Physical activities

Tactical athletes must become good at all physical activities

Strength athletes have a difficult journey from sports, such as soccer and powerlifting, to the military.

Here’s an email from an athlete who needs to turn things around for a few (or more) training cycles to address the typical weaknesses that strength athletes bring to their tactical athlete journeys.

Stew, I am looking to pursue a career in the Navy and aspire to become a member of (the) SWCC or diving communities. I played college football so I have a solid base of strength and power. My weaknesses are running, swimming and Swedish gymnastics in general. I have a full year to train for this career or more if I need to. Thank you. Recommendations ? Alexis

Alex, your journey seems familiar to me. I was never good enough at playing varsity ball, but I started this military special ops trip with that kind of background of strength and power. Lifting weights was what I loved to do. When I was running, it was never more than a 400-meter lap around a track. Anything beyond that distance was a “long distance race”.

Speed, strength, and power are three particularly important components of tactical fitness, and you must have a foundation in these abilities if you are going to serve in the tactical professions. Yet, getting good at everything is now the goal rather than being really good at strength, speed and power. It takes time to make this transition.

Even though you will lose some of your best strength figures, you will still be stronger than most non-strength athletes in the Navy Spec Warfare / Operations selection programs. Even if you haven’t been lifting for a long time, you will have strong strength figures and all the strength you need for the job.

Your weaknesses in cardio endurance and muscular endurance should be developed with 100% concentration. Learning to swim effectively, improving your run, learning to run lighter on your feet, and doing high reps during workouts should be the primary focus for the next year or so.

Yes, it will probably take you a long time to develop your running and swimming skills to become the multi-modal cardio endurance athlete you need to become to access and follow the workout routines you are looking for.

Remember that there are two phases of training that you must master.

1. Obtain at training by mastering the Navy Physical Screening Test

Special Warfare Combat Crew Member and Navy Diver training will require you to master Navy PST.

Swimming: 500 meters. You will need to master CSS swimming. See how to do it in CSS Techniques for the Navy PST Swim Test.

Pumps: 2 minutes

Sit-ups: 2 minutes

Pull-ups: max

Race: 1.5 km. If this is a long distance for you, you need to start making progress each week with your run. If you are tall and carry a lot of weight, you may want to use this cycle of Swedish gymnastics and cardio to lose weight, which will make gymnastics and running much easier.

Visit the PST Clinic to help you understand the strategies for successful PST. It will take several training sessions before you can understand how most of these strategies apply to you and your athletic training history.

2. Obtain through training by preparing you specifically for the challenges of your selection

The two options you mention will include swimming, water confidence, running, and physical training. The diving program will require a much higher level of aquatic ability and general overall comfort underwater. The SWCC program will test your overall strength on land and is modeled on the Navy SEAL program with similar training during the first phase. This means running longer, swimming longer with fins, being comfortable in place, and swimming underwater. This training will take time if you do not have a background in swimming or other water sports in your course.

Being a tactical athlete preparing specifically for a demanding selection program will take time and practice to do things you have never done as a football player.

Think of yourself more as a triathlete than a power athlete now. In fact, getting on the bike early in your running progress will help you avoid the typical running injuries that new long distance runners often experience after adding miles to their training week.

If I had to rank the importance of your cardio workout, I would say swimming is the most important (with and without fins). This is followed by treading water, running and then cycling. It will still make the heart work without impacting the legs if you feel the pain of extra miles on a bulky body.

Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and Certified Fitness Author as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Visit his Fitness e-book store if you are looking to start a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to [email protected]

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