When I was in high school and the dinosaurs were finally dying off, my favorite movie was Crocodile Dundee. Yeah it was a while ago but enough about my age, here’s a quick rundown of the movie if you don’t know it.

“It’s a 1986 action comedy film set in the Australian Outback and in New York City. It stars Paul Hogan as the weathered Mick Dundee, and American actress Linda Kozlowski as reporter Sue Charlton and it was inspired by the true-life exploits of Rod Ansell.” (1)

Part of the movie Mick Dundee showed the reporter how he survived in the outback for almost 8 weeks. The other part he tried to survive in New York City. I wonder which was harder. Anyway, he had a big knife to protect him.

I was so taken with this movie I watched it half a dozen times. To me it was the best thing since sliced bread and I wanted to be big, tough and get the girl, like Mick Dundee.

Now that I’m an Australian, living in rural Louisiana with my gym Outback Performance, it got me thinking about what exercises would be needed to survive in the outback or my backyard. Not much difference really.

These five exercises will toughen you up and get you ready for anything the outback (or world) will throw at you. You’ll get bonus points for wearing an Akubra hat and grunting in Aussie.

1. Farmers Carries

What are they?

It’s simple, you pick up something heavy and walk but they are not easy. Think of them like carrying the groceries in from the car or a heavy log to the campfire, except you’re doing them in the gym carrying weights. 

Muscles Trained

They specifically work on your grip strength but they pretty much work every muscle from your shoulders down to your toes.

Why You’ll Need Them To Survive The Outback

You’re going to be carrying logs to the fire, holding a knife to protect yourself from wild beasts or swinging a machete to clear away bush while you’re hiking through the bush. All grip strength dependent.

If you need to kill dinner, having great grip strength will be pretty handy.

Form Tips And Programming Suggestions

When doing carries either do them early in your training when you have the most energy or pair them with an exercise that doesn’t need a lot of grip strength, like push-ups or a bench press. For example,

1A. Bench Press 4-12 reps

1B. Farmers Carries

A good starting point is carrying 25%-50% of your bodyweight in each hand for 40 yards. Keeping your chest up and shoulders down will keep you in good position and will make Mick happy.

2. Pull Ups Or Chin Ups

What are they?

Grab a bar or tree branch above your head, take a firm grip and pull yourself up towards the bar until your chin or upper chest is to the bar and then slowly lower down.

Muscles Trained

Forearms, biceps, triceps, shoulders, lats, upper back, and core. Pretty much every muscle in the upper body.

Why You’ll Need Them To Survive The Outback

Imagine a wild animal is chasing you down and the only way to save yourself from being eaten is to grab hold of a tree and start climbing. You’ll be happy you can do chin ups then.

Form Tips And Programming Suggestions

If you’re unable to do one chin up, I suggest starting with chin up holds, negative chin ups or band assisted chin ups to work up to your first unassisted chin up.

If you’re able to do chin ups, training them once or twice a week doing sets of between 3-10 reps. When you can do more than 10 reps, I suggest adding weight to get even stronger.

Please resist raising your chin towards the bar and bending your neck backwards when you’re pulling yourself up. Imagine you’re driving your elbows down and behind you when you’re pulling yourself up.  

3. Push Ups

What Are They

Didn’t you bust these out in P.E class or used on you as punishment when you played team sports? Anyway, make sure you have your hands underneath your shoulders, neutral spine and be on your toes as you lower your chest (not head) to the floor and then push up.

How many push-ups can Chuck Norris do? All of them.

Muscles Trained

Chest, shoulders, triceps, and core predominantly. But if you have sore toes you will find it hard to do these. They’re a full body exercise.

Why You’ll Need Them To Survive The Outback

You’ll need plenty of upper body strength and endurance whether you’re wrestling a crocodile, clearing bush with a machete, or killing dinner. Push ups give you all of this and more.

Form Tips And Programming Suggestions

A push up is a moving front plank (your favorite right?) so make sure from head to heel is in a straight line. Engage your glutes, have your hands underneath your shoulders and your chest should hit the floor before your face does.

Doing lots of reps with push ups is great but if you do more than 20-30 reps, either add more weight or make them harder.

4. Turkish Get Ups

What Are They

I have no idea why it’s called this because Turkish people aren’t the only ones to get up. Anyway, this is a full body strength and mobility exercise that trains you to get up and down from the ground without hurting yourself.

Muscles Trained

When performed correctly it works every muscle from head to toe and it does wonders for your hip and shoulder mobility and balance.

Why You’ll Need Them To Survive The Outback

If you put your foot in a pot hole or trip over a branch while trying to find your way out, this will help you get up safely. Plus, you need good mobility to get away from all those creatures who want to hurt you.  

Form Tips And Programming Suggestions

If you’ve never performed this before the Turkish Get Up is broken down into separate phases so you can learn each phase before putting it all together. Check it out here.

When you have that down or you’re already proficient, doing it weighted for 3-5 reps in each side for 2-3 sets once or twice a week will have you prepared if you ever find yourself stranded in the outback.

5. Cone Drills

What Are They?

There are so many drills in this space, they’re hard to narrow it down. Put simply these involve being light on your feet and being able to change direction smoothly and quickly. Watch the video to get a better idea of what cone drills involve.

There are thousands. This is just 10.

Muscles Trained

Your legs and upper body are all involved but the main muscle it trains is your heart muscle. These are anaerobic (without oxygen) because there short, sharp intense nature but improving your anaerobic fitness will improve your aerobic fitness also.

Why You’ll Need Them To Survive The Outback

If you’re on your feet walking a lot, it pays to have good aerobic fitness. Plus, when you’re running away from animals who want to eat you, it pays to be quick and light on your feet.

Form Tips And Programming Suggestions

If you’ve never performed these before, whatever drill you do, do it slowly until you get the hang of it. Then when you get more confident, speed it up. This type of training can be done before weights when you’re fresh or after your strength training as a fun fat loss finisher.

Plus, these can be performed for time or reps.

Wrapping Up

You may never find yourself having to survive in the outback or my backyard, but life will put you in some difficult situations. And it pays to be ready by being strong, fit, and mobile by doing one or more of these exercises.

You’ll get bonus points for trying to speak Australian.

Don’t believe me about my backyard? Contact me here if you want to see pictures. 😊

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *