Military Specific Strength Program
Hey! New to the forum, was directed here by Gregg, I was seeking his input on helping program strength into my schedule. Hopefully I can gain some insight as to the best method of programming.
Lets looks at the end state specific goals first before I get into asking questions about strength programming.
Running - Run 3 Miles under 20 min, optimal goal would be 18 min or less, run 5 miles in 38min or less
Swimming - 500yds in 15 min or less (wearing Cammies) and 2000yds in an hour or less, Tread water for 30 min
Rucking- 12 miles in 2.5 hrs or less, optimal speed is 12 min miles with a 45# Ruck
Miscellaneous - Max Pullups 20 or more, Max Pushups 70 or more, ax situps 100 or more
The schedule will most likely run 4-5 days of running,swimming,and bodyweight calls/crossfit met cons. With Saturday being a long Ruck or LSD/Tempo run. I would switch these every other week.
Monday- Running, Bodyweight Cals/MetCon
Tuesday- Swimming, Bodyweight Cals/MetCon
Wed - Rest
Thurs - Running, Bodweight Cals/Metcon
Fri - Swimming, Bodyweight Cals/Metcon
Sat - Long Run or Ruck
All in all, Running and swimming wil be done a minimum of 2x per week. Running will more than likely go as day 1 short intervals (50m-600m), day 2 long intervals (800m- 2400m), Swimming will be Day 1 short intervals (25m-100m) and skill work, day 2 LSD swim. Also, a large amount of work should be devoted to grip and core strength.
The problem I have is how to properly program strength work in. Strength is king and provides us with durability and makes long rucks and boat runs a lot easier. Also, choosing which lifts to utilize is another issue. Gregg suggested 2 days a of strength training a week.
Fire away and thanks for the insight/help!
I think most of what you'll hear on this forum with regards to the lifting is to keep the intensity high and the volume low. think triples instead of 5x5. i personally would do the lifting on mon and thurs and drop the metcons on those days, since you're running as well... you are prob better off putting more effort/intensity into the tues/fri metcons (i personally wouldnt do well with 3 days of running, 4 days of metcons, 2 lifting days, and swimming all in the same week, but maybe you recover a lot better than i do, which is def possible)
are you in the military now or are you preparing for basic or a selection process? if in the military now, do you have complete control over your PT schedule or how much of it is dictated by unit leadership? ive seen that interfere with some grand plans before.
Thanks for the reply Alex!
Im currently in the military now and have complete control over my PT at this point so there is now worry about interference with my PT schedule.
I Completely agree with you about the MetCons and Intensity over Volume. So are we talking 8 sets of 3? And which Lifts exactly? Squat for sure, but then what? Clean and Jerk? Heavy Pulls? Press? Jerk? See where Im headed? Also, these met cons aren't going to be full blown heavy Metcons, think a 7 Minute Cindy, or something similar. Short quick bursts, focused on core, grip and bodyweight cals.
I recover Well but programming 2 specific recovery days throughout the weeks schedule truly helps me stay fresh. Im never going to be an 800# squat or 400# Clean and Jerk guy.
This is quite a list. I have some questions that I would consider if I were in your shoes.
The first question is where are you relative to those standards now? Are they easily hit? a struggle to maintain? Those answers will tell you how much or how little of those you can afford to do while you work on other priorities
Second question is what amount of strength do you believe you need? in what movements? why? This goal needs specificity before you can reasonably select exercises,m sets reps frequency intensity or volume.
For instance, relative to other movements the back squat is going to have biggest cost in terms of recovery with a low payback for those many of your other goals, so if you include it for a specif reason you'll want to know what standard you hope to hit and hold and a sense of how long that will take given the re-prioritization you are doing.
Third question, why exactly are you including the "metcons"? what movements are you including in them? what specific benefits do they infer relative to your goals? (swimming, running rucking, chin and pushups)
It's intuitive that some amount of "metcon" work could be replaced with running and swimming intervals and pushup/chinup complexes in lieu of "metcons"
I agree with Dave. There is no reason to do metcons in the traditional "crossfit" sense. I fell into that trap about four to five years ago and in the end I didn't see any real gain in strength or endurance. To meet all of the goals that you have I think that you are going to have to structure your workouts similar to how a decathlon athlete would train. I do think that having two days of strength and olympic lifting (if you have a good coach) will help in reaching most of your goals. What I have been doing for the last year and a half now is this:
6 wk strength cycle that includes:
3x wk strength (including power versions of the core lifts, squats, DL, OHP, RDL, Rows, Pull ups, back extensions, GHDs)
2x wk sprints w/ push up and sit up work
1x wk 3-5 mile run
6 wk power cycle:
3x wk Olympic lifting (pulls, full and power versions of the lifts, squats, RDLs, Jerks, Push press, OHP, Pull ups and back work)
3x wk sprinting (2x wk 400 meter or less sprints) (1x wk 800 to 1200meter sprints) push up and ab work
6 wk endurance cycle:
2 x wk strength/power work 3 to 5 rep range (squats, Power and full cleans and OHP, Pull ups, Jerks, Good mornings, back extensions, GHDs)
1x wk sprinting 400-800 meter sprints
3 x wk long run 4-8 miles (1 x wk recovery jog >9 min mile pace, 2x wk at race pace or % of)
6 wks job work
2 x wk strength/ oly work
3x wk sprints with pu and su work
2 x wk job work (swimming, rucking, rope climbing)
Somethings to think about also are, not running with your body armor on or your ruck on especially when you are going down hill, this will just increase the chance of you damaging your joints. Just learn to stride out and move quickly, you can
easily get to the 2:30 mark on a 12 miler.
