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  • Strength training: Start here

    Over the past couple of years, I have posted a lot of material on training and nutrition and answered a lot of specific questions, which has been lost to public view as the SEALSWCC.com forum has been upgraded. I will use this thread to re-post previous items related to common topics and FAQs. I will also try to consolidate other information sources and links to other materials on the Web I think are relevant to SEAL or SWCC candidates. Anyone participating on this forum should begin by thoroughly reading the NSW Physical Training Guide (PTG). While I provide information as Director of Fitness for the Naval Special Warfare Center, I welcome feedback and other points of view. This thread will remain locked, but feel free to post comments or questions in other threads.
    Last edited by Mike Caviston; 08-13-2015, 02:52 PM.
    Mike Caviston
    Director of Fitness, NSWCEN

  • #2
    Re: STRENGTH TRAINING: START HERE
    STRENGTH TRAINING GUIDELINES
    Questions about strength training are the most frequently asked on SEALSWCC.com. Here are several short essays on topics related to strength.

    General: When it comes to endurance training, my recommendations are pretty specific (one high-intensity short interval session, one long interval session, and multiple LSD sessions per week for running and swimming), and I encourage candidates to follow those recommendations pretty closely. When it comes to strength training, there are many approcahes to training and many programs you might follow, with different methods used and various exercises selected, but each approach capable of adequately preparing you for BUD/S. There are also programs I would discourage you from following because they are ineffective or unsafe. The specific strength training guidelines I am providing here are appropriate for candidates starting preparation with a low level of fitness, and for people with little weightlifting experience. (The guidelines are also appropriate and effective for experienced lifters beginning with a high level of fitness.) The guidelines are designed to provide good results with limited risks (we want training to prevent more injuries than it causes). The strength recommendations are also intended to be time-efficient, keeping your schedule more open to develop your running and swimming abilities.

    Definition of Strength: "Strength" refers to the ability to produce force in a single all-out effort. High levels of strength allow you to lift or move heavy objects or to control the movements of opponents or aggressors. Strength is determined by such variables as muscle fiber type, architecture and size (bigger muscles tend to produce more force), as well as neural stmiulation (activating more fibers during a contraction results in greater force production). While maximal strength is limited by genetice factors, it can be increased significantly if the right training stimuli are applied.

    Benefits of Strength: For a BUD/S student, strength has many benefits. Early in the program, you and your classmates will spend a lot of time carrying 200-lb logs and 300-lb boats. Later, you will carry weapons, ammo and gear everywhere you go. The stronger you are, the less physical and mental stress these training evolutions will cause. Developing strong muscles will also develop strong bones and connective tissues, making you more resistant to injuries - a very desirable quality for a BUD/S student. I strongly encourage BUD/S candidates to structure strength training towards goals of injury prevention as well as goals of performance. Success at BUD/S requires a body that can take the ongoing pounding of daily training evolutions as well as occasionally move heavy things.

    Muscular Strength and Muscular Endurance: These two qualities complement each other. Increasing your absolute strength using such exercises as chest press and lat pull-downs will make it easier for you to move your body weight multiple times when doing push-ups aor pull-ups. Increasing your general muscular endurance with multiple sets and repetitions of a variety of calisthenics exercises (push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, dips, lunges, flutter kicks, etc.) will enhance your strength training. While muscular strength and endurance are related and overlap each other to some extent, they are not the same and so training time should be devoted to each. To some extent, strength and muscular endurance routines could be performed on the same day, but for best results it is probably a good idea to do most of your calisthenics work on days when you are not performing heavy resistance training. [Think of the balance between muscular strength and endurance as being a little like a good running program - some days are LSD, and some days are high-intensity Intervals.]

    Core Strength: Core strength is required for both optimal performance and to make the body more resistant to injury. The muscles that surround and support the spine and help transmit forces between the upper and lower extremities need both strength and endurance. There are several specialized "core" exercises (such as plank, side plank, bridge, and bird dog) that should be incorporated into training. Additionally, a proper weight lifting/resitance training program will enhance sore strength. [See more discussion below in the post titled "CORE STRENGTH".]

    Training Stimulus: We want our strength program to generate the optimal training stimulus (a signal that tells the muscles to get stronger, and if desired, to get bigger). Many people assume a hormonal response is the most important signal, but in fact hormones may only amplify the response to training, not cause changes to occur. The actual signal to the muscle results from changes that occur at the molecular level due to mechanical stress withinn the muscle fibers during forceful contractions. An effective program will include some exercises that isolate muscles very sepcifically (allowing the most forceful contractions perunit of muscle), as well as some whole-body exercises that utilize many muscles simultaneously (causing a greater release of anabolic hormones such as growth hormone and testosterone). Optimal stimulation occurs when movements are performed slowly enough to allow fibers to generate high levels of tension, and movements are performed througha full Range of Motion (ROM) to affect the molecular components of the entire fiber. Negative or eccentric contractions are particularly effective for developing intramuscular tension and stimulating strength adaptations.
    Last edited by Mike Caviston; 08-17-2015, 12:54 PM.
    Mike Caviston
    Director of Fitness, NSWCEN

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: STRENGTH TRAINING: START HERE

      [This post originally contained links to some resources I thought might be useful. Either the links are no longer working, or I have found better resources and referred to them elsewhere, so I have removed the original content.]
      Last edited by Mike Caviston; 08-13-2015, 09:51 AM.
      Mike Caviston
      Director of Fitness, NSWCEN

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: STRENGTH TRAINING: START HERE

        Weekly Training Sessions: You should include resistance training for various muscle groups 2-3 times per week. The Physical Training Guide splits the workload into upper and lower body routines. The idea is to integrate and balance weight lifting with run and swim training as well as calisthenics and core exercises, so that the legs or arms aren't overworked on a given day. If you construct a training schedule that differs from the PTG, make sure to distribute the workload sensibly. You may work the whole body (upper, trunk, lower) during a single session, but take care not to overdo it. If a workout becomes too long with too many exercises you risk leaving the muscles too fatigued to perform well during endurance or calisthenics training. Intensity will drop off, leaving the workout less effective regarding strength development. A general rule of thumb is to limit each strength session to an hour or less (there may be exceptions, but if your program is organized properly it doesn't take a lot of time to train effectively).

        Integrating Strength & Endurance Training: For best effect (especially during the early weeks of training), split strength and endurance training into separate sessions, morning and afternoon, to allow more recovery and better performance. If this is not practical, then perform strength and endurance workouts back-to-back (the more your fitness improves, the less of s detriment this will be). Which activity you do first is pretty much up to you, since there advantages and disadvantages to beginning with either strength or endurance training. A general tip is to work on your weakest area first, while you are fresh. If you have good strength and poor endurance, run or swim before you hit the weights. If you have good endurance but are relatively weak, begin with the weights.

