T Nation

Too Muscular for Spec Ops?

I am going to Navy EOD/DIVE school here in about two months and have run into a predicament. For those of u who do not know, Navy EOD stands for Explosive Ordnance Disposal. They are part of Navy Spec Ops which are dive, jump and land warfare qualified. They are just a step down from SEALs in that they dont carry out assassin missions. I have been training for it since I passed to qualification test last July where u have to swim, run, do pushups, situps, and pullups in a certain amount of time. I had only been bodybuilding at the time and passed the test easily with only a 1 day notice. My problem is that the instructors that I see to train with tell me to stop working out and all that muscle mass is worthless. They say that is just for looks and not very functional. Here are my stats:

Height: 5’10"
Weight: 172
BF%: 4-7% (depending on method)
Chest: 47"
Arms: 17"
Waist: 31"
Legs: 22"

I can do 25 pullups without stopping, 115 pushups in two minutes, and 105 situps in two minutes. I run a 10:30 1.5 mile and swim a 10:15 500yd.

I could understand if I was ronnie coleman and couldnt pass the exercises in the alloted times, but I dont really consider myself that big. I have really broad shoulders and back which makes me look around 185 or 190, but there is no way I am too muscular.

I even started taking HOT-ROX and ate chicken, tuna and veggies twice a day but still got harrassed as I dropped down to 162. Thank god I gained it back. I feel like i am trying to please them by dropping weight. Do u guys have any advice? Have any of u come across the same situations? Is being too muscular going to hurt my run and swim times?

If you are working out with the instructors for the course, then I would take their advice. If you want to be an EOD guy, then train like an EOD guy. You can always pick up bodybuilding again after you complete the training.

Fuck em. Keep training. You are smaller than me and I am a scrawny bastard.

With your stats, you look like Superman to these guys. A 16" difference between chest and waist is impressive.

As lean as you are, I wouldn’t change anything.

[quote]BH6 wrote:
If you are working out with the instructors for the course, then I would take their advice. If you want to be an EOD guy, then train like an EOD guy. You can always pick up bodybuilding again after you complete the training. [/quote]

Agreed, at 5’10" and 172#, focus on EOD training.

Have you gotten the stroking you so badly needed? You’re full of shit, pal. 172 pounds and you’re too musclular? Bullshit.

What do they say about your chicken legs?

They’re somewhat right telling you the mass is worthless. You don’t have to be big to be strong.
And swimmers shave their bodyhair to improve their time. No one would go that far without first getting the optimal streamlined physique. So body shape is extremely important.
You may be passing the time requirements but I’m sure that they want you to keep improving until you’re near perfect.

Do what they tell you. Stick to bodyweight excercises going forward and running and swimming.

You do not want to stick out, in a negative way, during any type pf military training, especially Spec-Ops.

Should you really have that low bodyfat? Considering that swimming in cold water and survival without supplies under extreme conditions might be necessary, a bit of blubber is not bad. Just ask any seal:-)

[quote]Hack Wilson wrote:
Have you gotten the stroking you so badly needed? You’re full of shit, pal. 172 pounds and you’re too musclular? Bullshit.[/quote]

I didnt say that I thought I was too muscular, I said the instructors thought so, hell, i know i have along way to go before i am deemed “too muscular”. I do have small legs but I wouldnt call them chicken legs. u got to remember man, most of these guys are tall and lanky, so if they see a bodybuilder like physique they get a negative connotation.

[quote]TQB wrote:
Should you really have that low bodyfat? Considering that swimming in cold water and survival without supplies under extreme conditions might be necessary, a bit of blubber is not bad. Just ask any seal:-)[/quote]

I have always had low BF. I have stayed b/w 4 and 7% most of my life. I can see what u are saying about the extra insulation though.

At 5’10" 172, you’re fine. The military has a nasty habit of making people run, so if you gain more weight, running will just start to wear on your joints. However, I really don’t see why you need to lost weight.

Seems like the instructors are still into the old notion that being “muscle bound” means being slow, clumsy, whatever. Obviously, someone like Ronnie Coleman would probably need to cut weight to get into spec ops, but 172 is no where near too big. Besides, if you’re ever in a combat situation and your buddy goes down injured, the skinny 130# guy who can run 3 miles in 8 minutes and crank out push ups all day isn’t going to have the kind of strength to lift up his injured comrade and carry him to safety. The real world requires some strength.

Keep lifting, but do more strength-oriented workouts that build strength with minimal muscle gain. When you’re back in the civilian world and ready to bulk up again, you’ll be able to move some serious weight and you’ll gain plenty of mass.

Spec-ops guys are an interesting breed. During my time in the Army, I was around quite a few, and I saw two primary body types…either tall and thin, or short and thin. I met ONE Green Beret who was very big and muscular, and he admitted that it was extremely difficult to not only maintain that mass, but also to get through selection carrying that much mass.
Navy Spec-Ops are going to be similar in that there is one thing that all operators have to consider when going on a mission, and that is weight, period. Not just their own, but their equpment, weapons, ammo, water, etc. The LESS weight you have to carry, the better.
Spec-ops training focuses on physical and mental endurance over the long haul. That is why your instructors are advising you to drop the weight. To most spec-ops personnel, the extra weight would simply be an extravagance.
I would venture to say that you could still perform all of the physical feats you described at a lower weight. You clearly have a natural athletic ability, and I would encourage you to focus on your natural attributes.

172LB’s is not tooo big to:

  1. Run 5 miles
  2. Have additional load and carry

I dont agree. But do not disagree with your instructors. Keep your feelings to yourself.

[quote]Hack Wilson wrote:
Have you gotten the stroking you so badly needed? You’re full of shit, pal. 172 pounds and you’re too musclular? Bullshit.[/quote]

Is this speaking from your extensive military experience? Oh yeah, you weren’t in the militay.

[quote]W8 LOGIC wrote:
TQB wrote:
Should you really have that low bodyfat? Considering that swimming in cold water and survival without supplies under extreme conditions might be necessary, a bit of blubber is not bad. Just ask any seal:-)

I have always had low BF. I have stayed b/w 4 and 7% most of my life. I can see what u are saying about the extra insulation though.[/quote]

I’m a former Navy FMF Corpsman, so I’ve been around the block a couple of times.

I think with those stats that the instructors are purely fucking with you and you’re young enough or immature enough to let it get to you. There is nothing wrong with your stats dude. Take the beatings with a grain of salt, jump through all the hoops, and handle your business. Either that or quit. Seems to me that if you’re on this forum crying about getting hassled by your Cadre you’re not mentally ready for EOD anyway.

Good Luck,

B.

My problem is that the instructors that I see to train with tell me to stop working out and all that muscle mass is worthless. They say that is just for looks and not very functional.

Those are some pretty ignorant remarks. Obviously I am ignorant however since I would think you would be an ideal candidate. Hopefully you never get hurt and need your “more functional” 140lb buddy to pull you into safety. Good Luck!

You’re so full of shit. I have many friends in SpecOps and most of them were at least your size or larger. All of them were trying to get bigger and stronger.

If your stats were truthful (a dubious assumption), then you would have the perfect build for combat. I just don’t believe you.

[quote]BradTGIF wrote:
Seems to me that if you’re on this forum crying about getting hassled by your Cadre you’re not mentally ready for EOD anyway.
[/quote]

Aint’ that the truth. At the first sign of self-doubt, he came running to an anonymous Internet forum for validation. Doesn’t sound very mentally tough to me.