Archive for the ‘Military Workouts’ Category
Having a good grip comes in handy not just shaking hands, but doing many tasks required of military and special ops personnel. Here is a recent email asking about improving grip for exercises that include rope climbs, pullups, and even dry firing with your non-dominant hand.
Stew, I am actually pretty good at pullups, but have found it tough to do multiple sets of higher reps not because I cannot do any more pullups, but because I cannot hang on the bar any longer. My forearms are on fire! I have the same issues when doing rope climbs and even some tactical skills. How can I get my forearms stronger?
This is an excellent question as there are many things you can do to supplement your workout to get a better grip. Your grip muscles are actually located in your forearm and your hand is mostly tendons attaching them with a few hand muscles involved as well. This is why when doing pullups, rope climbs, farmer walks, and other tasks you feel your hands getting tired as well as your forearms. The good news is that grip and forearm strength / endurance / muscle stamina can be added fairly quickly with a 5–10 minute circuit following normal workouts for upper body. In a few weeks, you will notice a difference if you do the following circuit 2–3 times a week. In a few months, you will have that “old man grip strength” that can hold onto anything for long periods of time too.
This series of articles is a favorite workout of the week for TWENTY weeks. This is WEEK 20. See links below for weeks 1–19 for great ideas to add to your workout routine. These are some of the latest workouts we have been doing with our Spec Ops Heroes of Tomorrow group. If you are ever in the Annapolis MD area and want some of these workouts they are FREE to people seeking military, police, fire fighter professions or those serving / have served.
This is a mix of weights and calisthenics and higher intensity cardio events using the Tabata Interval protocol.
We do 5 minute sets of the Tabata Interval which is a 20 second sprint / 10 second easy pace repeat 10 times (equals 5 minutes). Then you spend roughly 5 minutes in the gym doing a Push, Pull, Full Body, Ab exercise for 1 minute each. Give yourself 15–20 seconds in between each exercise for transition time.
Here’s a fun way to save your body from looking scary this Halloween: before you decorate the jack-o-lanterns with your family and friends, grab a heavy gourd and use to tone your trouble spots! My new video, the Slimnastics Stability Ball Workout (www.nikkifitness.com) was the inspiration for these moves, because you typically use a medicine ball or stability ball to perform them. My 4 year old is the reason we bought the pumpkin in the first place.
Every so often, I get asked how to train for a long run like a half marathon or marathon. Many young men and women prefer the accountability of a race and the thrill of competing in runs while preparing for Special Ops professions. If running is a weakness you must work on in order to succeed in future training programs, preparing for races that are also entertaining can be a great way to turn a weakness into more of a strength. Though a marathon is not necessary, it does make a great gut-check if you can keep from getting injured prior to your training. Here is an email from a young man who is making the transition from a collegiate power athlete and working on his skills to become a better long distance runner:
Stew, I just finished my senior year of college in AZ and have been trying to get better at running as I am preparing for Army Special Forces. As you know, this training requires you to run and ruck many miles each week, but I am having issues with keeping my focus during longer runs. Any suggestions? Should I try running different locations, races, marathons, different cities, elevation, beach/desert, trails? Thanks – Sean.
If you have ever stepped into a gym, most like you’ve used the old school method of 3 sets with 10 reps to try and build muscle. Then, 90% of you won’t return after a month because you don’t see any gains. Of course not! Think about what you’re doing. In order for a muscle to increase in size you have to first break it down. You’re not going to accomplish that will 3 measly sets of a weight you can lift 10 times.
This weekend I’m pulling some self-imposed overtime. With everything going on in my life at the moment, I have to put in some extra hours to catch up with paperwork and correspondence which I hope will get me ahead for next week, or so I choose to believe at this moment! Does it ever feel like you’ve got too much on your plate? From your service/career demands to family obligations and a lengthy list of must-dos, it may feel like you’ll never get on top of it all. Maybe we can all take a cue from nature as summer is officially over and autumn begins. In the fall, everything seems to take a pause — the grass stops growing, leaves begin to turn, and flowers fade. If your world is spinning, check out these tips to help you take it down a notch or two.
If you have not seen or heard about the TED conferences you should subscribe — especially if you like to hear about new and innovative things occurring in the world with science / technology based research and development.
TED = (Technology, Entertainment, Design) Conference share the best ideas in the world for FREE by video. Check them out. This one is conducted by former Navy SEAL and current medical doctor — Kirk Parsley.
As many of the readers know, I use a method of periodization that evolves with the seasons. Some have called it the Solstice Running Plan, while I tend to just like changing my workouts every quarter (12–13 weeks) so not to burn out with any one type of exercise. For instance, each change of season brings in something new and gradually fades something out:
Spring (March — May): Progressive running build up as well as shift from winter weights to higher rep calisthenics, taper from longer swimming workouts, with shift in speed / agility training.
Summer (June — September): Peak build up of miles running, high rep calisthenics, high speed on swimming, only bodyweight exercise to include fireman carries, crawls, log PT, etc…(Almost no weights — focus is PFT testing scores)
Fall (September — November): Drop high rep calisthenics, introduce weight training, increase swimming distance / rucking, reduce running mileage over 12 weeks and focus on faster paced shorter runs.
It’s not hard to find hundreds of search results for workout tips when searching the internet. That’s why I was on a mission to find quick and easy workout tips that actually work, proven by scientific studies. Below are my findings:
Teenage high blood pressure occurs with some frequency and is often caught when high school student-athletes get physicals prior to joining a JV / Varsity athletic team. Here is an email from a young man who wants to one day serve in the military but tried out for football this past summer. He states:
“Stew, I took your advice and joined some team sports while is high school in order to prepare for being a part of a team when I join the Marines one day. But, I was borderline high blood pressure and not sure why — during my annual physical for sport. Is this something I can reduce with more exercise, diet, or do I need to see a doctor and get medicine?”
It is never a bad idea to do more than occasional blood pressure checks over the next several months. I would get your blood pressure checked at least every month to establish if borderline high blood pressure increases or decreases due to many causes. If you see any more high blood pressure scores, then yes, I would go to a doctor, BUT there are many causes for TEMPORARY high blood pressure. In fact, only about 1–3% of teenagers actually have high blood pressure, so it can be something you have to deal with but chances are low.
Here is a swim workout that requires a video to best explain. The focus is on three events:
Life Saving Buddy Tow — 25m
Combat Swimmer Stroke 50m
Freestyle 100m (6–10 strokes per breath)
The goal is to push yourself on the buddy tow — recover with the 50m CSS — then push your heart / lungs with 100m freestyle hypoxic type swim set.
Have you ever enjoyed a summer day that you wish would never end? Labor Day was one of those days for us here in Maine. Usually, by this time of the season, the crisp chill of autumn has set in and I’m reaching for my fleece. Instead, this week has ushered in steamy, hot weather and brilliant sunshine. So, you guessed it, I’m spending as much time as possible outdoors to soak up every ounce of warmth before it becomes a fleeting memory in a few short months. Last week we talked about peaking your performance with a better approach to sports nutrition. Whether you’re at the gym, on a bike, in the water or at home, this week we’ll continue to shed the light on overcoming inflammation to keep you moving.
The Two Minute Bodyweight Workout –4 to Floor
This article was authored by Sergeant Michael Volkin, inventor of Strength Stack 52 bodyweight exercise cards.
I don’t know about you, but I have too much stuff to do. Like you, every day I deal with email, Facebook, tweets, work, pets, family, and so on. Finding time to go to the gym is getting harder and harder each day. Well, have no fear. I have assembled for you a workout you can do anywhere called the 2 Minute Workout that only takes, you guessed it, 2 minutes! This workout will get your blood pumping, increase your energy level, burn some calories and strengthen muscles. Not a bad way to spend 2 minutes!
It is testing focus month for us in August / September (1st week) so we tend to mix in fitness testing elements with workouts.
Here is one we did to help with PT and running:
As summer winds down, I’m noticing an interesting trend that has developed over the past few months — my pension for all things water-related. From swimming to kayaking to paddle boarding, I’ve been on a mission to stay on or in the water as much as possible. I now officially have the SUP (stand up paddle board) addiction! Put me on the water with a paddle in my hand and I’m content for hours. If you haven’t checked it out, SUP-ing is an awesome full body workout engaging your core for balance, increasing flexibility, upper & lower body strength and decreasing stress…seriously, is there anything more calming than dipping your paddle into a clear, tranquil lake or the invigorating rush of catching the surf? My newly discovered passion has made me even more aware of how to tweak my nutrition to keep me on the water as long as possible this year.
Here is a favorite combination workout we like to do once a week during late Summer / early Fall. It is a combination workout of weight training, running, calisthenics, and swimming and/or rucking.
Full body workout in it’s truest form:
For years, I have written about and discussed the fine line between training for Special Ops type programs and over-training. But until recently, I realized I forgot one very important piece of information:
TELL OTHERS AROUND YOU THE SYMPTOMS OF OVER-TRAINING.
Because, you will not notice it until it is too late (typically). Even though, over-training is actually hard to do by just training — it is easy to see symptoms pop up occasionally when your recovery balance is off: Not enough sleep, not eating or hydrating well, and too many crazy workouts in a week are just the things to push any training program into the over-reaching / over-training zone if not attended to.
This is a way to mix in running mile pace runs with PT Pyramid training:
Pt Pyramid / Mile Goal Paced Runs
Run 1 mile timed
Do 10 sets of
Pullups x 1
Abs x 3
(do ten sets of the pyramid of the three exercises in circuit fashion selecting your abdominal exercise of your choice — for example situps, crunches, flutterkicks, plank pose (per second) Sample Set 1: pullups 1, pushups, 2, situps 3 each set progresses until set 10 = 10 pullups, 20 pushups, 30 situps.…
Come on, you know where the back machines are in your gym right? Well if you don’t, it’s the group of machines that rarely have anyone on them. That’s because people like to work muscle groups that get attention, like biceps and abs. However, those with strong backs will be the first to tell you it is one of the most important muscle groups on your body, not only for posture, but for any type of athletic movements.
This week is a combination workout that combines moderately heavy weights, cardio intervals, mixed with calisthenics. Following the non-impact/lift, you mix in a run / pt followed by a swim (or ruck for Army guys).
Also see links to previous 12 weeks of workouts of the week at the bottom of the page: