You just left the last covered and concealed position moving to the breach point. After a short pregnent pause your breacher has set the charge on the door and the commander has initiated the breach. If the clanking sound of all you equipment didn’t wake up the house you are pretty sure the water impulse charge packed with det chord and c-4 did. As you move through the smokey threshold where the door used to be you catch a look at the HVT (high value target) he looks at you as you look at his hands to see if you can end this operation with 5.56 millimeters of lead and hate, unarmed he turns and runs out the back and your team pursues. In his man-jamas he clears a 6 foot wall no problem the breacher stands on a planter and can clear the far side from where he is and you get the order to follow; what is going to get you over that wall? Your strength? your cardio? Is it something about you military fitness?
Military Fitness Has Three Major Parts
We have all talked about the compromise between cardio and strength training when we are trying to hone in our military fitness but, I think those are only two pieces of the puzzle and without the third you may be missing the boat. The third part of military fitness IMHO is movement training. Functional strength is all the rage these days and you can’t talk about fitness without someone saying “Crossfit” but the fact of the matter is you are never going to power clean on the battle field but, you may have to climb a wall or pull yourself out of a burning humvee. This is not a hit on functional training which is super important, but if you have a greater respect for movement training when you are done reading this post and watching the video (below) I think you will have gained something for your time.
Military Fitness Chart
As you see here for military tasks it was the finding of this group that mobility was of the highest priority
The term Mobility refers to your ability to move your body and negotiate it in space and time I like the term movement better because for me mobility means driving.
What is Movement Training for Military Fitness?
Movement training should contain bodyweight drills like push-ups and pull ups, but a regimen in movement training like you will get from Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Yoga can not be replaced. Obstacle courses can also offer a huge training value for movement but, it can be difficult to get out to a real obstacle course often enough to get some advantage from it. You can train your movement and agility just using your environment from trees and walls. The video below was built to give an example of some functional movement training while adding a specific technique to clear walls for CQB and CQC.
In the above video it is clear that strength and cardio is much less emphasized and in its place is flexibility, agility and technique to accomplish the task. By having the movement skill to get over the wall you require much less energy and strength plus as a bonus you can keep a lower silhouette that provides a much smaller target to the enemy than a very difficult press up would make.
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Today I got to talk to a great buddy of mine who is a real expert in nutritional supplements and helping Special Operators to achieve higher levels of tactical performance. I thought it would be fun to try something different and try and upload an audio file instead of writing a long post so we could get our Friday off to a great start.
As tactical athletes we definitely put the time in at the gym, for the most part we keep an eye on nutrition, we could do more with our supplements, but we wear clothes made by the lowest bidder. I get pretty upset when I go to a fitness convention or professional sports team for work and notice that as a group we tend to be like 5 years behind the power curve. I think compression tops and compression bottoms are an area that we will see much more in the future, but until then it is up to us to educate ourselves.
Fact or Fad?
The benefit you will notice first when you wear a compression top or shorts is they have a tendency to keep the muscles warm in cool environments and cool in warm environments. The garments achieve this by wicking away moisture and providing a convection effect that decreases the time it takes for muscles to warm up.Doen et al.found a scientifically significant improvement in not only athletic performance but also injury resistance when the athletes utilized compression wear on the lower body and specifically increasing extension and flexion torque in exercise.
Aside from the increase in power during exerciseKraemer et al. found a significant decrease in perceived soreness as well as increased recovery in athletes who utilized compression therapy to decrease tissue damage brought on by exertion. compression tops and bottoms have been attributed with increased removal of lactic acid during exercise because of increased blood flow and that should also significantly improve performance.
How does this benefit a Tactical Athlete?
I have compiled a listing of researched attributes of compression clothing and have decided to include them as they relate to the tactical athlete.
