“When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
Durability is your ability to “stay in the game.” To become and stay durable both hard and soft skills are required. You’re no good to the team if you get hurt before a mission. Even worse, you’re an outright liability if you get hurt during a mission. And if you burn out or lose motivation, you’re on the edge of being a liability to yourself and the team.
Most injuries and accidents arise because the trainee slips into a low state of awareness, becomes fatigued, is ill prepared, or simply screws around. Training durability requires awareness, core engagement, flexibility and mobility, proper fueling and hydration, injury avoidance and rest. Below, I will begin to give a brief overview of each requirement.
Core Engagement and Strength: For SEALFIT purposes, the core is the body’s torso; everything else is referred to as the “extremities.” Core strength is developed with total body exercises that include the overhead squat, squat cleans, and the dead lift. Sandbag work is also particularly effective at developing core strength because of the required rotational work with an unstable load. Fifteen minutes of sandbag get-ups several times a week will develop a rock solid core. We specifically train for durability during the last segment of SEALFIT. Using core exercises within a warm-down ensures that the core doesn’t get overlooked. SEALs have a plethora of fun core exercises, so we draw from that goodie bag.
Flexibility& Mobility: Maybe the most often overlooked aspect of strength training. Range of motion is critical to maintaining durability over the long haul.
Injury Avoidance: “Proper prior preparation prevents piss poor performance,” is the SEAL mantra for initially taking extra time to ensure that you don’t eat it later. Take time to prepare your feet for a long ruck, or your hands for a 100 pull-up workout to prevent nasty and nagging injuries. Blisters and torn callouses hamper performance and slow your team down. Active warm-up and ROM drills prior to a workout will help avoid shock injuries like pulled hamstrings.
Look for more on this topic in my blog next week, where I will continue to discuss how durable warriors win…
Train hard, stay durable, and have fun doing it!