Everything you know about tactical fitness is wrong. For the majority of the coaches and trainers reading this, this is true. There are a few guys in the game doing things the right way, and those that are seem to exist in the shadows. Outcasts from the community of bodyweight ninjas and kettle bell aficionados, there is a group of guys who are implementing sprinting, heavy lifting, and stamina based training.
Let's get this clarification out of the way. There is a fundamental difference between stamina and endurance. Endurance is defined as “the ability to continue or last, especially despite fatigue.” It is the ability to put one foot in front of the other, and there is no doubt that endurance certainly has its place in some circles. This is extremely apparent in any form of SOF Selection.
Stamina is defined as “Strength of physical constitution.” Words mean things, and stamina has strength at its forefront- meaning you must have strength in order to have stamina. In athletic capabilities, this means you can’t have true stamina without a basis of strength. This is the basis of our training, and although we can explain it in literary terms, it is deeply rooted in decades of experience. Hard lessons learned by the SOFLETE coaches in actual Special Operations experience. With backgrounds as SEAL’s, MARSOC Raiders, Green Beret’s, and Recon Marines (as well as instructors for Assessment and Selection, BRC, SQT, and SW), we know the physical demands of Selection processes as well as demands of an operational team. Possibly more important- we realize that preparing for a selection is an event specific training regimen and the physical necessities are different from when you are actually in a team.
“I want to be able to pick up the heaviest guy on my team and run with him.”
I was talking with a Major who had become a Green Beret before I graduated middle school, joined the military, or started chasing this thing called fitness. We were discussing fitness, and how the job unfortunately often led to not being able to workout enough due to time constraints and operational commitments. We were talking about different movements and training goals. He told me he cared less about his two mile run time. His focus was on his ability to save the lives of his men. Somehow, without knowing it he hit the nail on the head. Every time I hear somebody tell a guy in the military they see “no need to go that heavy” or they only need to have good conditioning and be able to move their own body, I cringe. Sure, a typical day in the military isn’t carrying your friends after they get shot and having to run with them. By the same token, a typical day in the military isn’t slinging lead with terrorists for twelve hours and having to speed reload your rifle because you’re burning it down so much. However, I offer this:
In every aspect of military training we prepare for the extremes, the worst case scenario, the unknown and the unplanned. We train for this because even if you do everything perfect- you can still die.
When is the last time you did a medical package and practiced how to give your buddy ibuprofen, and get some rest? In over a decade of combat we must have learned that failure does not occur in the mundane but rather the extremes. Just like walking a patrol, the majority of your work is pretty mundane - you’re walking wearing kit in the heat and that sucks. Injuries and failures do not occur during the majority of your steps, they occur in the mistakes, the anomalies, and the few seconds in time where you move into the extremes of your work. Jumping a wadi, tripping over a rock, sprinting to cover, diving into cover, and picking up something in an odd position are where injuries occur. It’s not in the perfect step on flat ground that you twist an ankle.
Now imagine you are of the train of thought that conditioning is all you need and the most weight you ever work with in the gym (a controlled environment) is your body weight, or an additional 100 or so pounds. If you weigh 200 pounds and you’re used to working with an additional 60lbs of kit and a 53lb kettlebell, the most weight you are used to working with or “conditioned” to work with is roughly 313 pounds in total - and this is in a controlled linear fashion. Imagine now you are in combat, again wearing 60lbs of kit, and you have to jump across a wadi to continue a patrol. The force exerted on your body is exponentially higher than 313 pounds. Even worse is the fact that these forces are hitting your body at a faster rate than you have ever prepared for. With true strength training, as well as training your ability to perform large amounts of work over and over again with short breaks, you bolster your ability to go through operational life uninjured.
“You do not rise to the occasion; rather you sink to your level of training.”
When you are asking or thinking “What is SOFLETE?”, this is the answer: We’re a team of rough men who understand our operational environment. We understand how the human body works, we understand its capabilities, and we understand how to increase those capabilities and human performance. We offer simple programming solutions to complex problems with an emphasis on strength, stamina, and rehabilitation. We afford our training team the ability to track their performance work loads to better enhance those attributes. Most importantly, we hate seeing lazy athletic trainers, especially if they are training our brothers in arms.