Enhanced Blood Circulation to peripheral limbs to delay fatigue
Reduced Blood lactate so the athlete can exert maximally for longer
Enhanced warm up to increase training time for increased fitness gain
Increased vertical height
Increased repetitive jump power
Reduced muscular oscillation which can help protect athlete from injury and focus power output
Reducing muscle soreness so you can train more often
enhanced recover so that you get the most from you training sessions
How You Should Use Compression Wear
Typically there are specific compression garments that are designed for a particular sport so they can provide the correct application of compression to specific body parts as it relates to your sport. Unfortunately there is no manufacturer that has specifically looked at applying the use of this technology to theTactical Athlete so I have done some research and come up with my top choices which I will include later. Compression undergarments should only be used during training due to the fact that there is no provider of flame resistant compression garments and the risk by far outweighs the benefit in combat. Be sure to get the right size garment so it is not overly constraining or overly loose (which defeats the purpose). Do not attempt to wear compression garments on hot days, under ACU, BDU, or Cami uniforms for long periods of high exertion. Ideally 90 minutes in a moderate environment is best, you can wear these on hot days with high exertion but remain vigilant about hydration status and temperature status. Some clothing provides a better package for training and others will give better results for recovery.
Note: Below are my suggestions if you are interested in buying some compression garments, of course there is absolutely no obligation I just want to provide a service I wish someone had given to me 10 years ago. These are affiliate links and if you purchase something a portion of the proceeds go to great charities like the wounded warrior foundation and the green beret foundation but, at absolutely no extra cost to you. I appreciate you checking these out and supporting TacticalAthleticPerformance.com.
Pictured at the top and below is the AIM compression top available in both long and short sleeve. This top is designed for the MMA multisport athlete and it most closely meets the criteria required to push the military athletes performance to the next level.
which are a thin compression short that provides a lighter compression in a more comfortable package. The third compression garment I have found to be an absolute revolution in sportswear technology is theMen’s Juggler Knickers:
These high performance shorts provide great compression ability combined with pockets that are used to place ice over muscles, after training to increase the recovery effect with ice therapy that has been proven to provide a huge advantage over no treatment or even contrast bath therapy to speed recovery and improve performance. The Juggler knickers also provide knee support which can dramatically decrease damage and injury. I like these so much I am going to give away a set to one person who subscribes to the blog (one the right side) and gives me the most compelling story about how they would use them and how owning theseCompression Knickerswould help improve their training performance in the comment section ( 50 comments to the drawing). Thank you guys for supporting us and I hope this article has provided you all some value.
The Idea that you should train on your “off” days may bring a chill up your spine but it may be the missing piece in your training that could push your performance to the next level. Active rest (or active recovery) is the idea that even though you aren’t pushing your physical limitations you are taking some time to get off your rear end and activating you metabolism. A 20 minute moderate to slow swim can be a great active rest exercise that is just what you body needs to help you recover.
What Will Active Rest Do For Me?
Even one day of total inactivity can materially affect how your body responds to insulin and metabolizes sugar. By including a light exercise you are telling your body not to get lazy and just store calories, getting a light training in can kick your metabolism into high gear for hours after training is done. One the best ways to improve your military fitness is just drop useless bodyweight and active rest can help you do that..
One of the big problems with intense training is the development of huge amounts of lactic acid in the muscles that causes painful soreness, lowers muscle ph, and inhibits protein synthesis (muscle growth). A buffer like beta alanine can do only so much to counter act intense training, but active rest will help mobilize and metabolize lactic acid and speed recovery.
The movement of joints and tendons increases the elasticity and blood flow to these weak points in the body. One of the reasons joints are so slow to heal from injury is because of the low vascularity in these parts of the body. A half an hour of light exercise will help lubricate, oxygenate and repair minor tender spots.
Part of military fitness is mobility and mobility is closely related to flexibility. Recently we were training in some basics parkour exercises to develop the ability to efficiently manuever through urban environments doing cat jumps and spider hangs and the like; one of the biggest obstacles to getting around over and through the environment for my team mates was a lack of flexibility and mobility. A well though out active recovery regimen will incorporate flexibility, enhancing training. You are required as a tactical athlete to be highly mobile if for no other reason than to overcome the cumbersome body armor. Below I have included a military fitness characteristic chart developed by the Department of Defense that probably explains it better than I can.