        Circuit Training: It is a current trend in fitness to blend strength and endurance components during training, by alternating weight stations with cardio stations (exercise bike, treadmill, rowing machine). This can be a fun and challenging format, and can provide some strength and endurance adaptations in a limited amount of time. However, it is not the optimal format for best overall performance. By mixing the strength and endurance stimuli, both are diluted; you aren't able to lift as much weight or run as fast as if you focused on strength or endurance separately. This is not to say you should never do circuit training; used properly and sparingly, circuits can provide a new challenge and add some variety to your routine. But most of the time, I encourage you to keep your strength and endurance sessions separate. Some argue that "real life" doesn't always make a distinction between the need for strength or endurance and training shouldn't make that distinction either. But the essence of training is that we isolate key components and maximize their improvement so that when we get in "the game" we can combine those individual components more effectively to do whatever is demanded of us. Another concern regarding circuit training is the attempt to use strength-appropriate exercises (presses, deadlifts, squats, etc.) to develop cardiovascular fitness using lighter weights and high reps at fast speeds. This is not a very effective way to develop cardiovascular fitness (even if heart rate is high), and fatigue or poor technique may contribute to injury.

        Equipment: Your muscles don't really care what equipment you use while strength training, as long as it provides significant resistance to be overcome during a variety of movements. Many athletes strength train using free weights (Olympic bars, dumbbells) or some type of machines (such as Hammer of Nautilus). Other forms of resistance that might be incorporated into training include kettlebells, weight vests, elastic bands, and manual resistance provided by a partner. I don't want to spend the time here doing a complete review of each mode. Each has their advantages and disadvantages, and an effective program will include a combination of equipment choices. Those choices will be determined partly be what is available and partly by what you prefer, but as a general rule I encourage you to mix things up and rotate regularly among different forms of resistance. Just be sure that any source of resistance allows you to move through a complete Range of Motion with good technique and control.

        Exercise Selection: Your program should consist of a variety of exercises that target the upper body, the trunk/core region, and the lower body. The exercises should include movements in multiple directions and planes - up and down, front to back, side to side, and rotation. The movements should be balanced across opposing muscles or groups of muscles. A simple phrase that captures this idea is "push-pull", which means that every motion involving extension should be balanced by another using flexion (and abduction balanced with adduction, internal rotation with external rotation, etc.) Additionally, there should be balance between the right and left side - making it desirable to incorporate dumbbells or machines that work each limb independently into your repertoire.

        Some examples of basic movements: upper body push - overhead/military press; chest/bench press (flat, incline, decline); dips, or triceps push-down. Upper body pull - pull-ups (body weight or with a weighted vest) or lat pull-down machine; row pull; upright row or biceps curl. Supplemental shoulder exercises - external/internal rotation; Ys and Ts, "full can" (with thumbs up) or "empty can" (with thumbs down); lateral raise or front raise (only bring the arms to the horizontal position, and not above). Trunk flexion - sit-ups or crunches; hanging leg raises (knees to elbows). Trunk extension - superman, back extension machine, straight-leg dead lifts, good morning. Trunk rotation - Russian twists, leg wipers, cable wood choppers. Lower body - squats (back, front, goblet) or leg press; leg extension and leg curl; lunges; hip abduction/adduction; dead lift; heel lift (calf raise); dorsiflexion (lifting the forefoot off the ground against resistance).
        Last edited by Mike Caviston; 08-21-2015, 09:53 AM.
        Mike Caviston
        Director of Fitness, NSWCEN

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: STRENGTH TRAINING: START HERE

          Exercise Variations: For a given movements pattern, use multiple variations during different training sessions. For example, for the chest press, you could use an Olympic bar, dumbbells, push-ups with a weighted vest, or various machines; you can also include incline and decline variations along with the standard horizontal position. The basic rowing motion can be accomplished by doing bent-over rows with a straight bar; dumbbells (both arms simultaneously or one arm at a time, using a bench to support the torso); and a seated row-pull machine or a multi-station cable machine. The overhead/military press movement can be accomplished with a straight bar, dumbbells, or machines. You could perform the movement standing on a firm surface or soft surface (sand or foam mat), seated with back supported or not supported; if using dumbbells, you could work both arms together or each arm separately. The rationale for mixing things up and using alternate versions of the basic movements is to increase the likelihood of strength gains being applicable to environments outside the weight room (it is possible for someone to specialize in an exercise like the bench press and become very efficient at performing that specific movement, yet lack the generalized strength necessary to manipulate heavy objects in other situations). Some exercise variations emphasize stabilization by supplementary muscles (core, shoulder girdle), and strengthening those muscles is a goal of training. But the more supplementary muscles are involved, the harder it is to maximally challenge the primary muscles (they are limited by the performance of the weaker supplementary muscles). So at one end of the spectrum, you might do an overhead dumbbell press with one arm (and even one leg) while standing on a soft mat - this will significantly challenge stabilizing muscles in the legs, trunk, and shoulder, but you will have to use a relatively small weight. At the other end of the spectrum, you cab sit with the back supported, minimizing the involvement of stabilizing muscles, and use more weight to maximally challenge the delts and triceps.

          Simple vs. Complex Movements: Some exercises are simple, involving a single joint and one or few muscles. Some are complex, involving multiple joints and many muscles that must be activated in a specific sequence. Both simple and complex movements have their place in training and I want to elaborate on the relative advantages and disadvantages of each.

          Simple, single-joint, or "isolation" exercises have gotten a bad rap in the popular fitness media as being "non-functional", which is disappointing since these exercises can be very functional. Biceps curls and hamstring curls would fall under this category; some people would include exercises such as bench press or row pulls. Any activity or fitness component can be overdone, but these (and other) exercises have a definite place in a BUD/S candidate's preparation from both a performance and injury prevention standpoint. A complex movement can only be as strong as its weakest link, and isolating specific muscles will allow you to challenge them appropriately until their strength is in correct proportion with other muscles used in complex movements. You will also be able to target all muscle fibers throughout a complete range of motion. There is a difference between a seated overhead press and exercises like the push-press or thruster, where the legs are used to accelerate the weight past the point where the shoulders would initially be engaged. The biceps may be utilized while performing a dead lift, but only while statically contracting, and not through a range of motion.

