Showing posts with label PT. Show all posts
Showing posts with label PT. Show all posts

Monday, July 20, 2015

Be The Hero of Your Own Movie

PT this morning- Sprints. Not sure how many as I did not count. It's been awhile since I did sprints so it shook things up.
Dry fire-
Gear- Glock 19 withBlade Tech AIWB holster.
Drill- 1 shot from concealment.
Par time- 1.5 seconds.
Extreme low- 1.3
Extreme high- 2 seconds
Average 1.4-1.6.

Overall this session sucked. I really didn't feel good about it. Hopefully tomorrow will be better but at least I did it so that is something.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Rucking, Combat Fitness and Realistic Goals

Ever since Max's post Realistic Rucking I've known that PT was going to be revisited here. John Mosby's Post Fit for the Fight: A Conceptual Approach to Physical Conditioning for Security Patrolling pretty much sealed the deal. Max's recent post Operational Fitness also touched on some good stuff. tte

In no particular order here we go:

1) You get better at a given event and thus more 'fit' by that particular measurement by improving your performance in terms of speed/weight/time. Skipping complex stuff about cardiovascular health, VO2 max and whatever you do not get better at something by simply doing the same thing over and over. You get better by doing it at an increased speed/weight/time. 

2) Recognizing #1 the way to improve is progressive and incremental improvement over time. Tracking is pretty important here (this is something I royally suck at). Say the particular even we are talking about is running. Maybe your tempo run is a 3 mile loop around the AO and you do it 3-4x a month. It would be smart to keep track of time, continually pushing yourself to beat the last time. Of course you would not beat it every single time, maybe it's raining and nasty, you're suck, hung over or whatever. That being said unless the general trend is towards that run getting done faster you are not improving. 

That being said often, especially in strength, the answer is not to train to failure every time. Form goes to pot and injury rates skyrocket. A more balanced approach would be to train intensely, yet not to failure and continually progress over time. Add 5 pounds here, a rep there or an extra set there depending on the goals involved. The bottom line is to increase difficulty towards your goals over time. 

3) There is a balance between accepting the reality of your age/ health/ life situation yet not condemning yourself to be the slow weak animal malingering at the back of the pack just waiting to become lion food. I don't know exactly how to balance as a general rule. The best option I can think of is being brutally honest about your situation then aggressively pursuing fitness goals.

A lot of my stuff is geared toward people pursuing fitness to be able to conduct light infantry operations on an individual basis as a survivalist or in a small unit setting as a guerrilla/ paramilitary type fighter. That goes double for Max Velocity and John Mosby. While I would say the type of martial fitness we talk about translates into a high level of general fitness/ health it is only a viable option for fairly healthy people. 

A 72 year old ex rodeo Cowboy who broke his back twice and legs 3x riding then was in a bad car accident in '89 with arthritis everywhere is not going to be a member of a direct action cell. That old Codger might have a lot to offer but he isn't going to be running around in the woods with a rifle shooting people. On the other hand a 45 year old that is 30 pounds overweight with "bad knees" is probably physically capable of doing a lot. His "joint problems" brought on by packing extra weight around and a lifestyle of inactivity will probably reverse themselves pretty quickly if he gets to a healthy weight and exercises in a reasonable way. If that 45 year old wants to reach a high level of fitness he probably can within a reasonable timetable.

4) On the topic of weight training as it relates to combat and realistic training. If you want to be in the best physical condition (for strength) possible then lift heavy weights. Sure the guys who won WWII didn't lift but they did not have the advantages of our more modern understanding of science and biology. Also a couple other factors influenced this. First those brave men didn't have to fight guys who lifted weights. Brute strength built on the weight pile lets one put other peoples heads through walls. Second the creation of viable body armor against small arms and shrapnel has vastly increased the weight of an average fighting load. Rough ball park it went from 20 pounds to 50. Moving ones self in, around and over obstacles got a lot harder. An average guy in OK shape might be able to do a pullup with an extra 20 pounds. Make it 50 and without serious time at the weight pile that's just not happening. 

Thankfully in the last few years the big Army has moved towards accepting the usefulness of strength derived from weight training as part of a holistic PT program. Like many good ideas it started out in SOF, largely the Ranger Regiment's Athlete Warrior Program. The bottom line is that strength is a good thing to have for a variety of real world combat related tasks.

5) When it comes to weight lifting there is the inherently oppositional relationship between being big/ strong and fast with lots of endurance. At all but the shortest distances (like under 40m) being heavier makes it harder to move your body around. I think if you lift weights with a goal of building strength (vs body building where the goal is to get bigger/ heavier) size gains are generally negligible. Also if you continue doing good aggressive cardio and eating reasonably the vast majority of people will not grow to the point that their overall fitness falls off the rails. 

Remember, there is no such thing as being too strong, only too slow.

