Doom Slayer Training: Work Out Like a Space Marine

By on May 27, 2021

In my recent Deathstroke post, I asked at the end what characters people would like me to tackle next. In an unprecedented occurrence, nearly everyone unanimously said “The Doom Slayer.” So… guess I’m doing a Doom Slayer Workout!

The Doom Slayer is ostensibly a super soldier: a space marine with superhuman abilities who can run superfast, react with superspeed, fall from great heights without taking damage, and carry large amounts of ammo. As though that wasn’t already enough, he then chose to stay in hell to battle demons indefinitely. So yeah, he’s kind of a badass.

What can we take from this and apply to a useful, functional workout? Actually, a surprising amount.

Doom Slayer Training

BUT just a quick disclaimer: as with many of these fictional-character inspired workouts, I’m using this as a fun way to discuss some cool training concepts and ideas. I’m presenting them here for your further research and consideration, rather than as recommendations. These are out-there approaches that may have some benefit for the wider population, but I’m certainly not claiming these ideas are for everyone. Nor does this represent a complete training “program” or prescription.

Think of it as a thought experiment and take from it what you will.

Doom Slayer Workout: Rucking

The Doom Slayer is a marine, so the foundation of his training should be inspired by military training. This actually translates perfectly too: seeing as the military favor strength endurance, mental toughness, and the ability to carry heavy loads. Sound familiar?

One of the best methods that the military use to train these features specifically, is rucking. Rucking involves taking a heavy load, strapping it to your back, and then walking long distances. Often this is more of a light jog on uneven terrain. The simple fact is that infantry need to be able to perform while carrying heavy guns and lots of equipment. Rucking is one of the best ways to develop and test this ability.

Rucking

It’s also a fantastic form of training that I believe more people should consider.

Rucking will build that mental endurance as well as cardiovascular fitness, strength endurance, core strength, and even hip and ankle mobility as you adapt to the uneven ground. It burns a ton of calories – in one study walking with added weight burned 12% more calories (study) – and it’s relatively safe as long as you build up to it gradually. A good recommendation is to start with roughly 10% of your bodyweight. If you’re more experienced with training, then you can go significantly above this weight rapidly. But start light to get a feel for it.

See also: Hill Sprint Benefits for Athletic Performance

This is also a great option for “incidental training.” If you have to walk somewhere, throw on a heavy backpack or weighted vest, and get some extra bang-for-your-buck.

30 minutes is a good amount of time to start with, and you can aim to increase the distance you cover in this time.

Loaded Carries

Loaded carries Doom Slayer workout

I’d also argue that our Doom Slayer workout can benefit from adding farmers’ walks and other forms of loaded carries. These build grip strength (useful for ripping demons’ jaws off). If we use one-sided carries, like the suitcase carry, then we they will also build anti-lateral-flexion in the core and strengthen the obliques.

Vary walking with a heavy bag and carrying something, and you’ll build more rugged, robust performance. Take it onto uneven terrain for even more devastating strength and conditioning.

Sprint Drag Carry

Sprint Drag Carry

In fact, this is starting to look like something a user recently shared with the Patrons-only Bioneers Group on Facebook recently: the Sprint-Drag-Carry. SDC is a test of “strength, endurance, and anaerobic capacity” and is one of six events used in the Army Combat Fitness Test.

Here, soldiers will sprint to a 25-meter mark and then back, grab a 90lb sled and drag it backwards to and from the 25-meter line (making sure the entire sled crossed the line), then perform a lateral dash sideways to and from the line, then run to and from the line again while holding two 40lb kettlebells. They then finish on a final sprint.

You can try this at home by finding a field and using a heavy bag attached to a rope. Mark the distance with cones.

Army Combat Fitness Test

Doom Slayer Training

For those interested, the full Army Combat Fitness Test actually consists of 6 events:

  • 3-Repetition Maximum Deadlift
  • Standing Power Throw (launching a medicine ball overhead and behind you)
  • Hand Release Push Up (push ups where you raise your hands from the ground at the bottom of the movement, thus losing any momentum)
  • Sprint-Drag-Carry
  • Leg Tuck/Static Plank Hold (The leg tuck is effectively tuck front levers for reps but with a commando pull-up grip)
  • 2-Mile Run

This is actually a pretty interesting combination of functional movements.

