Workout Routines

The Survival Plan: 3 workouts to turn your body into an unbreakable machine

Build a body that's more than just a big slab of meat with this three-day, ready-for-anything program that combines traditional lifts, hybrid modifications, and endurance challenges.

Mike Counihan demonstrates the Men's Fitness SURVIVAL workout plan.
Duration 45
Exercises 4-5
Equipment Yes

Looking big, strong, and durable is one thing. Being big, strong, and durable is another. Can you push, pull, or carry something incredibly heavy? How well do you sprint, jump, or climb—and do you have the stamina to keep it up for a sustained period of time? (Not sure where you stand? Try these 10 best workout challenges to test your limits).

Bottom line: Instead of training for the pump, use this program to gain size, strength, power, and endurance—and take your conditioning to a whole new level.

This program is designed and demonstrated by Mike Counihan, a New York City law enforcement officer and group training instructor. Follow him on Instagram @nodonutshere.

How it works

This routine is built around foundational lifts, but with twists that are less conventional. Each day includes a unique challenge to break up a “routine” workout.

In Day 1, battle ropes test your endurance, burning up your shoulders, arms, and even your lungs. Day 2 you’ll use the sled, a device that’ll put your entire body on blast. Finally, Day 3 is arguably the most gut-wrenching: Front-racked hang cleans to walking lunges and trap-bar deadlifts with farmer walks will expose and strengthen any weak spots. To be ready for anything, you need to take your body to the brink of failure and beyond. With this plan, three days are all you need.

Directions

Rest 90-120 sec. after reps of 6 and below. Rest 60 sec. after reps above 6. Do these workouts on nonconsecutive days for two to four weeks. Do 10 min. of foam rolling before the workouts and 10 min. of yoga after.

Video by Steer Digital Media (SteerFilms.com)

Day I Push + cardio conditioning

Exercise 1.

Bench Press You'll need: Barbell How to
Bench Press thumbnail
5 sets
10, 10, 6, 4, 4 reps
1-2 min. rest

Exercise 2.

Incline Bench Press You'll need: Barbell How to
Incline Bench Press thumbnail
5 sets
10, 10, 6, 4, 4 reps
1-2 min. rest

Exercise 3.

Pushup How to
Pushup  thumbnail
3 sets
25 per variation reps
60 sec. rest

Exercise 4.

Battle ropes You'll need: Rope Attachment How to
Battle ropes thumbnail
3 sets
25 per variation reps
60 sec. rest

Exercise 5.

Dip You'll need: Dip Station How to
Dips thumbnail
3 sets
25 reps
60 sec. rest

Day II Pull + cardio conditioning

Exercise 1.

Deadlift You'll need: Barbell How to
Deadlift  thumbnail
6 sets
10, 10, 6, 4, 2, 1 reps
1-2 min. rest

Exercise 2.

Bentover Row You'll need: Barbell How to
Bent Over Row  thumbnail
5 sets
10, 10, 6, 4, 4 reps
1-2 min. rest

Exercise 3.

Sled pull and push How to
Sled pull and push thumbnail
4 sets
20 yards reps
60 sec. rest

Exercise 4.

Straight-Arm Pulldown You'll need: Lat Pulldown Bar How to
Straight-Arm Pulldown thumbnail
5 sets
10, 10, 8, 6, 4, reps
1-2 min. rest

Exercise 5.

Dumbbell Row You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Dumbbell Row thumbnail
5 sets
15, 10, 10, 8, 8 reps
60 sec. rest

Day III Lower-body + cardio conditioning component

Exercise 1.

Squat You'll need: Squat Rack How to
Squat thumbnail
7 sets
15, 10, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2 reps
1-2 min. rest

Exercise 2a.

Hang Clean You'll need: Barbell How to
Hang Clean thumbnail
3 sets
20 yards reps
60 sec. rest

Exercise 2b.

Walking Lunge You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Walking Lunge  thumbnail
3 sets
20 yards reps
60 sec. rest

Exercise 3.

Deadlift You'll need: Barbell How to
Deadlift  thumbnail
5 sets
10 reps with 20 yard walks reps
60 sec. rest

Exercise 4.

Jump Squat You'll need: No Equipment How to
Jump squat thumbnail
4 sets
as many reps as possible in 30 sec. reps
60 sec. rest

Exercise 5.

Trap bar deadlift with walk You'll need: Trap Bar How to
Trap bar deadlift with walk thumbnail
5 sets
10 with 20 yard walks reps
60 secs. rest
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