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Barbell Logic

Mar 5, 2021

Matt talks to Marine Colonel Scott Conway about the physical demands of the United States Marine Corps and ground forces in general--those service members whose fight on land.

The Marine Corps have a philosophy--and way of training Marines--that involves the idea that every Marine is a Rifleman. Every service has a similar concept--when things go wrong, everyone must be able to react competently, regardless of their primary job in the military and their particular branch of service. 

Strength decreases rates of injury and benefits other physical attributes. Clearly, Soldiers, Marines, Special Operations Forces, and all ground forces need conditioning. A greater emphasis on strength, however, paired with conditioning--being “fit and strong”--would most benefit ground forces, preparing them for the rigors of combat and improving their readiness. 

Some misconceptions about strength training and aerobic endurance persist, despite evidence to the contrary. Strength training can build camaraderie while also providing the appropriate amount of stress for each service member. 

If service members run together in formation, the pace can only be as fast as the slowest person can run. If, however, a group of service members train together they can adjust the weights while building esprit de corps through shared hardship.

A key point of the podcast is when Matt asks Scott about what he would do differently for his physical readiness if he could go back to when he first started his career. Not only would he include strength training, he would have consulted a coach to help with form and programming. This, of course, comes from someone with a history of marathons and triathlons, who also dabbled in CrossFit.

Strength training not only benefited his physical performance, but limited everyday aches and pains and helped reduce overuse injuries that had plagued him. 

Really, Colonel Conway’s advice flies in the face of conventional wisdom. Strength training is healthy, not deleterious, to your joint. Strength training doesn’t make you too big or bulky or lessen your athleticism, but--with proper nutrition and conditioning--facilitates improved conditioning and aerobic endurance performance. 

The views expressed do not necessarily represent the Department of Defense or the US government.

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