by Aaron Mehl, M.Ed, CSCS
The United States Army is fortunate to have some of the finest patriots serving in it that this country has to offer.
Modern soldiers are highly motivated, intelligent, technologically saavy, and getting smarter about their physical training every day.
Not much negative can be said, but there is always room for improvement when it comes to the physical training of tactical athletes. My current mission as a Army Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) is to educate as many soldiers as possible that:
MORE IS NOT ALWAYS BETTER
The Army has a long standing mentality that the more of something that can be performed, the better.
In a recent article written by legendary strength coach Buddy Morris (Cleveland Browns, University of Pittsburgh, 30+ years in the field), coach Morris states, perhaps better than anyone, that a person should;
“train as much as necessary in order for improvement, which is the intent in the first place. You never see an injury from undertraining but you see careers shortened from overtraining. You can solve undertraining and NO not by necessarily increasing training. Thats everyone’s first go to, ” they gotta train more and harder”…. Over time its the volume of work that gets you.”
This could not hold truer for soldiers.
Not many pro athletes are fortunate enough to spend anywhere near 20 years in their respective sports. Even if you include their years of playing in high school and before, they are lucky to see a decade.
A soldier is expected to be combat ready and fit to fight for almost 20 years of their life.
This is where overtraining and optimal programming become much more important for the longevity of tactical athletes compared to civilian athletes.
Coach Morris also goes on to say, “Don’t judge the training session on if they are sore or they are puking, this should not be considered a good training/ workout session. This is called ” maladaptation” to training or given a stimulus they were not ready for . It doesn’t take a genius to train someone to near death, it takes a thought process to enhance performance.”
Individualization of training is impossible due to the large number of soldiers at a given PT session, and a plethora of different ability groups in each company.
As it was stated above, it is much better to tailor the training so the less fit soldiers can adapt and improve without being injured.
It would be great if everyone could keep up with the top 10% of the PT studs, but again, better to undertrain the top 10% and have no injuries than overtrain the bottom 90% and make Uncle Sam “buy” broken 19 year old soldiers for life!
I'm not trying to bring awareness to any deficiencies in Army training, but to help spread the word that OPTIMAL training does not mean OVER training - More is not always better.
Are you undertraining or overtraining? Let us know what you think!
Special thanks to Buddy Morris, www.nyscenter.com and every service member out there!
We appreciate all of your sacrifices.
written by aaron mehl
Aaron Mehl is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). He currently works as a strength and conditioning specialist for the United States Army at Fort Lee, VA. Aaron has previous experience coaching athletes from elementary school to professional and everyone in between. Aaron has worked as a strength and conditioning coach for Virginia Commonwealth University, Liberty University Football, Longwood University, The Detroit Tigers Baseball Organization, and the New Mexico Prep Sports Academy.
Aaron can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Brian is annoyingly optimistic, madly in love with his wife, Valerie, unapologetically opinionated about veterans, religion and politics, tenaciously entrepreneurial, and interested in everything.