Ever dream of being the hero that saves the day? Or what about making a daring escape from a near-death situation just like your favorite action star? Former Australian Navy Clearance Diver and trainer Ben Mitchell developed the Frogman Project to enable men and women to be able to handle dangerous situations. His program "revolves around such tasks as finning, pack marching, strength endurance, body-weight movements and cardiovascular training." Based on the same principles as the Frogman Project, Ben put together a list of the top 13 movements that could save your life (or someone else's). While it'd be ideal to never be put in a life-or-death situation where you have to use them, it's always better to be prepared, right?
1. Rope Climb
If you've fallen down a well or are caught in some other sticky situation, being able to pull up your body weight to climb out of whatever hole you're stuck in is key. HOW TO DO IT: Start with your hands overhead, dominant hand stacked on top of the other. Raise your dominant leg up to 90 degrees and lay the rope on the outside of your foot. Engage your lats (upper back) as you take your bottom foot and wrap the rope on top of the dominant foot securing it in place. Straighten your legs and stand up, reaching your hands higher on the rope as you straighten out your body. Continue all the way to the top before reversing back down the rope.
Related: Learn more about the Frogman Project
2. Leopard Crawl
If there is a fire or fallen objects and you need to crawl your way out of a situation, you need to develop your crawling muscles, which isn't going to happen sitting at your desk all day. HOW TO DO IT: Start your leopard crawl by getting into a plank position with your body in a straight line and your upper-body weight on your forearms. Shift your body weight forward and reach your left forearm forward, placing it in front of your body as you bring your right knee around the outside of your body and up as high underneath your body as possible. Alternate sides and repeat as you crawl forward.
3. Overhead Carry
If you're trying to save someone's life, you may have to carry heavy, awkward weight overhead. Work on this movement with a overhead carry of an awkward object. It's like a farmer's carry but with the weight over your head. HOW TO DO IT: Take a medicine ball, sandbag or other slightly unstable weight and hold it with both hands overhead. While keeping the weight over your head, continue walking forward.
4. Bar Muscle-Up
Getting away from danger by going up and over an object to safety is a crucial survival skill, and there is no better movement to train this than the bar muscle-up. It's a more advanced move, so make sure you have sufficient upper-body strength before attempting. Or you can break it down into pieces and slowly progress your way to a full muscle-up. HOW TO DO IT: Start by hanging on a pull-up bar with your arms straight. Keeping your core tight and hollow, rock your body back, and then drive your hips up to the sky as you pull your hips up to the bar. Try to rely more on your body strength than momentum from swinging on the bar. Straighten your arms at the top, and then lower back down.
Related: 16 Essential CrossFit Moves
5. Jumping In and Out of a Pool
Navy Clearance Divers know more than anyone the importance of being able to get yourself out of water in a dangerous situation. If you've fallen overboard or are having a difficult time in water, it's important that you can get yourself out of danger. HOW TO DO IT: Start in a pool where you can touch the bottom but that's deeper than waist height. Place your hands on the edge of the pool and squat down, dunking your entire body in the water, but leaving your hands out. Power out of your underwater squat by squeezing the glutes and shifting pressure to your hands. Engage your core as you straighten your arms and raise one leg out of the water, letting the other meet it in a squat. Stand up, jump back into the water and repeat.
Related: The Ultimate Navy SEAL Workout
6. Running Underwater
Challenge your lungs and your muscles with running underwater! Just make sure not to push yourself too far too soon. Know your limits as you channel you inner action star. HOW TO DO IT: Grab a dumbbell or kettlebell and submerge yourself in water that is about chest deep. Lean your body forward as though you were about to go into a sprint, then drive your knees forward one leg at a time and run.
