Stew Smith's Archive:

Stew Smith

Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. If you are interested in starting a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle - check out the Stew Smith article archive at Military.com. To contact Stew with your comments and questions, e-mail him at stew@stewsmith.com.

To see more from Stew Smith, check out www.stewsmithfitness.com

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Favorite Workout Week #12

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This workout has turned out to be another all-​​time favorite mix of swimming, running, sprinting, crawling, carrying, and calisthenics.  See if you like this 90–120 minute workout mix:

Swim PT  (see video link)

Repeat 5 times 200m swim for time
Burpees for same time it takes to swim 200m

500m Combat Swimmer Stroke (CSS video DESCRIPTION)

Part 2 of the workout:

Run /​ Pt Workout *(best done on a football field /​ track)

Jog 1/​2 mile easy

Repeat 4 times
bear crawl 25m
25m easy jog
50m sprint
25m easy jog

jog 1/​2 mile easy

Repeat 4 times
walking lunges 25m
25m easy jog
50m sprint
25m easy jog

jog 1/​2 mile

Repeat 4 times
fireman carry 25m
25m easy jog
50m sprint
25m easy jog

jog 1/​2 mile

Repeat 4 times
burpee jump 25m
25m easy jog
50m sprint
25m easy jog

jog 1/​2 mile

Check out more of our favorite workouts of the week on the Military​.com Fitness Blog.  Sign up for the newsletters for great up to date information on military news, events, and of course — cool workouts.

Favorite Workout Week #11: Last Week

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When the Spartan 300 Workout came out after a very popular movie with nothing but ripped up actors playing the Spartan Warriors, many people started doing this type of 300 total rep workout spread over six exercises of 50 reps each.  Here is just a sample of many combinations that are fun to add running to the max repetition circuit OR complete the 50 reps THEN rotate to the next exercise.

Spartan 300 Run /​ PT

1/​4 mile run at goal timed run pace (all runs)
Push press 50 (barbell 50% bodyweight)
1/​4 mile run
Kb swings 50
1/​4 mile run
Pullups 50
1/​4 mile run
Overhead weighted walking lunges 50/​leg (hold 25–40#DB)
1/​4 mile run
TRX Atomic Pushups 50 or weight vest pushups /​ bench press 135#
plank pose 2 min

 

You can either keep completing the reps for each exercise until you get 50 total then run.  OR if you want to run MORE, you can max rep set /​ run 1/​4 mile keep that exercise /​ run combo until you get 50 reps. Good Full Body Workout… Optional:  Cool down cardio 30 minutes of swim, bike, elliptical, easy.

Joining the Military — Talk With Parents

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Every now and then this email is received from a young man or woman seeking some advice on preparing for service in the military.  This one is a little different as this young high school graduate needs some information on preparing his parents on his desire to serve.  Since many of our readers are future service members and we have many veterans and active duty members who read these blogs, I thought maybe this article can be used to share some ideas on how you broke the news with your parents when you decided to serve.  Not every one has supportive parents period, much less supportive of serving in the military during times of conflict.  Here is the email that prompted this blog post and request to the readers to share their stories:     

Stew — I have been a multi-​​sport athlete my whole life and I am ready to serve my country.  However, my family has been really against enlisting and going to the military as an alternative to college, BUT I am 100% positive that’s what I want to do.  Both my sister and brother are in college sports and they expect me to do the same. What kind of tips can you give me to tell them.     Thanks for reading and I hope you can reply.    Sincerely,  JM

Favorite Workout# 10: Last Week

pullupupOk — this workout is no joke and not for beginners.  This is one of our favorite combo circuits where we focus on the following type of exercise groups:  Upper body PUSH, Upper body PULL, Legs, Abs, and Full body Movements.  This one is a mix of a circuit and a max rep set of the pull, push, leg and the full body and abs are done to your wishes.

Pull, Push, Legs, Abs, Fullbody Max Reps Sets exercise circuit:

Max Reps sets of first 3 (Murph Workout*) — then “rest” with abs /​ full body each set:
Pull = pullups 100 reps
Push = pushups 200 rep
Legs = air squats 300 reps
Abs of choice 50
Fullbody exercise of choice:  options dead lift, hang clean, power clean, push press, KB swings, etc…Heavy or light moderate reps sets.  5–10 reps of these fullbody exercises.

