WHY PHYSICAL FITNESS?
From a military perspectiv, physical fitness is a part of a soldiers lethality. Therefore every army around the world uses to have its own physical fitness standards. While not all are exactly the same, there are striking simililarities even outside western armies. Being enduring, dexter, fast and strong is not only an asset. It is an enabler. We all know those pics of guys running around in the latest gear, with a 4000$ AR build but “rocking” a degree of obesity that wont let them go anywhere with their kit. Every responsible civilian needs to be lethal, therefore he needs to be fit and touch a certain baseline.
But how do we define being physically fit? What do we need to be lethal? What is the point where we are physically overready? Generall there are four pillars of Physical Fitness.
THE FOUR PILLARS IN DETAIL
Speed is our ability to apply a maximum amount of force in a short period of time. This is largely based on your neuromuscular connection. You can have huge amounts of quality muscle and still be slow. Every gram of muscle you gain needs to be able being “fired” in seconds. The fibres that gain speed are white muscle fibres, their energy is provided by adenosine triphosphate and simple carbs, all that energy is burnt in an anaerobic process, without any oxygen. Why is speed important? Sprints from cover to cover, fast approaches, jumping over an obstacle, throwing a punch or even drawing your pistol -all those tasks require speed. Its nice that you can hike 30km! But how fast can you pass 50m?
“You cant benchpress your way out of a burning building” YES! But you also cant squat or deadlift your way out of one! Now maximum strength isnt the most vital asset in tactical applications. But you need a baseline for strength. Thats why many armies did adopt deadlifts as a measurement tool for strength into their fitness tests. Picking up a buddy or heavy weapons requires strength. Strength training will also lead to hypertrophy and encourages the growth of white muscle fibres. You can always turn your white (strength/speed) muscle fibres into red ones (endurance) any time. But doing vice versa is almost impossible. Thats why many great endurance focused atheletes lack strength even if they start lifting at some point. Keep building those white fibres and more important: stimulate and keep them.
Endurance is not only your ability to run long distances, it is your ability to perform more reps of one exeercise and keep muscle tension for prolonged times. Endurance training builds red muscle fibres, It is very important for tactical and especially military applications. Holding up your rifle for a long time, marching, rucking, running. Now the problem is that large amounts of endurance training obliterates your speed and strength. Cardio overkill is a problem of many armies.
Now this one is the most overlooked aspect of the four columns. You can have strong arms and legs, but bad motorics will never make your proefficient in utilizing them. You consider yourself fit but have problems jumping over an onstacle or throwing a grenade? You suffer from bad motorics. People with good motorics are able to make better use of their speed, strength and endurance. There is a reason why certain units did introduce a motorics test to their selection provess. People with bad fine- or ven worse grossmotorics simply dont perform. They want to, but they arent in actual control of their body.
, Now this sounds like you have to train every day. You dont have to! Getting a good baseline doesnt requires you to do self punishing “Hero WODs” on a daily basis. Good training isnt about giving 110% every day (which is also impossible as you can only give 100%, sorry CrossFitters), go for achievable training goals, that are also sustainable. People who do like 50 push ups every morning, do some team sports or martial arts twice a week already did stuff for their strength, endurance and more importantely their motorics! Add a day in the gym and a run once a weak and you are on a good way towards performance. The current fitness industry just sells us false idols that are genetic (or pharmaceutic) exceptions. The majority of us wont get anything out of an endless loop of high intensity workouts.
BEING GOOD is closer to excellence than trying to be the best.
The following exercises will provide you a small baseline for what is a good fitness level. Try to master them. If you achieve them, keep your best to maintain this level of physical fitness.
Being “good” is worth it.
This isnt the hardest physical fitness test ever invented , but also not the easiest. All in all everyone without a diease or disability should be able to make it. Every discipline reflects at least one of the four pillars. Some of them even combine them. Challenges are always a great way to find abilities you should train. You are good in benchpressing and deadlifting, but you dont manage to lift something over your head? You are propably lacking understanding of technique and motorics. Knowing your weaknesses is as important as knowing your strengths.