With New Year’s Eve sneaking up on us, it’s a good time to regroup and reassess how the past year unfolded (or unraveled!) and start planning goals for 2012.  A  quick and easy structure that I often use is to make sure I have covered each of the “5 F’s” – Faith, Family, Friends, Fitness, & Finance.  For today’s post, I’ll focus on the Fitness aspect.

I notice that my Kettlebells have been feeling neglected.  With some international travel, Thanksgiving company, deer season, and end of year work projects, I haven’t been able to hit the KBs as hard as usual.  I’ve been focusing primarily on 20 minute bodyweight workouts, squeezing them in as free pockets of time presented themselves.

Looking at my upcoming calendar, I see that I have a 6 week block before I travel to the UK.  My plan is to focus on a 6 week program of KB swings and presses. I’ll do the swings in timed intervals and the presses in a “ladder” format.  If you’re not familiar
with the Ladder format of training, it’s an excellent progressive way to build your volume (and strength) without suffering burnout.  For the ladder progression, pick your chosen exercise (ex. Military Press), and do 1 rep. Pause. The pause is long enough for your partner (real or imaginary) to do their rep. Do 2 reps. Pause. 3 reps etc. Go as far “up” the ladder as you can while performing reps with good form. Then go back and start at 1
rep for another trip up the ladder.  Complete as many sets as prescribed for your workout progression. Quit while you still have some gas in the tank, never going to failure.  
I’ve used the Ladder format for chin-ups, pushups, presses, pistols, and deadlifts. 
I’ve found it to be a tremendous approach to build strength while staying fresh.  I find this especially important because it allows me to have the time and energy to devote to working on the technical skills of the martial arts (which is my main focus/interest).

So give Ladders a try.  I think you’ll be pleased with the results.  And if you’d like the 6-week swing and press progression, drop me a line and I’ll send it your way.

Are you or someone you know getting ready to head
to Basic Training, OCS, or SOF?  Then it’s probably a good idea to be in shape before you get there.  Why?  Because a major reason for attrition of recruits is that they can’t meet the physical performance
standards.  And that’s not good because that just wasted a bunch of time and money for both sides (recruit & Service branch).  Not to mention the demotivation factor of being the last guy to finish all the events, constantly barking up a lung, or blowing chow all over your cammies.

A recent study by Cuddy, Slivka, et.al. discusses the factors associated with military physical fitness test success (J Strength Cond Res 25 (12): 3486-34-94, 2011).  The authors found that the key indicators of a candidate’s potential to successfully reach the standards (in 12 weeks) were as follows:

 a) Enter the program being able to run 2.41 km< = 10:41min
 b) Have a body fat <=12.9%
 c) Participate in a minimum of 30 m/day of vigorous physical activity

So strap on those running shoes, drop some pounds, scrap the Xbox
and get out there and do something physical!