by Tom Furman

Creasy explaining durability to his adversary.

“There is no such thing as tough. There is trained and untrained. Now which are you?” ~ Denzel Washington as the character, “Creasy” in the 2004 movie, “Man On Fire”

Last year I wrote, “Becoming Durable: Most ain’t,” on this website. Before you read this article, you NEED to be familiar with this method, so go HERE

There were a number of questions. Some of which are of the most common type. “Can I change X,Y,Z?” Of course the answer to this is always the same. “You can change X, Y, Z,…but it won’t be DURABLE then.”

However with the questions I was motivated to do two things, be clearer and make things more streamlined. Perhaps reduce some variables so it is not so open ended, yet add warm downs and plug some holes.

In the original article I had four areas -

  1. Spiral Squats
  2. Pull Ups and Hang Board
  3. Crawling
  4. Repetition Hinging

The two weekly formats were -

  1. Jocko Format
  2. Bodybuilding Split

Durable 2.0 is just about efficiency. It’s a slow burn of specific adaptation to imposed demands over a period of time to make you more durable. It is time efficient and pays more attention to aerobic recovery and injury prevention.

Day One will be Spiral Squats alternated with Pull Ups. This is not a race. This actually gives you adequate recovery. Never run from one to the other, but take your time and do the next move when you are ready. The training scheme changes somewhat too. Originally, I recommended the Armstrong Pull Up method. However when alternating these two exercises, I find apply the, “Fighters Pull Up Method”, to be very effective. Use the same numbers for both exercises. The complete article, with lower reps, higher reps or for outright studs, is HERE. Add weight after completing your initial goals. This applies to pull ups and spiral squats.

The second part of this day is the Hang Board program. You need to take your time. .

The supplemental work for the lower body is simple. Do slow, body weight, calf raises. Point toes to the middle, in and out. Let’s not argue the science on that. Allow for stretch and focus on reps. This is for the ankle, Achilles and calf. Rack up between 90 and 180 total reps. Build up slowly to prevent soreness.

Aerobics and Stretching will alternate between each resistance day. There are two themes here. Don’t make aerobics interval style. Make it slow and long. Try to make it mildly resistive. That is like rucking, biking, rowing and yes running. You can run with small hand weights and shadow box although it will make you look goofy.

The stretching should alternate relaxing static work after aerobics with a PNF program. (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation). This is important feature. Long term use of PNF will add some strength to the extreme ranges of motion. This will add to durability.

Day Two is Crawling alternated with Kettlebell Swings. This is both tough and result producing. As outlined in my original article, there are a number of places you can go with crawling. The last place is adding resistance. Of course for short distances, this is OK. However, planning a 10 K with a weight vest is probably not something that should be on your bucket list. The best metric with crawling is variety and duration. When you can sustain a prolonged period of crawling, even in your living room, the differences in conditioning will be noticeable.

By alternating swings with crawling there is, perhaps, a synergy. It becomes a very system taxing workout. It lends itself to efficiency too. No need to hurry since the workload will prevent rushing too much. Kettlebell swings can be advanced with bigger bells or by adding bands.

The supplemental drills are two in number. The first is a superset drill for your elbows and upper arms. Simply do band curls and band push downs in an alternating fashion. The reps, totaled, should be 50/50 to 100/100.

The second drill is the Hollow Body Hold. This is a foundational core exercise. While in the early stages, it is static, the later stages involve rocking the body and exposing the entire anterior chain to dynamic loading. Your goal, set by Gymnastic Bodies, is 5 sets of 60 seconds. There are plenty of tutorials on YouTube. Don’t worry about which is best, worry about doing it.

So your training schedule will look like this -

Day One — Spiral Squats and Pull Ups. Warm down with calf raises.

Day Two — Aerobics and PNF

Day Three — Crawling and Kettlebell Swings. Warm down with arm work using bands and the Hollow Body Hold.

Day Four — Aerobics and Static Stretching

Day Five — Repeat Day One.

This workout is not time intensive. It is designed to let you have a life and participate in other activities. However the sustained use of this method increases your durability.

For more personalized training I am available for Online Fitness Coaching. Please contact me at

Tom Furman has been involved in martial arts and conditioning since 1972. With an early background in wrestling and a student of the methods of the York Barbell Club, Tom immediately separated fact from fiction growing up outside Pittsburgh. Eleven members of his family were combat veterans, the most famous one being “Uncle Charlie” (Charles Bronson) His down to earth training methods are derived from his decades long practice of martial arts and his study of exercise science. The application of force, improvement of movement and durability rank high on his list of priorities when training. He gives credit to hundreds of hours of seminars, training sessions, and ‘backyard’ workouts, including training time with many martial arts legends. He also credits his incredibly gifted training partners who came from varied backgrounds such as Exercise Physiologists, Airborne Rangers, Bounty Hunters, Boxing Trainers and Coast Guard Rescue Divers. His best selling ebook, “Armor of War’’, is available at His guide to mobility, “Bamboo Gods, Iron Men and Rubber Bands’’, is available on Amazon.

Tom Furman has been involved in martial arts and fitness most of his life. He’s currently a fitness coach and been blogging since 2005.