Five Barbaric Bodyweight Exercises for the Apocalypse

Five Barbaric Bodyweight Exercises for the Apocalypse

Picture this:

It’s 2038.

0.1% of Earth's population has been wiped out by a pandemic and the world’s governments’ response to it has resulted in the annihilation of 97% of the global economy.

Worldwide social unrest, collapse and cancel culture have led to 73% of the world’s population being banned from Twitter.

Neoprene is now a precious commodity. The price of a mildly-radioactive competition barbell has skyrocketed to 30,000 bottle-caps. The last reserves of mankind’s whey protein have long been exhausted. It’s rumoured that the only remaining gym on Earth is located somewhere around the New Jersey Crater…

But… In the shadows that stretch beyond the dim light of a cold sun, a sinister rumbling resounds across the vast expanse of the barren wasteland.

Deep in crumbling subways and underground bunkers, a savage war-band of predators engage in bestial rituals of strength.

Venturing out to the ruins of civilisation only to hunt beta males, incels and other straggling weaklings for protein, their primitive grunts echo through the subterranean labyrinth they now call home.

Here’s five barbaric bodyweight exercises every post-apocalyptic inner warrior should have in their training arsenal.

Door Pullups

Every wasteland warrior knows that pullups are a strength-building staple that will build you a bulldozer-sized back and nuclear mutant strength.

In the post-apocalyptic wasteland, a door in a bombed-out ruin is an adequate substitute for a pull-up bar.

Execution is simple: Open a door and secure it so it doesn’t swing shut and you end up like Richter from Total Recall.

Grab onto the top of the door and pull yourself up until your chin reaches the top, then lower yourself down until your arms are fully extended. Execute as many proper pull-ups as you can to failure. Do multiple sets with minimal rest until you can’t execute even a single rep. Focus on controlled reps and full range of motion.

At first, hanging onto the top of the door may feel awkward (not unlike your hold on sanity from social isolation) but it will help you build spine-ripping grip strength.

Pike Pushups

Like pull-ups, the humble pushup is a staple exercise used by the wasteland paramilitary factions and ex-prison dogs alike to build a bulletproof chest and arms like howitzers.

Pike pushups are a variation where your feet are raised on a chair, ladder or step so the upper body and arms are at an acute angle to the ground. This brings more of your delts and traps into the equation, enabling you to build shoulders more dense than depleted Uranium.

Adjust the angle of the pike pushup to bias the exercise according to your needs. Stay horizontal for more chest, or get more vertical for more shoulders.

To execute, get yourself into position with your feet raised and palms flat on the ground at about shoulder width, with fingers pointing slightly outwardsMaintain a neutral spine by tightening your abs, then lower yourself face-first towards the ground in a controlled manner, unless you want to be spitting teeth. Execute multiple sets to failure with as minimal rest as possible. Focus on slow, controlled reps and full range of motion.

Barbarian Split Squats

In the wasteland, only the strongest survive. And the strongest do Bulgarian split squats.

As the name implies, a split squat is performed with one leg. The Bulgarian variant raises the back leg on a chair, bench… or genuflecting slave. Like all split squats, this is a unilateral exercise which will challenge your balance as well as your strength.

To execute, position yourself with a raised surface about knee height directly behind you, take a step forward and position one of your feet on the surface with the top part of your foot resting flat. Squat down on the other leg while keeping yourself upright until your hips are below your knee and come back up.

The key here is to keep your torso upright and your core braced to prevent you from falling over like the many who fell during the Great Toilet Paper Rush of 2029.

For added challenge, grab something heavy and hold it in one hand on the opposite side of the leg you’re squatting with, or with both hands close to your chest. Execute as many reps as possible on both sides until your legs burst into flames. Again, focus on controlled reps and full range of motion; no quarter squatting allowed.

Barbarian Split Squats will definitely build you massive tank-track legs that will help you tear across the wasteland on the hunt for fresh meat.

Wall Sits

The world’s remaining human population are probably still sitting on their sofas, cowering in their hovels and hoping for the nightmare to end. The only sitting neo-barbarians are doing are isometric wall sits to toughen their resolve in the ongoing war against atrophy.

Wall sits are deceptively simple but exceptionally hard. Stand with your back against a wall and squat down below parallel. Squeeze your core, brace your legs and actively push your back into the wall as if you wanted to smash it down and crush your nosy neighbour.

Stay tight in this position for as long as possible, using your arms to brace against the wall. Don’t cheat the exercise by pushing against your thighs to hold you in place.

To make this even more difficult, hold a weight in your lap or close to your chest.

Time your wall sits every set, aiming to beat your previous time. Even if you wall site for a single minute it’ll feel like an eternity but stick with it; you’ll be surprised how long you last.

Wall sits will train your mind as much as your body as you concentrate on keeping your whole body tight and motionless while ignoring the fact that your legs are turning to jelly.


In the Old World, burpees were the bane of Marines and fitness athletes the world over. Even now, after the total collapse of civilisation, the burpee is undoubtedly one of the most toughening exercises a neo-barbarian can execute.

There are many burpee variations, but the most challenging is the one that adds a pushup at the bottom and a jump at the top. Before the Great Collapse, this was apparently even a contested event at the “CrossDress Games” or something.

To execute, start in a standing position. Drop down to a pushup position and perform one pushup. At the top of the pushup, jump to your feet in a squat stance  with your knees outside your elbows. From here, explosively jump up as high as you can, while extending your arms above your head. For optimal conditioning, aim to do a few sets of 20 of these or set a timer for a few minutes and do as many as possible within that time.

Burpees are tough, they will teach you mental fortitude and physical endurance; two lessons every savage should master.

Resourcefulness is key

Each of these exercises were chosen for their utility, simplicity of execution and effectiveness in terms of both physical development and building mental toughness. No specialised equipment is required, only the furniture you have in your fallout shelter, and your own ingenuity and willpower.

As inner warriors ruling the post-apocalyptic wasteland, resourcefulness is key. Just because society and the rule of law and order has collapsed doesn’t mean we won’t continue getting stronger.

As the world around you descends into chaos, strengthen your resolve; the war against atrophy never ends.

Do you have any other recommended barbaric bodyweight exercises to recommend? Get in touch with us and let us know.

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