T Nation

Military Strength and Conditioning

[quote]djbige05 wrote:
Being a former marine and remidial PT instructor, I would focus more on the CORE…powerful legs and lower back…the thing I did not understand is the PFT is done wearing running shoes, thous faggy ass shorts and a t-shirt…how is that pratical…break out the boot and ut runs and wear your flack jacket and helmet…fill your pack up and put on to do pull ups…even do some running wearing your gas mask as well…very different feel makes you consentrate on your breathing more because it is restricted.

Work on your intesity in the gym…I still do that today…for example I do a split of chest and Biceps…I will do a set of chest the straight into Biceps and back to chest…Your in the military, your fitness is the matter of life and death and NOT just yours!!..

so if some of the above sounds stupid or to hard to you then I am glad I did not server with you…because your squad is only as strong as the weakest person…I would be damned if I got shot, hurt, injured or killed because of some lame ass that could not keep up…[/quote]

You are my idol. I thought I was hardcore, but running with your gas mask…your awesome.

[quote]boatguy wrote:
Atomic Situp: lie down flat on your back with arms extended over your head; do a full crunch, bringing your arms and legs up at the same time, trying to touch your toes at the top, keeping your arms as close to overhead as possible–also called V-ups.

Or at least that’s what we called atomic situps.[/quote]

Ok ours is a lot different:

  1. Get unsuspecting newbie and tell him that an atomic situp is the real test of man hood. really talk it up how every one has tried but almost all failed. Ask newb if he wants to try.

  2. When the newb ask what it is tell him it’s a sit up with your buddy holding your shoulders back.

  3. When he tries and fails tell him a blind fold will help him concetrate, focus his chi, whatever. Once he his blind folded one of the guys drops trou and puts his ass close to his face.

  4. when the cherry starts to pull hard his buddy lets go and hilarity ensues.

Juvinial…yes, but when I learned it we were all a bunch of 17 and 18 year olds. And no I never fell for the atomic sit up. I’m not a big fan of wearing blind folds around other joes.

On a side note one of my buddies is doing cross fit and swears by it.

when i was a ranger (in norway…) I weighed in at about 115-120kgs (253-265lbs). To me this was an advantage, i was able to carry much, much more than the 140-160lbs guys and the fat i had just worked as a reserve when we had long marches (1-2-3 weeks). If you are going to be a mech.inf, My opinion is that short sprints with extra weight (getting from one street corner to the next…) climbing/jumping exercises with extra weight (getting inside windows, over obstacles with gear). and the likes is important, combined with strenght training. For more Long range scouting-type of things, long marches with a heavy backpack, a comfortable fat-percentage and some good shoes is my tip… :wink:

To be halfway on topic: I think that childhood/younger years have a lot to do with what you can manage later, I was an active cross country guy at weighing in at about nothing from the age of 3-4 till i was 16-17, i think i put a nice kardio-fundament down then.


i agree with a lot of what you said, except for the PT run with pro-mask and MOPP gear. that just turns a PT run into a wasted workout, in my opinion. however, it does have value in a training exercise. i just believe that if you’re gonna work out, then do it right…

i think that a lot of what you train for depends a lot on your MOS, as well as your body type and ability. i’m 6’1", with long arms and legs. i don’t really need to train for roadmarching, although i actually enjoy it. however, a shorter and stockier guy would put that as a priority. however, i really, really suck at swimming, so that’s an issue for me.

as a rule, i think all combat soldiers need above average strength and endurance in the upper and lower bodies. also, feet need to be conditioned for long walks. skills also need to be developed (swimming, climbing, combatives, shooting, CQB) as well. i think it’s best to remain a generalist most of the time, and focus on what you need to prior to deployment (if possible).

as far as body type, well i think that matters more for the person. most of the Delta and SF guys i know, look like the average guy that’s in pretty good shape. a lot of the SEAL’s look roided out, as well as a lot of the Marines. as far as muscles’ concerned, if it’s functional and doesn’t make you a liabilty…now if you’re 350 damn pounds and you go down, your buddies gotta carry you…

P.S. i’ll try and dig up my Ranger school PT program and post it for those that are interested…

That would be interesting to see the ranger workouts. I’m thinking of writing an article in the Marine Corps Gazette (a professional magazine) on combat conditioning and training with weights to augment combat conditioning. I’ve started contacting units like the Recon Battalions, and infantry regiments to see what formalized programs they have. I’d love to see what the Rangers are using. I don’t have any experience with SF, Rangers, or SEALs. I’ve been in the field for a few days and away from my computer, I haven’t been able to follow this thread.

