Pioneers of the digital age noted the "information superhighway" has
produced, amongst other things, a rapid surge of the sharing of
knowledge. The future, they predicted, would be rife with educational
opportunities via super-connectivity that would in turn enhance
business efficiencies and improve the quality of life. Though there are
many positive changes the digital age has ushered in, there are a
number of aspects that have been quite negative.
Of the most basic assumptions of the digital delivery of information is
that it would be accurate, based on fact and without hidden agenda.
Unfortunately, with respects to many areas, including the health and
fitness industry, information on the unregulated internet is not always
accurate. Typically, those who believe they can magically attain their
goals via a certain supplement or diet plan, all without a bit of
old-fashioned hard work, are doomed to disappointment in the form of
financial loss or unattained goals. There is one class of people,
however, who have more to lose. For with those in military service,
inaccurate information may not simply cause users to fall short of
their goals. It may cost them their lives.
Military training, as it relates to preparedness, is decidedly
different from common training in that the stakes are far higher.
Indeed, one false move could cost lives. If there is a similarity with
my standard approach to training it is that it is goal oriented, with
knowledge of the needs of the individual. This is where the difference
in the marketing of military training and actual needs differ from
other training modes. While many in the exercise world inundate
military people with notions of specific training mediums and
protocols, they lack purpose and direction.
The first goal in military training, despite the "Hollywood" imagery,
is survivability and managing the demands of soldiering. Survivability
rests on the ability to manage highly tenuous situations by performing
difficult physical and mental manuevers in the most destabilized of
environments. As my good friend and noted authority in the area, Danny
Dring, noted to me, "military personnel need to be able to handle the
toughest of situations while having a complete overload of adrenaline
rush." Physical training must always reflect the chaotic nature of the
soldier's life ("the fog of war") with clear knowledge of psychological
demands in combat.
Moving from this, training for the military must not only recognize the
chaotic nature of soldiering (whereby the only predictable thing is
unpredictability) while acknowledging that levels of fitness should be
extremely high. This is obviously important for sustaining long taxing
work in "the field" while maintaining absolute readiness. Borrowing
upon my book "With Grace"
"This might be the most peculiar of areas to discuss because it is the
lynchpin between the reality of the public's deplorable health levels
and the need for appropriate training.
"Many will find my goals for general fitness both significantly higher
then anything they’ve heard of and quite likely a regime that will
redefine the modern Spartan.
"There has never been a time in history when such a high percentage of
the public is obese. I would also go so far as to say that fitness
expectations have never been lower and what were once very common
abilities are now considered outstanding. Pedestrian physical abilities
are glorified within the exercise genre and challenging skills are
rarely discussed because it is far beyond the reach of what is seemed
This has led to a situation where the military has an unfit pool of
recruits to draw from. As evidence, extremely common abilities such as
a 6 minute mile pace over 3 minutes grades out as the upper echelon and
a barely passing grade of a physical education class thirty years ago
is now the "upper" mark in the U.S. Army’s two-mile test.
|Table 1: US Army (2 mile
Using VO2 max as a general guideline, this indicates a top level, for
the 17-21 age bracket, of slightly above 47 with "passing" grade of 36.
Sadly this is not acceptable and in a situation where adrenline is
running amuck in a battle situation, such poor fitness levels can be
catastrophic. Though it may seem draconion to some, my present goal
with school physical education classes is a minimum 5.30 mile pace over
two miles or preferably 5km in 18 minutes, which equate to at or
slightly above a 55 VO2 max baseline for a teenaged male.
Resistance training needs to be simplified with the "broadest" of broad
brush approaches in all-around development and without "wasted"
musculature. Though I have been called the "father of functional
training," I tend to prefer "purposeful training" whereby all
development must suit the soldier's job and not bodybuilding culture or
the like. Excessive muscular development is not needed and can be
detrimental for the ultimate survivabilty goals and problematic in
portability and tracking. The development of a lean physique must be
the focal point with relative strength targeted via generalized
bodyweight exercies and a firm eye towards advanced dynamic range of
motion. With due respect, though some have suggested the military's
phyiscal testing spectrum needs to be widened, it directly suits the
needs and should be followed. Many individuals who have spent years
developing their physique find their musculature not suited towards
soldiering needs and in fact counter-productive. In addition to the
entire "In Search of Power" series, standardized non-weighted
calestenics, general bodyweight movements (i.e. pushups, Russian split
jumps, pullups, chinups and challenging partner related movements) and
speciality exercises (i.e. rope climb and swimming) should make up the
program with minimal extraneous equipment. If there was one piece of
equipment I'd suggest, it would be an Xvest to accommodate to the
wearing of a flak jacket, though for those presently deployed, you
should stick to the "real thing." Additional training mediums, ie.
Kettlebells, Sandbags or traditional weights are "fine" but none is the
panacea, despite the endless marketing claims. If you do not have them
available, it will not be a significant issue. This point alone is
crucial because all training must be cognescent of the eventual
environment in which physical training will be put to the test. Quite
naturally specialized attributes, while well beyond the scope of this
article and within responsible journalism guidelines, need to be
re-inforced at all times.
In summary, military training is focused upon survivability and
managing the demands of soldiering. I am quite serious in assisting
those who serve and though I never use it within marketing efforts, I
take great pride in being of service. While I have not said this in the
past, I appreciate the luxury ProSource has provided me in writing the
first of this series and working together, we will continue to serve
those who defend under the edict of honour, commitment and loyalty.
From the day Renegade Training opened its cyber window, that has and
always will be our "Code" and one that I hope each reader makes use of
and embodies. Though I did not mention it, I never put services to the
military "up for sale" as it will always be provided without cost and
an honour I cherish. I will continue to do so and welcome all
questions or comments via the ProSource forum.