Military Fitness

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Prior to discovering barbell training I did little more than exercise exclusively to score well on the Army APFT and was usually good for a max score or close. After choosing to make barbells primary and now spending almost no time “training” for the APFT, I continue to hit maxes but can now do so against the scoring standards for personnel half my age.

For any of these Cooper-based tests, adding 1-2 sets of push ups and sit ups as a finisher after the real training is done is more than enough practice/conditioning for the test. On non-training days I’ll alternate between 100-200 meter intervals and running about three miles. Starting about a month before the test, this sets me up for an easy max.

Attending an NCOES school, I found it easy to hit the prescribed maximums and then lead others in the Army’s current Physical Readiness Training program (http://www.armyprt.com) For a person following a good strength training program, maxing out on “army pilates” takes about two weeks of conditioning at best. The most difficult part is memorizing the ridiculously-long lists of exercises.

MAJ Long explains why:
http://startingstrength.com/article/why_does_the_army_want_me_weak

More:

https://startingstrength.com/article/a_strength_based_approach_to_the_apft

I have found with any program if you do not believe in it, the results will be marginal at best. Which would explain why some cadets had marginal improvements. I have said for a long time that the Army is a bunch of untrained runners, running a lot, in a box. The problem however stems deeper than just improper programming and useless training. Many times there just simply is no plan because the leader simply does not know what to do. And whats the easiest thing to program? “We are going for a run today”.

I am the company medic for an infantry company. Physical fitness is a huge part of our job. I see every injury sustained by troops before they go to the next level of care, if needed. I see roughly 2 people a day while non-deployed with 90% of those injuries being over use. While deployed I see roughly 2 people A MONTH! Due to the nature of the beast while deployed, soldiers essentially do what they want for their programming. Their routines involve weights. Not running. Unless there is a problem with them not being able to perform their job nothing is said. They do the dumb stuff out of fitness magazine. But they believe in it so fervently the results, if you can call them that, come regardless.

Until the military gets actual trainers dispersed at the Strategic leadership level that can teach leaders how to train troops, and those leaders provide troops with purpose, direction, and motivation regarding PT this redundant problem will remain.

http://startingstrength.com/resources/forum/mark-rippetoe-q-and-a/64903-air-force-pt-test.html

http://threestormfitness.com/evidence-based-answers-to-fitness-and-nutrition-faqs/

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/04/well/move/even-a-little-weight-training-may-cut-the-risk-of-heart-attack-and-stroke.html

https://firearmusernetwork.com/acft-dumb-and-dumber/

https://firearmusernetwork.com/army-combat-readiness-test/

A study published in October in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise provides evidence for the first time that even a little weight training might reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke. People appear to gain this benefit whether or not they also engage in frequent aerobic exercise.

The study drew from an invaluable cache of health data gathered at the Cooper Clinic in Dallas, where thousands of men and women have been undergoing annual checkups, which include filling out detailed questionnaires about their exercise habits and medical history. More than 12,500 records were anonymized for men and women, most of them middle-aged, who had visited the clinic at least twice between 1987 and 2006. The subjects were categorized according to their reported resistance exercise routines, ranging from those who never lifted to those who completed one, two, three or more weekly sessions (or whether they lifted for more or less than an hour each week). Another category was aerobic exercise and whether subjects met the standard recommendation of 150 minutes per week of brisk workouts. This exercise data was then crosschecked against heart attacks, strokes and deaths during the 11 years or so after each participant’s last clinic visit.

The findings were dramatic: The risk of experiencing these events was roughly 50 percent lower for those who lifted weights occasionally, compared with those who never did — even when they were not doing the recommended endurance exercise. People who lifted twice a week, for about an hour or so in total, had the greatest declines in risk. (Interestingly, the subjects who reported weight training four or more times per week did not show any significant health benefits compared with those who never lifted, although the researchers believe this finding is probably a statistical anomaly.)

“The good news,” says Duck-chul Lee, an associate professor of kinesiology at Iowa State University and co-author of the study, “is that we found substantial heart benefits associated with a very small amount of resistance exercise.” As an associational study, the results show only that people who occasionally lift weights happen to have healthier hearts — not that resistance training directly reduces heart-related health risks. The data, though, does reveal associations between weight lifting and a lower body mass index, Lee says, which might be connected to fewer heart problems. He and his colleagues do not know the specifics of what exercises people were doing — lat pull-downs? dead lifts? squats? — or how many repetitions they did or at what level of resistance. Lee says he is in the early stages of a major study to examine some of those factors. But he doesn’t suggest waiting for those results.

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Reading Exercise Science Literature

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Dr. Jonathon Sullivan is the Associate Director of the Emergency Medicine Cerebral Resuscitation Laboratory and Course Coordinator of the Emergency Medicine Basic Research Elective for Wayne State University. He has served on the Scientific Review Committee for the Emergency Medicine Foundation and as a Reviewer for the Brain Research Journal.

He earned is MD from the University of Arizona College of Medicine (MD) in 1992, Ph. D. from Wayne State University School of Medicine in 1999, and did an Emergency Medicine Research Fellowship in 1998. His Residency was at Detroit Receiving Hospital, Wayne State University in 1992-1995 and he currently an ER doctor at the Detroit Receiving Hospital at Michigan’s first Level I Trauma Center. In addition, he’s also a certified Starting Strength strength coach and owner of Greysteel Strength and Conditioning, a barbell gym catering specifically to people age 40 and older.

Here is his approach to reading and understanding scientific papers, specifically those in the exercise science literature.

NSFW Warning: Dr. Sullivan is a former Marine and current practicing ER doctor and his language is salty. Part of interest begins at 8:15.

Here are his thoughts on the importance of strength training.

Barbell Training in the Military

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A military Physical Fitness Test is not designed to measure combat effectiveness, nor is it designed to measure combat readiness. Physical Fitness Tests are wellness assessments for hygiene designed to ensure a minimal level of fitness necessary to avoid medical problems, not for improved performance.

Here is how to do it better and actually improve performance.

Starting Strength and Barbell Training in the Military
by
Lt. Col. Christian “Mac” Ward

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The Importance of Culture and Community in Training

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from Brent Carter, a NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and Starting Strength Coach

I have come to realize the importance of community and a strength culture in my work space. Sure, it’s cool to be the lone wolf… But it is far more rewarding to cultivate a culture among your colleagues and friends.

The FOCUS strength culture really began several years ago as I was studying to pass my Starting Strength Coach certification. I volunteered my Friday afternoons to train students at our career school for personal trainers (Focus Personal Training Institute) in the methods and model of Starting Strength. We called this our “Barbell Club,” an “extracurricular program” that was actually more self-serving than anything else. (I needed to practice to pass the practical component for the Starting Strength exam.) What came out of this was something I never could have predicted.

Students started lifting with one another outside of Barbell Club as well. Other FOCUS trainers joined in. And as students graduated and became alumni, they still came back to lift! As the club grew, I was no longer the strongest person there. This in particular, I think, was the key for my continued progress. It is easy to rest on your laurels if you are the strongest person around, but this is a surefire recipe for stagnation.

As I continued to surround myself with strong people and other Starting Strength coaches, my “heavy” loads became the norm and even paltry at times. This changed my perspective for what ‘strong’ really is, and this keeps my sights set on that next PR.

They say success breeds success; I would like to add that strength breeds strength. If you want to get stronger, find yourself a community of strength and integrate yourself into it. And if there isn’t one in your immediate surroundings, be a trail blazer and create one yourself! At the very least, you will have some strong people to help you move that couch to your new place when the time comes.

Barbell Training as Rehab

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Why getting stronger helps everything. This account is of an injured man told he’d never walk again and his complete rehabilitation despite his grim doctor’s prognosis.

http://startingstrength.com/articles/brian_jones_story.pdf

Strength Training For The Elderly: A Life Saver

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More proof why making effective strength training a priority is better than cardio, especially as you age. Conventional “wisdom” that cardio is the best (or only) has been proven incorrect numerous times. Dr. Ken Cooper had it wrong OK, if we’re polite we can say he was only partially correct. Even the man that coined the word “aerobics” admits his mistake now.
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Strength and Cardiovascular Fitness

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We all know that lifting big hunks of iron that are sufficiently heavy that we can only muster five repetitions while progressively overloading your barbell for every performed exercise every session will make you strong. But there are some of us that are interested in also increasing our cardiovascular conditioning. Is this possible or wise or even prudent?

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