          Complex, multi-joint, or "whole-body" exercises have been portrayed as the ultimate tool for developing fitness. Power lifts or Olympic lifts may have value if performed properly, but should not be used to the total exclusion of simple or isolation exercises. These complex lifts are fairly technical, so don't attempt them without proper coaching and supervision (merely looking at a few YouTube videos is probably not enough). For inexperienced lifters, injuries are more likely to occur and the risk-to-reward ratio is fairly high. Even for experienced lifters, in my opinion it is not desirable to focus much on Olympic-style movements. While these exercises will develop strength, many people assume they will develop motor skills and movement patterns that directly transfer to other environments, but this assumption is not well supported in the training literature. The most established evidence-based relationship between Olympic lifting and sports performance is the vertical jump (not likely to be a limiting factor during any of the physical training evolutions in Bud/s). I am not aware of any analyses of athletic populations (e.g., college or professional football players; college or Olympic rowers, runners, swimmers) that show meaningful correlations between measures of strength, including Olympic lifts, and performance. If you choose to use Olympic lifts as part of your training, make sure you learn to perform them properly, and use them as part of a broader and more BUD/S-specific strength training program.

          Emphasize Eccentric Movements: I've mentioned the importance of eccentric (negative) contractions in stimulating strength gains, but the emphasis bears repeating. Many people expend effort to lift a weight up, but offer minimal resistance as the weight returns to the starting position (or step away and let the weight drop to the ground). Eccentric conditioning is beneficial from the perspective of both performance and injury prevention. It is essential to remember that muscles are utilized not only to produce force (as when lifting the body or other objects) but to absorb force (as when landing, catching, setting something down, or getting hit by another object). There are countless examples of the need for eccentric strength during BUD/S - the o-course, log PT, IBS rock portage, and ruck runs all spring immediately to mind - and this strength should be specifically trained for. During BUD/S you will often be carrying extra weight (gear) while moving on a variety of uneven and unstable surfaces, and the chances of slipping, tripping, stumbling or falling are pretty high, and you will be forced to catch yourself in some awkward posture with your arms and/or legs forced to absorb a large impact in some unnatural position. SWCC students will take a pounding in small boats at high speeds in heavy seas, absorbing several times your body weight of force with every wave. Build up your tolerance for these inevitable occurrences by incorporating exercises for the upper body, trunk, and lower body in multiple directions and planes, performed through a full ROM and emphasizing the eccentric as well as the concentric phases. There are advanced techniques for maximizing the eccentric stimulus (such as forced negatives), but the general technique I recommend is simply to resist gravity to some extent when returning the weight to the starting position. So if it takes you 1-2 seconds to perform the concentric portion, it should take you 2-4 seconds to perform the eccentric portion.
          Last edited by Mike Caviston; 08-21-2015, 03:10 PM.
          Mike Caviston
          Director of Fitness, NSWCEN

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: STRENGTH TRAINING: START HERE

            Plyometrics: Plyometric, ballistic, and other explosive movements have their place in training, but should probably make up a relatively small percentage of your preparation for BUD/S. Athletes who want to maximize their performance on sprinting and jumping activities would devote more time to Plyometrics, but 40-yard dash time or vertical jump probably won't be the limiting factor for BUD/S candidates. On the other hand, Plyometrics can enhance neuromuscular coordination and proprioception in ways that should aid you in performance and injury avoidance in a variety of environments. Plyometrics include activities such as box jumps and squat jumps as well as upper body movements like clapping push-ups and medicine ball chest pass. For jumping activities, I encourage a 3-dimensional approach that utilizes not only vertical jumps, but also horizontal (standing long) jumps and lateral hops (side to side). This approach will help develop strength in the hip and ankle muscles used to provide stability when running in soft sand. For vertical jumps, my recommendation is to utilize an explosive upward movement combined with slow, controlled downward (eccentric) movements upon contact with the ground. Focus on proper landing technique (which is unfortunately lacking in many athletes, including those in the NSW community). Land softly and quietly, utilize knee flexion to absorb the impact force (many people don't bend their knees enough), and keep the knees aligned between the ankles and hips (don't let them knock together). As with other activities, add volume and intensity in a systematic, progressive manner. I encourage you to perform Plyometric or ballistic activities to the point where fatigue just begins to limit performance, but not past the point where you lose the ability to control your technique while landing.

            Sets and Reps: Variables that can be manipulated while strength training includes the number of sets performed of various exercises, and the number of repetitions performed per set. My advice is to perform a wide variety of exercises limited to 1-2 sets per exercise (as opposed to 4-6 sets of only a couple exercises like bench press or squat). I also suggest performing most sets in the range of 8-12 reps, but some sets with fewer (4-6) and some with more (15-20) reps. These are general recommendations, with plenty of room for variation, as described below.

            Performing a variety of exercises for the upper body, trunk, and lower body in multiple directions and planes supports whole-body strength and promotes muscle balance. To leave time and energy to do a greater assortment of exercises, generally only perform a single set of each exercise. The optimal number of sets for maximum strength gains is open to debate, but most of the gains from strength training will be realized after one set, with additional sets providing progressively diminishing benefits (if any). A single-set routine may be less than optimal if your only goal is to maximize strength in a select number of activities (bench, squat), but in the interests of well-rounded preparation for BUD/S that includes plenty of running and swimming along with calisthenics, core exercises, and stretching - it makes sense to keep your lifting routine streamlined and relatively short. To realize gains from a single set, it is necessary to maintain intensity, which is achieved by performing the set "to failure". This means you perform as many reps as possible while using good form, until muscle fatigue prevents you from completing another rep. Count the number of whole reps completed for the set. [For more information, see the post below title WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO WORK "TO FAILURE".] If you feel you are not prepared to give a maximal effort for a particular exercise, especially near the start, you can do a submaximal warm-up set first. Do not try to perform more than one set of a given exercise to failure. If you decide on a given day to do multiple sets of a particular exercise (remember, the "one set" recommendation is a general guideline, not carved in stone) then each set will have to be submaximal. You would still work hard on each set, but not go to complete failure.

            For each set, determine a number of repetitions to perform. I recommend that most sets be performed in the range of 8-12 repetitions. There is room for debate about the optimal rep scheme, but in general this provides a good combination of strength and muscular endurance. Choose a weight that you can lift (using proper form) at least eight times; lift until you can no longer complete a rep with proper form. For a beginner, it will take a little bit of trial-and-error to find the correct weight. It's no big deal if on your first attempt you can only do seven reps or end up doing 13 or 14 reps; you can make an adjustment for your next workout. Keep records of all your lifts to track your progress, set appropriate targets and determine when to increase your loads. The basic approach is to start with a weight you can barely lift eight times; stick with that weight for several workouts, trying to complete the max number of reps possible each time; and when you get to the point where you can complete twelve good reps, add a little more weight for your next workout. Keep cycling weight and reps as your strength improves; this is known as double progression. I suggest using the 8-12 rep format for about 60% of your workouts (or 3 out of every 5 days you lift). The remaining workouts would be split between doing around 6-8 reps or 15-20 reps. You would simply use a lighter or heavier weight depending on your target, and do the max number of reps possible with that weight. Again, keep records of your lifts so you have a basis for planning your targets for various exercises over several weeks of training.

