breaking “small” laws now they will simply feel free once no one is enforcing the big laws. Also a good time for the pitch to elder preppers. Find someone healthy you can trust.

    1. PJ

      Might be a good line of work for those who are fit but don’t have all the preps they need, personal security detail for their elders.

  2. Billy P

    This is an excellent article. I have thought about this many times. Most preppers I know are fat and out of shape. There are many things that being in shape helps out with. Thanks for a heads up. I have designed a workout just for prepping that in focused on muscles that will be handy to have. If you are interested shoot me an email and I will gladly share it with you.


  3. Billy P

    Oh yeah it will be free. I am not trying to make money off this. I am just wanting to share

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