Western Rifle Shooters Association

Do not give in to Evil, but proceed ever more boldly against it

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Vanderboegh: Praxis - Fitness and Training

From Sipsey Street:

After this piece on Training, I received this request:

"Can you ask (the author) for his PT standards? They are referenced in the training piece, and should be a stand alone post."

Good point. So I did, here's what he shot right back:

Standards for someone to be minimally "fit":

First, the term, "Fit" is defined as possessing the required strength and stamina to carry all gear necessary to live & fight for 96 hours in field conditions in 3 season conditions (spring, summer, fall) and perform required functions (shoot, move, build shelters, pull watch, etc) as part of the team. Winter is not included because it is such a specialized environmental condition and much more gear/equipment (to include drag sleds) are added. Winter training is a whole 'nother world!

The list below is the starting point, not the end result. As time goes on, usually every season, road marches will be lengthened in varying lengths to 10 miles and time will be lengthened and reduced in pace averages from 15 minutes to 20 minutes per mile so that these exercises can be accomplished with additional gear carried (assault packs or rucks) that add about 30 pounds to the man. These marches are not tactical by any stretch, they are simply evaluations of physical core strength and stamina. They also provide secondary benefits in experiential learning about foot care, the importance of boot fit, extra socks, hygiene, etc. But to be considered "fit", we require a demonstration of:

Road March: 2 miles in 31 minutes carrying:


- Weapon Cleaning Kit (must include barrel cleaning tool (rod or string type cleaner), bore brush, patch holder, solvent, grease (as applicable to rifle), and enough patches to clean the rifle twice (10 to 12)

- 200 rounds of ammunition in pack or magazines (minimum - more can be carried if desired)

- Web gear (LB Vest, Harness, Web belt, Assault Rig or any military capable rig. Can also be component based, such as having a harness & butt pack, assault pack or camelbak type "mule" rig with accouterments: Water container (canteens or camelbak type), a small light source with a blue, green, or red lense, a compass (USGI Lensatic highly recommended), and an individual first aid kit (either on the belt or in the butt/assault/camelbak mule component) comprised of 1 tourniquet, 2 field dressings (pressure bandages), one 1/4 ounce "Quickclot" sponge or granuals, 1 sm roll of adhesive tape (can be electrical tape), 6 assorted bandaids, 1 sm tube of antibacterial ointment) Uniform, boots and other weather appropriate gear.

- Miscellaneous: 2 MRE's or equivalent, poncho, combat knife, camouflage material, fire starting material, tomahawk, and FRS/GMRS radio and one set of spare batteries for anything requiring them.

To help get the candidate to this level, he is shown and encouraged to perform various abdominal strengthening exercises (no sit ups), how to perform supported push-ups (so the back is not overly strained and the upper body gets all the benefit), and how to increase stamina by a regimen of road work. It's not mandatory; it's a recommendation that he can choose to follow or not, with the idea being that whatever works for him is fine, but the requirements for pass/fail do not change.

Basic Road work regimen for a reasonably fit man:

- 1st Week: Walk 1 mile 3 days in a row, steady pace, in athletic shoes.

- 2nd Week: Walk 1.5 miles every other day, steady pace, in athletic shoes.

- 3rd Week: Walk 1 mile every day, brisk pace, in athletic shoes.

- 4th Week: Walk 2 miles every other day, brisk pace, in athletic shoes.

- 5th Week: Walk 2 miles twice during the weak, steady pace.

- 6th Week: Walk 3 miles every other day, brisk pace.

- 7th Week: Jog 1.5 miles at 12 min mile pace; walk 1.5 miles brisk pace every day (7 times).

- 8th Week: Walk 1.5 miles at brisk pace: jog 1.5 miles at 12 min pace every other day.

From this point, the candidate should be able to easily make the 2 miles at a 15.5 minute pace wearing field uniforms and carrying the required equipment.

For others who are really out of shape, we have them work up to the first week in a month or two, even if it's starting out walking around the block once a day, and then going from there.

Diet & Rest: We encourage folks to do the hardest exercise available: 'Push-Aways' (from the table). Only eat one portion and downsize it a little bit. 8 hours of sleep is optimum; get away from the TV. Read, talk, use your mind, and then rest at night.

One of the things we do when evaluating a man for "basic" is to require him to shoot for score immediately after (we give a 30 minute break for hydration) he's done his PT evaluation. This ensures we get a more realistic picture of how well he'll shoot when he's been physically taxed. It also provides a secondary benefit by underscoring to the man that he might need to increase his fitness level as his score will most likely go down from what he'd shoot when he's fully rested.

Again, this is only the "fitness" portion of 'basic' training.

One final suggestion: if you can, in your job, work in two or three "non-smoker's smoke breaks" per day, each consisting of a brisk one-mile walk at a 15 minutes/mile pace or better, it will be very helpful.

Fortune not only favors the bold, but the fit, as well.

Tempus fugit.


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