Medicine Ball Power Throw

Cardio Acceleration

The SDC has a bunch of unique benefits. For one, it is a form of what’s known as “cardio acceleration.” There’s my love of training methods with awesome names again…

Cardio acceleration means performing some form of cardiovascular training (aerobic or anaerobic) between sets of resistance training, rather than resting. This keeps the heartrate high during your resistance training and it therefore burns a ton of calories and really tests your endurance. Of course, it’s not ideal for primarily strength or hypertrophy-oriented training as it does limit the amount you can lift. For our purposes here, energizer-bunny style ripping and tearing, it’s perfect.

Lateral Dash

I would also warn against using cardio acceleration alongside technical or very heavy lifts. We don’t want to be performing deadlifts while exhausted, for obvious reasons.

As an added bonus, the backward drag is also great for the knees – as any fans of KneesOverToesGuywill know!

I would argue that you could also place a crawling drag in here for extra credit. A crawling drag works the upper and lower body in a way that translates to faster sprinting and a stronger core. It’s also great for coordinated movement of the limbs, and it’s a “concentric only” exercise, meaning that there’s minimal muscle damage allowing you to train harder while keeping recovery time short.

Crawling

Calisthenics

High rep calisthenics widely used in military training. That means high rep push ups, pull ups, and the classic burpees.

Burpees are a fantastic training tool. Because they can be trained for high reps with minimal risk of injury, they are once again perfect for improving strength endurance and work capacity. A Doom Slayer workout shouldn’t be about lifting something heavy once, but rather being able to exert a lot of strength for a long amount of time without tiring out or losing power. This is simply more useful and practical in a real-world setting.

Tuck

Burpees are a hybrid exercise that use both the upper and lower body. This increases the heart rate significantly (as blood needs to get to muscles on opposite sides of the body), while also building a lot of stability as you move between positions.

See also: Weight Vest Training for Jump Height, Calisthenics, and More – Train Like Goku!

And because burpees are explosive, they encourage fast, powerful movement.

Weighted Vest

We can make this tougher by adding a little extra weight. In this cool study (study), it was found that oxygen consumption was increased by an impressive 100% during a military-style training program using a weighted vest. This study only used 37 participants, however, so the result is not statistically significant. Make of it what you will!

Alternatively, you can make a burpee more challenging by holding dumbbells and adding a shoulder press at the end. This is called a “Devil Press,” which seems appropriate for a Doom Slayer workout. Why not both?

More Hybrid Exercises

We can do better.

If we’re going to be grappling with Demons, then we also need rotational strength. So far, everything has been in the transverse plane, which is not nearly dynamic enough for our Doom Slayer workout.

The good news is that there are countless different variations on the burpee or devil press that we can incorporate for similar benefits. If you watched my recent video on burpees, you’ll be familiar.

benefits of burpees

The Man-Maker, for example, is like a devil press but with a renegade row added in. Get into push up position holding dumbbells, row each one without letting your body twist under the weight, then jump up and press for one repetition.

Then there are one legged burpees, there are kicking burpees, dead stop burpees, mountain climber burpees, side burpees, single-arm burpees, spider burpees, skater jump burpees, lateral jumping burpees, kickthrough burpees, broadjump burpees, punching burpees…

See also: The Many Benefits of Burpees – Plus Awesome Variations

If you want to take this to the next level, you can set yourself the challenge of performing any mixture of these alongside regular push ups. This becomes something like a flow.

Movement Flow Doom Slayer

A similar approach is often used in kettlebell training, where you might flow from a kettlebell swing, to a clean, to a press, to a kneeling get-up. The kettlebell similarly lends itself perfectly to training strength endurance, and explosiveness.

But even better, is that training with “flows” like this creates more need for decision making and focus.

Decision Making and Focus

The awesome thing about playing the new Doom games, is that they force you to think like the Doom Slayer. These are intense battles that don’t let up. They require expert resource management, target prioritization, visual processing, focus, and tactics. I highly suspect that Doom Eternal, in particular, may even be a useful tool for brain training.

Doomguy workout

This is where more complex sequences of movements have an edge over simple repetitions: they force you to focus, and they force you to think about your next movement. Give yourself a string of movements to perform, such as:

  • Kickthrough left
  • Kickthrough right
  • Burpee
  • 100-up
  • 45 degree bound in each direction
  • Burpee
  • Repeat

While this isn’t particularly complex, you are now going to have to focus carefully on the movements if you’re going to complete the sequence correctly.

I’ve also discussed in the past that training movements in a more random order can actually improve skill acquisition and retention. If you’re training for basketball, say, it makes sense to practice a dribble, a pass, and a shot – rather than chunking those actions together as separate drills. And it makes sense: it forces you to concentrate and it is how you really use those skills in competition.

