skip to Main Content
Strength Tip Of The Day…Survival Strength

Strength Tip Of The Day…Survival Strength

by: Brandon Richey

Strength Tip Of The Day…Survival Strength

Lone Survivor

This past weekend me and my fiancé went to see the new movie Lone Survivor with Mark Wahlberg. The movie is based around the real life experience and book Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell. Lone Survivor tells the story of four Navy SEALs on a mission to kill a Taliban terrorist and end up getting surrounded and into a violent firefight with hostiles in a mountainous region of Afghanistan.

Survival Strength…

This movie definitely had some gut wrenching scenes that were tough to watch, especially knowing this was based off of real life. Those men never ever ever gave up on the side of that mountain and displayed a level of strength and courage that pierced me to the core. I’ve got to admit that it inspired me to write this post because all of us fight battles, but somebody always has it worse my friend.

So what is survival strength? Well I figured I would focus in on the true identity of strength/fitness for today. You see contrary to popular belief the true purpose of strength is about being able to move well, to lift stuff, to throw stuff, and to acquire physical skills to help us to survive the demands of our environment. 

Get yourself some of these to help out with adapting to your environment!

Authentic RKC Kettlebells

One of the readers to my blog and a great example of “being fit for his environment” (Doc) had commented on one of my post a while back referencing an Anthropology professor quoting him as saying “There is no such thing as survival of the fittest as there are many kinds of fit.” –(Dr. Fernandez). This is a very true statement because our environment generally influences the type of fitness we should be obtaining, which by the way may say a lot about America’s current obesity epidemic, but I digress. 

The point is that Doc brings up a very important observation in terms of acquiring strength based upon one’s environment, situation, and need. The circumstances change and so does the approach of one to acquire the skills he/she should have in order to thrive in their particular environment. This is the purpose of survival strength. 

Look I don’t want to come across sounding like a Doomsday Prepper or anything, but the fact is that there is always a need for survival strength as long as there are humans, period. I don’t care how “civilized” or how “progressive” a so-called society is human nature is human nature, and believe me the shit can always hit the fan! The point is that it’s natural for us to seek out trying to be the strongest and fittest that we all can possibly be for ourselves because that’s what we’re designed to do. 

Here’s a great resource for you to learn more about becoming the strongest/fittest version of yourself!

Convict Conditioning, Volume 2: The Ultimate Bodyweight Squat Course

If you disagree with that then take a look at this little video here of my good friend and retired Navy SEAL Brad McLeod demonstrating and talking about some basic survival moves he’s always done outdoors. 

Now do you get an idea of what I’m talking about? You see survival strength is a necessity and you can acquire it by training in your natural environment, but if you use the luxury of a gym then you just need to understand how to produce the proper training stresses in order to provide you with the physical skills you need to thrive in your environment. 

The key to developing a sound level of survival strength is making sure to implement some high end functional lifting. Being able to squat a gazillion pounds is great, but once you do then you better be capable of dragging a sled, running, and throwing a medicine ball like Vince Vaughn in the movie Dodgeball. 

In order to acquire a sound level of functional strength and cardiovascular conditioning a healthy dose of kettlebells and interval sprints can never hurt. Check out this little interval training video I did a while back out at the track. I know it’s not the forrest, but it is me utilizing what’s around me in order to acquire a sound level of functional strength and a respectable level of cardiovascular conditioning. 

One of the key things to remember about your own level of fitness in order to acquire a solid level of survival strength is to work on mobilizing your joints, particularly your hips and shoulders. You see our “modern environment” has really worked to damage our shoulders and hips due to lifestyle factors relating to the prevalence of jobs that require the act of sitting. 

Sitting and remaining stationary for hours on end is a true killer to optimizing our mobility because our bodies literally develop for the act of “sitting.” This is the one example where it is NOT a good idea to train your body for it’s environment, in other words allowing your body to adapt at being a bump on a log inside the four miniature walls of your cubicle. Work at moving, stretching, and teaching your body how to perform fundamental movements involving the act of squatting, bending, twisting, etc. 

Check out this resource for helping you to ramp up your functional training needs!

Dragon Door Video Direct

At the end of the day ask yourself if you are working at acquiring your own level of survival strength? Every level of athlete understands the importance of this. Football players, baseball players, MMA fighters, and especially the elite Navy SEALs understand this more than anybody. Why not apply it to yourself? 

I understand many people may think that they have a lack of resources and may not know how to go about acquiring the survival strength they need to be fit for their environment. Well no problem my friend because I want to invite you to take a look at how I can help you to recognize and use what resources you have around you by inviting you to check out my Brandon Richey’s Unconventional Conventional Method Of Strength ebook. 

This is a product where I show you how you can acquire a high level of functional strength along with doing so applying the use of tools and objects that you can use right out of your garage or basement. 

I hope you enjoyed today’s post and if so then please feel free to leave your questions and comments in the comment box below this article. Remember that most anyone can train hard, but only the best train smart my friend.

Related Articles:

Like Anything Else…Strength Is A Skill 

Strength Tip Of The Day…The Push Up

The Physical Learning Curve…An Out Of This World Experience!

Strength Tip Of The Day…Survival Strength



I'm a Certified Strength And Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and author. I have had over 17 years experience in MMA fitness, strength and conditoning, and athletic performance for most every sport. As an author and specialist I've written close to a million words on fitness and strength. I'm also a Muay Thai practictioner and enjoy helping others to reach their peak potential through fitness and performance.

This Post Has 5 Comments
  1. It was a pleasure watching the clip of Brad as the dude obviously has a real appreciation of living life. Your KB and sprint routine is something I used for maintaining a good level of conditioning while in the sandbox. Okay, it really wasn’t a KB, it was a sand bag with a handle made out of an old t-shirt stitched together with dental floss and I didn’t have a track but a stretch of desert inside the wire worked just fine.

    Now that I’m back in the states my daily training has changed in response to needs, environment and resources available. Variety within a carefully thought out and designed framework keeps it fresh, keeps it relevant, and most important (to me), keeps it real. 57 years and still experiencing regular improvement across a range of parameters … sweet.

    1. Ha, thanks Doc! Yes, those kettlebell functional lifts combined with those interval sprints will definitely do the trick. Man, I love hearing about your sandbag with a handle being a stitched together T-shirt with dental floss. The key is that you found a way to use your environment to get better! That is Survival Strength at its best! That’s awesome you are making those strides at 57! Keep it up my friend.

  2. It’s a pity that no pictures were allowed as we had a jerry rigged Gym from Hell set up. Chunks of blast containment walls with some 550 cord tied around it secured to fiberglass tent pole for leverage lifts, old tires with sand bags packed in for odd angle lifts, lots of sand bags for tossing, gripping and lifting, a soft skin vehicle for pushing around in the sand, duffle bags stuffed with gear for hoisting, pistols, squats, Farmer’s carry, etc., … just piles of stuff temporarily converted to our own House of Gain.

    Towers were great for 100 Reps of Whatever work outs … 12 straight hours of staring out at the desert or break it up with exercise, your choice. 7.62 ammo cans with a few hundred rounds inside make for good dumb bells. Tie a piece of 550 cord onto a can, attach it to your M4 and *presto* … wrist curls, anyone? Add in temps generally in the 120 degree F. range and let the games begin!

    Imagination and willingness to try were the only limiting factors.

    1. Doc I would’ve loved to have seen those pictures! I bet you guys had it rigged up as good as any gym in such an environment could be. You’re right, even in the desert in harsh conditions one has to find a way to keep himself sharp. Staring at the sand and letting the heat beat you down, or finding a way to break up the work day! I like it.

      Man, if you do happen to come across some pictures that you are able to share of such a get up I sure would love to see them. Hell, with your permission I’d love to post them up here on the website. I think that is what people need to see to understand that “they” are the only limiting factor when it comes to acquiring strength and fitness! Thanks again Doc!

  3. If I had any pics I would send them to you, Brandon. I spent several years on the borders of Iran and Iraq on an installation that didn’t exist populated by personnel who were never there. Even having a camera, including a cell phone with camera, constituted grounds for immediate termination.

    So, yesterday I had to run some errands with a friend. While she took care of business, I put together a work-out rather than sit in the car watching time go by. Found some landscaping blocks behind a dumpster and there was a small table with benches nearby in what was apparently an outdoor break area. 60 seconds of sitting with my back against the dumpster with thighs parallel to the ground followed by chest level hold of a stack of bricks for 40 – 60 seconds, followed by feet on a bench push-ups. Repeated for 5 cycles with no rest between cycles and only so much time as necessary to start the next exercise. Good heart rate variability training, and a decent “general” work-out. After a few minutes of recovery, I felt invigorated and strong. Fitness Life … live it.

Leave a Reply

Back To Top
Sign Up To Get All The Latest Deals And My BRF Strength Newsletter!

Brandon Richey Fitness Will Never Share Your Information With Anyone
Free Innovative Conditioning Guide!

Just Enter Your Name & Email & Access My Guide