Get Fit by Making it Fit

Military-Fitness-Training

Here is a smart article from military veteran and fitness company owner Kit Dumph:

Staying in Shape While You Are in the Military or at Work

 It’s strange to think that military members would have problems finding time to exercise. They are in the military after all, and that’s part of the job. The truth is that even when commands set aside specific times for fitness, it is often times the first thing axed when other tasks are on the whiteboard.  This same pressure on time and tasks happens in the civilian worldalso, and all to frequently exercise time is the first to go.

So the obvious question is how do you take your fitness back when tasks and time dictate otherwise? The best solution is to make fitness a priority and set aside specific blocks of time to accomplish this. When that isn’t possible, you can go to Plan B.

Plan B

“Get fit by making it fit”

This means adding physical activities in between your normal activities throughout the day.  A perfect example of this is a wakeup pushup regime as follows.

Wake Up: 10 warm up pushups

Activity: Such as turning on the coffee machine

Exercise: 20 Pushups

Activity: Make the bed

Exercise 20 Pushups

Activity: Start Breakfast

Exercise 20 pushups

This can be modified and edited a million different ways to present a challenge and adapt to your goals.

If you are in a military setting, the “Get fit by making it fit” attitude will be even easier. There is even a good chance that your co-​​workers will join in on the fun.  In fact, I have seen many commands and schools adopt this attitude. Such as requiring 10 pull-​​ups before entering the chow hall, rowing 1000 meters before lunch or an end of the day pushup requirement.  All of which can be adapted and used to your advantage when you are too busy to block off time solely for PT.


Kit Dumph is the Founder of Force Fitnesfitkits Kits.. He spent 7 years in Special Operations with deployments around the globe. The Force Fitness Kit team believes that fitness should be easy, accessible and go where you go.   sells a complete workout kit that is designed to allow the user to stay in shape wherever life may lead them.  Mail Questions & Comments

Ask the MD — Becoming a Stronger Runner

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Angela Duff, 62nd Aerial Port Squadron

Military​.com Fitness is starting a new section where we reach out to various medical and science professionals to get advice on fitness, injury prevention, injury rehabilitation, nutrition, and many other topics that will help our readers. Many emails ask our writing team about running faster, running injuries, and how to prevent them.  I am pleased to introduce Dr. Michael Cassatt who is a former Navy corpsman and now a doctor of Sports Medicine .  Dr Cassatt answers our “How to prevent running injuries” question with the following explanation: Injuries in runners are common.  Injuries from the waist down can range from 1 in 4 runners, to 2 in 3 runners depending on training volume. Most of these injuries are preventable given a good training plan, quality running form, and a few specific exercises to help supporting muscle groups. There are a number of injuries that can occur from running including:

  •  Hip– Hip flexor tendinopathy, impingement, and bursitis.
  • Knee– IT band syndrome, runners knee (Patellar tendinopathy), and meniscal tears.
  • Tibia– Shin splints, compartment syndrome, and stress fractures.
  • Foot and ankle– Achilles tendinopathy, peroneal tendinopathy, plantar fasciitis.

Favorite Workout #9: Last Week

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Name:  Five Minutes ON — Five Minutes OFF

This workout will have you doing a hard 5 minute cardio followed by a hard 5 minute circuit usually of 4–5 exercises with minimal rest in between.  The 5 minutes of cardio are often Tabata Intervals or increasing resistance each minute sets where you make each minute harder than the previous minute for a total of 5 minutes.  Repeat this 5 times for a 50–60 minute cardio /​ resistance combo workout.

