From the early days of military history to modern war settings an army’s mobilization ability has been paramount to its success or demise. For thousands of years this mobilization was done on foot. Full armies marched from one location to the other before they could complete a mission objective or engage the enemy. A Roman Legion, for example, had a standard pace of just over 18 miles in 5 hours (20 Roman miles) and a fast pace of 22 miles in the same time (24 Roman miles) while carrying 70 pounds. After a day’s march fortifications would be built to spend the night. Our modern soldiers, however better equipped they may appear to be by comparison, haven’t got a better lot. Despite of today’s availability of motorized transportation foot marching is still the inevitable best choice in many cases.
The closer to where combat takes place - medium and short range where the enemy is about to or is being engaged – running and rushing is the method of choice. In close quarter combat things intensify and repeated high intensity efforts may ensue.
Endurance – whether aerobic or anaerobic – is, as it always has been, a critical element of a soldier preparation. This ability used to be developed through many forms of training. i.e, forced march, drills, simulated combat, running short distances, etc. Since the advent of the popularization of cardio training things have change in the military world and endurance running has become the method of choice to improve stamina.
Running is a technically and physically intense activity that requires proper execution and gradual progression to avoid injuries. This is particularly true for long distance running – a favorite of many American military men and women regardless of their physical readiness for this high impact activity. Joint injuries, stress fractures, among other are some of the most common conditions long distance runners risk to experience.
Statistics have shown as little as a 5% increase (Cardiovascular endurance adaptation - % of VOMax) for runners who ran 45 minutes instead of 30 minutes (15 minutes increase) and as much as 125% increase in injury occurrence. The same study monitored a performance increase of 35% for those running 5 days a week instead of 3 and 225% increment in injury incidence.
Running, when properly administered, is a powerful training tool and mastery of its technical aspects is as much a life skill as swimming, for example. Injuries can be substantially decreased by improving the level of execution and by lowering the total running volume - as the runner’s preparation gradually increases the volume can be augmented more safely. A person can avoid the detraining effects experienced during no running days by cross training. Practicing the kettlebell lifting sport of American Rules as an alternative a soldier could still induce metabolic changes while avoiding overuse injuries. This can also be performed as part of the strengthening program.
Military Injury Statistics
- The Army has an injury rate of 2.2 injuries per soldier per year. The highest of the services.
- 6 out of 10 diagnosis across military are musculoskeletal related.
- Musculoskeletal-related disability discharge rates are greater than the combined rates for all other conditions.
- Women 67% more likely to be discharged for musculoskeletal condition.
- Physical training-related cause more limited duty days than all other outpatient conditions combined.
The Clean & Jerk
Kettlebell Sport - American Rules Events:
- Double Half Snatch
- Double Jerk
- Snatch (Single)
- Clean & Jerk (Single)
These techniques are low impact and safe to perform when loads and volume are progressed rationally. In combination these events and their auxiliary exercises provide a comprehensive training source.
Aeorobic Kettlebell Training Workout:
BOLT (Believe, Overcome your weaknesses, Lift, Triumph) is the USAKL introductory program to the rigors and joys of American Rules competitions. Start the workout with a BOLT session; complete a set of each American Rules lift, transitioning from one lift to the other without stopping. Each set duration is 5 minutes. The target pace is the fastest cadence you can maintain throughout the 4 sets. The rate of perceived exertion should be difficult, but manageable enough to complete. Multiple switches are allowed and so is placing the kettlebells down, however, the goal is to progressively eliminate switches and the need to put the kettlebell down.
Following the BOLT session, complete a Single Clean & Jerk 30 minute set at a pace greater than 8 repetitions per minute (RPM). Strive to maintain a regular pace that is challenging but sustainable without placing the kettlebell down.
A1: Double Half Snatch - 1 x 5 min
A2: Double Jerk - 1 x 5 min
A3: Single Snatch - 1 x 5 min
A4: Single Clean & Jerk - 1 x 5 min
B: Clean & Jerk (Single) - 1 x 30 min
Anaerobic Training Workout:
Perform an all-out effort for 30 seconds followed by a ≥ 45 seconds resting period. Repeat 10 times. The working set must be a 100% intensity effort each set regardless of the actual number of repetitions completed. Use a load challenging enough to rapidly increase your heart rate within seconds yet manageable to complete all assigned sets. Perform these sets no more than twice a week.
A: Double Half Snatch - 10 x 30 sec (45 sec rest)
This article was featured in the June/July 2011 Issue of the My Mad Methods Magazine. "You Can’t Run from This! Avoid Injury Through Kettlebell Training" was written by Nico Rithner. Learn more about the My Mad Methods Magazine by Clicking Here
Nico Rithner is the Colorado Kettlebell Club Head Coach. From this post he trains the general public to achieve multiple fitness and athletic goals and serves Glendale Rugby men team (Raptors) as Strength and Conditioning Coach. Coach Rithner, founded USA Kettlebell Lifting, a non-profit organization devoted to promote the American Rules Kettlebell Sport and other Kettlebell sporting activities, such as Girevoy Sport. Find out more at www.ColoradoKettlebellClub.com or http://www.ATSCI.org
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