Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Resistance Training Without a Gym

When Marines are in the field it is important to continue to resistance train. However equipment such as weights, benches, and racks are not available. Marines can use equipment such as flak jackets, ammo can filled with dirt, and spare 7-ton tires to increase resistance. It is important to slowly and steadily increase the resistance used by the Marines so that they have time to adapt. An example would be week 1 Marines would wear boots and utilities for physical training. Week 2 Marines could wear boots, utilities, and flak jackets for physical training. Week 3 could incorporate 7-ton tires and filled ammo cans.

It is also important to take into consideration other training that is going on such as machine gun or lane training. This other training stresses the body as well. It is important not to over train your Marines. Over training causes a decrement in performance.


  1. Mr. Heard,

    Thanks for the post. Fitness in the field is something that often gets overlooked, especially with our tempo the past few years. You briefly hit on something though that is an extremely important thing for leaders to be aware of - risk of over training. One thing that should be considered while training Marines in the field is their diet. Most of the time, our nutrient intake while in the field is not sufficient enough for even our normal work routine, much less extra conditioning. It is important to try and get the Marines as much sustenance as possible if you are thinking about implementing a physical training regimen in addition to the already physical field routine. Resistance training and physical conditioning in that environment can produce losses rather than gains if the Marines do not have the calories and carbohydrates to sustain energy expenditure or rebuild broken down tissue. A few simple additions to a Marine's pack like nuts, fruit, and whole grain breads can give that extra boost to carb and even glycogen stores. That is a much better alternative than the standard Monster® and cigarette diet when fueling for exercise. Thanks again for the post, this is a really interesting topic that often get shoved to the wayside.

  2. Thanks for the reply. You bring up some great points.

    Over training is very important. Training is supposed to create stronger, faster Marines. If you do not allow Marines to rest and recover between training they could become over trained. One of the symptoms of over training is performance decrement. It is important to watch out for a decrease in performance. One way to see your your Marines are being over trained is to give them a few days off from physical training then have them run a PFT or CFT. If there is a decrease in scores from the last PFT or CFT then they might have been over trained.

    Nutrition is very important. If Marines are not getting enough carbohydrates, proteins, and fats then their body's will breakdown even further with training. It is important that commanders stress the importance of good nutrition and the harmful effects of cigarettes.

    Nutrition and physical training often get pushed to the side. These 2 things play a crucial role in combat performance.