For instance, the workout we created is explained below, but it is one of those that you can create your own using the following protocol:

Pick exercises from the following categories:   Push /​ Pull /​ Full /​ Legs /​ Abs

Repeat 5 times
5 Minutes ON Cardio:  *5 minutes of Tabata Intervals (bike, elliptical, or row machines)

5 Minutes OFF Cardio:  Full Body Circuit (no rest in between)

PUSH — Bench press 135# — max reps for 1 minute

PULL — Pullups (weighted or not) — max reps for 1 minute — change grips, shake it out, keep pulling for 1 minute

FULL — Hang Cleans /​ Push Press complex — do hang cleans into push press for 1 minute (light weight).  Some opted for KbdnKettlebell swings /​ snatches as well.

LEGS — Squats (weighted or non-​​weighted) /​ Box Jumps /​ Step Ups for 1 minute

ABS — Situps 1 minute or your choice of flutterkicks, TRX rollouts, etc…

TRXrollout2

*Tabata interval is a challenging cardio interval where you do 20 seconds fast as you can followed by 10 seconds easy /​ slow to try to catch your breath.  It is a nice thought but you really don’t catch your breath.

Favorite Workout of the Week # 1–8 for previous weeks.

Favorite Workout #8: Last Week

hotshirtstew

Spec Ops Triathlon Build Up with Leg PT

As we prepare for an upcoming Special Ops Triathlon - Night Mission (Swim, Run, Ruck), we are adding in a few combo workouts mixed with leg PT to prepare for the extra mileage and weight of the event.  This favorite workout of the week is called:

Run /​ Ruck /​ Swim and Leg PT — We will be adding mileage to this workout every week as we progress to the 5 mile run /​ 4 mile ruck /​ 1 mile swim of the Spec Ops Triathlon Workout:

Run 2 miles -  stop every 1/​2 mile and do 20 lunges

Ruck 2 miles — stop every half mile and do squats (ruck with 30–40#)

Swim /​ LEG PT:  Swim with fins 1000m

Buddy tow and Lunges on pool deck — see video link

Repeat 5 times
Buddy tow 25m
Walking lunges 25m

*if no buddy to tow — swim with sweat shirt in each hand

Lose Weight /​ Get Fit to Serve

2012 Obesity

As the Military Gets Pickier With Recruiting, showing up to see your local recruiter out of shape, overweight, and/​or with less than average ASVAB scores will quickly crush your dreams of serving.  During the past 15 years of writing about military fitness, this is not a new problem (overweight /​ out of shape recruits), however in a period of downsizing, the military has the ability to select only those who are ready to go and fully qualified.  Here is a very common email from a young man seeking to serve his country but knows he has a journey to get there:

I want to lose weight to join the Navy however, I barely workout now, and I’m over 300 pounds. Any advice? — Rob

Favorite Workout #7: Last Week (Spec Ops Tri)

Operation Craving Competition

The Special Ops Triathlon — Run — Swim — Ruck

This fine tuning of the challenging cardio events of the triathlon is now an all-​​time favorite workout.  We even made it a quarterly competition with our Heroes of Tomorrow and Special Ops Team here in Maryland.

You can arrange the run, swim, ruck of the Special Ops Triathlon in any order, but we often like to make it like a simulated mission where you have the following phases:

Career Change to Special Forces

New Workout: Devil’s Mile with Tire

If you are thinking about a career change and perhaps wanting to move out of a cubicle, travel the world, challenge yourself with a typical younger person’s profession, this email may resonate with you.  There are some things to consider from the physical demands of the training you seek, strain on relationships, monetary issues, to just name a few. However, if you are seeking a career change to any of the Special Forces /​ Special Ops world, start training hard and specifically NOW!  Here is the email question and related answers to many foreseeable issues:

Stew,  I am considering a career change from a Phys. Ed teacher to Army Special Forces. 

Favorite Workout #6: Last Week

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Over the years, we have created workout plans for various fitness tests, but one thing holds true:  Practice taking the test you have to pass on a regular basis.  And if you want to crush it — do it twice.  That is right do a Double PFT.  One of our favorite Navy SEAL /​ EOD /​ Diver PST prep workouts is the Double PST arranged in the following manner:

Service Academy Summer Seminar — USNA

SS-USNA

Each year during the summer, the Service Academies offer a week long “summer camp” to incoming high school seniors interested in becoming Midshipmen or Cadets at the Naval Academy, West Point (Army) or Air Force Academy.  I have had the honor of being a guest PT instructor at the USNA Summer Seminar on one of the 0600 am workouts for the past 16 years.

