A couple of weeks ago I received this email from Jonathon Hamilton

I am in the Army National Guard and am preparing to deploy to Iraq a second time. The Army is beginning to change it’s fitness philosophy to adopt a more full body workout. However, while deployed, most soldiers still just hit the gym with no real plan or goals as you elude to in your articles. I’ve searched through your site but was wondering if you could post an example of a weekly workout routine. I want to be able to provide my soldiers some options to help keep them motiviated and realize there is more to working out than just the bench press.
Thanks and I’ve enjoyed your site. Jon

I’d be glad to help Jon!
This is probably my favorite part of being a coach and trainer. Assessing a clients needs and designing a program that meets those needs in order achieve a specific goal. I mean, that’s what being a coach is really all about right?

What does player A need to become better at his personal position? That was the basis behind the whole “functional training” craze. Does this person’s training make them better at their job or sport? If the answer is yes, then it is functional. It just got a little jumbled up as the term took on popularity (as most good things do).

This also carries over into everyday life, a new mother may just be focused on loosing her baby weight, while we know that a functional program would involve reactivating her pelvic floor, or learning how to effectively lift, carry, bend and pull while still trying to keep order of her household.

Learning to develop effective programs is all in the assessment of the person’s needs. One of the easiest ways to do this is by familiarizing yourself with something called the “biomotor ability” scale. Even if you’re not a trainer, and just want to get the very most out of your training efforts, it could benefit you greatly. The biomotor ability scale is a term describing various capacities, or qualities of movement and performance required to perform any given task. These include:

  1. Strength
  2. Power
  3. Endurance
  4. Speed
  5. Coordination
  6. Flexibility
  7. Agility
  8. Balance

So just to put things into perspective, a gymnast must pretty much possess all of these to perform at his/her highly demanding sport, but other sports may require their athletes to possess only a few of these biomotor abilities. So, after assessing, we would know which abilities to focus on in their training.

I sent Jon the list and asked him in his opinion, how many of the biomotor abilites would his men need to poses to become better capable of handling the demands of a soldier. This was his response

The army PT test consists of 2min of pushups, 2min of situps and a 2 mile run. Our biggest weakness is in the run. But I don’t want to just focus on the fitness test. For their jobs, my soldiers are required to do a lot of lifting, pushing and pulling requiring upper body strength.

I’d say endurance; agility and speed are our areas of greatest weakness. But all of the areas you listed are needed to accomplish our mission.

Perfect! I now know what it is I need to focus on to effectively create a program for Jon and his men. If you’ll notice, the old PT test may not exactly condition the soldiers to the best of their ability.

Over the next couple of months, I’ll be posting a few videos with sample workouts for Jon and his men. I want to invite all of you to write in with any comments or your own ideas about workouts for the troops.

Published by Mike Fitch

Mike is the founder of Global Bodyweight Training. He has more than 12 years as a fitness professional encompassing a wide range of disciplines which he draws upon to create the GBT system.

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  1. I like Mike’s approach to assessing your needs and then designing your workouts so that they are specific to those needs. One suggestion I would have is to consider that you don’t get to just go out and do your activity in shorts and gym shoes. Military personel have to perform in fatigues and boots and often times while carrying a heavy pack. My thoughts were to keep this in mind during the training and use things such as weight vests or wearing packs or heaving clothing to simulate your natural environment.

  2. Hello!
    I fully agree with you Mike, although I would probably focus on a few objectives (we call them “the vital few”). Roughly, I’d guess deployed troops need to develop strenght-endurance (they need to walk/run long distances loaded with heavy equipment) and strenght-speed (explosiveness). Probably I would also recommend some partner training (more fun and team builder).
    I really love this topic, I can’t wait to see your next posts about it!!
    Everybody have a nice weekend
    Best regards from Spain 🙂

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