Zombie Attack Preparedness (ZAP) Workout

Around our house, we like to think that we’re prepared for when the zombies attack, thanks to our fitness training and paleo diet. With Halloween just a few days away, it seemed like the least we could do is share our Zombie Attack Preparedness Workout (ZAP) with you. Are you ready to join us in the fight against the undead?!

Meet the Cast

Marc Majcher, zombie

Pai Majcher, zombie distraction

Blake “The Bounty Hunter” Howard, zombie fighter

Weston “One Man Wolf Pack” Norton, zombie fighter

David “The Senator” Humphreys, zombie fighter

Melissa “Melicious” Joulwan, zombie fighter

The Zombie Attack Preparedness Workout (ZAP)

The ZAP is based on the Fight Gone Bad workout format: three rounds, one minute of work at each task, and then one minute of rest between rounds. The workout is listed below and instructions for each movement follow.

4x [15-second Wave for Help + 15-second Zombie Walk]
10x Prone Surprise + Hide
10x Supine Surprise + Hide


3 rounds, 1 minute each station:

Baseball Bat
Kip + Kick
Run Stairs
Jump on Stuff
Sprint: 30 seconds + Sewer Crawl: 30 seconds
Hide (rest)

In case you’re not familiar with Fight Gone Bad or other CrossFit workouts, this means you do each of the activities listed above for 1 minute each. Yes, you go through the whole list! Then you repeat the entire sequence 2 more times for 3 total rounds (21 minutes of activity, if you stick with the timing prescribed).

ZAP How-To

Here are instructions for each of the exercises included in the warmup and workout above. For the warmup, do the number of repetitions listed, moving carefully until your body is warmed up. For the workout, hit it hard and use a stopwatch to time your intervals. Click on the photos to see a larger version.

Wave for Help
Based on the jumping jack, the Wave for Help raises your heart rate while alerting authorities and passers-by that you need assistance. Wave your arms overhead while jumping. Feel free to shout if the spirit moves.

Zombie Walk
The Zombie Walk warms up your calves, shins, and upper back while allowing you to blend in with the zombie horde. Extend your arms forward from the shoulder and alternate walking on your heels and toes. Casually rotate from side to side to loosen your torso and better imitate your undead brethren.

Prone Surprise +Hide
If you’re surprised by a zombie while asleep in your bed, will you be fast enough to get away? Prone Surprise + Hide hones your agility to get you from prone to moving in seconds. Lie flat on your stomach and get yourself to standing as quickly as possible (think burpee), then drop into a squat position to practice making yourself as small as possible for optimal hiding.

Supine Surprise + Hide
The companion to the Prone Surprise, the Supine Surprise works the other direction. Lie flat on your back and get yourself to standing as quickly as possible (think situp), then drop into your squat.

Everyone knows the only way to take out a zombie is to smash their brains, and there’s not much better for zombie brain smashin’ than a Sledgehammer. You’ll see below that while Blake is in actuality bashing the ground with her sledgehammer, in her imagination, the zombie’s cranium is toast. This visualization is an important part of your sledgehammer training. Contract your abs, swing the sledgehammer up and over your shoulder, and drill it down onto a forgiving surface – a grassy bank, a discarded tire, a medicine ball – to work your shoulders, core, and legs.

Baseball Bat
Only have one sledgehammer in the house? A Baseball Bat is also a good zombie noggin knocker. But unlike taking a swing for the fences, when you’re aiming for a zombie, you need to be able to swing in both directions. Plant your feet and rotate your torso with full swings, left and right. Your core will get a workout and the zombie will get a lobotomy.

Kip + Kick
You know what else is good? A Kick in the head. Has the zombie chased you into the bathroom? Use your kip on the shower curtain rod to work up some momentum and introduce the zombie to your sneakers.
In the photos above, Blake is showing you the starting position, while Weston demonstrates the middle stage – the gathering storm – before the blammo! kick that splats the zombie brain.
An alternative to a pullup bar Kip + Kick is the parallel bar/railing/parallettes version:

Run the Stairs
Zombies are a shuffling, shambling lot, so if you can blaze your way up stairs and hills, you’ll have a distinct advantage. Train for speed on stairs. Now. Up and down for a minute; pump your arms and if you want to make it more intense, try every other step.
A short, steep incline is good option, too.