With over 800 students of varying fitness levels, the PT becomes part education and part workout — teaching and practicing time tested skills to the candidates that will help them score better on fitness tests.  We also push those who came physically prepared with a challenging workout while at the same time give sensible options to those who are not physically prepared to train at a basic fitness level yet.  For instance, some will resort to knee pushups when they fail at regular pushups or do crunches when they cannot do situps fully.

Favorite Workout #5: Last Week

usmcpull-up

Here is the fifth week of the Favorite Workout of the Week series.  We did this workout with more than 30 delayed entry program SpecWar candidates, ROTC, and OCS students.  This is one of those classic workouts that you can do once a week and know you are getting a tough workout in as well as mark your progress because everyone fails at this one at some point.  This one is also a great way to simulate obstacle courses if you do not have one to train on.  The running to/​from the pullup bar, doing burpees or pushing exercises, add in some crawling and you have a simulated obstacle course workout.

Combat Swimmer Stroke Technique — Now What?

Combat Swimmer Stroke

The combat swimmer stroke (CSS) is really the nick name for a modified version of the side stroke.  If you have ever seen military special ops (SEALs, EOD, SF, RECON, etc) swimming with fins on the surface, chances are it is some version of this underwater recovery stroke.  In a nutshell, it is a mix of the side stroke, breast stroke, and free style all rolled into one very efficient and fast swim stroke that enables special ops swimmers move in the water without splashes and a low profile.  Here is a three part breakdown video of the combat swimmer stroke so you understand the modified elements compared to the elementary side stroke.  CSS — 3 Part breakdown

Favorite Workout #4: Last Week

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This week, we did an all-​​time favorite workout that we have been doing for decades.  It truly is a classic workout and if you are ever in the area where we train, you can join us.  Especially now, as we are cycling out of the weight /​ strength cycle and merging into the running, swimming, higher rep PT cycle to prepare for crushing any fitness test.

Fitness is Relative /​ Energy Systems Are Not…

Why Bodyweight Exercises Rule!

After a challenging workout on Memorial Day this year, I posted it in the Weekly Favorite Series and received a few comments from, “this is a crazy workout and too hard to think about doing,”  to “it was not that bad if you paced yourself.”  This led me to think about how fitness is ALL RELATIVE, meaning, depending on your fitness level, workouts can easily be accomplished or not.

Favorite Workout #3: Last Week

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This Memorial Day Workout — will easily be the favorite workout of the week for many weeks to come.  In the past few years, the CrossFit world has been naming workouts after American Heroes (Hero WOD).  This particular workout is called the Memorial Day Murph and was one of SDV Team 1 SEAL, LT Michael Murphy’s (CMH recipient) workouts he did prior to SEAL training.  It just so happens to be one of my long time favorites done with situps vs squats to help prepare for the PST exercises (pullup, pushups, situps)

What is a Ruck? Great Question

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For many, the term “ruck” is a new word.  Defining RUCK is difficult to someone who has never moved out with 50+ lbs in a backpack for many, many miles.  The definition can be as simple as walking around with a backpack on a hike or as difficult as moving fast with all your military gear, loaded for bear, over rugged terrain, infiltrating to your objective.  But the terms, ruck, hump, or forced march, all really mean getting your gear from A to B in a backpack.  Here is a question, that prompted this discussion:

Stew, I am adding backpacking to my workouts — usually 20-​​25lbs.  My buddy told me I was “rucking.”  After a google search, I see that is what I am doing, but I really have no idea what kind of pace is a ruck.  Is it a fast walk, slow jog, nice and easy walk so you can go all day?  How should I incorporate it into my workouts?

Favorite Workout #2 from Last Week

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Here is a new favorite combination of running /​ swimming /​ weights and calisthenics done in a two part workout or one long session of 2–2.5 hours.   Remember there is no 30 minute gym workout that will prepare you for a day of ANY military training.  You have to put in the time /​ distances in many activities.