Semper Fi.

lol, the atomic sit up, yeha thats a great exercise, should definitely be the core of any new soldiers routine. I would go along with what every one else here has said. Ruck marches for 5 miles or so with 40-60 lbs. You’ll carry more eventually, but doing more than that in training will only injure you. Start light, alternating work for speed and weight. If you can do 13 minute miles with 60 lbs for 5 miles, you’ll be in decent shape for heavier loads at longer distances. running long distances also helps with ruck marching. sprint work in the 400 meter to 1 mile distances will help with the 2 mile run. push ups, pull ups, and dips are great for upper body work. sit ups and flutter kicks will help with swimming and running, you should be able to get at least 100 4 count flutter kicks without much trouble. I’d also say deadlifts and farmers walks, along with zercher squats to help strengthen the lower back, carrying a guy who weighs 200 lbs is difficult if your lower back isn’t strong.

I was in 2nd ranger batt between 95-98. The best exercise i found for my guys was interval sprints 400m sprints with 100m cooldown x10, and hills.

Middle of the night PT when your body is shocked and not ready for the pt.

Blind runs or ruck runs, where you tell your squad go, give them the route and when they hit what they think is the finish line you give them another 4-8 miles just dont tell them how far.

As far as strenght wise we usually did pt twice a day once in the morning and once in the afternoon. The splits were always cardio/strength.

The strength would either be weights in the gym,polymetric excersise with partner resistance, body weight or log pt.

I believe that alot of the condition for the warrior is also mental not just physical. Most people have no idea what their body is capable of.
Whens the last time you have had 3 hours to go 5 miles over rough/hilly terrian with a 85 to 100 lbs ruck to make your extraction, you havent slept for 4 days and you have been working off 1500 cals or less for the last 4 days. I could give a rat fuck about how much you bench or squat…if you dont have the mindset to survive or succeed then it doesnt matter you will die and you will waste good rangers with you.

If you want to have a real fun workout…this is too my batt buddies. We would go in fire teams one person would put regular pt clothes over his ranger pt uniform, the the rest of us would follow him. We would run till we found a company doing pt, the guy in the regular pt uniform would take their gideon he would give it to one of us and strip his regular uniform off so his batt uniform is showing and we would run like hell with their gideon. Nothing motivates you like a company of regular infantry running after you cause you have their colors.

And nothing is better then the smile of our commanders face when he states their batt commander called him wanted their colors back…ohhhh the good ole days.

anyways thats my two cents…love to help anyone trying to get some new workouts for their squad.


On what Magma299 wrote:

I am in the 82d and we do the same shit. Lots of buddy carry “runs”, full equip runs, etc, but it is the same setup…infantry rules all bitches! LOL


A few points to bring up;
Variety is the key. One, this makes things a little more interesting and keeps up motivation, two, you have to prepare yourself to deal with any situation. Change up the stresses on your body, don’t just get strong on one area.

I’ve recently started a new program with my section, based a lot on GPP principles I’ve read here. We do a lot of litter (stretcher) carries for distance, litter lifts for reps, buddy carries and drags, sled drags (ask your medics to borrow a Skedco) tire flipping and sprints. I mix it up, sometimes wearing just PTs, sometimes in full battle rattle. It is an ass kicker, I don’t know if it helps the APFT scores or not, but it team lifting builds morale and my guys all feel stronger.

[quote]djbige05 wrote:
even do some running wearing your gas mask as well…very different feel makes you consentrate on your breathing more because it is restricted.


When I was in Diego Garcia my CC Maj. Malay would make us don our masks the last two miles or so and then run/jog in formation the last mile through the main area to show the Navy we were hard. It really sucked at the time but it makes great memories now.

After 23+ years in the military here is my answer: long fast walkes with a heavy pack, running obstacle courses, and pulls ups, pulls ups, and more pull ups. The first two are obvious the reason behind the third is: in city fighting you’re expected to pull yourself up verticle walls and into windows, in the field you may need to grab a hellocpter skid and pull your self into the helo and you’ll have a ton of weight on, for example bullets, hand grenades, a rifle, flak jacket, helmut, and more.
The obstacle course is substantial challenge. If you can do a double running at full throttle your a stud. Long fast hikes with a heavy pack is similar to Coach Dan John’s ideas about carrying weight. Imagine a pull up with 40-80lbs on your body into a window 8 feet off the ground. It is the same technique as a “mucle up” often described on crossfit.

