Author Topic: Study on training injuries reveals patterns among recruits and officer cadets  (Read 7248 times)

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Offline dapaterson

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I think I'd like it if we had what the British army still has and our own pt instructor trade.

In the mid 90s we chose musicians over fitness instructors as a continued military trade...
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Offline dapaterson

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Or one who plays some sport...    ;)

Like "I'm from Newfoundland and I play hockey"?
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Offline garb811

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In the mid 90s we chose musicians over fitness instructors as a continued military trade...
Are you actually implying that we should have kept a support trade that had no war-fighting role, at all?  :Tin-Foil-Hat:

While there were some awesome PERIs, there were also more than a few who believed the only reason for the trade was so they could partake of a better sports scholarship than hockey players in a Bn.

Offline Brihard

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A pretty decent article on US army fitness by Mark Rippetoe, the author of Starting Strength:

https://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/heavier-kit-stronger-soldiers/?fbclid=IwAR0xUr4P16AWoDxIefBguwNw2CY4RlA6DF4VdcKA9e_j2LJzTX6HMjlCSrI

Heavier Kit? Stronger Soldiers!
BY MARK RIPPETOE DECEMBER 31, 2018

An article last week in Popular Mechanics lamented the fact that today's soldiers are being asked to carry ever-heavier loads of squad and personal equipment, even as advances in battlefield technology continue apace with modern warfare. Our friend Glenn Reynolds thought I might have something to say about this, and amazingly enough I do.

It seems odd to me that an entire article could be written about how heavier-than-ever kit must be carried by combat infantry without once using the word "stronger." The actual weight of the components of battlefield munitions is examined in excruciating detail, from batteries to bullets, from body armor to water, from communications to medical gear, as are the efforts to minimize its weight through technology. Strategies to help soldiers carry increasing loads were listed -- track vehicle "mules," motorized exoskeletons, and various robotic options are discussed, but by the end of the piece no plans for dealing with the problem had been announced. It was observed that "[a] soldier carries 100 pounds of the lightest kit imaginable."

The fundamental problem here is quite simple, as is its solution: Soldiers are not strong enough to carry a heavier kit, and as long as military physical training remains rooted in pushups, situps, and running, PT will be inadequate to the task of producing a stronger soldier. The solution is to address basic training from a strength approach and to leave subsequent conditioning to the discretion of the company command team based on the needs of their unit's assignment. Essentially all of it now is conditioning, with no barbell strength requirement in place at the basic training level.

To be sure, the Army seems to understand that it should address this problem. But their response has been typical of a military bureaucracy: leave 90% in place and take the lowest bid on the 10% that gets the chop. My suggestion is quite radical, highly effective, quite inexpensive, immediately productive, easily implemented, safer than endurance-based training, and as a result will never even be considered. I'll share it with you.

The vast majority of military recruits are young men. These people are plagued with poisonous levels of natural testosterone. Instead of running them into the ground, let's make them stronger by implementing a correctly designed and performed barbell-based strength program as the primary PT modality for basic training.

It is perfectly normal to take an 18-year-old kid from no deadlift at all to 400 pounds in six months, with comparable increases in all the other strength indices. This will be accompanied by an increase in useful muscle mass of anywhere from 20 to 30 pounds. I have done it professionally for 40 years, and it is not complicated if you understand the simple accumulative effect of adding five pounds to an exercise performed three days per week. If you have absolute control over the training and dietary environment of an 18-year-old kid -- as you do in basic training -- there is absolutely no reason why every male in the military cannot become at least two or three times as strong as they are under the current paradigm.

Barbells are very cheap. They don't use a lot of space. They are far more portable than exercise machines. Each barbell has multiple functions -- they are not single-purpose devices. They are easy to learn how to use, and they are relatively easy to learn how to coach. They are quite a bit safer to use if properly implemented. Stress fractures are quite common among runners and virtually unheard of in barbell training, and in the military they are the equivalent of low-back pain in the general population. The DoD spends about $500 million per year on musculoskeletal injuries, about 80% of which are overuse injuries like stress fractures. The hilarious thing is that strength training specifically prevents these types of injuries, even though the conventional wisdom holds that it is dangerous.