            While I recommend performing a single set of each exercise on most days, you may decide to explore programs that require multiple sets using various repetition ranges. Another concept in strength training is periodization, which involves systematically manipulating training volume and intensity by varying the sets and repetitions used during a series of training cycles, usually lasting a couple weeks each. When you are no longer a novice weightlifter, it may be necessary to use alternate strategies to vary the challenge to the muscles to stimulate further gains. Various periodization formats include linear (or block) and nonlinear (undulating). Here are links to a couple articles that provide a little more background (bearing in mind these formats are more complex and time-consuming than a single-set format and not necessarily superior, especially for a BUD/S candidate). [Links posted August, 2015 - I will remove them if I find they become broken or I find better examples.]

            http://www.researchgate.net/profile/...ea88000000.pdf

            http://ro.ecu.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent...riodization%22
            Last edited by Mike Caviston; 08-24-2015, 10:55 AM.
            Mike Caviston
            Director of Fitness, NSWCEN

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: STRENGTH TRAINING: START HERE

              Exercise Order: A general rule is to alternate push and pull movements. For example, alternate bench press, shoulder press or dips with lat pull-downs, curls, or row pulls. Pair leg extension with leg curls or sit-ups with back extension. The exact order doesn't matter, as long as there is overall balance between opposing movements during a workout and especially across many workouts. It is commonly recommended to start with large muscle groups before small, or multi-joint exercises before single-joint exercises ( so begin with exercises like dead lift, squat or leg press). Exhausting smaller muscles first may limit performance on the complex exercises. On the other hand, starting with large-muscle exercises may expend so much energy you will not be very productive for the remainder of the workout. I don't think there is any clearly optimal strategy here, so experiment a little bit to see what works for you. Another strategy you might try is to make a list of all the basic movements and perform them in the same order every workout, but each time start at a different point on the list (e.g., 1-2-3-4-5, then 2-3-4-5-1, then 3-4-5-1-2, etc.) That way, at some point you get to perform every exercise while you are fresh and able to give maximum effort. Still another strategy is to always begin with the exercise(s) giving you the most trouble, again with the idea that you will be fresher and better able to give a quality effort.

              Variety and Consistency: When putting together a strength program, it is important to strike the right compromise between doing enough different exercises to effectively strengthen the whole body, but not so many that you spend too much time in the gym, become overtrained, or perform exercises too infrequently to see benefits. Be selective with the specific things you try to develop, and as you reach plateaus, change up your routine a bit. Take out some exercises, add new ones. Don't do it so often that you don't have time to adapt, but do it often enough so that you don't get stale. Don't do it randomly, but in a systematic manner calculated to advance your overall fitness and address your weaknesses. There is a saying: if you want to find water, don't dig 100 wells one foot deep. Complex movements, large muscles, simple movements, small muscles, prime movers, stabilizers, core, max strength, muscular endurance - you can't train everything all the time. So try to be smart, and build a program with as much quality as quantity.
              Last edited by Mike Caviston; 08-24-2015, 03:30 PM.
              Mike Caviston
              Director of Fitness, NSWCEN

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: STRENGTH TRAINING: START HERE

                As a frame of reference, to give people ideas about how you might put together some workouts, I am providing some examples of PTs I've led over the past few months with different groups at NSWCEN. Most of the sessions I do are a weekly workout with PTRR ("white shirts" waiting to enter a BUD/S class, including guys that have been rolled from a previous class because of injury or performance, prior to Hell Week) as well as BSRB ("brown shirts" who have completed Hell Week but have been rolled to a later class because of injury or performance. I also do sessions with new SQT classes, with SWCC students waiting to begin BCT, and SEAL and SWCC Instructors just beginning their tour.

                One thing to recognize about these workouts is the same basic format, exercises, techniques, etc. are appropriate (and recommended) for everybody. I make a few adjustments depending on a few factors; for example, sometimes I might only have a dozen Instructors, other times I might have 200 white & brown shirts. The PTs are all "Grinder" style, the only equipment to work with being the ground, some pull-up & dip bars, and occasionally some light dumbbells. Sometimes the groups consist mostly of new guys and I have to slow things down to teach and explain the movements; if I've worked with a group a few times we can get right into the workout sooner and get more accomplished in an hour (which is the standard time frame for these PTs). If a PT is being performed just before or after a tough run or swim or o-course, I may go easier on exercises that hammer the arms or legs than I would for stand-alone workouts.

                I've already written pretty extensively about the general considerations for these PTs. The ideas is to create a whole-body workout, with activities that challenge the upper body, lower body, and trun, balanced front-back, left-right, etc. Move in multiple directions and planes. Eavh workout doesn't have to be absolutely perfect, as long as over the course of training things even out (just like, in regards to nutrition, every meal doesn't have to be perfectly balanced but your overall nutrition should be). I tend to break PTs into distinct upper/trunk/lower segments just because of the logistics of teaching large numbers of people, but that's not necessary for individuals (in fact, it would probably be good to mix things up more often). Major requirements when I lead PT are that the movements be performed through the full range of motion, in a controlled manner, emphasizing the negative/eccentric phase. I also emphasize that the same basic approach (movements and technique) would apply in the weightroom with dumbbells, bars, or machines to apply resistance.

                I won't explain every exercise in the examples below (that information has generally been provided elsewhere, such as in the PTG), but there are a few points I'll mention. The basic upper body routine includes pushing and pulling up/down and out/in. The basic pushing movements are push-up (out), dip (down) and pike push-up (like a regular push-up but with a sharp bend at the hips - a pike position - to direct the trunk more perpendicularly and create an overhead resistance, or "up". I much prefer these over handstand push-ups for several reasons, including better range of motion and less stress on the shoulder). For the pushing movements I begin in the up position and move slowly through the negative portion while counting "1-2-3"; students count reps during the upward (positive, concentric) portion. The basic pulling movements are pull-up, chin-up (underhand grip), and inverted rows (horizontal pull-ups hanging from the dip bars). For these exercises, I have students mount the bar and hang until I call "up", at which time they lift their chins entirely over the bar (chest touches the bar for inverted rows), and hold that position until I call "down", at which point they count the rep and slowly lower to full extension until I call "up" again. I vary the cadence a little to make sure everyone is paying attention. For the pulling exercises, those who can't complete a set drop off the bar when they can no longer maintain proper form. After the rest of the class finishes, I have them mount the bar and finish the remaining reps with proper form. (This is not punishment. It is simply allowing people to progressively build fitness until they can complete the set unbroken.)

