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Thread: Starting Strength and Barbell Training in the Military

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2012


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    Achieving those results across the whole group while eating "normally" would seem impossible. Otherwise great job.

    If we could get our military folks to at least do deads..that would be a large improvement. I was in the Army. Their emphasis on pushups and running is insane.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Manila, Philippines


    starting strength coach development program
    Sir, this was a very refreshing article. To date, I am the only Marine I have personally met who subscribes to any coherent strength training protocol and have been attempting to change the PT culture from within every chance I get. The reuslts of your Marines reflect my own: since switching to strength training I have had no problems with top-level scores on the PFT or the CFT. However, there is a Corps-specific problem that I struggle with and I would like your perspective on: body composition standards.

    When I joined the Corps I was a skinny distance runner, 145lbs at 5'9". I did Crossfit for some time (actually how I was introduced to barbells) which brought me to 165lbs. Since coming accross Rip's books and strength training I now weigh 206lbs, a full 20lbs over my max body weight for my height according to the USMC's body composition program (BCP) standards. As a result, I must "tape out" to measure my BMI every weigh-in. Though my BMI tapes at 18%, this is right on the line of being considered "fat" under USMC standards and--for an officer--a career-killing adverse fitrep. I am very careful about my diet and I am definitely not fat, yet I am still right on that line. It does cause me a great deal of stress, since I am still on my linear progression for all my lifts (S: 355x3x5, P:145x3x5, B: 225x3x5, DL: 395x5, PC: 175x3x5) and gaining weight.

    My point is this: I feel that your average Marine who switches to strength training and gains a substantial amount of weight might easily find themselves on the wrong side of the BCP standards, especially given the diets some of them have. This would likely be the single largest obstacle toward widespread adoption of strength training in the current Corps. Even if the taping method was abandoned in favor of calipers, etc., most lifters would exceed "acceptable" BMI no matter how strong and healthy they really are. Any thoughts on managing BCP standards while maintining strength gains?

    Capt Smart

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