Life After Shivworks: Winter Workout Update

| March 28, 2016 | 9 Comments

In July of 2015 I attended the Extreme Close Quarters Combat class taught by Craig “Southnarc” Douglas of Shivworks. Two months after that, I wrote the first “Life After Shivworks” update, detailing some of my observations about the physical stress of the class, and how it effected me and the other students. I also wrote about some of the exercises I was doing at that time (fall of 2015).


In October of 2015 I started doing the Beachbody P90X3 workout, with a focus on the “Mass” building combination. Each session is roughly 30 minutes long. I was driving for consistency — five workouts a week. I opted to do the “Dynamix” workout instead of rest, since I was already resting / doing non-P90X3 things on the weekends.

There are 90 sessions, and I should have been done after 18 weeks, or approximately the week of February 4.

I finished on March 15, 2016.

I was bedridden sick twice during these sessions. I also fell on the ice and hurt my wrist. There were days when I just didn’t work out for whatever reason (laziness, mostly).


Writing down completion dates was helpful — both at bolstering my spirits when I was consistent, and shaming me when I wasn’t


Despite the “Mass” focus, I didn’t get appreciably bigger after completing the sessions. This is mostly due to my physique — even when I was doing dedicated weight lifting for years I never got much larger than I am now — but also because doing a shitload of reps is not really how people get big.

However, I am happy with the results I got, given the amount of effort I put in and the constitution of the workout plan. My stability, agility, and core strength all improved a lot. I also feel like the explosive movements in the workouts helped, and many of the workouts have a sprawl component (either explicitly as a sprawl, or part of another movement like a burpee).

I’m also a big believer in having a strong ass and legs, so I was happy that most of the workouts concentrated on developing dynamic movements.

I recommend P90X3 if you are already working out, and you sit / stand in static positions for most of the day. I sit in a chair for 12 – 16 hours a day. Doing yoga and Pilates may not seem like the path to victory in an Evolution, but flexibility, mobility, and core strength are going to come in handy on the ground, and even in a standing clinch. I already saw good results at Rangemaster 2016 this year in Cecil Burch’s “Entangled Fight” unit.

What’s Next

On March 16, I started a kettlebell-and-flexibility cycle. I do three separate Kettlebell routines, alternating with yoga, Pilates, agility training, and “explosive prep” training. Since it’s finally above freezing here, we’ll be going outside more for additional physical exercise. I plan on doing this for a total of 48 sessions, then evaluate my fitness and how bad my wrist is. I may repeat, or I may do something else. I should finish sometime in late May, which will also be pretty close to ECQC again in June.

About the Author:

Short Barrel Shepherd Short Barrel Shepherd is a regular guy and works to make Web sites and mobile apps easier for people to use. He spends his free time attending fight-focused firearm, knife, and combatives training, motorcycling, writing, and playing games. His daily carry is a Glock 19 pistol and an AR15 .300 Blackout pistol in a backpack.

9 Comments on "Life After Shivworks: Winter Workout Update"

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  1. kyliewyotie says:

    Thanks for the update on fitness, I also changed my routine recently.
    I switched from a heavy weight program, to more body weight movements.

    My wife also started to join me, which makes it much more enjoyable. We also have the baby and dogs participating. Makes it a good family event.

    We added a sirt pistol to the mix yesterday, making a bit more fun.

    • Short Barrel Shepherd Short Barrel Shepherd says:

      Thank you for providing your update ; I really like seeing what other community members are doing. The She Shepherd really likes kettlebells, so she’s doing those with me in addition to doing additional strength and flexibility training at a local gym. As you wrote, exercising with family members has many benefits. Our dogs “spot” me during lifts and other exercises, they are a TON of help 😛

      How have you incorporated the SIRT pistol into your exercises so far? I’ve done a fair amount of exercise while carrying, but aside from my burpee experiment on the range I haven’t done any firearms training with my physical training.

      • kyliewyotie says:

        Hey Shep,

        My addition of the SIRT pistol so far hasn’t been very regimented. We hung some interactive laser targets in the gym, and on the up or down stroke of squats fire. 2 hands, strong/weak hands alone etc. We also used it during back extensions, allows for awkward position training. I also did mag changes during my short my rest breaks. If nothing else it takes my mind off the work out, but practice is still practice.

  2. MD says:

    Glad your program is paying dividends. Regarding mass – if you want to add size it’s imperative to eat big. A caloric surplus, combined with high volume resistance exercise, really is the key. It’s taken me many years to really grasp this concept. But if you don’t care about getting bigger, that’s fine too. It definitely sounds like your regime is working well for you.

    Have you considered Shivworks Edged Weapon Overview class? I highly recommend it. I understand it covers some of the same material as ECQC but focuses on the blade.

    • Short Barrel Shepherd Short Barrel Shepherd says:

      I hear you on eating big to get big. When I lifted weights exclusively, I would eat over 4000 calories a day and barely make a dent. My total weight differences between mass building and cutting diets was 30# at the height of my weight training. I wound up ditching weights altogether for awhile and swam for fitness, which helped drop my weight down to 40# below my max lifting weight.

      It’s easier for me to lean out than to bulk up.

      In regards to EWO, I know it’s being taught near me soon. But being honest with myself, my desire to train more with edged weapons is pretty low on my priority list. The Shivworks classes are worth every penny, but they are by far the most expensive training I do.

      So much to learn, so little time, and even less money 🙁

      I’m glad you liked the class — I’ve heard very good things about it as well.

  3. CR Williams says:

    What are you doing for anerobic endurance?

    • Short Barrel Shepherd Short Barrel Shepherd says:

      Nothing, aside from the two-minutes-on-one-minute-off rest pattern of the kettle bell routines.

      Do you have a suggestion? I don’t run. 🙂

      • CR Williams says:

        Some HITs routines will do it. When I can bring myself to it, the Tabata timing cycle (they call it a routine but you can do different exercises in a Tabata cycle so it’s not really a set routine) works best for me.

        I will warn you that Tabatas are a product of mind of a demented demon from the depths of Hell approved by Satan for the torture of innocents when they’re done right. Tabatas would make Darth Vader cry. Effective, though, yes, I think so.

        Sprints are something else, or shuttle runs, though I don’t do either of those.

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