Attrition: When To Train Like An Athlete


January17, 2007: Every time there's a war, things happen that, in hindsight, should have been so obvious. Case in point is the load infantry are carrying in Iraq, and subtle changes in tactics because of the introduction of new weapons and equipment. Turns out that the troops are not in the best physical shape for the loads they are carrying, and the work they do. The physical conditioning the troops have been getting for years needs to be changed. It's a different kind of war, and the troops, despite all the running and weight work they do, are not in the best shape for it.

The latest generation of body armor, and the need to carry around lots of ammo and water, means troops are spending many hours running around in hot weather, carrying lots of weight. Moreover, most of the combat is urban, meaning there's a lot of running up stairs, and jumping through windows. What military physical conditioning experts are also noting are the changes in training among professional athletes. The military has long taken their physical training clues from what professional, and college, athletes are doing. And what those well prepared civilians are doing are exercises to make people most ready for exactly what they have to do. This not only makes the troops more capable in combat, but reduces injuries from sprains, pulled muscles and the like.

Thus the interest in developing new physical training programs that will aid guys who have to hump over a hundred pounds of body armor, weapons and equipment up several flights of stairs, dive over furniture, or quickly hit the ground during a firefight. The U.S. Marine Corps, as is their custom, is in the lead with this, but the army and SOCOM are not far behind.




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