A Salute To Our Troops (Part 2): The High Octane Soldier Routine!

Recently I met with John Bradford Layfield to discuss the importance of specific metabolic conditioning for U.S. soldiers. Here's the plan: includes dynamic warm-up, body-weight exercises and more! Read on.
Part 1 | Part 2

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A Salute To Our US Troops
Part II: The High Octane Soldier Routine!
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It is my pleasure to introduce one of the WWE's greatest athletes and biggest supporters of our Unites States soldiers, John Bradshaw Layfield. John has been an athlete most of his life; as a standout football player at Abilene Christian University and in the National Football League where he competed for the Oakland Raiders.

John's superior conditioning and intense training protocols elevated him to heights of athletic stardom and allowed him to re-enter the ring after a near career-ending neck injury. That is why for this article: "The High Octane Soldier Routine", John Bradshaw Layfield was the perfect athlete to call upon.

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The High Octane Soldier Routine
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Long-distance running is one of the most-practiced regimens for the training of the elite U.S. soldier. Even though I am a strong proponent of this practice, I would like to introduce the soldier to a more strategically designed performance enhancement routine called Specific Metabolic Conditioning (SMC).

The premise behind SMC lies on the concept of dynamic exercises and protocols specifically designed to the athletic activity. For example, an olympic sprinter would not train for the 400-meter event with slow-concentrated movements. The athlete would train explosively with the intention or the theory that fast and powerful training movements are what best replicate the actual race.

To properly prepare the U.S. soldier specifically for combat, it is imperative that we first look at the physiological requirements of combat, or in strength and conditioning terms: known as the Soldier's Need Analysis. For example: What is the work-to-rest ratio? (Time moving and time resting).

Since we cannot specifically indicate what the exact perimeters will be, we will implement a Work-to-Rest ratio similar to that of a competitive professional wrestler.

Next: What are the distances the soldier will cover per day? What kinds of equipment (or the total weight) will be carried? What kinds of body positions; or the biomechanics of the soldier? How much strength and what type of strength will be needed?

This basically summarizes the Soldier's Need Analysis and will allow the soldier's drill instructor, or strength and conditioning trainer to plan the proper fitness program for combat.

When studying the athletic field of the soldier, it is imperative to recognize that the soldier's work is near maximal and intermittant in nature, and/or the action deals with bouts of movement lasting less than 5-to-7 seconds. The work is then followed by approximately 15-to-30 seconds of recovery work.

This work-to-rest ratio of approximately 1:4 can last anywhere from 2-to-5 minutes and is usually followed by some kind of rest period that can last 30-seconds-to-2-minutes. The soldier in this scenario covers distances less than 15-20 meters and is littered with series of changes in direction and intensity.

This does not sound or appear to be anything like a long-distance run, but more like a professional wrestler making their way through a grueling workout.

That is why it is imperative for soldiers to prepare themselves for combat and not a long-distance race. Below, the soldier will find a series of ten (10) dynamic warm-up drills that will aid in the development of motor skills, specific combat biomechanics and superior cardiovascular condition.

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The dynamic warm-up is designed to tax the body, prior to the actual workout. These quick bursts of action require immediate fuel, and thus can't rely on aerobic metabolism to provide the high rate of energy demand. Short, high-intensity dynamic warm-up drills require the ability to quickly restore immediate energy supplies so another burst can be performed.

In some instances when high energy is required for about a minute, lactic acid must be buffered, removed and used for energy. If lactic acid production becomes excessive, it will shut down muscle contraction and you will impede the action from being performed.

What Is Lactic Acid?
Lactic acid is a chemical compound that plays a role in several biochemical processes. It was first isolated in 1780 by a Swedish chemist, Carl Wilhelm Scheele. In animals, L-lactate is constantly produced from pyruvate via the enzyme lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) in a process of fermentation during normal metabolism and exercise.

Both the ability to quickly recharge the immediate energy stores within the muscle and the ability to buffer lactic acid are not improved significantly by slow long-distance running. The soldier should attempt to create a somewhat identical setting, specific to that of combat.

That is why we implemented an intense explosive dynamic warm-up routine with limited rest/recovery in order to meet the physical and mental demands of combat.

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Dynamic Warm-up
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1. In-Place Military Squats:
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    Have the soldier perform 25 squats. Place the hands the head, while interlocking the fingers. Have the body drop to a full 90-degree squat. Repeat.

In-Place Military Squats In-Place Military Squats
+ Click To Enlarge.
In-Place Military Squats.
Video: WMV - iPod Video

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2. Walking Backward Lunges:
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    Place hands on hips and proceed backward into lunge position. Be sure to alternate legs and keep the body moving at a moderate pace for a total of 25 yards. At the end of the 25 yards, turn around and repeat.

Walking Backward Lunges Walking Backward Lunges
+ Click To Enlarge.
Walking Backward Lunges.
Video: WMV - iPod Video

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3. In-Place Single Leg Squats:
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    Have the soldier perform 25 squats on each leg. Place the hands on the hips, while having the supporting leg directly under the hip and the floating leg placed in a flexed high knee position.

In-Place Single Leg Squats In-Place Single Leg Squats
+ Click To Enlarge.
In-Place Single Leg Squats.
Video: WMV - iPod Video

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4. Soldier Glides:
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    Proceed directly from the single leg squat position and sink the body into a speed racing stance: with the supporting leg bent to approximately 90 degrees, while the floating leg positioned behind the supporting leg and slightly bent.

    The arms will replicate a speed skater with the one arm positioned bent across the face and the other slightly bent and to the side of the body. Be sure that the arm positioned in front of the soldier's face is opposite of the supporting leg: supporting leg: right. Then, arm is left.

    After the soldier settles into the stance, he/she will bound as far as possible laterally switching supporting legs and arm positions. The soldier will perform 2 sets of 30 Bounds.

Soldier Glides Soldier Glides Soldier Glides
+ Click To Enlarge.
Soldier Glides.
Video: WMV - iPod Video

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5. Soldier Skips:
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    Regressing back to the days of childhood, the soldier will skip as high as possible with the drive arm and knee propelling the body vertically. The soldier will perform as many skips as possible in 25 yards. Turn back and repeat. Be sure to skip for height, not distance.

Soldier Skips Soldier Skips
+ Click To Enlarge.
Soldier Skips.
Video: WMV - iPod Video

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6. Soldier Side Shuffles:
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    Starting in a slight bent knee stance, laterally shuffle as fast as possible for 20 yards. Have the soldier face the same direction and shuffle back.

Soldier Side Shuffles Soldier Side Shuffles
+ Click To Enlarge.
Soldier Side Shuffles.
Video: WMV - iPod Video

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7. Soldier Lateral Hops:
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    Standing in an erect position, have the soldier place his/her feet together with hands holding the hips. Then in an explosive manner, jump as far as possible to the left. As soon as the soldier makes contact with the ground, he/she will bound as far as possible to the right. Repeat for a total of 100 contacts.

Soldier Lateral Hops Soldier Lateral Hops
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Soldier Lateral Hops.
Video: WMV - iPod Video

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8. Soldier Crawls:
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    Starting a military style push-up, the soldier will simultaneously extend out his/her right arm and leg. At point of ground contact, the soldier will draw in his/her left arm and leg pulling them back under the left shoulder and hip joints. The soldier will proceed 25 yards and quickly digress back to his/her starting position.

Soldier Crawls
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Soldier Crawls.
Video: WMV - iPod Video

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9. Backward Sprints:
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    The soldier will sprint 25 yards as quickly as possible. Rest, 15-30 seconds. Then sprint backward, return to starting point. Perform 4 sets.

Backward Sprints Backward Sprints
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Backward Sprints.
Video: WMV - iPod Video

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10. Breaking The Plane:
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    The soldier will start in an upright position. Then in one single explosive manner, the soldier will jump backward as fast as possible. As soon ground contact is made, the soldier will sprint at sub-maximal speed for 25 yards. Rest, 15-30 seconds. Perform 4 sets.

Breaking The Plane Breaking The Plane Breaking The Plane
+ Click To Enlarge.
Breaking The Plane.
Video: WMV - iPod Video

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John Bradshaw Layfield
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Someone who knows a great deal about Specific Metabolic Conditioning in combat training is WWE's John Bradshaw Layfield. Bradshaw has been utilizing the techniques of SMC combat conditioning since his early days in the National Football League and to this day still follows its theory.

John Bradshaw Layfield
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Bradshaw Has Been Utilizing The Techniques Of SMC Combat Conditioning
Since His Early Days In The National Football League.

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arrow John Speaks:
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    The single most important thing to combat, fighting or sports, is Specific Metabolic Conditioning training. As an athlete there is a chance that you will get injured when you are tired, or worse: knocked out! So developing specific protocols designed to enhance not only the athlete's physical conditioning to their event, but in a sense ignite a greater internal toughness that will allow the athlete to remain relaxed when presented with a high-pressure situation is what will separate life from death in any arena.

    The times I have been hurt in my life was due to lack of Specific Metabolic Conditioning. You can't always control rest but you can control your conditioning. Having played football for 14 years and wrestled for 17 years, I have seen my share of weight training and BS that is out there.

    Very simple, to get ready for combat train for battle. Train big muscle groups with compound movements. Squats, cleans, dips, deadlifts, rows, and shoulder presses are what you need, forget this isolation movements - get your body and mind in shape.

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    These trainers who have their ridiculous balls and useless isolation curls are doing their clients a favor, they are helping them feel like they are doing something and expending no real energy.

    There are no shortcuts, train heavy, train hard and train with movements that specifically replicate the levels of energy expelled and recovery that would simulate your action on the playing field, in the ring, or to my fellow Americans overseas fighting for our freedom: doing what it takes to be a United States soldier.

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Body-Weight Specific Combat Training Exercises
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1. 2-Minute Military Style Push-ups:
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    Perform as many Push-ups in a 2-Minute time frame.

2-Minute Military Style Push-ups
+ Click To Enlarge.
2-Minute Military Style Push-ups.
Video: WMV - iPod Video

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2. Frog Hops:
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    Have the soldier stand in a wider-than-shoulder-width stance. Then, in an explosive manner jump as far forward as possible for 10 consecutive hops. Perform 4-6 sets of 10 jumps. (Rest 45-60 seconds between each set).

Frog Hops Frog Hops Frog Hops
+ Click To Enlarge.
Frog Hops.
Video: WMV - iPod Video

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3. Duck Walks:
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    Have the soldier squat down in a rock-bottom-squat stance and begin walking forward. Perform 8-10 sets of 25-50 yards. (Rest period is 45-60 seconds between sets).

Duck Walks Duck Walks
+ Click To Enlarge.
Duck Walks.
Video: WMV - iPod Video

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In-Gym Exercises
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1. Cleans:
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    One of the most highly regarded "Sports Performance" lifts of all time.


+ Click To Enlarge.
Cleans.
Video: Windows Media - MPEG - Video iPod

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2. Squats:
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    Try placing a flat bench in-between your stance and pause on the bench, before you drive upward into the concentric phase of the lift.


+ Click To Enlarge.
Squats.
Video: Windows Media

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3. Deadlifts:
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    The "Key" lift to building optimal strength throughout the Kinetic Chain.


+ Click To Enlarge.
Deadlifts.
Video: Windows Media

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4. Weighted or Non-Weighted Chin-Ups:
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    An overall great upper body exercise.


+ Click To Enlarge.
Weighted Or Non-Weighted Chin-Ups.
Video: Windows Media - MPEG - Video iPod

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Nutritional Advice
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Gerard Dente, guest fitness expert and President of Maximum Human Performance, states that all soldiers should finish their workouts with proper nutrition to maximize muscle growth and recovery.

Consuming whey protein with carbs is good. But, for even better results try MHP's Dark Matter, this specially formulated post workout drink is designed to deliver free form amino acids, amino acid peptides, waxy maize (a preferred carbohydrate) and creatine for quick absorption to maximize the critical 1 hour post-workout "anabolic window."

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Conclusion
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See you all next month, when we bring you World Renowned Performer DJ Whoo Kid, of G-Unit as he shares his fitness advice and provides a shoot to the Troops.

Part 1 | Part 2