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Old 01-01-2006, 10:12 PM   #1
Matthew Townsend
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Seeing a few of the pictures of CrossFitters in the middle east and reading a few of your times, (ie. SPC Terry 10:23 for the Burpees/L-sits), it seems to me that some of you are incredibly fit and presumably not just through CrossFit.

I was wondering, what is the official program for getting fit in the US military when you are on tour?

Is CF something you do in addition to the official program? If so, what other things do you do?

Or is keeping fit something you undertake voluntarily for the purposes of improving your chance of survival?

I sure wouldn't fancy the chances of somebody engaging in hand to hand combat with you guys.

Stay safe.
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Old 01-02-2006, 02:51 AM   #2
Ken Thynes
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I'm not in the military any more, but here goes a little info
fitness in the military varies greatly, depending on your branch of service, work load/type, officers and NCO's, location, and a wide variety of other factors. In my job, my routine varied greatly. My first platoon sergeant had us on a running program that tended towards cross country running, swimming, and calisthenics. However, most of us lifted a lot, and ran a lot on our own, due to the fact that we took our job seriously, and it was a challenging job. Our unit had company PT on fridays for those platoons that weren't "chopped" to other units or training, as well as the support personnel, but this was mostly a camradery thing. On ship (six month deployments w/training and liberty stops) we did platoon PT a couple times a week, and lifted a lot, as well as used the bikes and stairclimbers in the gym. You could run on the flightdeck too, but non-skid sucks to fall on. Other units did unit PT religiously, while others did none, and some guys just plain never worked out. My second platoon, we were pretty much left to out own devices, but knew full well we had standardsd to meet and buddies that depended on us. Granted, that was peacetime (I was active duty from 95-99), and the high operational tempo some units have now sometimes actually hurts an operators fitness.
American troops temd to impress others with their size, especially in areas where people don't have our plentiful food and exercise ideas, so hand to hand is generally a losing proposition against our guys. The History channel had an interesting show about Falluja (I think it was one of the "Shootout" series), and one Marine Corporal ran into (literally) an insurgent on a stairway, beat the hell outta the guy, and proceeded to stab the guy to death with his combat knife. Being bigger and fitter is a good thing!
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Old 01-02-2006, 04:29 AM   #3
Ken Thynes
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Also: each branch of the military has a fitness standard for it's basic members. The Marine Corps has a fitness rating that goes from 1st to 3rd class fitness ratings (if the brain remembers correctly). A top score 1st class PFT score of 300 points meant:
20 dead hang pullups
80 situps (2 min)
3 mi run (18 min or less)

My unit had certain standards beyond the USMC standards that we had to meet from time to time in addition. Various other special operations and SOF units have their own standards too. Most infantry units definitly demand higher fitness, as it might be nice to run to that next building without getting tagged, help a dinged buddy to cover, ect.
So, fitness is incredibly important to a serviceman of any branch or unit that might come face to face with an enemy. I was originally turned on to crossfit by a very dear friend that I used to work with in the Corps who was in the sandbox and heard of it. A lot of guys at my current job are also big CF fans, as we do our own PT, and it pays, both in fitness and the community aspect. Its a great crowd.
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Old 01-02-2006, 07:22 AM   #4
Larry Lindenman
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"...incredibly fit and presumably not just through CrossFit." Matt, you need to explain this further...before you get jumped on. I would say their level of fitness in enhansed by other activities but is a byproduct of Crossfit training. Your not turning in times like that by jogging long distance with a group. I think the other element is military people, in a combat zone, could tap into a high level of motivation...higher then say a college kid attempting to look good to attract women. Extra workouts help, skill work helps, but the best way to lower times in the Workout Of the Day is to do the WODs as hard as you can, when you want to slow down...think of the guys in the war zone and ask "would they slow down because they are tired?"
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Old 01-02-2006, 05:16 PM   #5
Matthew Townsend
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Thanks for the detailed responses Ken, very informative.

Larry, I thought I might get picked up on this so I should really have expressed myself better. Apologies.

The guys in this pic: http://www.crossfit.com/mt-archive2/...baghdad-th.jpg

don't look to me as though they do CF and CF alone. They look as though they also do some serious weightlifting.

I have no evidence for that other than the impact that CF has had on my body since dropping a weights program and taking up CF. I've lost a lot of the bulk that I used to have and have become stronger, but far leaner.

That might be the by-product of being on the zone in my case and eating military food in theirs. I'd be interested in your thoughts.
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Old 01-02-2006, 06:46 PM   #6
Don Stevenson
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I was in the military for four years and i can tell you that if i'd been doing CF the whole time plus the other stuff we used to do when we were out bush I would have been an absolute machine!

Apart from doing CF and the regulation pack marching and infantry drills i don't think you need any more fitness work to become a well above average soldier in terms of fitness.
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Old 01-02-2006, 09:05 PM   #7
Matthew Townsend
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Absolutely, and I didn't mean to imply that it wouldn't be enough.

Nearly everyone that has been doing CF for six months or more would get 300 points in the test Ken referred to above.

It's just that the soldiers in the pic I posted don't look like they do CF alone. Clearly, that doesn't prevent them from achieving scores I can only dream about.

The number of times I've thought in the middle of a WoD "Nobody is ever going to film me for inspiration." LOL
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Old 01-02-2006, 11:12 PM   #8
Russ Greene
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300 points? An 18 minute 3 mile run is a pretty impressive feat that requires plenty of specific preparation for most people. I'd bet there are people here who have done Crossfit for much longer than 6 months who would have trouble running a 6 minute mile once, let alone three times in a row.
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Old 01-03-2006, 01:40 AM   #9
Ken Thynes
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I was one of the slowest runners in my unit! The majority of our guys could do a sub 18 minute 3 mile run, and get "20&80". Some could do nearly five minute miles! My friend Tim could run about as fast with a 50 lb ruck as I could without. We had a lot of physical freaks in out community. My best run time ever was something like 19:20-the only thing that saved my short and fat butt was my pullups and situps.
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Old 01-03-2006, 01:59 AM   #10
Matthew Townsend
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Russ, you're right. My maths aren't my strong point (sorry Coach). I'd miss out myself by two minutes. Hahaha.

It's got me questioning whether I could do the 80 sit ups in two minutes. Will try it tomorrow.
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