7. Sandbag Plank Pull
Pulling someone out of danger is a key movement that can save a life, and a sandbag plank pull will train this effort. HOW TO DO IT: Start in a plank position with your body in a straight line, abs engaged and glutes firing. With a sandbag on your left, bring your right hand underneath your body, grabbing the sandbag and pulling it underneath and to the right side of your body. Remember to keep your hips parallel to the floor. Alternate sides and repeat.
8. Weighted Step-Up
Saving lives usually involves strength endurance. And that's developed by pushing your body through repeated strength exercises over time. A great way to condition your strength endurance is through weighted step-ups. For this exercise, just imagine you're a firefighter carrying someone up the stairs and out of a burning building. HOW TO DO IT: Use a weight like a medicine ball, sandbag, weight plate or weight vest. Stand in front of a bench or box with both feet on the ground. Place one foot on top of the bench. Lean your weight onto your forward leg as you engage the glutes and drive your body up. Slowly lower back down under control and repeat on the opposite leg.
9. Sandbag Power Clean
While it's good to work on strength with weights, the evenly weighted dumbbells and barbells don't always translate to real-life scenarios. When attempting to save a life, we occasionally have to lift an awkward object like a rock or fallen tree off someone's body. To replicate this irregular movement, use sandbag power cleans. HOW TO DO IT: Start with the sandbag in front of your feet with your hands gripping the handles and glutes lowered down to the floor so that your posterior chain (back of your body) and lats are fully engaged. Then drive the hips (as though you were jumping) and shrug your shoulders to your ears so that the sandbag drives straight up. Since this is a power clean, you should then drop to a quarter-squat position while whipping the elbows up to receive the sandbag, holding it under your chin.
10. Medicine-Ball Run
Saving a life can require you to carry someone out of danger. Train this movement by holding an awkward object like a medicine ball. HOW TO DO IT: Start with the medicine ball up by your shoulder and neck, securing the ball in place with your hand. Keep the ball in the same place as you engage your core and run forward. You can hold the ball at your hip or in front of you if you tire out.
Sometimes the life you are trying to save is your own, and that can involve running away from something (a burning vehicle, a crumbling building or a dangerous animal) as fast as you can! To be in tip-top shape, you need to be able to go from 0 to 60 in zero nanoseconds flat. To train a sprint, you'll want to work at 90 percent of your maximum capacity. HOW TO DO IT: Start with one foot in front of the other. Explode out by driving your arm and its opposing knee up. Alternate and repeat. NOTE: Since this is only practice and not a life-or-death scenario, it's essential to properly warm up your muscles before sprinting.
12. Sled Push
If a rock or heavy object falls and obstructs your only pathway to safety, you need to have the strength to clear it and escape danger. To prepare for this potentiality, incorporate sled pushes into your training. HOW TO DO IT: Start by adding weight to a sled (experiment with the weight here, but you should start with at least 100 pounds). Lean your body forward with your hands on the sled and drive your knees up as you powerfully march forward to push the sled. The lighter the weight, the faster you will be able to push it. Play around with the amount of weight and the speed at which you push the sled.
13. Backward Lunge With Chain
Occasionally, escaping a hazardous situation can take some time, forcing you to carry or support an awkward object for an extended period. To be prepared should this ever befall you, incorporate heavy chains (you can also use a medicine ball, sandbag or other awkwardly weighted object). HOW TO DO IT: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with a chain around your shoulders. Step back with one leg so that your front knee is at a 90-degree angle and your back knee touches the ground. Engage your glutes and step back up so that your feet are shoulder-width apart, then switch to the other side. This exercise is fantastic for building lower-body strength. If you increase your reps so that your lungs start burning (in a good way) you'll be working your strength endurance as well.
Related: Learn more about the Frogman Project
What Do YOU Think?
Have you ever been in a life-or-death situation? Or maybe it was something a little less dramatic, but you were still able to help someone (or yourself) out of a tight spot? Did you save the day? What are some movements that you train that could help save your life or the life of another? What do you think of the exercises listed above and their potential applications? Comment below with your stories and suggestions!