                The trunk exercises include all variety of sit-ups, crunches, knees-to-elbows, etc. to work the trunk flexors; Superman variations for the back & glutes; and wipers or Russian twists for rotation. I also use a lot of static (isometrc) holds like plank, side plank, bird dog, and bridge. I also use a lot of leg lever holds (lie on back with legs straight, feet six inches off the ground) emphasizing neutral pelvis (small of the back stays pressed against the ground; no arch in the back; supporting with hands under the butt is discouraged and the goal is to be able to hold the correct position with arms folded across chest).

                Lower body exercises are intended to flex and extend the hips, kness, and ankles as well as work the hips and ankles laterally. Always think in three dimensions. Exercises include vertical jumps, emphasizing an explosive jump coupled with proper, controlled landings (bend the knees to absorb impact, keep knees aligned between feet and hips); standing long jumps; and lateral jumps. (I almost never use air squats.) Also all variety of lunges, some carioca, and sprints. Sprints are short (generally around 40 yards), 4-6 reps, requiring a change of direction (COD) - cut right/left 45 or 90 degrees, or down & back.

                My goal with these PTs is to be consistent enough to let students learn the specific exercises and see progress as they get more fit, but to have enough variety to keep things fresh and interesting for those who spend weeks (or months) working with me before classing up. Using this format, many guys struggle to get 10 pull-ups or 20 push-ups. Not many guys can hold a correct plank for two minutes or a proper leg lever or bridge for even a minute, and wipers are difficult. The most meaningful exercises are simple to perform, so I encourage aspiring candidates to work on them regularly.
                Last edited by Mike Caviston; 08-12-2015, 02:07 PM.
                Mike Caviston
                Director of Fitness, NSWCEN

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: STRENGTH TRAINING: START HERE

                  Some sample PTs used over the past few months (2015). Consult other posts as well as the PTG for descriptions/explanations of exercises.

                  Sample #1
                  12 pull-ups
                  12 clapping push-ups
                  1' plank, side plank (L, R), leg lever hold, bridge (L, R)
                  12 chin-ups
                  12 pike push-ups
                  Manual shoulder Y & external rotation
                  1' plank, side plank (L, R), bird dog (L, R)
                  20 wipers
                  12 horizontal pull-ups
                  12 dips
                  10 standing long jump (SLJ)
                  2x60" heel walk
                  20 1-leg lateral hops (alt. R-L)
                  Manual hamstring


                  Sample #2
                  12 pull-ups
                  12 clapping push-ups
                  12 horizontal pull-ups
                  12 pike push-ups
                  20 (4-count) arm haulers
                  12' continuous/1' each: front plank; side plank (L, R); leg lever hold; bridge (L, R); front plank: side plank (L, R); bird dog (L, R); leg lever hold
                  20 wipers
                  2x60" heel walk
                  2x latera shuffle (R 20yds, L 20yds)
                  10 SLJ
                  2x8 Nordic hamstring

                  Sample #3
                  20 push-ups (alt. regular, clapping)
                  12, 8 horizontal pull-ups
                  60" Superman w/ Y
                  20 reverse crunches
                  20 (4-c) active bird dog
                  2x20 bridge (reps: alt. 10R, 10L)
                  20 (4-c) scissors
                  20 wipers
                  W/u & drills: butt kick, high knees, carioca, acceleration
                  Sprint 6x40yds (start from front or side plank): cut 45 degrees R, L; down & back (touch R, L); FWD-BWD

                  Sample #4
                  12 chin-ups
                  12 pike push-ups
                  12 horizontal pull-ups
                  12 dips
                  90" front plank, side plank (L, R), bridge (L, R), leg lever hold, bird dog (L, R)
                  60" front plank, side plank (L, R), bridge (L, R), leg lever hold, bird dog (L, R)
                  20 (4-c) scissors
                  50yd heel walk
                  2x50yd carioca
                  2x50yd lateral shuffle (R, L)
                  20 1-lef FWD hop (10L, 10R)
                  10 Nordic hamstring

                  Sample #5
                  12 clapping push-ups
                  12 horizontal pull-ups
                  10 clapping push-ups
                  10 horizontal pull-ups
                  20 (4-c) arm haulers
                  4x30" each: front plank, side plank (L, R), bridge (L, R), bird dog (L, R)
                  25 reverse crunch
                  25 wipers
                  20 standing lunge (10L, 10R)
                  8 Nordic hamstring
                  20 standing lunge (10L, 10R)
                  8 Nordic hamstring
                  Last edited by Mike Caviston; 08-14-2015, 09:28 AM.
                  Mike Caviston
                  Director of Fitness, NSWCEN

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: STRENGTH TRAINING: START HERE

                    Sample #6
                    12 pull-ups
                    12 clapping push-ups
                    20 (4-c) arm haulers
                    2' each: bridge (L, R); side plank (L); front plank; side plank (R)
                    25 sit-ups
                    25 wipers
                    2x60" heel walk
                    10 SLJ
                    W/u: butt kickers, high knees, carioca
                    4x (5-10-5yd agaility), alt. R, L


                    Sample #7
                    8, 6 chin-ups
                    8, 6 dips
                    Manual shoulder Y & ER
                    12' continuous/1' each: front plank; side plank (L, R); leg lever hold; bridge (L, R); front plank; side plank (R, L); bird dog (R, L); leg lever hold
                    [Repeat 12' sequence]
                    20 (4-c) scissors
                    20 scorpion (alt. R, L)
                    20 standing lunge (10L, 10R)
                    Manual hamstring

                    Sample #8
                    11 dips
                    11 pull-ups
                    11 pike push-ups
                    22 (4-c) arm haulers
                    22 push-ups (alt. reg/clapping)
                    22 reverse crunches
                    Continuous, 75" each: bridge (R, L), front plank, side plank (R,L)
                    [Repeat sequence]
                    22 (4-c) flutter kicks
                    22 wipers
                    12 SLJ
                    40yd sprints. down 20 & back 20: w/u x2; touch R or L x4 (start from prone position); FWD/BWD x1
                    22 1-leg lateral hops (alt. L-R)
                    2x8 Nordic hamstring

                    Sample #9
                    12 chin-ups
                    12 pike push-ups
                    2x45" horizontal pull-up (static hold, chest against bar)
                    2x10 manual T
                    Front plank/side plank (R, L)/leg lever hold: variable durations switching between different positions; 5' total
                    2x10 (4-c) active bird dog (R, L)
                    2x10 reps, bridge (R, L)
                    24 wipers
                    20 scorpion (alt. R, L)
                    24 standing lunge (12R, 12L)
                    3x lateral shuffle (20yds R-L)
                    2x10 Nordic hamstring

                    Sample #10
                    10 pike push-ups
                    12 horizontal pull-ups
                    10 pike push-ups
                    12 horizontal pull-ups
                    20 (4-c) arm haulers
                    60" front plank, side plank (L, R), bridge (L, R)
                    90" front plank, side plank (L, R), bridge (L, R)
                    60" front plank, side plank (L, R), bridge (L, R)
                    20 lateral hops (2-leg)
                    20 1-leg FWD hop (10R, 10L)
                    2x60" heel walk
                    Manual hamstring

                    Last edited by Mike Caviston; 08-14-2015, 09:45 AM.
                    Mike Caviston
                    Director of Fitness, NSWCEN

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: STRENGTH TRAINING: START HERE

                      WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO WORK "TO FAILURE"?

