When going on deployments it can be difficult to maintain physical fitness. As it turns out many soldiers use this opportunity to pack on some lbs and gorge themselves on pop tarts, monster energy drinks, MREs and just about every other crappy food that the US Military likes to provide America’s front line in hopes that they can maintain great physical shape. However, when done correctly deployments can be the perfect time to increase your physical fitness and come back looking better than ever.
While overseas there are several great resources available on the internet and from books that can give you ideas of workouts to try. Websites such as www.tacticalathleticperformance.com, www.stewsmith.com, and www.crossfitunbroken.com all have free workouts available for the general public and offer a wide variety of exercises all geared towards operational fitness.
When planning out your equipment list first look at the room available to store the equipment as this will drive what you can purchase with the funds available. It’s recommended to stick with equipment that is relatively light, packs easy and can work a large number of muscle groups at once. Things like a leg press machine or a bicep curl bench are probably not the best options.
Below are a list of versatile and functional pieces of gear that can pack easily into an ISU-90/60 or CONNEX for a deployment.
Having a pull-up bar is crucial for any type of fitness and can be used for a wide variety of exercises from weighted pull-ups to leg raises and kip-ups. Just about every Special Operations entity tests on pull-ups and operators should ensure they have something with them to keep them competitive. A good option for a pull-up bar is the Stud Pull Up Bar. This simple yet strong design allows operators to transport a pull-up bar with them via a connex or ISU. The Stud Pull-up Bar is made of welded 14 gauge steel and claims a 600lb max weight load for the Big Tuna Can Tonys out there. This versatile piece of equipment can be mounted to any sturdy ceiling or wall and taken down after the deployment of conquering and pillaging is over.
Because of the 1001+ exercises one Kettlebell can offer they make the perfect piece of deployment equipment. Kettlebells often require a little knowledge to really make them useful but the good news is there are a tons of videos online of people offering different workout plans and exercises. When ordering a kettlebell consider getting one of every common size (12kg, 16kg, 24kg 32kg) so you can maximize your workout. Most kettlebells come in POOD (a Russian weight measurement of 16kg/32lbs) sizes and range anywhere from 5lbs-70lbs depending on the vendor and range anywhere from $10-130.00+shipping.
The TRX trainer is one of the best pieces of operational equipment out there and can be taken just about anywhere. The entire system weighs 1.5lbs, packs up and fits into a it’s own stuff sack for ease of transportation on deployments or to those various schools that always seem to be placed in the armpits of the United States and nowhere close to a good workout facility. To use, this system requires a sturdy door or something to hang on… That’s it. And, the exercises available are truly endless and only limited to your imagination, or the imagination of the billions of blog posts and youtube videos already made for it.
Sandbag training is one of those often overlooked workout routines that will mildly get you winded. However when done properly sandbag training can greatly increase your strength and maybe even make you regret that pecan pie and 10 ripit energy drinks you had prior to working out. When empty, sandbags can weigh a few ounces and pack into a tight area for ease of transportation. To build one all you need is a traditional sandbag, lots of dirt (usually pretty easy to find) and a few rolls of 100mph tape. If you want to go a step up there are several other vendors that make their own sandbags and the quality and versatility varies based on the brand. One company, Brute Force Sandbags makes an excellent and durable product that is used by several special operations units already. Not to mention they donate a portion of their proceeds to The Wound Warrior Project.
Boxers, crossfiters and MMA fighters have known about the exercise benefits of jump ropes for years and they are only becoming more popular as an alternative endurance exercise. Jump ropes are easy to carry, light and fit even the most overstuffed overnight bag. Jump ropes are great for increasing agility, endurance and even strength depending on how you use them. While there are plenty of different jump rope company’s out there we suggest you skip the ones designed for playground use and go for a professional one made specifically for working out.
These little 10-20lb bundles of joy are great for abs, wall ball throws, ball slams and playing head the ball with your jundee counterparts. Medicine balls are easy to transport and can range anywhere from $70-200+ for the good ones.
Yes, you read that right, Kill Cliff. Invented by a Navy SEAL (of course), Kill Cliff is essential in the recovery process for post workouts as it is chalk full of B-vitamines and anti inflammatory properties. Plus it tastes a hell of a lot better than the local swill you will be drinking. This stuff is already being used by athletes and Special Operations units around the world and is a perfect supplement for the deployment. Kill Cliff also donates a portion of their proceeds to the Navy SEAL Foundation and other Special Operations Foundations. Oh and don’t forget to test positive for awesome after drinking it.
