Military Training, Part 2
By Admin | Friday, February 12, 2010 10:01:10 AM America/New_York
Physical training for the military is decidedly different than sport training because of how fitness levels are tested in the military and because of the repercussions that arise from poorly laid plans. Unfortunately, the majority of individuals in the training business suggest inappropriate measures for the military that are not only ignorant of basic exercise physiology but the demands of the profession. To simply work a person to exhaustion to demonstrate poor levels of fitness is both short-sighted and counter-productive.
If there is a common ground between the general exercise field and military training, it is that no piece of exercise equipment is the panacea. While the 2010 marketing image of the exercise industry resembles a daily training session of mine in late 1980's, no piece of training equipment is more beneficial that another and, in-fact for those in the field, the best medium is very likely bodyweight movements. This flies directly in the face of those who have discovered training complexes of mine that I have used for twenty-plus years or those who think kettlebells are the magical tool, but the truth is, military training is best served with bodyweight movements and, of course, a rucksack.
When considering military training issues, survivability, adaptability, functionality and sustainability are the key elements. Each of these points is far reaching and for those presently in the military or embarking on serving their country, you need to fully understand these concepts.
All training mechanisms start with the survivability aspect and the need to deal with rapidly changing situations. At the highest level of training, done behind closed doors, physical training emulates the chaotic nature of warfare in which the incumbent must learn to make decisions on the spot and not be flustered with waves of adrenaline rush.
Adaptability is a key component within a number of aspects of military training. From a results-only viewpoint, the individual must be able to adapt to rapidly changing environments and when possible, train within an environment similar to one in which they will eventually be tested. This is impossible to the farthest extreme, but the key point should be that softly lit fitness facilities and spas would not condition the individual to the rigors of warfare. Naturally, there is a limit to this, but the point is that training the individual to adapt to rapidly changing situations will improve their survivability. Secondly, all training needs to adjust to field conditions and not be based upon facilities that do not exist out of home-base environments. This does not mean training measures need to be draconian or austere. The best example of this is during a recent training session with legendary MMA coach / athlete Danny Dring, in which we took turns standing on each other's shoulders while performing Squats. Alternatively, a common rucksack might be one of the best training tools that can be used.
Functionality is likely the most abused phrase in the modern exercise world and though I have been called the "father of functional fitness", I would rather phrase that as "purposeful". Training needs to take into account the mental demands as well as the physical and once you fully comprehend the needs of military personnel you will find that most have insufficient fitness levels, carry too much bodyweight and need greater strength in the lower body. Physical weight for many is deeply troubling particularly as we vary from "fighting load" to "approach march load" and "emergency march load", under extreme conditions in both climate and stress. The complexity of this situation is enhanced in that since World War II general field armour / load carried into battle has trebled in most cases (and can be five times as much). General fitness and lower body strength is never more needed and yet is lagging far behind. Looking at it strictly from a strength development standpoint, not nearly enough work focuses upon developing a powerful lower body, able to sustain loads over long hauls.
The concern of sustainability represents not only training to ensure the individual is able to address the enormous physical and mental burden under duress but maintain the regime when deployed. This area is unique because it directly relates to the bodyweight of the individual, if their weight is appropriate for the field and can be maintained under trying conditions. As you adopt a program that recognizes the chief concerns, you will find it delivers a regime that is inherently sustainable.