As you see here for military tasks it was the finding of this group that mobility was of the highest priority
Rules of Active Rest
Keep it moderate to low intensity (I try to keep my heart rate below 143) a rule of thumb is 60-65% your max heart rate
Don’t over do it, you don’t need to train for 2 hours to get benefit but ,do at least 20 minutes
Incorporate movements that develop flexibility and mobility
Hydrate Hydrate Hydrate
Form over power, take this chance to refine movement skills and techniques
I am going to include my favorite active rest exercises in order this in not an exhaustive list but it will give you insight to where my head is at.
Jui Jitsu/MMA (light, training form and technique)
For all the reasons to do yoga here are two more
Active rest days don’t have to be a trip to the gym, it can be playing sports or just a nice hike. Use your active rest days to remember how much you like being in good shape and enjoy what got you into training in the first place. Active recovery when combined with good nutrition and training can push you through plateaus. I hope you got something out of this post and if you did be sure to share it on your social network of choice and check out some advertisers in the “Klicks for Karma” section to see if anything captures your attention to the right because half the proceeds from you clicking goes to great foundations like the Special Operations Foundation and other great charities.
Tactical Athletic Performance and Complete Nutrition of Colorado Springs are going to be supporting the Spartan Race Colorado held at Fort Carson home of the 10th Special Forces Group and Army 4th Infantry Division. This event is going to be one of the hardest of the year for the Spartan Race because of obstacles designed specifically for Special Operators as well as the intense altitude.
When: May 5th and 6th 2012 Starting at 0900 for the “elite” heat
Where: Fort Carson Colorado “The Best Home Town In The Army”
Distance: 4+ miles with additional obstacles
There will be no aid stations for hydration so come ready to rock.
The Race will have a Cinco De Mayo theme, unlike the typical Spartan Race this one is designed and supported specifically for the military athlete. Come hang out with us after the race at the Complete Nutrition Stand and get some free stuff if you mention Tactical Athletic Performance. Click the link Below and sign up. Hope to see you all there. All entrants get a free “Beer Ticket”
I am always looking for new places to get info for our profession. Becuase it is such a small niche it is sometimes difficult to find good accurate info. The last couple of weeks I have been in a course for shooting, CQB and Urban Combat (which is why the post have slowed down for two weeks). While here I have been talking to my buddies about some lessons learned, TTPs and where to go for more info, so in the interest of getting that info out to the dedicated few who make a living carrying a firearm and wearing body armor I have put together a short list of some of my favorite places to go. Feel free to bookmark this post for future reference and if it turns out to be a post you enjoy share it with your buddies on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Leave a comment about your experience.
Stew is a great buddy of mine and he is an absolute encyclopedia of military fitness techniques. I placed Stew at number one because I wanted to start out of the gate pretty strong. One of the unbelievable things about Stew is he answers all his non spam emails and I have seen him take time out and personally train guys that are getting ready for the military and advanced selection courses. You may never meet such a genuinely nice guy with the SEAL credentials he brings to the table.
Kyle Lamb is a former Delta Operator and Seargent Major in the Special Operations community, now Kyle is arguably the best tactical carbine instructor in the world. Besides being a great instructor he is a great guy who takes the time to answer questions and train interested parties in the military and the civilian sector but, be warned he is generally booked out many months in advance. His book “Green Eyes and Black Rifles: Warriors Guide to the Combat Carbine” is an absolute must ready for anyone in our profession.
Ben Greenfield was NSCA’s Personal Trainer of the Year 2008, which is a great distinction. I personally do not know Ben but I have followed his blog and podcast for some time. Ben brings things down to a very basic level and anytime you spend on his site is well spent.
Pistol-Training.com is a great resource when you are looking to add some variety to your training. This site has a huge library of drills, targets and information. Be sure to stop by and check out the original F.A.S.T. drill.
R.E. Factor Tactical is a site dedicated to the needs and wants of operators and military members alike. R.E. Factor is owned by a Special Forces Master Breacher who I have worked with on a few operations and he specializes in creating special purpose items for breaching and other tactical needs. If you have a question about the tactical application of explosives there is no one out there I would rather ask.