                      My basic recommendation for strength training has been to perform a variety of exercises that target muscles in the arms, legs and trunk, and to generally perform a single set to failure. It is worth discussing in a little more detail exactly what is meant by the phrase "to failure". For most users of the Physical Training Guide, and especially for novice or beginner weightlifters, here is a straightforward example. Let's say you are doing a set of overhead shoulder press using 40-lb dumbbells. You're standing with legs and back straight, feet approximately shoulder width, dumbbells just touching your shoulders with palms facing forward. You perform the first rep by abducting the shoulders and extending the elbows so the dumbbells rise smoothly above your shoulders and just barely touch above your head as your arms lock out. The dumbbells pause for half a second above your head before you lower them smoothly through the same path back to the starting position. Roughly speaking, the upward phase took 1-2 seconds and the downward (negative) phase took 3-4 seconds. You repeat these upward and downward movements exactly for five more reps (six reps total). On the seventh rep you notice it takes a little more time to lift the dumbbells through the upward phase, although you are still able to keep your legs and back straight and move the weight entirely with your shoulders and triceps. The eighth rep is a little more difficult still. On the ninth rep, as you start to push the dumbbells up your back noticeably sags and your knees noticeably bend; your technique is breaking down as you attempt to compensate for fatigue. It takes a good five seconds of struggling to finish the rep. You begin the tenth rep, and your technique is even sloppier; you struggle for several seconds to get the weights overhead, but you're stuck mid-way. Those dumbbells just aren't going to move any farther. So you rack the dumbbells and count nine reps (the ninth was a little sloppy, but if it wasn't too bad you can count it); you failed on the tenth rep. Over the next several sessions, you might do different shoulder exercises or do overhead dumbbell press with a different weight, but at some point you'll pick up the 40-lb dumbbells again and attempt to get ten reps; when you achieve that, you'll go for eleven, and so on.

                      Using pull-ups as an example, you'd hang from the bar and begin by pulling your chin up over the bar, and lower yourself down with control until your arms are again fully extended; you'd avoid using any kicking, jerking, swinging, or kipping movements. Perhaps after ten or twelve reps you're feeling fatigue set in and it is taking more time and more effort to complete each rep, and your legs may start kicking and pumping a bit, even involuntarily, as you try to squeeze out a couple more reps. At some point you know your form sucks and you still can't get your chin over the bar. So at that point you've "failed". The number of "good" reps you count will be a little subjective, but you'd better be aware of PST standards and have an idea of what you can do if someone else who might not be generous is doing the counting.

                      The above examples demonstarte simple positive failure; you keep trying until you can no longer complete a rep with good form. If you only go to this type of failure for one set per exercise per workout, you can do it pretty much every workout without fear of overtraining. There are other, more advanced and demanding degrees of failure that you might use when you've been training for several months, but I wouldn't use them every workout and the more intense version you use, the less fequently you should use it. If you are working with dumbbells, you can complete as many reps as possible with a given weight, and after you fail at that weight, quickly exchange for a couple of lighter dumbbells and complete a few more reps. If you happen to be using a machine with a weight stack and a pin that holds the number of plates you select in place, you can work to failure with a given weight and then quickly move the pin to a lighter weight and squeeze out a few more reps. This is one of the reasons I feel machines have their place in a well-rounded strength program. If you have a partner to spot you, as you begin to fail your partner can provide just enough assistance to let you force out another couple reps. For best results, your partner should help you lift the weight up, but you should lower the weight down with control on your own (muscles are stronger and don't fatigue as quickly when doing negative/eccentric contractions). This takes a little practice and communication so your partner provides enough but not too much assistance. The most advanced and intense version of failure would involve doing forced reps (with a partner's assistance) in both the positive and negative directions. For safety, I would not attempt to do this with free weights (though I've seen it done), but would only do it if you had access to the right kind of strength equipment, such as Hammer (your partner can quickly strip off the outer plates to lighten the load during the positive phase, and apply force to increase the resistance during the negative phase, without fear of hurting you if your muscles give out completely). I emphasize again that simple positive failure is safe and a good training stimulus for anybody. More advanced forms of failure should only be used by fit and experienced lifters, and not every workout.

                      My recommendation has been that strength sets generally be performed in the range of 8-12, which means that you would begin a particular exercise with a weight that causes you to fail after eight reps. As you continue training and as your strength improves, you keep going to failure but you will fail after more reps. When you get to twelve, next time bump the weight up and repeat the cycle again. I also recommend sometimes using heavier or lighter weights, causing you to fail at fewer than eight reps (say 5-7) or more than twelve reps (as many as 20). If you choose to do more than one set of an exercise, only do the final set to failure.

                      The "to failure" concept doesn't translate too well to calisthenics exercises (sit-ups, flutter kicks, lunges etc.) where you can do more than 20 reps per set. Push-ups and pull-ups may fall into this category, depending on your fitness and abilities. [For those struggling to do even the PST minimum of push-ups and pull-ups, I'll have to provide some different advice another day.] For muscular endurance exercises, where you are generally trying to do a higher volume of work, do sets until you are "pretty tired" but not absolutely unable to continue. Take a brief recovery and do another set until you are "pretty tired". The goal over days and weeks of training is to do a few more reps per set, and/or take less rest between sets. You may choose to do an exercise to total exhaustion (true failure, where you can no longer complete a proper rep), as part of some rare challenge, but be prepared to be sore and unable to train properly for a few days. If you do mega reps at high speed with bad form (which of course I strongly discourage), you run the risk of getting injured or contracting a condition such as rhabdomyolysis. As always, train hard, but train smart, and stay healthy.
                      Last edited by Mike Caviston; 03-24-2016, 12:47 PM.
                      Mike Caviston
                      Director of Fitness, NSWCEN

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: STRENGTH TRAINING: START HERE

                        Here is a basic template for PT/strength training I use with students and Instructors. The same basic movement patterns and techniques can and should be used whether the workout is performed on the Grinder using only body weight for resistance, or in a gym with multiple resistance options such as free weights and machines. All the terms and concepts I've discussed previously still apply. There's nothing new here, but maybe said a little differently so the examples seem fresher. I want each workout to be as complete and well-rounded as possible, working the entire body (upper, trunk, lower) in multiple directions and all three planes. Every movement has an opposing movement (push-pull) to promote balanced strength. Movements are performed through the full range of motion with controlled, deliberate actions and exaggerating the negative (eccentric) portions. There are a couple Plyometric or explosive variations, but those are a small percent of the total work.