Conditioning develops very quickly, whereas strength takes time. Moving two miles with a 100-pound kit is a strength performance in that each step is a submaximal display of strength. It should be obvious that a 400-pound deadlift translates into a much easier two-mile transit than a 200-pound deadlift would enable. Since conditioning comes on quickly (ever hear of two-a-days?), if we need to train for it within a short time frame we can. Strength takes longer, but it lasts longer once it's acquired, and so it should be prioritized since it enables ground combat personnel to function more effectively.

Modern soldiers are not runners, or even walkers anymore. Mechanization has taken the place of the 20-mile march. But it is very important to understand that a strength-trained 18-year-old kid can still run quite effectively without wasting time by running as PT. You all know a strong kid who can run anyway. He can run accidentally. He doesn't need to waste time running when he can be training for the much more useful capacity of strength.

If Heavy is the problem, Strong is the solution. And you don't get strong while running. We are wasting the strength potential of every man in the service by misunderstanding the nature of this problem. It can be addressed by the systematic application of the correct PT. Unfortunately, I'm not in charge.
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Offline Infanteer

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I'm a big believer is barbell-based strength training as a core of any physical training regime.  It is simple (you only need to master a half-dozen movements), it's flexible, its progressive, and it produces results.  In the military, it is something that can be done collectively.

I think one of the problems is that using barbells doesn't convey the same image as what Rippetoe has labelled "conditioning."  If I run a platoon through barbell training, their muscles are sore, but they aren't panting and sweating as much as if they went out for a 5km run.  That can be perceived by some as "lazy."
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Offline Humphrey Bogart

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A pretty decent article on US army fitness by Mark Rippetoe, the author of Starting Strength:

https://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/heavier-kit-stronger-soldiers/?fbclid=IwAR0xUr4P16AWoDxIefBguwNw2CY4RlA6DF4VdcKA9e_j2LJzTX6HMjlCSrI

Heavier Kit? Stronger Soldiers!
BY MARK RIPPETOE DECEMBER 31, 2018

An article last week in Popular Mechanics lamented the fact that today's soldiers are being asked to carry ever-heavier loads of squad and personal equipment, even as advances in battlefield technology continue apace with modern warfare. Our friend Glenn Reynolds thought I might have something to say about this, and amazingly enough I do.

It seems odd to me that an entire article could be written about how heavier-than-ever kit must be carried by combat infantry without once using the word "stronger." The actual weight of the components of battlefield munitions is examined in excruciating detail, from batteries to bullets, from body armor to water, from communications to medical gear, as are the efforts to minimize its weight through technology. Strategies to help soldiers carry increasing loads were listed -- track vehicle "mules," motorized exoskeletons, and various robotic options are discussed, but by the end of the piece no plans for dealing with the problem had been announced. It was observed that "[a] soldier carries 100 pounds of the lightest kit imaginable."

The fundamental problem here is quite simple, as is its solution: Soldiers are not strong enough to carry a heavier kit, and as long as military physical training remains rooted in pushups, situps, and running, PT will be inadequate to the task of producing a stronger soldier. The solution is to address basic training from a strength approach and to leave subsequent conditioning to the discretion of the company command team based on the needs of their unit's assignment. Essentially all of it now is conditioning, with no barbell strength requirement in place at the basic training level.

To be sure, the Army seems to understand that it should address this problem. But their response has been typical of a military bureaucracy: leave 90% in place and take the lowest bid on the 10% that gets the chop. My suggestion is quite radical, highly effective, quite inexpensive, immediately productive, easily implemented, safer than endurance-based training, and as a result will never even be considered. I'll share it with you.

The vast majority of military recruits are young men. These people are plagued with poisonous levels of natural testosterone. Instead of running them into the ground, let's make them stronger by implementing a correctly designed and performed barbell-based strength program as the primary PT modality for basic training.

It is perfectly normal to take an 18-year-old kid from no deadlift at all to 400 pounds in six months, with comparable increases in all the other strength indices. This will be accompanied by an increase in useful muscle mass of anywhere from 20 to 30 pounds. I have done it professionally for 40 years, and it is not complicated if you understand the simple accumulative effect of adding five pounds to an exercise performed three days per week. If you have absolute control over the training and dietary environment of an 18-year-old kid -- as you do in basic training -- there is absolutely no reason why every male in the military cannot become at least two or three times as strong as they are under the current paradigm.