Jump on Stuff
Ever seen a jumping zombie? Me, neither. Jumping up and down on stuff now will you prepare you for zombie evasion when the attack comes. Start with your basic box jump technique: jump up, step down, on the tallest object you can safely tackle.
Work on your get-away position by jumping up, then turning around and jumping back down into a squat on the balls of your feet. From this position, you’re ready to take off into a sprint… all the better to outrun the undead.
Sprint + Sewer Crawl
Zombies have evolved since Night of the Living Dead; they move faster now. So you better be ready to run. Fast!

Sprint for 30 seconds – all out. If you’re being chased by a brain-eater, you don’t want to cupcake.
When the first 30 seconds have elapsed, drop onto all fours and work your quadrupedal movement for 30 seconds, just in case you have to hide in a sewer. Think bear crawl: core tight, hips parallel, hands right under your shoulders.

If you’re lucky, when you’re really being chased my zombies, you’ll be able to find a hiding place where you can catch your breath, take stock of your weapons cache, rehydrate, and get ready for the next attack wave. Take a 1-minute break, then get going on your remaining rounds of ZAP.
ZAP Variations
Here are a few ways you can scale and modify the ZAP to make it work for you and yours.

Scaling: Need an easier version of the workout? You can reduce the time spent on each task to 30 or 45 seconds, or reduce the number of rounds. Think you can handle more? Add more rounds or increase the weight of your sledgehammer and add hills to your sprints.

Cell Phone Warning: This one really tests your zombie attack preparedness and gets your friends in on the action. Designate a friend to call you at a random time and shout into the phone, “Zombie Attack!” at which point you launch the ZAP using whatever obstacles, surfaces, and weapons are at hand.

Tools Options: Sledgehammers and bats aren’t the only zombie-smashing devices. Feel free to substitute any or all of the following in your arsenal: two-by-four, tennis racket, shovel, cricket bat, cast iron skillet, majorette baton, juggling club.

ZAP Credits & Thanks
Special thanks to Dave, a.k.a., the Senator, for his help in making the ZAP Workout a reality… to Weston and Blake for playing our silly reindeer games and figuring out the multi-shot setting on the camera… to Marc for waking up early and transforming himself into a zombie… to Pai, for being such a good sport and adding that special surreal touch to the photos… to Simon Pegg for the rip-roarin’ good time that is Shaun of the Dead… and to the City of Austin for providing so many fun places to train for zombie killin’.

Happy Halloween!

Turkey Day Tabata & Feast Gone Bad

This Thanksgiving, I'll be starting the day with meditation, then watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. It's all about balance, people. Then later in the...

Read More
I’ll Take The Stairs: Story in Photos

Our (temporary) apartment in Prague is just off Old Town Square, in a narrow alley with large wooden doors on either end. After midnight, the...

Read More


  • erikajeanne says:

    have i told you how adorable all of you are recently? you are all adorable. even the zombie.

  • Melicious says:

    We are NOT adorable. We are fierce and vicious zombie hunters. GRRRRRR… SMASH!

  • Marc Majcher says:

    *Especially* the zombie.

  • Melicious says:

    MOST ESPECIALLY the zombie. Thanks, again, Marc!

  • Erin Clare says:


    And I'm sad to have missed it DAMNIT!!!!! Long live my Zombie Fighters!

  • Barbara says:

    I am laughing so hard that I just snorted! THIS is awesome and deserves some Youtube time.

  • bigmanweston says:

    Pai was terrifying. I don't know what I would have done without The Bounty Hunter to keep me safe.

  • girlblake says:

    I LOVE IT! Mel, you are a truly awesome force, and I'm proud to fight on your zombie attack squad.

  • Web Smith says:



  • Tyler says:

    This is so awesome & creative!! Nice L-Sit! 🙂

  • georgia says:

    I DO believe Austin will be the site of the first Zombie attacks and I DO believe we are going to kick some Zombie-booty thanks to this ZAP WOD!

  • Nathan Black says:

    Remember when training with a team. You don't have to run faster than the zombie, you have to run faster than your friends.

    Looks like a really fun workout!


  • Aaron says:

    Awesome! Bring on the zombies… I'm ready now!

  • Mer says:

    Everyone I've sent this to LOVES it! We're all going to be in top condition when the zombie-pocalypse rolls around! 😀

    Thanks, Mel and Zombie Fighters! (and zombie!)

