Save 17% with an Annual Subscription

Burn the Ships: December Edition

Burn the Ships: December Edition

We collaborated with GORUCK’s Tribe to bring you December’s Burn the Ships. It’s designed to improve your rucking.

Why it matters: Doing one challenging workout a week has physical and mental upsides. And doing it on Friday (or over the weekend) is a great way to wipe the work week off the books.

Quick updates:

  • I’m doing an AMA on Substack on Tuesday, December 5th at 10am PT, 1pm ET. Here’s a link to register and join.
  • This workout is best if you have a Sandbag or Sand Medicine Ball. GORUCK was kind enough to give 2% readers 20% off of their Sandbags and Sand Medicine Balls. Use code: BTC20
  • Full access to this post is for Members only. If you want access to this workout (and the epic comment section that goes along with it), become a Member. Members get fit, have fun, and don’t die.

It’s the first Friday of the month. Which means it’s time to Burn the Ships.

This month we’re partnering with GORUCK’s Tribe to bring you a workout that will improve your rucking.

If you’re a regular participant in Burn the Ships and know why we do this workout, scroll down to “This Month’s Workout” to get the details.

If you’re new (or want a refresher), start here so you understand the origins of Burn the Ships and the case for doing one tough workout a week.

The Case for One Tough Weekly Workout

I started doing one tough workout every Friday after my time reporting inside Gym Jones roughly 12 years ago. I’ve maintained the practice.

There’s magic in pushing it once a week. Specifically, the practice makes me less insane.

Scientists at King’s College in London analyzed 53 studies on how intense exercise impacts mental health. They found that it led to “improvements in mental wellbeing, depression severity, and perceived stress compared to non-active controls, and small improvements in mental wellbeing compared to active controls.”

In other words, intense exercise has a mental edge compared not only to not exercising (duh), but also regular-paced exercise.

Intense exercise also—obviously!—comes with physical upsides.

It has a slight edge over less intense exercise for increasing VO2 max, which is associated with all sorts of good physical outcomes. A rule of thumb: the higher your VO2 max, the farther you are from death and disease.

TL;DR: All exercise helps. But it makes sense to go hard sometimes.

What’s “sometimes?”

The smartest trainers I regularly speak with suggest that one tough workout a week is the sweet spot for health and performance (more info on that here).

More than that, and we tend to get burned out and beat down. Less than that, and we miss out on some health and performance upsides.

Enter Burn the Ships.

Burn the Ships: How it works

On the first Friday of every month, we publish a new workout for Members only.

We do the workout every Friday of the month. (Don’t sweat if you can’t do the workout Friday—just try to do it some time each week.)

These workouts are safe and effective. They improve your strength, cardio, movement quality, and—in turn—your life.

We’ve provided scaled versions and exercise swaps, so anyone and everyone can do them.

  • In other words, we’re pushing edges and improving safely. It’s easy to be hard but hard to be smart.

This Month’s Workout: 30 for 30 for 30

Why the name?

  • A couple weeks ago, Dr. Chis Mohr—PhD and friend of 2%—texted me. He told me he and a buddy had been doing a fun workout that mixes carrying and rucking.
  • I liked it so much that I thought it would make a fantastic Burn the Ships. And the timing was perfect—GORUCK Tribe wanted to collaborate with 2% on a workout in December. So here we are.
  • When I told Chris we were running this workout as Burn the Ships, he said, “Sweet! Although I’ll be disappointed when I get the newsletter, because it won’t be new for me.” Because of that, we spiced up his original workout and added a buy-in and buy-out.
  • The workout will improve all of your rucks—your lighter, longer ones and your heavier, shorter ones (like the Heavy Mile!).
  • The result: You’ll ruck better. And if you can ruck better, you can live better and longer.

Equipment needed

  • A ruck. Use your go-to weight.
  • Something heavy-ish you can carry, like a sandbag or sand medicine ball.

Time commitment

  • This should take you roughly 40 to 60 minutes.

Album I’m listening to while doing this workout

How to do it

(Note: we have substitutions below if you have trouble with any gear or exercises.)

Here’s the standard version of 30 for 30 for 30. Go outside and do the following: