21st Apr2012

Military Fitness and Movement Training

by A.J.

Military Fitness EntrySo There You Are…

(Video Below)

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

Military Fitness and Movement

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.

Thanks For Stopping By

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21st Mar2012

Can Your Clothing Increase Military Fitness

by A.J.
Compression top for military fitness

Can Clothing Really Increase Performance?

Compression Clothes To Increase Military Fitness

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 exercise Kraemer 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?

Military Fitness and CompressionI 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 the Tactical 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.

My Picks

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.

AIM Short Sleeve Compression Top AIM Short Sleeve Compression TopAIM Short Sleeve Compression Top


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 the Men’s Juggler Knickers:

Men's Juggler Knickers Men’s Juggler KnickersMen’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 these Compression Knickers would 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.

07th Mar2012

Active Rest and Military Fitness

by A.J.

Rest Better And Improve Performance

What is Active Rest?

Rest Is An Important Part of Military FitnessThe 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.

Military Fitness and Mobility

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
  • Have fun

Examples

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.

  1. Swimming
  2. Yoga
  3. Jui Jitsu/MMA (light, training form and technique)
  4. Chiropractor
  5. biking
  6. Jogging
Yoga Can Help your Military Fitness

For all the reasons to do yoga here are two more

 

 Conclusion

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.

 

20th Feb2012

Spartan Race Fort Carson

by A.J.

Come Join Us At The Spartan Race Fort Carson

Spartan Race Fort CarsonTactical 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”

http://tacticalathleticperformance.com/SpartanRaceFC

 

12th Feb2012

Top Sites You Need To Visit

by A.J.

Military Fitness sitesI 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.

#1. Stew Smith, The Daily PT

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.

#2. Kyle Lamb, Viking Tactics

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.

#3. Ben Greenfield, Get Fit Guy

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.

#4. Pistol-Training.com

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.

#5. R.E. Factor Tactical

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.

#6. BodyBuilding.com

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.

 

#7. The Sniper’s Hide

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.

 

#8. Matt Hathcock CrossFit Unbroken

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.

#9. Brownell’s

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

#10.Tactical Athletic Performance

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.

10th Jan2012

The Best Nutritional Supplement You Aren’t Taking

by A.J.

Few other supplements can give you the bang for the buck that fish oils provide

Fish Oils, Omega -3, EPA and DHA are considered essential fatty acids your body can not build on its own. While talking to the Special Operations performance nutritionist  at Fort Bragg I asked her what, if any supplement should a high performance tactical athlete be taking. She told me that hands down the supplement she would suggest is an Omega-3 fish oil nutritional supplement. As military members we are generally pretty good at getting our protein in for the day and fairly good at taking a multivitamin but, we are terrible at getting our Omega-3s especially when we are over seas eating crap MREs. The question remains though; why do we need Omega-3s and fish oils in the first place? And what are Fish Oils anyway?

Fish Oils is a sort of generic term for a conglomeration of essential fatty acids. Fish oils consist of Omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which are precursors to certain compounds that are known to reduce inflammation in the body (hint: the reason you take 800 mg motrin everyday is because of pain caused by inflammation).

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