I’ll start by telling you I am not and never have been in the Military, due to asthma.
The reason I am chiming in is I spent a year training hard, under a Mil fit protocol. I study Jujutsu with a 26 year veteran of SF, and some pretty tough Marines and Soldiers, they helped me put my regime in order.
I did Ruck and weightvest marching, Cals. Kettlbells, running, Dead Lifts and Bench pressing along with movement training in full gear, to see if I could get in shape to nullify asthma and get into Combat Arms.
I was unsuccessful in killing asthma, but my attacks were way less frequent, My allergy tolerance was up, do to all the outdoor training, and I got in the best shape of my life.
I did shit like a 19 mile march with a starting load of 109 lbs. It took about 4 hours. I did a march with 90Lbs. of weight vest and 2- 8lbs. DBs for 3 miles, and ran 3 8 mile runs while having attacks. But rules are rules.
The weightvest and Ruck ( SF Internal frame pack, LBE,15lb. Bar, Boots and Uts.) and the Kettlebells were the biggest assets in that year.
I have done KB demos for U.S.M.C Raids and Recon and the U.S. Marshall Service. Both groups saw the value of them right away.
I have trained several Marines , an ATF agent and several Secret Service personnel, privately. These are all guys who’s lives may depend on their S&C.
I just got done doing Pavel Tsatsouline’s Russian Kettlebell Force Recon Workout program, that he designed for 3rd Recon. Do that with 1 Ruck and 2 runs and you will be a hard motherfucker.
go to Dragon door, hit Pavel’s KB Blog and you’ll find it there. Ignore some of the marketing, just go for the useful stuff.
KBs will be common place in the Military in a few years. Many individuals and a few Spec ops units use them already. It’s a shame the regular Infantry, Armour and Artillery guys aren’t doing them.
Just my $0.02.
Thanks to all of you who are in the Military for all you do. And kill a terrorist or 100 for those of us who are not allowed to.

[quote]cat51 wrote:
After doing four years in the Army Rangers, in another life, I would have to say that endurance is more important than strength. In the combat arms side a soldier has to be able to go all day, all night and then all day again while carrying heavy loads with no sleep and no food.

Running, road marching and body weight exercises such as pullups, pushups and dips are mandatory. Exercises used for strongman events would be an alternative to keep from getting stale. Just remember, the bigger you are means all the more weight you are having to feed and move with. Of course if you are in a non combat field most of this does not apply.[/quote]

Having served 5 years in one of my country’s best airborne infantry regiment, I perfectly agree with cat51…
Don’t focus on any kind of bulking! I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a guy over 200 pounds in our units :slight_smile:
Focus on strenght doing old-school bodyweight exercises. Focus on your endurance. Don’t underestimate the importance of flexibility and try to stretch (and do some plyos as one other guy already suggested).
Prefer “real-life” training, i.e. outdoor, combat conditions, to “cosy” indoor training.

2nd REP
French Foreign Legion
“To be and to last”

PS: Sorry for my English-speaking…

[quote]Having served 5 years in one of my country’s best airborne infantry regiment, I perfectly agree with cat51…
Don’t focus on any kind of bulking! I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a guy over 200 pounds in our units :slight_smile:
Focus on strenght doing old-school bodyweight exercises. Focus on your endurance. Don’t underestimate the importance of flexibility and try to stretch (and do some plyos as one other guy already suggested).
Prefer “real-life” training, i.e. outdoor, combat conditions, to “cosy” indoor training.

2nd REP
French Foreign Legion
“To be and to last”

PS: Sorry for my English-speaking…[/quote]

French Foreign Legion! Outstanding. Great input. I’d like to see if there are any more military people from other countries who can post military fitness training ideas. What do units do for physical training in other countries?
There is some good word being passed around on this thread. I’m making my Marines read it so they can come up with training ideas of thier own.

[quote]juicescholar wrote:
I was at Quantico recently and someone was complaining about the lack of plyometric training in the military. You have two spectrums - the long tedious stuff (rucking…does anyone call it humping anymore? Shame) and then the bursts of short sharp activity. This Sgt was saying that he can tell the guys who do plyos because they don’t twist their ankles jumping out of vehicles or running up stairs. Strange to think that you could be very fit but vulnerable to that. Experiences? [/quote]

Shit, every other Marine I know calls it “humping” too…But whatever you call it, it sucks monkey balls…

Here’s my $.02…When in Marine Security Forces, lifting and bulking was fine, because standing post was ultimatly our mission. You want the big strong guys on an ECP, right? However, we ran a lot (5 days a week at a heinous pace).

When in the grunts, we did mostly combat conditioning such as runs up the ridgeline at Camp San Mateo (steep hills) with flak jacket and sapi plates. This was pretty good preparation for Iraq, where you’re looking at long, fast paced patrols that require both speed and endurance. However, the ability to man handle people, climb over walls in full gear and run up and down stairs would come in very handy, so it’s important to hit the O-Course, ropes, AND weights! Plus, having served as a MCWIS (water survival instructor for MC) I am partial to swimming as well.

So, bottom line, you can’t just run, you can’t just lift, you need a ballence of everything.