We talk often here about how Special Operations Forces are not athletes but tactical military members. That’s not to say that SOF troops aren’t athletic but that training an operator is much different than training a football or baseball player. However, certain aspects of each’s workouts have bled into one another’s training regimen.

Some of the ways the NFL players teach their players to get more speed is one that we’ve incorporated in a few of the daily workouts that we preach to prepare for Selection. And some NFL and college football teams have incorporated some of SOF training methods for their athletes. It is a matter of both mutual respect for what each does and a way to break up the rut of the same training routines day after day.

Since last year, we’ve been fascinated with the strength and conditioning coaches of the Georgia Bulldogs football team. Georgia strength coaches Scott Sinclair, Ed Ellis, Rodney Prince, Jamil Walker, and Ben Sowders not only encourage and motivate their players and students alike but take an active part as well.

They publish a weekly video which they’ve named #ThrowdownThursday and they’ve become immensely popular on Twitter and YouTube around the Georgia campus.

This year, they began with a core, stability and teamwork exercise where the five men carried a 700-lb locker the length of the football field and into the locker room. On an episode last year, they pulled a 5500 Chevy Pickup truck 100 yards uphill. You can see several close parallels to what the Georgia strength coaches are doing and several what would be considered “Team Week” events in SFAS.

Granted, the duration of the events are much smaller, but they’re also working within the parameters of a much smaller team as well.

One of their cooler moments was just recently. Because of the recent hurricane the coaches did their Throwdown Thursday last Friday as they zipped around the Georgia campus and encouraged students on their way to class to do squats with the coaches.

Their team approach to doing a correct pull-up was something we can all respect.

But my favorite was just about a year ago when during “Squatober” they conducted a squat on every row of Sanford Stadium where the Bulldogs play. If you’ve ever seen it, it is no easy feat.

The coaches followed that one up with wearing a 40-lb vest, carrying a 45-lb bar and walking a couple of miles up to the main campus to do squats with the bar and a couple of vests suspended on the bar.

If you want a change of pace leg smoker, try this challenge. Obviously, I had no bleachers anywhere near Sanford Stadium in Georgia to use, so while using high school bleachers, I added a slight twist that I know our aspiring Special Operations Forces candidates will love. After squatting down the bleachers, I then worked back up and down….four times to make up for it.

By the third time, my legs with the arthritic knees were absolutely burning, by the fourth they were jelly.

It is an easy (relatively speaking) exercise in that it requires no specialized equipment or a gym, no training partner and can be done anytime day or night…

***Please Note*** I decided to do this very early in the morning as to not embarrass myself in front of the assorted kids running the track or the older folks who use it to exercise. Because it was still dark, as I was finishing up, I drew the attention of the local gendarmes, who in no uncertain terms reminded me that using the facilities in the dark was extremely verboten.

After explaining my reasons for doing it and who I was writing this for, their demeanor changed and one of the very helpful local police officers even offered to film me on my phone if I wanted to do one more set coming down the stairs… Thank you very much but no thank you, I was humbled enough already. Adding extra embarrassment wasn’t going to help things along much. 

So, if you’re getting in a rut with your workout routine in preparing for Selection, I encourage you to break things up a bit and incorporate other things in your workouts to keep your motivation up and try something that will challenge you.

And check out the Georgia strength and conditioning coaches, Scott Sinclair every Thursday for their #throwdownthursday challenges. Some may not be your cup of tea. However, I look forward to them every week and love their enthusiasm, which is infectious and their can-do never quit attitude… That is something that all SOF candidates can get right behind.  

“How ’bout those Bulldogs!”

DOL, Let’s do some squats!

Photos: Georgia Strength and Conditioning coaches. Scott Sinclair