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KNOWLEDGE IS POWER

THE LONG GAME

The mission of the Ranger Regiment changed dramatically during my time there. Each change was accompanied by different tactical and physical requirements. Despite these changes, the basic physical fitness foundation was never lost. That foundation is arguably what brought the Regiment to where it stands today. My own physical preparedness mirrored this constant progression, grounded firmly in a mastery of the basics. I will admit that I was never the best at anything when it came to PT. I walked among Giants - guys that played NCAA Division I or professional sports were not an oddity in the Ranger Battalion. But what I lacked in extraordinary fitness I made up for in two areas: consistency and grit. 

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AN ANSWER TO THE AGE OLD QUESTION: BOOT SELECTION FOR REAL SELECTION

Two US soldiers are hoisted by a UH60 Blackhawk helicopter during aerial lift boot sole inspection.

PROGRAMMING FOR COMBAT

It would be great to always have access to a completely outfitted facility when training, but some of us don’t have that luxury. Whether we’re training in our garage, our unit doesn’t have certain equipment, or more importantly, we are forward deployed - there will always be equipment limitations.

When you’re deployed, there’s a finite amount of space for workout gear to go in a flyaway kit. Mission essential gear gets priority. It would be great if we could throw a GHD, a rower, an airdyne, a mile track, and a rig into the flyaway kit. However, that’s never the case. I’ve never seen any of that awesome shit that you can find in a top quality gym on a patrol base. What I have seen is a pile of weights in the mud and a piece of wood to squat on. I know that there have been times that guys had to fight tooth and nail to get a $200 squat stand out of their unit or into the kit.

Those guys are an important part of our community. A community that you join when you chose to become part of the SOFLETE Team. When we write our programming, it’s essential to us that the guy that’s forward deployed, making due with what he has and getting creative with his equipment, continues to be able to train with the team. That guy is getting innovative. Making sandbags and medicine balls out of seabags. He’s throwing the heaviest shit he can find into a ruck and using that for back squats.

There was a time when I crowned myself King Of Ghetto Rigging Equipment. Two resistance bands suspended from a bar with another bar to hold onto became a field expedient lat pulldown machine. I’ve run 10m shuttle runs in an Afghan compound until they added up to 800m. It was just me getting innovative and making due with what I had. I know that there are guys out there doing the same thing right now.

This doesn’t mean that you should only use self-made equipment of course. Nothing can truly ever replace picking up a barbell.  Hopefully you have one available, even if it’s a metal pipe with concrete blocks on the ends. Working the big lifts like the squat, deadlift, press, power clean, and bench in your maximal/sub-maximal strength are incredibly important. This should be in addition to hitting a lot of body weight training, picking up heavy shit and carrying it, putting it back down and picking it up again. This is how you will be training your body as a whole.

This is why we program the way we do. We program for that dude going at it in his garage by himself or with a buddy. For the young go-hard who wants to do what many can’t or simply won’t. For the guy who wants to be advantageous to his team. But most importantly, we program for the guy who’s deployed and is standing on a piece of plywood, having two teammates hold up the bar while he gets under it to squat. That is the essence of SOFLETE.

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TRAINING FOR COMBAT

Everything you know about tactical fitness is wrong. For the majority of the coaches and trainers reading this, this is true.  There are a few guys in the game doing things the right way, and those that are seem to exist in the shadows. Outcasts from the community of bodyweight ninjas and kettle bell aficionados, there is a group of guys who are implementing sprinting, heavy lifting, and stamina based training.

Let's get this clarification out of the way. There is a fundamental difference between stamina and endurance. Endurance is defined as “the ability to continue or last, especially despite fatigue.” It is the ability to put one foot in front of the other, and there is no doubt that endurance certainly has its place in some circles. This is extremely apparent in any form of SOF Selection. 

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