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Are You Strong Enough to Save Your Own Life?

September 16, 2015 3 Minutes

The 5 Benchmarks you need to hit to save your life

“Every man should be able to save his own life. He should be able to swim far enough, run fast and long enough to save his life in case of emergency and necessity. He also should be able to chin himself a reasonable number of times, as well as to dip a number of times, and he should be able to jump a reasonable height and distance."

That was written by Earle Liederman, who in 1926 penned a book called 'Endurance'. Earle was a famous and very successful strongman in the early 1900's, touring America demonstrating his ability in lifting, acrobatics and displaying his outstanding physique. In Endurance, Earle made a point that every man should be in shape enough to be able to save his own life in the case of an emergency. Sadly looking at the state of men today, it seems most would perish pitifully, based on Earle's principles. 

Five fitness benchmarks were outlaid in the book, to assess whether or not a man was adequately able to get himself to safety should the need arise. 

So how many of these are you able to accomplish? If you're looking to get in better shape, this may be the very practical place to start. 


1. Swim for one kilometre

Well actually he's listed "swim at least half a mile or more" but for the sake of our metric system, I've rounded it up a couple of hundred metres. Being able to swim a significant distance can of course be the difference between life and death, especially in the harbour city of Sydney. Even if you don't frequent the beach, many of us take boat rides, floods aren't overly uncommon, and most of us will take flights over an ocean... you never know this endurance may come in handy. 


2. Run at top speed for 200 metres

Again, adapted from 200 yards, the difference is minimal. While we're not likely to be able to need to run from a wild animal, it may come into use if escaping from an armed criminal, a fire, or towards an incident to save the life of another. In these critical situations, every second counts and the strong shall survive. 


3. Jump over obstacles higher than his waist

If you are so out of shape that leaping over an 80cm or so obstacle is a problem, then you have a problem. Running from danger may require navigating over obstacles, and the fastest way is a single bound over them, generally speaking. This is also a test of your physical shape and fitness, being that a healthier and stronger individual will generally have a greater vertical leap.


4. Perform 15 - 20 chin ups

This test is more to assess upper body strength, and the strength of your bicep and back muscles to be able to hold your mass in suspension, or climb, should the need arise. Once again, if you're overweight, this will be an especially difficult task.


5. Perform 25 parallel bar dips

Engaging the muscles of the triceps and chest, this movement may not seem directly correlated to helping save you in a life threatening event, however one can surmise it's use in pushing yourself free of fallen debris, or from the mangled clutches of a car wreck.



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