  • anniebug says:

    LOL. This is great!

  • Melicious says:

    I'm so glad y'all like the workout. We had a really fun time doing the photographs and this saturday — HALLOWEEN! — we'll be doing the workout on Auditorium Shores in Austin. If you're in ATX, please join us more details to come… but you can mark your calendar for Saturday morning!

  • sarah says:

    This is hysterical! So creative, and making CrossFit even more fun than it already is.

  • Kathleen says:

    Just found your blog. So funny. Wish there was a crossfit place in OC CA. I'm on a journey to lose 15 lbs. I packed it on cooking for my blog. Can u say portion control baby?!

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Hey, Kathleen. Are either of these near you?



    I used to live in San Francisco and the Hootenanny was our favorite weekend getaway to southern California. I miss OC!

  • traynharder23 says:

    LOVE IT! that was awesome. i'll try a fight gone bad workout…similar to yours…i fear da zombies.

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Hey, traynharder23!

    I love the FGB workout format. Let me know if you try the workout — and if you customize. I'm excited to hear about what people do with the idea.

    Happy training!

  • Neil says:

    My mind is blown…
    In a good way.

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Neil! That's awesome… as long as your mind isn't eaten by zombies!

  • Maggie says:

    Haha, how fun!!

  • Nat says:


    hey check out 200 zombies attack a new zealand supermarket on youtube 'Rec2 Running of the Zombies'

  • Anonymous says:

    Hey Girly, I've enjoyed so much of your stuff. Especially the recipes. I teach children with Autism in a Ninja dojo. I'm going to incorporate some of this in todays sessions. LOVE IT!!!

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Hey, Anonymous… that's so cool. Hope the kids like it!

  • Addi says:

    Just wanted you to know – having my Sat a.m. bootcamp class do this tomorrow in preparation for the scheduled apocalypse, which will hopefully take place sometime after 10 a.m Central time.

    • Mel says:

      Addi! That is SO cool. I love it! Remember to plant those feet and swing through with the bat… gotta crush the brain!

      The supine surprise + hide is surprisingly challenging. HAVE FUN! And be vigilant 😉

  • Addi says:

    No baseball bats to be found, and the sprint hill was super muddy, so we did ball slams and tire flips instead. Still good skills to have under your belt in the coming zombie-ridden months, I think. Those sprints and sewer crawls at the end of the rounds were brutal! Holy hamstrings.

    • Mel says:

      Yeah, the hardest parts were my favorites 🙂 We really had fun with the sprints. Congrats on preparing for an attack!

  • Emma says:

    Awesome work out. Made me laugh out loud. Definitely more fun than the gym. And how has this been around for 2 years without me seeing it?!

    • Mel says:

      Glad you liked it, Emma! I usually remind people about the ZAP around Halloween… thinking about hosting an annual ZAP in Austin during October (when it’s cool and when zombies are likely to creep out of the ground 😉

  • Carrey says:

    Hey Mel,

    Every year for my birthday, we do a all day potluck brunch and movie marathon to a theme. This year’s theme? Zombie apocalypse! In honor of the theme (and because I’m going to need to do something be for sitting around/stuffing my face all day), we will be doing your ZAP wod on Oct. 23rd at Auditorium Shores at 0900. I’m pretty excited! Feel free to invite yourself along if you want to join in. We’ll be the ones looking especially silly and sweaty that morning.

    • Mel says:

      OMG! That sounds like such a fun way to celebrate your birthday! I would love to join you… but I’m going to be in Prague then. I’m sad to miss it!

      Happy Birthday in advance. Hope you have a zombie-killin’ fun time.

  • Alisha says:

    I used this workout for my unit’s PT (physical training) this week and everyone loved it! I subbed wall balls (throw supplies to your buddy on the 2nd floor) for the sledgehammer. Plus wall balls followed by sewer crawls makes for a killer workout.
    PS I love your site! Thank you for all the recipes and workouts that you post.

    • Mel says:

      Hey, Alisha!

      Thanks so much for stopping by to let me know. I LOVE the wall ball mod idea — and yeah, the sewer crawl is an ass-kicker. You are super cool to take the time to comment. Stay in touch!

  • Roberta says:

    This is awesome. Now my only zombie question is what to do with the insane amount of meat that will be quickly thawing in my freezer!