Body Building.com has a huge selection of supplements and shipping second to none. They provide free shipping to APO addresses which comes in super handy when deployed overseas. They also have a great tool to help develop supplementation regimens as well as workout programs. One thing I like to do is buy stuff while over seas so I have a constant influx of carepackages I send myself and besides, without some supplements you are forced to limit your fuel intake to stuff you find in the chow hall. “There is no point in treating your body like a temple in the gym if you treat it like a dumpster in the chow hall.” I would suggest getting over there and checking out all the new features they are adding all the time. In the interest of full disclosure the above is an affiliate link and I will get a small commission on anything you buy, but the prices are the same for you so thank you for using my link and helping to support this site.
As a military sniper it is often very very very difficult to get reliable info that you can use plus with everything else you gotta do staying up on the latest info and tactics is also hard, that is where The Sniper’s Hide comes in. The Sniper’s Hide has great info and if you are a sniper that wants to stay on the cutting edge or just a professional warrior who understands that marksmanship solves a huge number of tactical problems then this is the place to go.
I know there a ton of Crossfit fanatics out there and this site is the one I really like. Matt and his guys do a great job be sure to check them out. Based out of the Denver Metro area working out at Unbroken you not only have to contend with super human workouts but, also the altitude.
Brownell’s has been outfitting soldiers and police officers for over 70 years. They have a great selection and if you are as interested in shooting as I am there is no one out there that can get you a better price so you can shoot more often. Get over there and get the best new optics for your pistol or rifle and just watch your performance improve. Like the Bodybuilding.com link this one is also an affiliate link so I thank you if you use it the next time you need to plus up your zombie apocalypse cache at better than Walmart prices.
#10. Andy Holmes, Complete Nutrition
Andy doesn’t have a super web site but, I think I would be remiss if I left him out. At one of my former ODAs we hired Andy to come in and get all the guys on the team squared away with what supplements we should be using for different phases of training. Andy is a two sport Olympic Athlete and well as a 4 Sport athlete in college. Andy specializes in military athletes and if you send him an email and mention that you got his info from T.A.P. he will waive his $125.00 consultation fee and provide phenomenal no obligation recommendations just tell him your MOS and what your goals are. You can contact him at Email Andy
Of course you knew I was going to have this site in the list. I started this site to fill a void I found because you can probably find 100 sites on how to play some superhero video game but, there is literally no one stop shop for all the stuff that keeps us alive on the battlefield or get us some tips to share the best way to close with and destroy the enemy. T.A.P. was built as my attempt to help push the ball down the field but, it can’t work unless we get feedback from other guys who have been there and actually fired their weapons in combat so please whenever you find something relevant or maybe even off target give us your perspective. Thanks for reading to the end talk to you all soon. Be Safe.
Whether you are getting ready to join the military or you are just ready to push your performance to the next level there are definitely a few tips that should help. As a Special Operator there are two aspects of the military that I think are by far the most important, they are going to war and training. This article is intended to help you get the most out of your training for the military. Before I get a few of you saying I have made this post already I would say yes to a degree you are right, but not only is this a different take on the original it is also such an important topic that it is okay to reiterate some of the points to those of you who never read the first one here is the original “Improve Combat Training”
10. Don’t Let Your Ego Slow You Down
Personally I have had difficulty with this aspect of military training. It is hard to give up your ideas and assumptions and take a listen to what others have to offer. If you go into training thinking you know it all I promise you will not get the most out of the training.
9. Strike a Balance Between Your Strength Training and Endurance Development
We tend to do the things we are good at and ignore the stuff we have a little more difficulty with. If you work on your weaknesses you will respond well to the training because, it is so much easier to improve at things you are bad at and in the long run you will find all your training events are easier.
8. Don’t Waste Your Workouts
After you train you have about 45 minutes to get some fuel in the machine or you have essentially wasted your time in the gym. In a recent study they had three groups of strength trainers those who ate within 45 minutes of working out, those who ate at normal meal times and those who waited three hours after training to eat and the results most likely won’t blow your skirt up. The group who waited three hours after training actually got weaker from training, the guys who just eat at normal meal times had a slight gain and those who ate within 45 minutes of training had significant increases in performance. The moral of the story is have a fueling plan for after you train and be sure to get do it or you just wasted your time, effort and motivation.
7. Have Fun
If you don’t at least a little bit enjoy the outdoors, physical training and adventure maybe being a military athlete isn’t for you. There is no shame in not wanting to be a tactical athlete just understand that it isn’t for you. If you do have the aptitude to be a light-fighter and warrior don’t let it become a drag have fun with it. Do your ruck marching in places where you get to enjoy nature and be in the wild. Join teams and train in groups. In my most recent shooting school we would spend about 12 hours a day at the range and after all that time in gear we were getting pretty tired, but as soon as the steel target tree came out and it was a competition everyone was revitalized to train just because a little friendly competition really makes training more fun.
6. Have a Rest Plan
Recovery is a huge part of training. The military is notorious for making the military personnel work on low sleep, so sleep when you can. Even if you are training everyday be sure to have a few days where you are engaging in recovery exercises like a moderate swim or a slow jog. Have a plan to recover and get better everyday.
5. Have a Plan
Decide some performance markers you want to achieve and move toward that goal. When someone tells me they are going to get in shape I say “great what is your plan,” often I get a weird look, but I think your plan is one of the largest indicators of whether you will be successful. Write it out even if it is a rough draft like “go to the gym 5 days a week and run 10 miles on Saturday and Sunday” the more detailed the better but be sure to at least have an idea of how you are going to proceed.
4. Get a partner
No matter how motivated you are a partner will help you stay more consistent. Having a partner will also give you an indication of your progress verses someone else’s. With a partner comes accountability and the responsibility that someone is depending on you and all that should help you stick to it.
3. Watch Your Nutrition
Don’t fall into the trap of treating your body like a temple in the gym and a dumpster in the chow hall. As a military athlete nutrition becomes especially important because the department of defense only gives lips service to the idea of high quality nutrition. I am a huge advocate of supplements for all tactical athletes simply because I see a terrible effect on my performance that the military diet tends to have. Just like your mom always said “eat you vegetables.” Be sure to get a variety of veggies, lean protein sources and try to keep your saturated fats to below 8 grams per day.
2. Don’t Forget About Your Movement Skills
Recently the Special Operations community has been really interested in what separates the candidates that pass selection and training events and those that do not pass. Candidates that fail to pass are generally separated into three distinct groups and they are as follows; Persons who quit training voluntarily or “VW” (voluntary withdrawal), persons who fail to meet the standard, and persons who for some medical reason cannot continue to train. A recent study showed that 87% of candidate who failed to get above a 14 on a functional movement screening failed to complete Officer Candidate School due to injuries. The functional movement screening is a specific battery of movement skills that display your overall functional movement prowess. To help develop your movement techniques focus on lower impact training like yoga which I personally believe to be a totally indispensible part of military fitness for any operator who wants to achieve a higher level of performance.
1. Get Leaner
Gravity is a sonofagun. As a ground trooper we talk about how much our ruck weights and how heavy our equipment is. The military will weight you down with a hundred pounds of ultra-light-weight equipment even though we can’t always choose what we carry we can choose not to carry around the extra weight of body fat. Anything over 10% body fat is a uneeded excess. I put together a little article for fat burning that may help get you on the right track.
Get a head start
I decided to include a video I made last year that I have gotten a lot of positive feedback from military member who just want a place to start.
Thanks for taking the time to stop by, be sure to leave a comment, share with your battle buddies on Facebook and bookmark for future reference.
What is the best way to burn fat, lean up and overall increase my ability on the battle field? This is a question I get hit with quite often. The fact of the matter is you can’t flex fat so besides a small amount of fuel you need to carry on your body, excess fat just slows you down, increases the work you have to do to get the job done and doesn’t seem to do much to improve your appearance in a uniform. Conventional wisdom says you burn more calories from fat when your output is low and you burn more calories from carbs when you put out at high intensity. Unfortunately it isn’t as easy as just dropping your intensity to burn more fat, because when you drop intensity you also drop total calorie output. The question becomes what is the optimum intensity output to burn the most fat while not getting too far into the carbohydrate and muscle burning zone. One pound of fat provides about 3600 calories of energy which is why your body depends on it when your are resting or not putting out much effort, the average person carries less that 2000 calories from carbohydrates on the entire body and even a lean fit athlete carries over 25,000 calories of energy as stored fat.