Training movements in a more random order can actually improve skill acquisition and retention.

This is another reason that perform three sets of ten isolation movements may be a little outmoded. The topic is called “contextual interference” and it’s worth looking up! Keep in mind, though, that the “contextual interference effect” is very much dependent on the nature of the skill, the level of the trainee, and more.

Inter-Set Brain Training

With that said, we could even go a step further. What if we were to throw in brain training between sets? If you have one minute to recover between sets, why not spend that minute doing a Dual N-Back test, or some version of the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test.

Not only is this a time-efficient way to train brain and body, but it also trains you to think clearly and calmly during a stress. In this case, physiological stress. This is one of THE differentiators when it comes to optimum athletic performance.

Doom Training

I’ve also suggested in the past that using some form of “stop and go” test to begin the next set could be an effective way to incorporate brain training.

This calls to mind the military’s use of the hooded-box test: an exercise that involves placing a trainee under a hood that completely blocks their vision and hearing. The hood is then suddenly removed to reveal an unexpected scenario. This could be a combat scenario, or an old lady asking for the time. Their job is to respond appropriately, display situational awareness, and desensitize them to the fear-response.

One study found that a combination of a Stop Signal Task, Go/No-Go Task, Stroop Task, and Visual Search task could be effective at reducing civilian casualties among military personnel (study).

In short: incorporating brain training in these ways could well be an effective way to build a truly unstoppable machine like Doomguy.

Thermal Regulation

I’d like to end with a fun idea: training in heat.

Of course, Doomguy got most of his training in hell. Which is famously hot.

And this could actually have an interesting impact on a person’s performance.

See also: Metabolically Dominant Soldiers: The Real Captain America Project

You see, DARPA actually has a history of trying to create super-soldiers. Check out my old post on the Metabollically Dominant Soldier program, which is a really awesome name.

Metabollically dominant soldier program

One method they experimented with, was using cooling gloves to enhance performance. This works by improving thermal regulation and preventing overheating during training.

Without the use of cooling gloves, one interesting option that might be available could be to train with a sauna suit. In one study, it was found that training in a sauna suit could lead to improvements in VO2max, ventilatory threshold, and thermal regulation (study).

Thermal Regulation
It feels like you’re wearing wax…

This is pretty hypothetical, and likely wouldn’t have enough of an effect to be worth it for most people. But it could explain why the Doom Slayer is so unrelenting!

Oh, and Lift Heavy!

Finally, I do also think that a Doom Slayer workout should incorporate some heavy lifting. A power day of big lifts would fit in here really nicely. After all, Doomguy is strong. And it’s that combination – of amazing strength with grit, focus, and endurance, that makes him truly unstoppable.

Conclusion: How to Build a Doom Slayer Workout

Backwards drag

So, to build a Doomguy training program, here’s what I would recommend:

  • Rucking and farmers walks for distance
  • Training with high rep calisthenics
  • Training with kettlebell flows and hybrid exercises
  • Weighted calisthenics
  • An emphasis on strength endurance
  • Incorporating brain training
  • Consider cardio acceleration
  • Perhaps consider a sauna suit

Let me know if you’d like me to work this into a full Doom Slayer Workout, and perhaps I’ll do a follow-up video if there’s enough demand!

Awesome Doomguy

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About Adam Sinicki

Adam Sinicki, AKA The Bioneer, is a writer, personal trainer, author, entrepreneur, and web developer. I've been writing about health, psychology, and fitness for the past 10+ years and have a fascination with the limits of human performance. When I'm not running my online businesses or training, I love sandwiches, computer games, comics, and hanging out with my family.

8 Comments

  1. Casey says:

    Excellent blog post and video! I hope you’ll do a post on Jojo/Hamon training someday!

  2. Pau says:

    Yeah. A full workout will be very interesting.

  3. Dan says:

    Super article ! I am in preparation to become in the infantry soldier and I think that this article is perfect for me

  4. Stefan Paszki says:

    Ok I am going to commit to this. I have been weights only for too long. Let’s see what happens in 1 month.

  5. Toni says:

    It’s time for a full Doom Slayer Workout!

  6. Rahul says:

    Have you given a thought about a post on something from Doctor Who?

  7. Robert says:

    Definitely interested in a program for this! It needs to Rip and Tear! Awesome article!

    • Matt says:

      Excellent blog post ! And like to Rucking with a big Backpack of 50lbs it’s a great workout session. I have 3 other idea of character for your next post The Punisher, Daredevil and Moon knight 3 badass character and 3 physical model reference of Marvel

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