                        I group movements into twenty different categories (eight for upper, four for trunk, eight for lower). The goal is to use one movement from each category. Sometimes a category will be skipped, and sometimes more than one movement in a single category will be used, but try to utilize all categories equally. Some exercises will satisfy more than one category (e.g., squats satisfy both hip and knee extension). Usually do only one set for each exercise, varying the target reps on different days (see previous discussions above). A complete and effective workout can easily be accomplished in an hour and generally under 45 minutes.

                        Here are the basic movement categories.
                        Upper Body:
                        1. Overhead push
                        2. Overhead pull
                        3. Chest press
                        4. Row pull
                        5. Downward push
                        6. Upward pull
                        7. Rotator cuff
                        8. Traps/posterior shoulder
                        Trunk (do a variety of dynamic exercises or static holds):
                        9. Flexion
                        10. Extension
                        11. Rotation
                        12. Lateral flexion/extension
                        Lower body:
                        13. Hip extension
                        14. Hip flexion
                        15. Hip abduction
                        16. Knee extension
                        17. Knee flexion
                        18. Ankle extension
                        19. Ankle fexion
                        20. Foot abduction/adduction

                        These movements don't have to be performed in any particular order, but it is best to alternate between pushing and pulling movements. When working with a group I segment the workout into upper/trunk/lower portions, but that's just for logistics. On your own, jump around however you want to make the workout flow well, and perhaps mix the order up on different days.

                        Here are the basic movements, with examples of exercises I would use during a Grinder-style PT. The only equipment available is pull-up and dip bars (plus a full water bottle weighing a couple pounds).
                        Upper body:
                        1. Overhead push - pike push-ups
                        2. Overhead pull - pull-ups or rope climbs
                        3. Chest press - push-ups or clapping push-ups
                        4. Row pull - horizontal pull-ups (on dip bars)
                        5. Downward push - dips
                        6. Upward pull - chin-ups (underhand grip; this is a simulation of a biceps curl, though the arms are actually overhead)
                        7. Rotator cuff - lying on side, perfrom shoulder external rotation using water bottle for weight
                        8. Posterior shoulder - arm haulers
                        Trunk:
                        9. Flexion - variations of sit-ups or crunches; knees-to-elbows; leg lever hold
                        10. Extension - front plank; Superman
                        11. Rotation - leg wipers or Russian twist; bird dog
                        12. Lateral extension - side plank
                        Lower body:
                        13. Hip extension - vertical jumps or standing long jumps (SLJ)
                        14. Hip flexion - sit-ups, flutter kicks, good morning darlings
                        15. Hip abduction - side plank; agility drills; 5-10-5yd sprints; carioca; side hops (1- or 2-leg)
                        16. Knee extension - vertical jumps; SLJ; lunges
                        17. Knee flexion - bridges; manual resistance (partner); Nordic hamstring exercise
                        18. Ankle extension - vertical jumps, SLJ
                        19. Ankle flexion - heel walks
                        20. Foot abduction/adduction - agility drills; 5-10-5yd sprints; side hops (1- or 2-leg)

                        Here are the basic movements, with some examples of exercises that could be performed in a gym (this is not meant to be a complete list). Note any of the body-weight exercises listed above could also be used in a gym.
                        Upper body:
                        1. Overhead push - straight bar, dumbbells, kettlebells, machine (also lateral or front raise with dumbbells)
                        2. Overhead pull - pull-ups wih vest, lat pulldown machine
                        3. Chest press - straight bar, dumbbells, kettlebells, machine
                        4. Row pull - straight bar, dumbbells, kettlebells, machine
                        5. Downward push - triceps pushdown or kickback, weighted dip
                        6. Upward pull - upright row, biceps curl, shrug
                        7. Rotator cuff - dumbbells, cable machine, elastic band
                        8. Posterior shoulder - dumbbells, cable machine, elastic band
                        Trunk:
                        9. Flexion - inclined bench, machine
                        10. Extension - RDL, machine
                        11. Rotation - cable wood chopper, medicine ball toss
                        12. Lateral extension - single arm push or pull with dumbbell or kettlebell (must hold torso stable)
                        Lower body:
                        13. Hip extension - squat, leg press, dead lift, kettlebell swing, box jump
                        14. Hip flexion - elastic band, machine
                        15. Hip abduction - elastic band, cable
                        16. Knee extension - knee extension machine, squat, leg press, weighted lunge, box jump, dead lift
                        17. Knee flexion - leg curl machine, elastic band, cable
                        18. Ankle extension - weighted heel raise, box jump
                        19. Ankle flexion - elastic band, machine, weighted heel walk
                        20. Foot abduction/adduction - elastic band, cable

                        I encourage plenty of variation of exercises on different days (i.e., don't do the same chest exercise like flat bench workout after workout after workout; use dumbbells and do incline/decline variations as well). An exercise like the deadlift is a great all-around exercise but it doesn't work any joint through a complete range of motion, so don't rely on it exclusively. There are some exercises such as renegade rows that hit at least three categories, but none perfectly. You may also choose to incorporate Olympic lifts, but my strong recommendation is to learn to do them correctly and only use them occasionally (if at all). Once again, the critical point is to create a balanced program that targets prime movers (so you can pick up logs and boats and stuff) but also stabilizing muscles so your shoulders, back, and knees stay injury-free.
                        Last edited by Mike Caviston; 08-10-2015, 11:36 AM.
                        Mike Caviston
                        Director of Fitness, NSWCEN

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: STRENGTH TRAINING: START HERE

                          I have been re-reading a paper that takes a critical look at the evidence (or lack of) that supports many common strength training beliefs. If you are interested, you can find the article here (it is very detailed and takes some time and effort to get through):
                          [Note: in August 2015 I can not find an active link for the article. The title is "A Critical Analysis of the ACSM Position Stand on Restance Training", by Carpinelli, Otto, and Winett. It was published in the Journal of Exercise Physiology Online, Vol. 7, No. 3, June 2004.]
                          Below is a summary from the article, which is consistent with many recommendations I have made on this forum.

