A Soldier's Perspective on Functional Fitness

By Sam D., active duty member of Naval Special Warfare

In LEO/Mil

April 01, 2005

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Combat Demands
Conducting military missions overseas requires a physical adaptation that is nearly impossible to duplicate in training. The realm in which we work is not for the specialist. Operationally as well as physically, those who focus on one domain will be punished while executing their mission. "Specialize in not specializing" is a phrase I heard at work long before there was a CrossFit Workout of the Day. The principles of variation, intensity, and functionality will prepare a soldier for what he/ she encounters overseas (i.e., anything!).

The March 2003 issue of the CrossFit Journal addresses the physical training (PT) regimens of military units: Combat offers randomized challenges that are largely anaerobic (short in duration), completely functional, totally random, and mixed generously between lower extremities, trunk/core, and upper extremities. Any physical conditioning program that doesn't readily match and train for this environment is woefully lacking. Coach Glassman suggests that most units have programs that:

• are too predictable and lack functionality for their trade
• lack movements requiring a coordinated effort from the entire body and produce a neuroendocrine response
• distinguish between modalities of training in a manner that will not be seen in the field
• do not incorporate functional movements done at high intensity.

The first rule of war is if you want to win, you have to kill as many of the enemy as possible. Period. The more physical assets you have to do that in any environment, under any conditions, the better. CrossFit's unique combination of Olympic lifting, basic gymnastics, and functional movements performed at high intensity with constant variation will greatly enhance a soldier's ability to do that.

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