While most deploying units are required to wear their respective service’s PT uniform there are some lucky enough to rock what they want. If you want to get the most out of your workout make sure you buy something breathable, stretchable and moisture wicking. This is especially important if you are planning on crushing some serious workouts in the desert heat. 2Pood performance makes an excellent pair of workout shorts designed specifically for operation fitness. These shorts come in both mens and women’s and even camouflage for those mid patrol workouts.
Portuguese Army new Assault Rifle: SCAR-L in 5,56x45mm
On the 20th February 2019, FN Herstal was awarded a major contract for thousands of assault rifles, by NATO’s Support & Procurement Agency (NSPA) on behalf of the Portuguese Army. The contract is for the 5.56x45mm caliber FN SCAR L assault rifles. Included in this contrat, FN will also supply other guns, namely the FN40GL grenade launchers, MINIMI 5.56 and 7.62 Mk3 light and medium machine guns respectively, and the designated Marksman Rifle SCAR-H in 7,62x51mm.
The NSPA, is the main logistics and procurement agency of NATO and is able to handle and support procurement for member nations. NSPA described the contract as a ‘major milestone’ for the agency. The contract was signed by FN’s sales director and NSPA General Manager.
NSPA made a short statement:
“NSPA awarded today a contract to Belgium-based FN Herstal, one of the world’s leading designers and manufacturers of small caliber weapons. This is for the Agency a major contract to produce FN SCAR® assault rifles and FN MINIMI® machine guns as new standard issue weapons for the Portuguese Army’s.
The contract includes the manufacture and supply of 5.56mm and 7.62mm NATO caliber FN SCAR® assault rifles, FN40GL grenade launchers, MINIMI® 5.56 and 7.62 Mk3 Tactical light machine guns, and all related accessories.
The Portuguese Army’s standard issue service rifle is currently a Portuguese license produced variant of the Heckler & Koch G3, while the MG3 and HK21 are used in the General Purpose and Light Machine Gun purpose. The exact size of this new contract and its worth have not yet been announced, but In 2017, when the program was released, the acquisition called for 11 000 assault rifles in 5.56x45mm. The value of this weapons package procurement would be €42.8 million ($50.3 million).
This is a major acquisition for the Portuguese Army as the old G3 Battle Rifles are outdated, even in its class, and are obvious not adequate for the assault role. This purchase does not only manage to replace the G3 Battle rifle with one of the best current assault rifles, if not the best, but it will allow that the Portuguese Army to change the fire dynamics of it´s small units, increasing firepower and combat capabilities and being able to have more Hit probability on the enemy.
The Murph Challenge Workout
Special operations operators are well beyond professional athletes. SFO’s are in extreme physical conditions. they are prepared to react instantly, in defense of our county. One SFO stands out to me. Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy, Navy Seal. No, I never had the supreme honor of meeting the man, but I have read and followed every piece of information I could find on him. “Lt Murphy” became a Navy Seal in July 2002. After several if not numerous mission combating terrorism, Lt. Micheal P. Murphy was surrounded by Taliban soldiers, along with his three other Navy Seals.
“Murphy was killed on 28 June 2005 after he left his cover position and went to a clearing away from the mountains, exposing himself to a hail of gunfire in order to get a clear signal to contact headquarters for relaying the dire situation and requesting immediate support for his team. He dropped the satellite phone after being shot multiple times but picked the phone back up and finished the call. While being shot, he signed off saying- “Thank You”, then continued fighting from his exposed position until he died from his wounds.” Michael P. Murphy – Wikipedia
Lt. Murphy left behind a legacy of honor and fitness and preparedness that many strive to archive. Lt. Murphy called this workout Body Armour, after his death, the workout was renamed The Murph Challenge.
- A 1-mile run.
- Then 100 pull-ups.
- Then 200 pushups.
- Then 300 squats.
- And ANOTHER 1-mile run.
I’m not saying professional athletes couldn’t do it, but Lt Murphy did this for fun.
That being said, I once met an SFO, in Hampton, VA. He was in his late fifties and ran alongside our platoon one morning during pt. , We finished a five-mile run, and he turned to us, and said… that’s it? cmon let’s do it again. The Master Chief was about 6′1 looked like he weighed about 220. It wasn’t until afterward, When I asked him, what was his weight, and almost fell out learning he was 185.