                          RECOMMENDATIONS
                          What is really known about the science of resistance training is contrary to the opinions expressed in the Position Stand. That is, the preponderance of research strongly suggests that gains in muscular strength, hypertrophy, power, and endurance are the result of the following simple guidelines:
                          *Select a mode of exercise that feels comfortable throughout the range of motion. There is very little evidence to support the superiority of free weights or machines for increasing muscular strength, hypertrophy, power, or endurance.
                          *Choose a repetition duration that will ensure the maintenance of consistent form throughout the set. One study showed a greater strength benefit from a shorter duration (2s/4s) and one study showed better strength gains as a result of a longer duration (10s/4s), but no study using conventional exercise equipment reports any significant difference in muscular hypertrophy, power, or endurance as a result of manipulating repetition duration.
                          *Choose a range of repetitions between three and 15 (e.g., 3-5, 6-8, 8-10, etc.). There is very little evidence to suggest that a specific range of repetitions (e.g., 3-5 versus 8-10) or time-under-load (e.g., 30s versus 90s) significantly impacts the increase in muscular strength, hypertrophy, power, or endurance.
                          *Perform one set of each exercise. The preponderance of resistance-training studies shows no difference in the gains in muscular strength, hypertrophy, power, or endurance as a result of performing a greater number of sets.
                          *After performing a combination of concentric and eccentric muscle actions, terminate each exercise at the point where the concentric phase of the exercise is becoming difficult, if not impossible, while maintaining good form. There is very little evidence to suggest that going beyond this level of intensity (e.g., supramaximal or accentuated eccentric muscle actions) will further enhance muscular strength, hypertrophy, power, or endurance.
                          *Allow enough time between exercises to perform the next exercise in proper form. There is very little evidence to suggest that different rest periods between sets or exercises will significantly affect the gains in muscular strength, hypertrophy, power, or endurance.
                          *Depending on individual recovery and response, choose a frequency of 2-3 times/week to stimulate each targeted muscle group. One session a week has been shown to be just as effective as 2-3 times/week for some muscle groups. There is very little evidence to suggest that training a muscle more than 2-3 times/week or that split routines will produce greater gains in muscular strength, hypertrophy, power, or endurance.


                          A similar article can be found here:
                          http://www.researchgate.net/profile/...3f22000000.pdf
                          From the article's summary:
                          "We recommend that appreciably the same muscular strength and endurance adaptations can be obtained by performing a single set of approx. 8-12 repetitions to momentary muscular failure, at a repetiton duration that maintains muscular tensions throughout the entire range of motion, for most major muscle groups once or twice a week. All resistance types (e.g., free-weights, resistance machines, bodyweight, etc.) show potential for increases in strength, with no significant difference between them, although resistance machines appear to pose a lower risk of injury."
                          Last edited by Mike Caviston; 08-10-2015, 07:15 AM.
                          Mike Caviston
                          Director of Fitness, NSWCEN

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: STRENGTH TRAINING: START HERE

                            CORE STRENGTH

                            The concept of "core strength" is addressed frequently in questions about general training as well as injury prevention. Here are some thoughts regarding training for "core strength".

                            "Core strength" is one of those fitness terms (like "functional") that is used so often and under such broad circumstances as to be practically meaningless. There is no clear or universal definition about what constitutes the "core", but we are generally talking about a lot of muscles - large/long muscles that travel the length of the trunk as well as small/short muscles that connect individual vertebrae; superficial as well as deep muscles; anterior, posterior, and lateral muscles; and muscles that stabilize and position not only the spine but also the shoulders and hips. Furthermore, while sometimes it will truly be "strength" that is lacking, it is just as likely to be endurance or activation (getting unused muscles to contract) that limits one's ability to stabilize and protect the spine and transmit forces from the ground to overhead. So rather than talking about "core exercises" as if a single exercise can train the core, it is better to consider a "core routine".

                            My core routines include trunk flexion, lateral flexion, and rotation using both dynamic (concentric/eccentric) and static (isometric) contractions. Different set and rep schemes emphasize trength or endurance. Two different strategies for improving the ability to hold static positions (such as front or side planks) include progressively holding a position for a greater period (e.g., 30 seconds to two minutes over several weeks) and holding a position for multiple short durations (15-20 seconds) with recovery periods. I also use variations of basic exercises/positions that are progressively more challenging (examples include basic side plank with both legs for support, to bottom or top leg only for support to target the outer or inner thigh; or bird dog in a purely static position to bird dog while moving the extended arm and leg back and forth in a 45 degree arc to activate the shoulder and hip stabilizers). We find that strength and endurance of trunk rotators is often underdeveloped in students, so I try to emphasize rotation in particular. My go-to exercise with a group is the leg wiper, and I also use scissors and scorpion. I encourage students to also do exercises like Russian twist, side-to-side medicine ball toss, and cable wood choppers on their own time. Read through my previous posts on this thread for more ideas and details. It is not practical to do all variations (dynamic, static, activation) during every workout, so I generally choose 4-6 exercises or positions that hit flexion, extension, lateral flexion, and rotation during any given workout.

                            This isn't meant to be an exhaustive or definitive treatment of core training, just a few basic concepts to consider for an effective and well-rounded program. One other method of targeting the core during a strength session is to perform push or pull dumbbell exercises using a single dumbbell (one arm). This will engage the core muscles to stabilize the torso as the dumbbell moves through its range of motion. Examples include standing overhead press or lateral (deltoid) raises, or standing biceps curls or bent-over row pulls using a bench to support the opposite side. (Don't hold a dumbbell with the arm that is not exercising - it will act a s a counterweight and reduce the stabilizing challenge to the core muscles.) One exercise I like to use occasionally to combine core training with lower leg training, not to mention shoulder development, is a dumbbell curl-to-overhead press while standing on one leg. Hole a dumbbell in the left hand with your arm at your side while balancing on your left foot. While maintaining balance on the left foot, swing the dumbbell smoothly in a curling motion to a position above the shoulder, and continue lifting the dumbbell overhead until the arm is fully extended. Pause briefly, then lower the dumbbell back to the shoulder and then down to the side. Repeat for 10-15 reps, attempting to remain balanced on one foot the entire time. Do the same using the other arm while balanced on the other leg. Gradually progress using the heaviest weight you can handle while maintaining balance and getting complete extension overhead. As the dumbbell swings through an arc going up and down, the changes in center of gravity will challenge the stabilizing muscles around the ankle and calf, as well as transverse muscles in the trunk.
                            Last edited by Mike Caviston; 08-17-2015, 10:17 AM.
                            Mike Caviston
                            Director of Fitness, NSWCEN

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                            • #15
                              A new page has been added to the Physical Training Guide with video clips demonstrating simple exercises that will enhance performance and injury resistance.

                              http://www.sealswcc.com/navy-seal-na...se-videos.html
                              Mike Caviston
                              Director of Fitness, NSWCEN

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