Military Athlete: Advanced Programming Course
Right outside of the amazing little town of Jackson, Wyoming there is a large blue warehouse standing on top of a small hill. This warehouse has the unique ability of turning men and women into elite outdoor athletes. It is the Strong, Swift, Durable facility, and inside are the men and women who act as the “brain center” for the various performance programs they offer there. They create programs for mountain athletes, military, fire and law enforcement and they even have a following of volunteer human “lab rats” that they test their training programs on before publishing.
Strong Swift Durable develops strength and conditioning which transfers to performance and durability on the mountain, battlefield, urban streets, and fire grounds.
All that matters is outside performance.
Rob Shaul is the founder and coach up at the Strong, Swift, Durable facility. He started Mountain Athlete in Jackson, WY in 2007, and founded Military Athlete in 2009. He then went on to create Law Enforcement Athlete and Fire Rescue Athlete. Rob has since worked with numerous professional athletes, military and special operations forces, and first responders.
Having a military background, I signed up and flew up to Jackson to attend the Military Athlete Advanced Programming Course. The 2-day long, theory-intensive seminar focused solely on program design and implementation. Attending the course were a mix of prior and active-duty military personnel representing every branch (officer and enlisted), CrossFit coaches and athletes, and all-around fitness enthusiasts, with one goal in mind… learning how to program for elite, hybrid athletes. The course description states-
This ability will extend beyond designing general physical fitness programs. You’ll learn how to get ‘mission specific’ with program design – for example, how to design a ‘sport specific,’ multi-week program which will train up an athlete to be able to attend a specific selection, prepare for a specific mission profile, or pass a PT test.
And we did just that. The primary focus for the 2 days was to program for the “tactical-athlete”. This meant going over Base Fitness and to then moving on to more Sport Specific training. Rob goes into great detail about his Cornerstones of Base Fitness and his specific Training Fundamentals. These set the stage for his Programming Fundamentals and Session Designs. All of which we learned, reviewed and then practiced. Cycle length and specific needs of the athlete (e.g. nutrition and injury) were also discussed.
After we, as a class, had a firm understanding of utilizing Rob’s programming for Base Fitness, we then moved on to Sport Specific or Activity-Specific programming. This can be used for anything, from competing in a Tough-Mudder to attending Ranger School. We designed, picked apart, and designed again, program after program. Situations were even written on the board and we were given a timeline to prepare the athlete for that event. Starting from a simple outline and then progressing to every detail that could possibly go into a training session. Rob even has a list of suggested lifts that have been proven to increase an athlete’s performance.
We even learned programming and session design in austere locations. This would have been awesome for me to have with my teams over in Iraq and Afghanistan. For anyone getting ready to go on a deployment, if it’s on a ship, in the jungle, or out in the desert somewhere, this is some must-have information.
Did I mention that after learning his programming for a couple hours, our lunch break started off with a training session using the same designs that we had just learned, and these workouts are tough! We learned a set of standards that Rob and his team have discovered over the years. We implemented these standards into our programs and we were held to the same standards during our workouts.
I think for anyone concerned with outside and/or tactical physical performance, this is a great course to attend to truly grasp how to program for the outdoor and tactical athlete. Whether it is for your own training routine or for training your athletes, I highly recommend this course.
Visit Strong, Swift, Durable or Military Athlete for more information.