Sorry for the long post. Good luck and judging by your goals, Semper fi.
Thanks for the reply mate. Let me answer your questions in order to keep things organized.
#1- I meet, if not exceed several of these goals. The bodyweight, running and swimming aren't a problem for me. However there is always room for improvement. My base of fitness is solid, so perhaps listing these as "goals" was misleading. I run 5ks in 19:30-20:30, Swim my 5s at a solid clip and Max the PFT Cals.
#2- This is a difficult question to answer as my strength has recently gone up since December. Respectable numbers for each lifts are relative to each individual. Im not looking to be a champion here, but my current numbers are: 485 DL, 235 C&J, 345 SQ, 185 Snatch, 185 Press. Maintenance is great, and small victories in PRs are awesome, like I said above, Im not looking to compete in Crossfit or Lifting competitions. All this being said, I can directly correlate my ability to squat/DL to my rucking ability. Carrying a 350# CRRC is not much fun if your weak, and doesn't help guys on your team out.
#3 - Metcons to me are short quick bursts, a short cindy, a very light fran, ALOT of bodyweight and skill stuff. Not trying to slay myself here, just train mental fitness and maintain/gain for PFT stuff. Also, short swim intervals are occasionally used with bodyweight cals. IE:5 x Swim 50m, 25 Pushups, 25 sit-ups
Hope this fills in the blanks.
I can totally see where you're coming from Shane, however reread, very LIGHT SCALED MetCon/Work Capactity sessions aren't going to destroy me. Perhaps Intervals should be changed out for more LSD/Tempo runs. You yourself program ALOT of volume both running and lifting, with less rest than I have programmed.
Hitting 5 Pullups 10 Pushups 15 Situps AMRAP for 5-8 Is too much on my nervous system? With 2 days a week? Perhaps scaling back on the amount of MetCons, but the Body adapts quickly. Perhaps 2 days of MetCon/Work Capacity would be more beneficial.
Also, IF you were to drop the MetCon/Work Capacity sessions what strength work would you program in?
My 2 cents brother! Thanks for the reply
I like where you're your head is at overall, however my biggest caveat is that Swimming needs to happen regularly. By your schedule Id only be doing it every every 18 weeks. To be fast, you need to be consistent. Swimming is a skill just like lifting, running, shooting etc. How can we work this into a cycle and how do we CYCLE the lifts themselves throughout the year/weeks/days? I already meet the Ruck times, never had trouble with that in my career, its really just maintenance as its a screener/job requirement. Know Ive said it before, but thanks for all the input. Its much appreciated.
Yup. I copy.
A lot of food for thought in Justin's post so I won't rehash.
An alternative way to think about it based on your answers
1) sounds like you just need to maintain these standards? If so, then you need very little work beyond a couple short BW sessions, some intervals and one long ruck per week.
2) You don't state a strength goal here but it sounds to me like you feel you're strong enough already. If you feel you need to be stronger, I'd work on getting that DL up to a 550-585, move that squat to 405 and call it good. The Oly stuff adds nothing and taps recovery, I'd drop it or use it as a warm up. One day squatting each week is plenty to move your squat and dead. One day Pulling is enough here as well. You could press on these days as well just for variety. Does not sound like you need any of those other things you listed so I'd drop them in favor of achieving your goal quickly.
3) You clearly don't need metcons, they are costly in term of recovery and eat into your progress on the squat and dead, I'd drop that as well.
Now that you've reduced the variables to a reasonable number, you've got time for a really good plan. two days in the gym working the barbell in a squat and dead followed by logical circuits in the BW exercises, Another two other days you can fit in swim intervals with maybe some running after...actually, good swim technique is so much more important to speed than anything else, you could almost use cruise intervals in the pool for active recovery. this is something i toyed with in the waay back and it worked well. you might choose to run real easy after the lifting days...it will slow progress but it seems like a big job requirement so probably more important than your lifting aspirations. Plenty of time left over for a long ruck and recovery.
Template pretty much writes itself when you remove the unnecessary components.
Looks like you're getting ready for a recon indoc or something similar, Jack. It also looks like you're getting some good advice here, especially from Dave. I wish I had these resources when I was going through.
When I did them (did both div and force) there was a ton of ruck running in addition to the PFT, O course and swimming stuff. That was way back in '99, so looks like it's different now. For what it's worth, while I wish I had been as strong as you back then, I don't think I would have focused on that as much in my prep (especially if I was already at that level). My prep included a sh!t ton of ruck running and swimming (twice a week in full cammies, pretty much every day otherwise), with some weighted pull ups and presses to maintain upper body strength.
I am 6'0" and hovered around 200lbs my entire career. I always had my situps and pullups, but the run was always my biggest struggle. I ran an 18:07 during the indoc and always struggled to break that 18:00 mark. Seems like you're in a similar position and would want to focus on running and swimming. I was a very strong swimmer and still found that portion to be fairly difficult (Dave's comment on technique is dead on). Side note: I recall a bunch of guys getting really fatigued while treading water because they would fight the sharks. Let them take you down and have their way with you and you will save a ton of energy. I'm sure people have told you that, though.
Not sure how helpful this is, but hopefully helps your thought process. Wish I could be in your position.
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