6) In my mind it is important to be ready to go at all times. This means you are never a discusting fat body who can't run a mile because it's a "bulk phase" or a skinny weakling "cutting/ focusing on endurance".  I think there is something to be said for pursuing specific goals in one area or another of fitness but not to such an extent that you let another important part of fitness fall off entirely. Example, you decide to do a 10k race with friends and really want to do well. You run a lot more and accept that weight training is going to take a hit either not progressing or maybe even losing a little ground. That being said you do not stop lifting for 3 months. It is the difference between putting a bit more energy into a goal/ weak area while generally maintaining other core capabilities and radically swapping plans/ goals on the drop of a hat.

7) I believe in big multi joint exercises such as deadlift, squat, bench press, standing press and power clean. These are what you do to become a bigger stronger athlete warrior. Leave all the single joint machine junk for body builders with their huge arms and little chicken legs.

8) For combat based cardio fitness I would split my time between an aggressive rucking program and a sprint/ interval based running program. Probably 4-5x a week between the two events. I would do 2 of each if the goal was rucking based and sprint/ interval work outs. If the goals are a bit more general fitness but you still want some rucking capability 3 hard runs and 1 ruck is a fine option (that is what I'm currently doing). 

It is significant to note I would only employ various cardio type machines (other than treadmills which let you run in a more climate controlled environment) for active recovery, alternate cardio or as part of some sort of circuit (an idea largely represented as new in crossfit) workout. These are fine for terrible hangover/ cold days or whatever but don't fool yourself into thinking they are a replacement for covering ground.

9) Functional fitness as shown in Crossfit, Man Aerobics P90X, Military Athlete, Mountain Athlete, etc all is a craze these days. That is a good thing. Getting runners into lifting and lifters into running is good. However as John said these folks can get silly sometimes and fail the common sense test. While it may be difficult doing 5 pound single handed kettle bell snatches standing on a balance ball twirling a hula hoop around your hips will not make you a better athlete warrior. 

10) Do not disregard the warm up and cool down. As I get older this is becoming much more important. I can perform better, have fewer injuries including strains, etc and recover better. Every time I forget I regret it. While not exactly scientific my personal warm up goes something like this. Static stretching of the whole body with a bit of extra emphasis on the areas to be worked. Walk a little bit to limber up, say 200-400 meters. If it's going to be a run workout I do an easy jog for 400 or so. If it's going to be muscular/ weights I do warm up sets starting with the bar then progressing as needed to the weight of my first working set.

Cool down is basically the same as warm up but in reverse order ie maybe jogg, walk then stretch. 

11) Nutrition. Read some stuff on diets and nutrition then do something reasonable. Avoid junk or at least minimize it's role in your diet. You wouldn't put nasty old gas with water in it into a race car and expect it to win so don't shovel McDonalds into your face 5x a week and wonder why you aren't doing better at PT. 

So anyway those are my thoughts on that. As always input is welcome.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Weekly PT Plan #1

Getting motivated and organized for next weeks efforts. Check out the plan on the other blog.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Easy Wrong or Hard Right

A few of things happened today.

I found myself at the grocery store at lunch time. Really wanted to grab something to eat but didn't. We aren't hurting or anything but stuff is getting more expensive so we need to watch things. Went home and made food instead.

This afternoon I knew that I should work out but really didn't want to. Taking a nap or sitting on my butt sounded better. So naturally I ran, did some pushups/ situps/ pullups, lifted then ran home. The reason is that it usually sounds better to be lazy.

This evening we were going to take a guest on a tour of our little town. I wanted to grab the .38 and go but instead went with the less comfortable to carry Glock 19. The reason is that I consider (and believe stats reflect this) evenings a bit more risky so to me the right answer was the Glock.

We face these choices every day in many ways. Over time these little choices compound and really start to add up. Also they build into habits which are powerful things. We don't always need to be perfect. That just isn't life. However making the right choice 3 out of 4 times and spreading them out so you aren't always slacking on on thing is probably reasonable. It will let you be human but still stay on the right track.

Will put together a better post tomorrow. All of a sudden it got pretty late on me today and I'm just not feeling it.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Life Update- Back Into It

Well I have finally kicked that pesky pneumonia thing. Last week I felt pretty decent and was able to do some light exercise like easy cardio and low rep body weight stuff with plenty of rest between sets. This week I have been able to run and am doing an easy week of weight training to get back into it. As my schedule and the weather allow I am trying to get some extra runs in after work.

There is definitely a long way to come back after a month and change of being sick and inactivity. Really the last few months haven't been great for my physically as a lot of stuff like redeployment and leave have broken up my routine. Anyway it is coming into summer which is just a great time to put some miles on running shoes and boots.

I wanted to let you know that I have recovered and an doing well.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

E and E Baby- Fun Watching Mantracker

Yesterday I watched Mantracker for awhile. I talked a bit about the show some time ago. Today I have some more basic thoughts:

First be in shape. This means being able to run fast for a short period, at a moderate pace for awhile and walk carrying a moderate load for many miles.

Second have good broken in boots. I know it is easy to say a splurge is worth it if you have the cash but low quality books cause all sorts of problems and generally fail to live up to basic expectations.

Third condition your feet to walking carrying a load while wearing boots. This is admittedly sort of a synthesis of the first two but it is it's own beast because running wearing light shoes (which would let you be in shape) does not translate into properly conditioned feet. Feet are a place where some folks are lucky and others are not. If you are lucky then just keep up with your general PT and wear broken in boots. Thankfully I fall into this group.

If someone using a higher speed form of transportation is following you there are really three options. First you can go where they cannot follow. This is a pretty desirable option though it only works if there is a widespread area sufficient in size to lose them or hide. A couple acre swamp or a single nasty ridge probably won't do it as a single exit point or two can be watched. The second option is to level the playing field. A horse or an ATV or a car is not hard to put out of action but armored vehicles are a lot more problematic. The third option would be to just hope that you can lose them. Think needle in haystack or a field full of haystacks. This is probably more of a hope than a plan. If there is a good line of sight or they have dogs this option really sucks.

Lastly knowing how to navigate and having the basic tools (compass and appropriate maps) to do so is essential. Hard to get away from somebody and get to wherever you are going without knowing where you are or in which direction you are headed.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

PT Questions

1- Are you happy with your current level of physical fitness?
2- A-What is your current PT plan and B- are you happy with it?
3- If you are unhappy with your current plan what are you going to change to fix it?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Thoughts on Insurgencies- What Made the Mujahedeen Successful

Thoughts on Insurgencies- What Made The Mujahedeen Successful?
I am going to try to discuss some of the reasons the Mujahedeen were so successful in Afghanistan against the Soviet’s. Some might draw parallels to the US experience here and I would say they have a case in some areas, though not in others. In no particular order here we go.
•    Rural Afghan’s are, particularly in the South and East of the country, strongly tribal in nature and very militaristic. When not fighting outsiders the tribes seem to, almost without exception, fight each other. It is about the closest thing to a cultural pastime as this country has.
•    They started out reasonably trained in small unit and individual tactics. Why, well I think consistent tribal warfare is the answer. This was probably the most helpful in the beginning because if you take anybody and toss them into a guerilla war after a year, should they be alive, they have some skills and knowledge.
•    They fought to their strengths and as such avoided their enemy’s strengths. Knowledge of local terrain coupled with hitting weak targets and vanishing worked pretty well. It helps when you can use the same hill Grandpa used to fight the British coming along the same road. This leads back to my last comment about training and knowledge.
•    Physical fitness. Between their rough lifestyle, reliance on foot transportation, moderate calorie intake and lack of medical care (that meant the sick and crippled were either useless in the village or dead) Afghan’s of military age were physically fit. They could haul butt up the side of a mountain carrying a medium machine gun after an ambush and leave the soviet’s panting at the bottom.

 [In my opinion physical fitness is the most lacking trait of American militia/ guerilla wanna be’s (I don’t mean “wanna be” in a derogatory way, just that since we don’t have a guerilla war going on it is kind of just a self imposed label instead of a title). Seriously if these guys spent half as much time exercising as they do arguing about what pouches to have on load out gear or which rifle to use in internet forum’s they would be much better off. I get particular amusement when somebody who is a disgusting fat body and probably hasn’t ran a whole mine this year talks about being a “light fighter” and using “hit and run tactics”. Many of these individuals are good, well meaning people and I probably poke too much fun. I hope that if any of them read this instead of taking it personal they look inward. If this side rant is hitting too close to home I recommend that you get onto a reasonable but ambitious physical fitness program and exercise some self control at meal time to get into fighting shape. ]

•    A proliferation of small arms, particularly rifles. Every military aged male did not have a rifle but a heck of a lot of them did. Eventually they started capturing weapons and getting them shipped in by foreign backers but for awhile it was just rural Afghan’s and their rifles.
•    A cohesive and resolute group vision. Rural Afghan life is very traditional and tribal, especially in the Pastun areas to the South and East, and its values stood in stark contrast to what the Afghan communists and their Soviet backers sought to impose. They were, and the Soviets never quite got this, absolutely unwilling to compromise and would rather just fight.
•    There are probably more but a couple of these are already more generic of all guerillas than is my intent. Now let us not forget the two factors which had a massive impact on events and were largely outside of the Muj’s control.
•    Safe haven’s. In particular the ability to seek medical treatment, shelter their families, train, plan and recover in Pakistan had a direct and immeasurable effect on the war. The Soviet’s launched a few rockets and probably a few raids but in the big picture the Muj were safe to recover and plan in Pakistan and parts of Iran.
•    Outside Aid. Despite some fantasy ideas to the contrary it is difficult to keep a force fielded without feeding and equipping them. While guerilla logistics are pretty simple and light they still need weapons, bullets to shoot, explosives and food to eat. Being able to keep at least part (this improved as the war progressed) of their force through the whole fighting season was essential to building up cohesive organizations and conducting significant operations. Even if you want them really bad guns, food and bullets don’t just appear. Also as these wars go on for years stocking enough of anything except maybe shoe laces to get you through one is wishful thinking.
•    A long term vision. In a sound bite and paragraph quote world they thought in terms of seasons and years. The Muj were never going to win in a sense where they militarily forced the Russians out. They could however continually make it uncomfortable for the Russians to be here (I am in Afghanistan as I write this, oh irony) until their government decided it was time to throw in the towel.
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