Military Operators have the ultimate form of training for the unknown. It’s like CrossFit, but the “Games” operators play come with serious consequence. Especially in the SOF community, operators face diverse challenges in training for physical fitness. Without any time to prepare, they may be required to conduct a swim or dive infiltration that can be a 15 hour (or easily more) endurance event requiring miles of rowing, surface swimming, and diving . Or it may be a “hunting” trip in the Afghani mountains at over 9,000ft. altitude. An operator may need the strength and power to deal with and subdue a close threat. And in an assault or gun fight, be able to sprint… or zig and zag to avoid getting shot. Of course, in all those things, he’d be wearing more than 50lbs of the latest “lightweight” armor and gear and carrying a 100 (+) lbs rucksack full of more lightweight stuff.
Aside from the sexy documentaries The History and Discovery Channels have done on the various units, SOF guys have always been looked at by civilians as physical freaks. Our successful blending of strength and endurance seems impossible to those folks who are only endurance or strength athletes.
SOF guys have always had to be fast and strong, but also able to cover long distance and still be able to fight when we arrived. Before the introduction of CrossFit and GPP gained interest in the public, the SOF community where among the few categories of “athletes” that maintained all the components of fitness.
Last Thursday, I posted a few words from Ryan “Koup” Kuperus. In that post Koup, a member of CFW since our inception, talks about how CFW has always promoted
strength and power and tends to program a bit more tough than many affiliates. Koup mentioned in his pump of CFW an article by Rob Shaul of Military Athlete.
I like Rob’s stuff. He is the founder Military Athlete as well as Mountain Athlete, a program I’ve posted links to before on the CFW site.
CrossFit Wilmington and Military Athlete could be twins. Like Koup mentioned, I’ve always programmed with a slight towards power and strength. Rob refferences the sources and coaches he borrowed from… Glassman, Twight, Simms, Rippetoe, etc. Many of the same as CFW… Ross Enambit and Charles Poliquin also come to mind.
I was looking closer at Rob’s Military Athlete “Operator Ugly Test” and his strength standards. Both are very close to what I consider a great fitness test and excellent standards for strength, not only for SOF guys and mil, but civilians too.
Military Athlete Strength Standard/Goal
LIFT MEN WOMEN
Front Squat 1.5x BW 1.0x BW
Dead Lift 2.0x BW 1.5x BW
Bench Press 1.5x BW 1.0x BW
Push Press 1.15x BW .75x BW
Squat Clean 1.25x BW 1.0x BW
Squat Clean+ Push Press 1.15x BW .75xBW
I think the standard for front squat could be more… maybe 1.75BW and 1.25BW respectively. But Rob’s standards are still good. I just favor the front Squat as a primary measure because it requires more flexibility, balance and mobility to be really good at it. The deadlift, not as much.
Rob’s Operator Ugly Test is great. We’ll be doing it very soon.
One thing Rob mentions is recovery and how an operator must maintain a high and constant level of fitness. He is big on recovery and not over training. He periodizes to better prepare and optimize training focus. You can do CrossFit metcons constantly and run on the rev limiter at all times… but you will break. I preach periodization and have worked into our CrossFit programming with great success. The CrossFit gyms that do mostly the jazzerfit metcons are introducing their clients to the same elevated coritisol levels endurance and LSD athletes have, and ultimately, those clients get exhausted and/or injured and stop doing CrossFit.
I do not, however, dig his supplement and nutirition advice. It is not horrible, but I’d never tell you to cheat once a week with anything you want… especially not beer and pizza.
But, no two trainers ever agree on everything.
Take a few minutes and look over Military Athlete and Mountain Athlete. There’s good info there… and give a nod to our military personnel. There are very few “Quiet Professionals” out there (the SOF community is less than .006 % of the US population) willing to do things most don’t even want to know about. They do it without asking anything of you. They do it so you can go to the beach or Starbuck’s today without much worry our Islamic extremist enemies will harm you or your family.