SO there’s a new movie and book series to topple the Harry Potter and Twilight empires at the box office, and in case you’ve never heard of it before, it would be the Hunger Games. Fortunately it doesn’t seem to be breeding a near stalkerish vibe among 40 year old house mom’s who are obsessing over a teenage boy star, nor is it making goth’s who were holed up in their parents’ basements for the past ten years venture out into daylight again because being a vampire was suddenly cool again.
Lindsay’s reading the first book right now and getting a good kick out of it, and many of my male friends have been forced to attend the movie as part of date night, only to walk away thinking “Meh, it was okay.”
One such friend was Jason Izraelski, a sports chiropractor resident in Toronto who was ambivolously made to sit through the movie, and discovered that there were some points of optimism amidst the chicanery. Those mofo’s had to be in serious shape, especially since they would be fighting for their lives and probably wind up as the next district’s meal plan.
So we teamed up to come out with what we thought would be the ideal training program for these little brats looking to off each other in the fake wilderness of a post-apocalyptic “Running Man” rip-off. Trust me, there will not be a standard set and rep scheme here, more like “do it til you puke, then throw the puke at your opponents and run like hell.”
I’ll let Jason handle it from here for the next little while. Be nice to him.
JI: Relationships. They make you do funny things. Like sifting through the garbage for a lost earring, killing endless insects and *GASP* talking about your emotions. Yes relationships can be tough work and are generally worth it. But sometimes they force you to do things you would never otherwise ever conceivably see yourself doing. Like spending a Friday night in a movie theatre taking in the latest teen sensation, The Hunger Games (Note: I am not dating a teenager).
I went in with an open mind. Truly I did. I wanted to enjoy it. I gave it a chance. But after approximately a half-hour of pure nonsense I caved and spent the rest of the movie trying not to ruin it for my girlfriend while wondering what the Woody Harrelson of Natural Born Killers would do to the Woody Harrelson of The Hunger Games (Hint: It’s not pretty).
And so the movie went on. Here’s the basic concept: In a post-apocalyptic North America there are 12 colonies. Each year, one boy and one girl aged 12-18 is selected from each colony. They are given 4 weeks to prepare and then pitted against one another in a last-(wo)man standing fight to the death battle royale! And somehow the movie depicted these 4 weeks as…fun. If I had four weeks to prepare for a winner-take all battle that pitted me in the woods against 23 others I might want to…oh I don’t know…train for it. Instead the characters spent their time mostly eating cake and watching Woody Harrelson get tanked on some futuristic liquor.
And so the questions nagged at me. If I had 4 weeks to prepare for this event what would I do? And so I turned to the only man who could help me: Batman Dean Somerset. Together we forged a sure-fire 4-week training plan. No need to focus on curls for the girls or tricep extensions for the…whatever rhymes with that. I need to survive and thrive in the wilderness. Here we go.
Aerobic vs. Anaerobic Capacity
- Aerobic for recovery capacity and general fitness
- Anaerobic capacity for outrunning the mutant dogs…or for outrunning whoever else is trying to outrun the mutant dogs
- Will have to go up against older/stronger opponents
- Tree climbing
- Picking up heavy things, chopping wood for fire, carrying heavy things
- For close-quarter combat
- Throwing people
Agility work – Also known as Parkour
- For evading attacks and moving rapidly over uneven terrain
- Skill development for things like climbing, crawling, and hand-eye coordination for intense battle and evasion tactics.
Dean: Thanks for setting the scene Jason. I’ll take it from here.
Since we’re going to be assuming the role of mentor, we will have some inside knowledge of the game and how it is best played. Since the arena will change its’ layout each year and have different traps and interesting tidbits thrown in for entertainment, strategy and gamesmanship will probably have to take precedent over the physical preparation, but without the physical preparation the ability to execute the strategy will be limited. They will work in a yin and yang manner.
Now unfortunately, there wouldn’t be much of a premise to having a team of experts to work with each kid in each district as the demand for a good massage therapist would probably be pretty low when everyone was, I don’t know, dying of starvation. Still, it would be great if they could hook up with someone who could knock the kinks out while they trained like beasts, but if they weren’t available, the little nose miners would just have to sack up and deal with the soreness of training like a mutant. Since the government authorities are splitting up the well-to-do from the industrials and others, we can’t assume we’ll be in one of the districts that has access to anything. What a Country!!
Some important assumptions to make of our charge: We’re going to assume thy are relatively athletic, have reasonably good hand-eye coordination, good stamina, and can actually throw down in a grappling scenario. We’re also going to assume that they’re slightly unbalanced. Not the kind where they want to wear your skin like a coat, but the kind where they sort of remind you of Doc from Back to the Future. More kooky than creepy.
This 4-week window would be all about making sure the individual completely hates life and the concept of dying completely sinks in. these weeks would be all about trying to get them into some sort of physical shape to move rapidly and with power. Moving huge weights wouldn’t be necessary, but running at a high speed in different directions for extended periods while hurdling various obstacles and making sharp decisions would be critical.
Enter Parkour, also known as free running:
As free running is all about utilizing the environment and teaching the individual some body control and spatial awareness, it would be the ideal training tool for developing the bodies ability to move through space rapidly while maintaining momentum through landings, allowing our charge to cover large segments of ground in a short period of time and avoid attack.
This would also work perfectly in chase scenarios where the individual has to keep up with a potential prey, allowing them to overcome almost any obstacle and even create some entrapment scenarios with their adversaries, funneling them into dead ends and positioning themselves on high ground with open attack lines. The fitness program will allow for increased strategic option, but won’t win the day in and of itself. Careful thought and pragmatic understanding of the opponents will bring the victor, and I’m talking some straight up Jason Bourne stuff here, people.
Sprint work, coupled with reactionary agility will be rediculously important as any potential threat will require split-second reactions to generate as much velocity and the ability to make a marksman potentially miss a kill shot by varying your escape path.
As there isn’t a designated timeframe for the games, there wouldn’t be a time limit to the workouts like an hour or 120 minutes or anything like that. It would be like work, clocking 3-4 hours in the morning and 3-4 hours in the afternoon after eating and the occasional cat-nap. Intense? You bet, but so is going into a death match gassed out from too much odd liquor and having to stare at Woody Harrelson’s Joker suit and bad wig all the time.
In addition to free running and sprints, there would have to be some strength training, but it wouldn’t necessarily involve barbells and dumbells, as those wouldn’t be very specific to what the individual would have to be exposed to or moving during the games. We’re talking rocks, trees, sandbags, shoveling, and other types of manual labour that people used to get paid to do for someone else and now they wind up paying someone for the “conditioning” ability it involves.
Lastly, as there is no set time of day when the games are on, I’d train them to operate on minimal to no sleep so they could strike when their opponents go to sleep. They’d wait in the trees and pounce when their opponents lay down for sleepies, then pull a Predator and leave them hanging in the woods as a warning of what’s to come to the others. Mental games are way more fun to play than hunger games.
So in closing, you can’t hit what you can’t see, can’t grab onto what you can’t catch, and can’t move very well once you’ve pissed yourself seeing your other opponents set up like pinatas to taunt you and wreak havoc with your mind while you run for your life. By becoming invincible, you expose your opponents vulnerability, which allows you more opportunity to capitalize.
Sure, it would be way more fun to simply kick back and be the celebrity for a few weeks and then walk in and tap out like Kramer after the bet, but I’m way more competitive than that, and I would want to stroll out of that biz-nitch as the last man standing, and I’d use every trick in the book to do it. What would you do if you had to train for this? Let me know in the comments below.