Get In The Fat Burning Zone
For most people your peak fat burning zone is between 45% and 65% of your maximum heart rate. The way most people find the max heart rate simply take 220 and subtract their age to find their max heart rate, but unfortunately this can be very inaccurate and in the military athlete this inaccuracy can be even more stated. So here is how you can find that zone the way they do in a lab for professional athletes.
Finding Your Optimum Fat Burning Zone
Step 1: Warm up on a treadmill or bike for 10 minutes.
Step 2: Peddle on a stationary bike for 20 minutes at your maximum sustainable rate. You should feel a developing burn in the legs, but not so much intensity that your muscels cramp up or force you to stop. (this level of output is right at your lactic acid threshold, where you muscles are creating lactic acid at about the same rate your body is able to process that acid out.)
Step 3: Record your heart rate every minute for the twenty minutes and find the average. From that number subtract 20 beats from that.
Step 4: That number is your Optimun Fat burning rate stay within 3 beats of that number above and below. This is where for your time and effort you will burn the most fat for your individual body.
Example: If your average heart rate during the 20 minutes is 165 then subtract 20 to get 145 and therefor you optimum fat burning zone is 142-148 beats per minute.
I have included my recommendations, and in the interest of full disclosure if you buy any of theses products through my links below I will be compensated for your purchase but whether you buy them through me or else where I truly appreciate you stopping by and reading my post. Please leave a comment and bookmark for future reference.
Remember that the fat burning zone will not develop your overall endurance and cardio vascular fitness as well as other training methods so spend time in the fat burning zone but do not neglect the rest of your fitness requirements.
You are going to need a decent heart moniter do not depend on the monitor on your basic cardio equipment. The polar FT2 is a no frills monitor I use regularly the price is right and mine has lasted me a long time.
Once you have found the zone you need to be training in to burn fat I recommend a few helpful fat burning aids. As you have seen here before I am a huge believer in fish oils for overall health as well as a few other supplements like:
A few years ago I wrote a concept brief for the Army Special Operations community with respect to a few basic Mixed Martial Arts techniques I thought every person who is called upon to fight in combat should know. I later penned a similar article and farmed it out on the internet under the pen name “Abel Cossas” (google it, somehow it ended up everywhere). In the concept brief I talked about how much training time it would take to make an operator proficient in 15 basic moves and how it could help them achieve objectives and I always wanted to revisit that list and teach those specific moves.
Here is the first of many (hopefully) installments on that idea to get the force informed on what I think we should all know. Now I understand that in a gun fight the last thing you want to be doing is rolling around on the floor trying to submit an opponent but, that not withstanding I feel that providing our operators with some basic fall back on skills can’t really hurt either. As a side note I believe that training in MMA also provides a mental edge to the military athlete that can help provide a holistic solution to the problem of creating military fitness both mental and physical.
This Article was written by one of the TAP contributors:
The following was told to me by a sergeant that has been in the Army for over 20 years. He has just returned from Afghanistan a few days ago. We were discussing the different facets of being ready as it pertains to proper tactical nutrition. What he told me was just one example of how being properly prepared doesn’t just stop at gear, logistics, and weapon systems. The most important weapon in the U.S. military is the American trooper and if you are not taking care of yourself as a tactical athlete you might be fine for a while but eventually it will catch up you … and that is never a good time.
My name is A.J. Having spent the last 10 years working to protect this great country as a Special Forces Operator, I know the value knowledge makes in winning battles and keeping you and your team alive. I made this site in the hopes of sharing best practices amongst various U.S. fighting units. To me there are no "trade secrets," as I know the information contained in this site can saves American lives. This site embodies the combined skills of me my team and other elite U.S. branches of the armed forces. This is the Facebook of combat, so please feel free to share.
P.S. Thanks for stopping by and be sure to ask if you have a question, comment, or concern. Articles are continuously changing, bookmark this page so you don't miss important updates.