Special Operations Fitness Prep
Since 9-11, many former military members have asked me about re-joining active units or challenging themselves to try for Special Operations positions after several years out of the military or in reserve units. This email comes from a Marine Reservist, who is taking that challenge to go active duty again AND push for Marine RECON units.
His email reads:
"I am in my late 30's and will be going to the Marine Corp Basic Recon Course (BRC) in a few months. I am pretty solid on my PT, but running and rucking is getting more difficult to improve on. Is it possible to get better at running? Do you have any plans for running USMC distances?"
First of all, anyone seeking this type of rigorous activity - especially near 40 years old - should be in excellent condition and very flexible. Your increased flexibility will be the result of a daily stretching program that will help you better recover from the daily grind of challenging workouts. Whether you are a 40-year-old military person, a law enforcement officer, or a person who likes to do marathons or triathlons, you need to start a flexibility routine. This will help you break up the lactic acid that builds in your muscles. One tip - hold each stretch you do for 4-5 deep inhales and exhales. Your inhales should be 3 or more seconds long - followed by a full exhale. This will also help you get oxygen to the muscles adding an increased effect to lactic acid release.
I do have a running plan that I have made for people seeking better performance in the 3-5 mile timed runs you will see in the USMC and other advanced military training schools. Running will get easier as long as you practice running 4-5 times a week and ruck march with 25-50 lbs on your back 1-2 times a week.
As far as rucking, check out the "Training for Ruck Marches" article for more information.
The writer did not mention anything about your swimming in his email. At BRC you will also face several challenging water events in the testing phase. 25M underwater swim; 5 minute float; 30 minute tread with clothing; tower jumps; weapon retrieval at depths of 9-15 feet; and a 500m swim. THEN you have to do the USMC PFT of pullups, situps and a 3 mile timed run. Check out the "Passing Military Swim Tests" article also found in the Military.com Running and Cardio archive. I highly recommend swimming 4-5 times a week if you are trying out for USMC RECON, Navy SEALs, US Navy SAR Swimmer, USCG Helicopter Rescue Swimmer, and Air Force PJ's to name a few.
For those who maybe having issues with the PT portion of getting back into Active Duty training and are contemplating pushing the envelope with more specialized training, try these workouts:
Build up to be able to do at least 100 pullups in every pullup workout. Do so for three days a week - every other day - read "The PT Pyramid" article for more details.
1) Pyramid Pullups / Pushups / Situps Combo
Build up to level 10 pullups / 20 pushups / 30 situps on peak of pyramid. After you have completed the entire pyramid - that is 100 pullups, 200 pushups, 300 situps or other abs of choice.
This workout will push your pushups and situps to 300 reps each and keep your pullups between 50-100 reps.
- Repeat 10 times:
- Pullups - 5-10
- Pushups - 10
- Situps - 10
- Wide pushups - 10
- Reverse crunches - 10
- Tri pushups - 10
- Double crunches - 10
3) Max Pullups / Fewest Sets Possible
This workout is one of my favorite for building from 15 pullups to 25-30 reps. Many people get stuck at 10-15 pullups, This workout will get you over that hump. I recommend trying this workout only once a week in conjunction with the two above PT workouts during the week.
- 100 pullups
- 200 pushups
- 300 situps
Alternate from one max rep set exercise to another until you reach the above numbers...time limit on each exercise is 2:00 per set.
Thanks for all of you who are seeking military or law enforcement professions since September 11 - especially those men and women who are above the average age. Due to overwhelming response from your requests to defend your country, the military has increased its age limits to bootcamp and many special operations forces now grant age waivers. Good luck on your journey.
Special Operations Fitness Articles:
Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. If you are interested in starting a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle - check out the Military.com Fitness eBook store and the Stew Smith article archive at Military.com. To contact Stew with your comments and questions, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Stew Smith is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, a former Navy SEAL, and author of several fitness and self defense books such as The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness, and Maximum Fitness. As a military fitness trainer, Stew has trained hundreds of students for Navy SEAL, Special Forces, Air Force PJ, Ranger Training, and other physical law enforcement professions. Stew's Profile | Stew's Blog