Barbells are very cheap. They don't use a lot of space. They are far more portable than exercise machines. Each barbell has multiple functions -- they are not single-purpose devices. They are easy to learn how to use, and they are relatively easy to learn how to coach. They are quite a bit safer to use if properly implemented. Stress fractures are quite common among runners and virtually unheard of in barbell training, and in the military they are the equivalent of low-back pain in the general population. The DoD spends about $500 million per year on musculoskeletal injuries, about 80% of which are overuse injuries like stress fractures. The hilarious thing is that strength training specifically prevents these types of injuries, even though the conventional wisdom holds that it is dangerous.

Conditioning develops very quickly, whereas strength takes time. Moving two miles with a 100-pound kit is a strength performance in that each step is a submaximal display of strength. It should be obvious that a 400-pound deadlift translates into a much easier two-mile transit than a 200-pound deadlift would enable. Since conditioning comes on quickly (ever hear of two-a-days?), if we need to train for it within a short time frame we can. Strength takes longer, but it lasts longer once it's acquired, and so it should be prioritized since it enables ground combat personnel to function more effectively.

Modern soldiers are not runners, or even walkers anymore. Mechanization has taken the place of the 20-mile march. But it is very important to understand that a strength-trained 18-year-old kid can still run quite effectively without wasting time by running as PT. You all know a strong kid who can run anyway. He can run accidentally. He doesn't need to waste time running when he can be training for the much more useful capacity of strength.

If Heavy is the problem, Strong is the solution. And you don't get strong while running. We are wasting the strength potential of every man in the service by misunderstanding the nature of this problem. It can be addressed by the systematic application of the correct PT. Unfortunately, I'm not in charge.

Hit the nail on the head.  Conditioning is so easy it should be the last thing a soldier focuses on.  More important is strength, speed & agility and flexibility.

The problem is these things are hard to coach and require time and proper planning to get right.   

A proper strength training program needs a minimum of 90min (120 min is better) to complete correctly with adequate rest built in between sets.

The military would need to drastically change it's philosophy on unit PT and the entire CAF would need a radical culture change for this to be implemented properly.

The only place I've even seen this sort of thing in the CAF are at Light Bns and Special Units. 

When I was at a Bn, I worked out for a minimum of 2hrs everyday.  A mix of powerlifting, boxing and circuit training with tires, jerry cans, sandbags and sledgehammers. This was only possible because my former CO (who is now retired) was a huge proponent of physical fitness and mandated that fitness was to be done until 10 o'clock every day by everyone (including himself) no exceptions.





Offline Humphrey Bogart

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I'm a big believer is barbell-based strength training as a core of any physical training regime.  It is simple (you only need to master a half-dozen movements), it's flexible, its progressive, and it produces results.  In the military, it is something that can be done collectively.

I think one of the problems is that using barbells doesn't convey the same image as what Rippetoe has labelled "conditioning."  If I run a platoon through barbell training, their muscles are sore, but they aren't panting and sweating as much as if they went out for a 5km run.  That can be perceived by some as "lazy."

Put 4x45lb plates on a prowler and have those "runners" push them a 100m 10x and then see if they still think it's "lazy".

Offline Quirky

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Maybe it's time to transition basic training into it's own respective elements, have Army instructors run Army candidates, Air Force for Air Force etc etc. What good is it having RCAF and RCN recruits train like the Army - scale obstacle courses and endlessly walk with ruck sacks. The Army already does a great job of destroying the body of a soldier, I see re-musters every year with guys in their late 20s to mid 30s who have shoulder, hip, back, knee problems that will likely translate to VAC claims. Do we really need to train everyone the same, even in basic training, considering how drastically different deployments and careers will be for the three elements?







Offline PuckChaser

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Most of the rucking is gone from BMQ. Maybe instead of splitting the services back up, we put an emphasis back on fitness and healthy lifestyle?

Yeah, the Army breaks people physically. The RCAF breaks people financially (Cold Lake) and the RCN breaks people mentally (constant deployments if you're sea fit). Pick your poison. :facepalm:

Offline Humphrey Bogart

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Most of the rucking is gone from BMQ. Maybe instead of splitting the services back up, we put an emphasis back on fitness and healthy lifestyle?

Yeah, the Army breaks people physically. The RCAF breaks people financially (Cold Lake) and the RCN breaks people mentally (constant deployments if you're sea fit). Pick your poison. :facepalm:

Fitness and Healthy Lifestyle.  Wouldn't that be just Grand?

We could easily do it if we wanted to, there is zero will to change; however.


