Military Fitness

Hello everyone,

I just found out that my lucky behind is getting pulled out of school (again) to join the active ranks of the US Army and am getting a ‘free’ trip to the big sandbox. Anyways, last time I was deployed (2000), I ran the fitness training for a group of about twenty soldiers. Back then I organized the groups training around ‘Charles Staley’s’ ideas. Now I am in a situation where I will do the same. The only problem I have is that my commander is an old school “The only easy day was yesterday.” (Navy SEAL term) type of soldier. I don’t have any records left from the progress of those soldiers, nor the methods employed. I know what to do (fairly well, but ALWAYS learning), but I need support, other then I know this system gets soldiers fit, with out getting half of them injured. If anybody (especially you Scandanavian folk, you guys have some strong SOB’s) has any knowledge of studies on various types of loading parameters, I would appreciate it. The main reason I ask is that I used to be Army Spec Ops and was afforded complete freedom in training. Now, I am infantry (much less personal freedom and creativity allowed), and I need some support so that I am not just telling my commander that old Army ideals on training are just stupid. Thanks.

SGT (pmt) Dainon Jensen
Senior Radioman
C Co 2-162 IN

I am preparing to go into the officers program in the US Navy…and during an 8 week officer corse…3 days a week there is a 3.2 mile run and its mandatory. Would this have an impact on my sprinting…dont wanna lose any explosive speed or explosive movements for bobsled, skeleton or track…


Being a reservist this is something I’d be interested in as well. Lo Hill brings up a good question. A lot of the time in military service you don’t have the option of training yourself. While some of the PT is decent considering what your training for, the majority of it is badly implimented. 3.2 miles isn’t too far, but it’s definately on the long end of anything remotely resembling tempo. Perhaps you could use those 3 long runs as tempo, eliminate all other forms of tempo other than those, and keep to your 3 day speed program. In addition to that perhaps you could run them fartlek style, going extra easy for 500m, then harder for 500m (as an example.) Can you run these on your own Lo, or is it group PT? If it’s on your own and you just have a time to beat, then a combination of slightly higher volume tempo, and speed endurance would make that run pretty easy. Although being on course I’m guessing that won’t be an option :slight_smile:
I guess just suck it up for 8 weeks and do it :slight_smile: use it as tempo, and work your speed consistently on the other 3 days. I don’t think you would lose that much speed or explosiveness in that time frame.

Beta, being an ex-spec ops guy you probably know more about this than me, but I had heard some stuff about spetznaz training from the past. I believe a few of Russia’s olympic athletes were actually spetznaz soldiers as well. I wish I could go into more detail but one post that I read had some interesting general parameters. They focused on the following: Leg strength and endurance, back strength and endurance (spinal erectors, traps, etc.), shoulder strength and endurance, abdominal strength and endurance, and finally tricep strength and endurance. Yah I know its pretty bloody vague, but it is interesting in light of how much importance north american military places on pushups, etc. What about using the SEAL program outlined in the official manual? (I have a pdf of it somewhere…) More convincing perhaps?

Hope some of that jumble was helpful.


Just to keep it alive, here is the quote I found interesting before Beta.

"In my humble opinion, and I do mean humble opinion, both the British and American soldiers emphasize the wrong way to train for Special Operations. I hate to admit it; yet, the Russians are the best in exercise science and physiology, or strength and conditioning. If you don’t believe me, ask yourself this question. When the Soviet Union and East Germany existed, who took more gold medals in the Olympics, in the events of wrestling, judo, weghtlifting, track and field, and biathlons? For those of you who do not think sports and atheletics are intertwined, Spetznatz soldiers were on Olympic teams.
Russian studies state that leg strength and endurance; back strength and endurance; shoulder strength and endurance; tricep strength and edurance; abdominal strength, neck strength,and interval training will properly prepare the soldier for battle. Also, bulking up is not prudent

Not much to go on, but I found it fairly interesting, and parts of it do make sense to me.


Lo Hill,

I your case, if you are going through OCS, you will probably have little to no control over your PT, especially when you consider that OCS is run by Marine Drill Instructors. Of course, there is the side of the coin that losing a little acceleration (temperarily) is worth being able to fly a F-18.


Do I think that the US spends too much time on the developing muscle endurance of the upper body pressors, yes. In fact, the attrocities conducted on the human body during ‘Physical Readiness Training’ are too numerous to mention. Examples are 10 minutes of aggresive stretching (at 6:00 in the morning, outside, in the January, in North Carolina <~45 F>) followed by formation ‘running’ at moderate WALKING pace (how do you spell sore knees and backs) for 45+ minutes, followed by 200 reps of various pushups, 300 flutterkicks and 200 foot-anchored situps. NO pullups, lower back, hamstring, rotational abdominal work for an entire 11 wk course. So, finally, yes, Russian soldiers (especially Spetsnaz) ARE in much better condition (and health), then Americans.