Not all End-of-Days scenarios present the same challenges and success in each variation demands its own training regime. You just gotta look at Zombieland, where Rule #1 is cardio, in The Virus lockdown the only zombies will be the doubts that haunt our minds and they cannot be simply outrun. Ergo, cardio should not be your priority numero uno.

What you should probably do is get ballistically strong.

Hangboard, TRX, do bodyweight exercises, calisthenics and lift whatever heavy things you have lying around the house. Another good option is to master a number of parlour tricks, the sort you can post for faves and thumb-ups, which will be all that we have in a time without hugs and high-fives. People are going to post a lot of ‘challenges’ (note, these are not those whack ‘ice bucket challenge’ things, these are more show-offy Feats of Strength, like doing pinky front levers at 3am at a wedding reception, only you’re alone in your house and hopefully way less drunk).

If the Zombies come you’ll need first aid and a big aerobic capacity. Until then work on getting strong as.

There are literally one billion how-to hangboard thingos on the Internet. Choose whichever person is your biggest hero and do theirs. Do it three times a week, track your progress, and unless you’re Tom O’Halloran (Hi Tom! We wish we were you.) you’ll be shocked at how much stronger your fingers will be when the locks are opened and we are no longer being held down, so much stronger that your mates will call you Crimper McCrimp Face. (Don’t worry too much about endurance, it’s easy to get fit when you are ballistically strong.)

Right now you’re probably not strong, so stick to the low-hanging fruit. We reckon from the Tree of Isolated Conditioning you should pluck: one-arm push ups, pistol squats and front levers. They are simple enough you don’t need coaching, good progressions are available for each exercise so you can start at Madden-Level and ramp up to Cossey-Level and whilst they sound daunting, even I, Simon ‘Officially the Weakest Man in Climbing’ Madden, was able to bust out a one-arm push up within a couple of weeks of moderately (in)consistent trying.

But do not get injured! FFS keep all your body parts in good working order! Do not do too much and overload your body! Do not become a burden on the system when we need it solely focused on curing the sick. One way to do that is to balance out the enstrongenating with equal lashings of mobility work.

You are a rock climber therefore, naturally, your shoulders are quite bung, but I bet your hips are so rotten they could be from the state of Denmark. My sister, who just quietly is a total guru, has shephered me into The Lockdown with the new, shiny thing of CARS, PAILS and RAILS. We’re not going to explain what they are, do your own research, TBH we have no idea what they ‘mean’ but the general schtick is working on useable ranges of motion – i.e. don’t just get your joint into a position, get there and use your strength, der. Again, you’re about to have oodles of time to go down the FRC/Kinstretch/PAILS/RAILS rabbit hole (if you see an opium-smoking caterpillar make sure you say hello). You could start by Googling ‘christina gonzalez it’s all in the hips’ and settle onto the ground for some beautiful agony. Next up, shoulders! Down the rabbit hole you’ll find loads of stuff on shoulders and wrists and elbows and all the body bits.

Also we were only joking about avoiding cardio! Suckers, you should go running. And fret ye not, runners are natural loners (losers?) so it’s perfect for maintaining physical distancing. No stopping to chat, though, you’re not out there to make friends, there’ll be time for that when we are back in ‘physical proximating’, you’re out there getting some CV conditioning in case the zombies turn up next. Even when the restrictions become their most extreme it is likely that you will be allowed out to go for a run. If not, pray the zombies don’t turn up.

Getting strong and mobile is not just about storing up some conditioning that you can unleash on the cliffs when the world rights itself again. The other benefit will be to your mental state. The shut-in is going to be very, very difficult. Eat well, hydrate, video chat with your people to tell them you love them, message your mates, scream at the sky if you feel like it – we do it often, get strong, get mobile, and run when you can.
Simon Madden

This piece originally appeared in VL issue 32, which is available now in schmick digital format, get the whole magazine for iPhone here and Android here.

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