Offline daftandbarmy

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Maybe it's time to transition basic training into it's own respective elements, have Army instructors run Army candidates, Air Force for Air Force etc etc. What good is it having RCAF and RCN recruits train like the Army - scale obstacle courses and endlessly walk with ruck sacks. The Army already does a great job of destroying the body of a soldier, I see re-musters every year with guys in their late 20s to mid 30s who have shoulder, hip, back, knee problems that will likely translate to VAC claims. Do we really need to train everyone the same, even in basic training, considering how drastically different deployments and careers will be for the three elements?

Good idea.

IIRC that the FORCE Fit test is a reasonable requirement for everyone. Beyond that, it's probably important to tailor our fitness training approaches more specifically to each arm and service.

I can't believe that it's outside the realms of the reasonably possible, given that we already have a well developed system of tailoring other kinds of training accordingly.
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Funny that we live in a country where everyone is categorized, sub-categorized, and hyphenated into ever shrinking special interest groups, but the idea of soldiers training soldiers, sailors training sailors, and airpersons training airpersons is horrifying.
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Offline cld617

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I think one of the problems is that using barbells doesn't convey the same image as what Rippetoe has labelled "conditioning."  If I run a platoon through barbell training, their muscles are sore, but they aren't panting and sweating as much as if they went out for a 5km run.  That can be perceived by some as "lazy."

Which is exactly why physical training needs to be stripped from unqualified pers to teach, beyond administering a strictly controlled regime written by a professional.

Offline Oldgateboatdriver

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I have no doubt that fitness and healthy lifestyle should form part of our basic training, as much as it ought to be taught in High School across the country, but mostly is not. And that is not "element" specific: it applies to all three elements just the same.

This said, there is no denying that the Army, as a rule, requires a higher level of strength and endurance than the other two elements and that as a result, physical fitness (including strength training) forms a greater proportion of their use of time. Those are not valid reasons for splitting basic into elements, however.

Nevertheless, I do agree that we are at a point where basic should be re-split from "training command" and back to each element, for the following reasons:

1- at least two "elements" feel that before they can employ personnel coming out of basic, they have to be taught further basic knowledge required of the element. I say at least two because I don't know if the RCAF has the equivalent of the Army's BMQ-L or the RCN's NETP. Would it no be easier for these two elements to simply incorporate the BMQ and their own first phase into a single whole taught in one - slightly longer -shot?

2- Splitting the courses would make it possible to carry out such courses at "elemental" bases - the RCN in Esquimalt and the Army at one or two Army bases around, the RCAF perhaps at Trenton? This way, with instructors readily available without a need for postings involving moving, a larger number of recruits could probably be trained faster - and training scaled up or down easily as the need arises without the bottleneck that is St-Jean when increases in numbers are required quickly.

3- Finally, with the current concept of the Army, RCN and RCAF acting as the official Force Generators in their respective element, what is the point of making them responsible for all of a member's training, except the very first step? Shouldn't they have control over the totality of the training of the personnel under their element?

Offline PMedMoe

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Are you actually implying that we should have kept a support trade that had no war-fighting role, at all?  :Tin-Foil-Hat:

And our musicians do....what?  Now, I'm not referring to some Infanteer or Construction Engineer who also happens to play bagpipes; I'm talking about someone in the CF whose trade is Musician.

At the very least, the PERIs could have done the welfare/morale positions on tour without us having to bring in PSP.
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Offline garb811

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And our musicians do....what?  Now, I'm not referring to some Infanteer or Construction Engineer who also happens to play bagpipes; I'm talking about someone in the CF whose trade is Musician.

At the very least, the PERIs could have done the welfare/morale positions on tour without us having to bring in PSP.
:off topic: I'm not really sure how you're extrapolating that I'm somehow advocating that retaining musicians was a sound choice; it wasn't a one or the other proposition anyway.

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:off topic: I'm not really sure how you're extrapolating that I'm somehow advocating that retaining musicians was a sound choice; it wasn't a one or the other proposition anyway.

K.  My bad. 
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Yeah, the Army breaks people physically. The RCAF breaks people financially (Cold Lake) and the RCN breaks people mentally (constant deployments if you're sea fit). Pick your poison. :facepalm:

Sadly, Cold Lake is but one of the places that you might get broken financially.  I'm not sure how Pte/Cpls fresh out of course afford it in Comox (Qs are on a waiting list and no PLD) or Victoria.

But I digress.
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Offline Navy_Pete

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I have no doubt that fitness and healthy lifestyle should form part of our basic training, as much as it ought to be taught in High School across the country, but mostly is not. And that is not "element" specific: it applies to all three elements just the same.

This said, there is no denying that the Army, as a rule, requires a higher level of strength and endurance than the other two elements and that as a result, physical fitness (including strength training) forms a greater proportion of their use of time. Those are not valid reasons for splitting basic into elements, however.

Nevertheless, I do agree that we are at a point where basic should be re-split from "training command" and back to each element, for the following reasons:

1- at least two "elements" feel that before they can employ personnel coming out of basic, they have to be taught further basic knowledge required of the element. I say at least two because I don't know if the RCAF has the equivalent of the Army's BMQ-L or the RCN's NETP. Would it no be easier for these two elements to simply incorporate the BMQ and their own first phase into a single whole taught in one - slightly longer -shot?

2- Splitting the courses would make it possible to carry out such courses at "elemental" bases - the RCN in Esquimalt and the Army at one or two Army bases around, the RCAF perhaps at Trenton? This way, with instructors readily available without a need for postings involving moving, a larger number of recruits could probably be trained faster - and training scaled up or down easily as the need arises without the bottleneck that is St-Jean when increases in numbers are required quickly.

3- Finally, with the current concept of the Army, RCN and RCAF acting as the official Force Generators in their respective element, what is the point of making them responsible for all of a member's training, except the very first step? Shouldn't they have control over the totality of the training of the personnel under their element?

They did a bit of it when I went through basic about 14 years ago, but would be nice if there was a lot more dedicated time in learning how to properly do some basic weight training exercises and give everyone enough of a basis that they can start safely self learning.  As a scrawny guy that's built to run, picking up the dumbbells was always kind of intimidating and was worried about hurting myself, and that didn't really change until got some got some good gymrat partners and some pointers from the PSP staff. Otherwise I would default to running, sit ups etc, which is okay, but doesn't really build a complete package.

Wrt to point 3, doing BMQ all together forces you to start out thinking as the CAF as an single force (even if there is always elemental rivalries). Made friends in all three services, so didn't really care when the Navy/AF support budgets fell off during Afghanistan as it was redirected to help keep friends safe.  Even understanding that intellectually, no real substitute for a human face on the other end.  Keep running into folks now, so it's helpful to build that network early and has helped out a bunch of times. Also, we always struggle to staff the Navy billets at CFLRS, so naive to think we'd be able to incorporate all of BMQ into the NETP training and effectively staff the courses without further impacts to the fleet.

One thing other Navies do is have instructor positions being high profile, coveted positions reserve for the best and brightest.  They are a big feather in the cap for promotion, and really highlights the importance of good training by actively selecting the instructors to get the best teachers in place.

I don't think that's something we do well (or at all) and lots of the positions are just another posting (or a dumping ground for problem children). Doesn't need to be the best techs or whatever, but we don't always do a good job of making sure that the people that have the passion for training others end up in the right spots (or worse, bounce those natural mentors from ship to ship because they 'are too good to be wasted at the school').  At least on the NCM side some of that basic instructional techniques incorporated into PMQ etc, but on the officer side it's trial by fire, with a training plan for some instructional technique courses that normally ensures you get it done in time to be posted.

Offline Quirky

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Maybe instead of splitting the services back up, we put an emphasis back on fitness and healthy lifestyle?

Still too many obese dinosaur SNCOs who think going to the base fitness center during work hours is AWOL. In the AF, operations always, always take precedence over health and fitness. I shouldn’t have to fight tooth and nail to give my pers time to go workout during the day if it doesn’t impact ops.

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And our musicians do....what? 
Well historically, Commonwealth Army musicians tended to also be stretcher-bearers.

/history geek   ;)

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Still too many obese dinosaur SNCOs who think going to the base fitness center during work hours is AWOL.
The other thing that used to irritate the crap out of me when I worked at NDHQ was those people who would track me down at the NDHQ gym and hold an impromptu "meeting" with me at the squat rack. (In some cases that was the only time they ever darkened the door of the gym except for fitness testing.) That's one reason why I opted to spend a bit of my own money to go to a non-DND gym.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2019, 10:33:48 by Haggis »
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Offline PMedMoe

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Well historically, Commonwealth Army musicians tended to also be stretcher-bearers.

/history geek   ;)

That I knew.  Pretty sure you don't need any special training to carry a stretcher.   ;)
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