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Burn The Ships: November Edition

Burn The Ships: November Edition

November’s Burn the Ships is designed to help you survive when danger arises.

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:

  • The 2% Store is better than ever. We’re selling:

    • GORUCK Gear, including the coolest color Rucker 4.0 I’ve seen.

    • Burn the Ships Ruck Patches.

    • The new 2% Trucker Hat.

  • 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’s Burn the Ships is tied to a post coming out next week about how to survive when traveling or if danger arises at home.

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.

That’s because there’s an upside to pushing it once a week. Specifically, it 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.”

But it also—obviously!—comes with physical upsides.

Intense exercise also seems to have 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.

In other words, 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.

Our task is to do the workout every Friday for the rest of the month. (Don’t sweat if you can’t do it 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: Come Back Alive

Why the name?

  • Next week, 2% will cover how to survive when you travel into kinetic environments—or if something dangerous happens in your home city.
  • The ability to move quickly, often while carrying weight is a key to surviving danger.
  • This workout will teach you just that. It will improve your regular rucking, and your ability to quickly move with heavier loads faster.
  • The result: Fitness that could save your life. Or, at least, make you really, really fit.

Equipment needed

  • A ruck. Try to use one that’s slightly heavier than you’d normally use. For example, if you always use 20 pounds, use 25 to 30 pounds.

Time commitment

  • This should take you between 30 and 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 Come Back Alive. Go outside and do the following:

1. Start with a lower and upper body warmup. I particularly like doing this warmup before this workout.

2. Now set a timer and do the following: