WOW: Disaster Response

Complete 3 cycles for time:

10 Clean and Presses
100 Meter Partner Carry (Fireman, Piggyback, Bridal, respectively)
100 Meter Sprint
20 Lateral Weight Tosses (10 each side)


Warmup: 30 second Grok Squat, three light sprints at 70%.

With just a few seconds of tectonic friction, nature has the potential to level manmade structures, conjure massive tsunamis that flood coastlines, and be a generally overwhelming nuisance to life as we know it. And as we’ve seen in recent months, this potential is occasionally realized to great effect. What can you, the individual, do to prepare yourself? I’m not talking about having enough consumables. I’m talking about physical preparedness. Can you save your own life? Can you save the lives of your loved ones while retaining enough strength and energy to grab enough water, food, and fuel to last a few weeks?

Let’s find out.

Imagine disaster has just struck. It could be an earthquake, a volcanic eruption, an invading army, whatever – all you know is that things are going downhill quickly and you’ve got to make it to safer/higher ground with your loved one(s) and some non-perishables. You’re at home with your wife/husband/child/dog when it happens. A huge bookcase falls on your better half, and it’s up to you to free them and carry them to your designated safe spot 100 meters away. Then you have to sprint back to the house and gather, heave, and toss the necessary survival supplies out the door before it all comes crashing down. Time yourself and report back with weights used.

Use a heavier weight for the Clean and Press and a lighter weight for the Lateral Tosses – maybe a kettlebell and a medicine ball, respectively. Rocks and sandbags work, too. Or you could always use barbells and dumbbells, if you prefer. Sandbags, heavy bags, or duffel bags filled with heavy stuff will also work if you can’t procure a partner for the partner carry.

A few things to remember:

  • Utilize the power of creative visualization. Really immerse yourself in the narrative – the lives of you and your family are at stake – and see your performance improve. Convince your nervous system that things are really dire!
  • Don’t injure yourself by rushing through the movements. Yeah, speed matters, but your chances of survival are greatly diminished with a tweaked lower back or a dislodged knee joint.
  • Use proper form. Keep a strong torso with a neutral spine, especially for the weighted movements, and use your hips to generate power; don’t flail with a loose, rounded back and don’t just use your arms.


No variations this time. By scaling the weights used and getting adequate rest in between cycles, anyone should be able to complete this.

What are WOWs?

  • Workouts of the Week (WOWs) are an optional component of Primal Blueprint Fitness that add a fractal and often fun and playful quality to the basic PBF protocol.
  • In most cases WOWs should only be completed by those that have mastered Level 4 of each Lift Heavy Things Essential Movement. Also, it’s recommended that WOWs replace one or both Lift Heavy Things workouts or the Sprint workout (depending on the WOW) each week instead of being done in addition to the Lift Heavy Things and Sprint workouts.
  • Learn more about WOWs and Primal Blueprint Fitness by getting the free eBook. And access all Workouts of the Week in the WOW Archive.

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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