For many of our readers who are preparing for taking the big leap into one of the Selection courses, we try to help you get ready for the challenges here by posting a daily piece on the physical training program that we feel will help you achieve your goal.
But sometimes it is good to change things up a bit, challenge yourself in different ways and break up the training monotony that can set in doing the same things over and over. And in doing so, we decided to take a look at what some of the college and NFL football teams are doing in their strength and conditioning programs to get their players ready for the rigors of their seasons. So, we’ll incorporate some of their training to mix things up a bit for a change.
It is funny, that in the past dozen or so years, many of the football programs have adopted this military type mentality, they bring in Navy SEALs, Green Berets and such to show them the way the Special Operations guys do it in the military. There is a great deal of good as well as bad with that.
The football programs in the college and pro ranks have a great deal of respect for the military, especially the Special Operations Forces and their own jargon is full of military-type terms. The physical toughness and endurance of Special Operators along with the “never quit” attitude is something all coaches try to instill. That is good.
Some will incorporate the endurance events teamed with an SFAS-like team event where the players have to work together as a team to get over an obstacle while pushing themselves in ways they’ve never done before. That aspect of team building is of tremendous value and many of the players will never forget how hard it can be.
But putting players into Log PT training sessions cold can be dangerous for the players. Rusty Whitt, the Texas Tech Red Raider Strength and Conditioning Coach knows both sides of the coin. Whitt was a Special Forces Radio Operator on an A-Team and now coaches in the Big12.
Whitt posted an article to warn other coaches about the dangers that Special Operations Forces face in their training that the players may not be properly prepared for and therefore the risks would be too great. He wrote:
“YOUR PLAYERS ARE NOT SEALS, and contrary to some opinions in the conditioning world, these Special Operators are not competitive athletes. They are warfighters. Sure, they do have athletic abilities. They have to run extraordinary distances, carrying excessive amounts of equipment, they have to be proficient and coordinated under high amounts of stress.
Through the mass media explosion of the last twenty years, along with social media, video games, books, movies, TV shows and documentaries, the public has become acutely interested in elite level military training. However if you mimic their training you could get your players hurt, or maybe something far worse could happen.”
Flipping the Script: So we said we’re going to change things up a bit. So let’s try to do some of the things that the football programs are doing. You can mix these into your training prep and it can help you break things up a bit.
Whitt posted the basic exercises that the Texas Tech conditioning program is using to properly prepare their players in the offseason training program. You’ll find it was pretty similar to much of what we preach here as well.
Weight Room Movements
Power and Push Jerk
Upper Body Presses
DB Unilateral and Bilateral movements
Open chain and close chain abdominal exercises
Mobility drills for the ankles, knees, hips, thoracic spine and shoulders
Agility, Speed Training and Conditioning movements on the Field
Dynamic mobility movements
Change of direction skill work
Sled Pushing and Pulling
Reactive Agility competition drills
Anaerobic conditioning sprints
So what are some of the other football programs doing, the Georgia Bulldogs football program has a tremendous challenge that they throw out to their players and fans. Every Thursday, the Strength and Conditioning Coaches have “Throwdown Thursday” where they encourage watchers on their YouTube videos to try to emulate their challenge for the week. The theme this month is “Squatober” and will be of interest to our future candidates getting ready for those long ruck marches.
One consisted of wearing a 45-pound weighted vest and walking/marching from the practice fields to the main campus where they then did squats with a 45-pound bar and the other coaches were adding their weighted vests to the bar while one of the other coaches spotted the squatter.
But their best was a body weight smoker where the coaches climbed to the top row of the Georgia football field in Sanford Stadium and did a squat in each row of the stadium all the way down to the field level. That is an exercise that anyone can do with access to normal bleachers in their hometown on or off-base and it will be guaranteed to smoke your legs on a day where you’re looking to break things up. And those squats will most definitely help in toting the rucksack over long distances. While we’re gearing up for our Selection preparation, a little variety never hurts, especially if you’re getting training value out of it. And these exercises are bound to push you in different ways.
We’ll incorporate some of the speed work that some NFL teams use in upcoming pieces in our PT prep series. The increase in speed and explosion will help with your overall endurance and distance running. And it serves a very useful purpose in real-world training.
There may be a time, whereas a Special Operator, you’ll have to sprint with your kit, 40-60 meters into a hot area and pull one of your teammates out of harm’s way. To do so, you’ll need speed, explosion and strength to hoist him and his kit and get both of your butts safely out of there.
So keep grinding and by all means, mix it up a bit. No Days Off. DOL
Photo: US Army