Novice LP and Military Novice LP and Military

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Thread: Novice LP and Military

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2020
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    1

    Default Novice LP and Military

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    As we all know, the military has always had a particular interest in the amount of pushups one can do, rather than how much weight they can push over their head into a helicopter. Or how fast they can run a 5 mile, rather than how much they can squat and the effect it has on one’s capability to carry 75lbs of kit. Regardless, as Rip has said many times, being strong allows you to do everything better. And we’ve seen how Grant Broggi programs the LP for his Marines in tandem with preparation for their PFT. However, there are some fields in the military that require much more than what the MCPFT does.

    Most special operations communities require something in the ball park of 12-20 pull-ups, 75-95 sit-ups, 60-80 pushups, a 22:00 3 mile run, and a 32:00 1500m swim. Training to crush the standard would require you to change your body into an ectomorphic and weak runner physique. The expectation is that you pass this test then go to a selection course where they will make you carry hundreds of pounds of equipment to test your metal. This PT test is a ticket in the door to the selection, yet it won’t be entirely useful in the selection course itself.

    What I am wondering is how does one program the novice LP and the adequate training required to pass these PT tests? It’s so easy to stall out or even overtrain in both styles of training when they are combined. So what do you do when you have somebody that has to do both regardless of the fact that just doing the program is the best thing for the human body?

    Thank you for your time, consideration, and potential correspondence.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    North Texas
    Posts
    43,645

    Default

    I don't know, because not a lot of thought has been applied to this problem, by me or anyone else. We'll ask.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Atlantic Beach, FL
    Posts
    848

    Default

    This is really a just another variation of the "How do I do Starting Strength and Military PT at the same time?" or "How do I do Starting Strength and still meet Military standards at the same time?" questions that pop up on the forum from time to time.

    I'll take a stab at it, with the following disclaimer: I have never been part of any Special Forces/Programs unit or team. If you want an actual Operator to comment, we'll have to see if we can get Beau, Brian, or someone else to weigh in with their take.

    What I do have experience with is coaching and working closely with a number of junior Sailors that did want to pursue a career path in SF, and/or apply for entrance into a NECC/MOS that had "higher" physical fitness requirements beyond what is specified for the regular Fleet Surface Sailor or Submariner (e.g. Rescue Swimmer, Diver, EOD, BUD/S, etc.) while continuing to lift.

    The short answer is that it is possible to continue strength training (and getting stronger) while preparing for the entrance screening mentioned. (Usually, the silly bullshit you must participate in during Command PT sessions is more of an issue than simply training to crush the entrance screening PT test.) But, even though it's possible to train for both goals simultaneously, your NLP will not progress as far--or as quickly. You cannot have it all at the same time. Sorry.

    The longer answer (how to do it):

    First, if you do not have a competitive swimming background, find someone who does to help you out - or get with a swimming coach specifically to work on your form in the water. (You don't need this person trying to "get you in swimming shape".) Swimming is all about stroke mechanics: superior efficiency moving through the water beats superior conditioning every time; especially when you're looking at a 1500m swim (~ a mile). This is an endurance event. Even if the swim is the last event tested, or you have to perform it wearing utilities and boots--solid stroke mechanics and proper form will save you. A 30-minute mile in the pool is slow if you're allowed to swim freestyle/crawl. Even if the test requires you to use side or breast stroke, it is still quite achievable with solid mechanics in the water.

    For the "how" to actually train, I'd recommend you take a look at LTC Whittemore's excellent article "A Strength Based Approach to the APFT" here.
    I've successfully trained a dozen or so Sailors, that were accepted into their programs of choice, using this methodology as a starting point. Obviously you want to stress Pull-Ups over Push-Ups and include Swimming in addition to running, but the principals are the same. I would have trainees lift 2x week, planned around whatever mandatory unit PT you have to attend. Other training sessions during the week address your swimming and running. I'd always include some Pull-Ups/Chins and sit-ups at the end of the strength training sessions. Your ability to recover from the total volume of training/PT is really what limits your progress with respect to strength. Additionally, unless you are underweight, you need to watch your waistline (BF%). There are a number of articles and threads that discuss strength training an athlete that either can't or won't gain weight in a sport with weight classes. This also applies somewhat to your situation. You need to fuel training and recovery efforts, without putting on significant body fat. I find this the be hardest part...you can't eat your way through sticking points.

    I think a better way to approach this would be to run and complete the NLP prior to worrying about the entrance exam events, and then just trying to maintain as much strength as you can (lifting 2x a week) as you increase the focus on those events. You will still loose some strength, but you'd still be better off (stronger on exam day) than trying to do both at the same time. From the OP, it doesn't sound like this is an option, though.

    There are other military related articles by other authors on the site; they are worth your time as well--lots of helpful info. Good Luck!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    San Diego
    Posts
    176

    Default

    JMTCW...

    OP,

    The short answer is you don't. You program for the strength needed to pass a test. But bear in mind, most indoc testing is not really about the physical aspects. They will be hard on everyone, because as you stated, it's near impossible to train (optimally) for both aspects (endurance and strength) at the same time The whole point of indoc is to reveal character (which ironically, in its own way, SS's NLP also tests). The indoc is meant to break you in different ways, and test your resiliency to come back for more. To not quit. To show focus and commitment. Physical strength, endurance, tactics, weapons, communications...that can all be taught or trained, and the training cadre know that. What can't be taught easily is deep seated mental toughness and commitment to the team and the mission. And so the indocs (in theory) are supposed to be screening for that. I've watched guys smoke the physical tests, and never be asked to come aboard. Conversely, I've seen some struggle, fail, and keep coming back...and get asked to join the team (which is just the beginning). Some would say they have screened (in the past) mostly for endurance/stamina, and that was what I saw many years ago. I've heard that they are moving away from that some (still focus on endurance) and looking at strength as well. But that is not what they are really testing. Times change, so do the indocs...kind of like the conflicts.

    YMMV...

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