Strength program - preparing for special forces

Manuel Fortin

Level 6 Valued Member
* Swimming (100m / 50m underwater / hand and feet bound)
I guess that these are 3 separate events, that is
1 - swim 100m with a time limit.
2 - Swim 50m underwater in one breath.
3 - do something in the water for certain time with hand and feet bound.
How are you at the swim? That is one test that needs to be specifically trained. Strength/endurance have little to do with it, it is a technique issue. Since your feet/hands are bound, it may be a good idea to have a friend with you when you jump in the pool! It's a mental test as well since it will be quite stressful being bound in a pool.

I was never special forces or anything coming close to that, but I played waterpolo at the provincial level for 12 years and did 2 years of underwater hockey, in addition to swimming a lot of the years I was not participating in these two sports, so I know water. As @Grayland said, these are all technical and require practice, which may be difficult with COVID, depending on where you live and the availability of pools.

I would say one thing though, don't underestimate 50m underwater without breathing, if that's the test. This in itself is not an easy thing to do. If you have never done it, you need to practice it. It requires a fine balance of movement efficiency, mental fortitude and training to let the body know that you will not die if you don't breathe for 10 second. I remember one year we were training where there was a 50m pool and the coach one day asked us as part of the warmup to swim underwater as far as we could. I stopped at about 42-43 meters as I realized there was nobody with me in the water so far from the starting wall, but none of the other players, even many who were much faster swimmers than me, made it that far. I think I would have made it to 50m that day, but there is no way I could do it now without training for it. That year, I had trained over the winter with a coach who made us swim laps with pyramidal number of strokes per breath (started at breathing every 3 arm strokes, then 5, then 7, then 5 then 3. I think some even did 9, but that was too much for me), and my guess is that this helped a lot, but I cannot be sure. Also, doing the test in a 25m pools with the ability to push off the wall at each end, or doing it in a 50m pool with a single push is very different. If you practice in a 25m, pool, make sure that you can go more than 2 laps.

Practicing this is also dangerous. If you come anywhere close to your limits, there is a chance that you can drown, especially if you hyperventilate a lot before going. Hyperventilating inhibits your urge to breathe (which is mainly caused by carbonate buildup in blood due to CO2, and not lack of oxygen as many people believe), and you can simply faint without realizing that you were low on oxygen. Never push this alone in a pool. Always have a trusted person with you who knows what to do with an inconscious person in water.

@Pet likes to dive (and a living Google with the ability to post relevant links to almost any fitness related question on demand), so he may have good pointers for you.
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Staff member
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
A big +1 to _everything_ @Manuel Fortin said about the underwater 50 m swim. I taught the YMCA lifeguard course for a few years, ‘nuff said. :)

-S-
 

pet'

Level 8 Valued Member
Hello,

+1 to @Manuel Fortin
50m underwater is no joke. I see several things to practice here.
Technique: when you evolve in water, you have to generate as little disturbance as possible. This means you have to be extremely smooth. Your body has to be straight while never stop moving to use kinetic energy. Indeed, as soon as you'll stop, you will have to do an additional effort to generate energy again. This is very technique.

Then, once you are efficient with it is also possible to work on both CO2 and O2 table. This can be done at home. CO2 tables train the body ability to deal with the burn feeling. O2 tables train the body ability to deal with low O2. When you work on both, eventually, you train your body to do more with less.

100m is also demanding, not in terms of distance, but in terms of time. I assume this is done using CSS. Again, this is a matter of streamline and technique:

As far as the hands and feet bound is concerned, this is easier than it looks. What makes people fail is panic but this is all about physics and Archimedes. One has to use what is called "ballast-lungs". When you first get into the water, make sure to get as much air as you can into your lungs. Your upper body volume will be higher, but your mass will be the same (or almost). So water will generate more force in the upward direction, which is what you want. Everytime you reach the surface, make your lungs as full as they can. That way, you just can not sink. For propulsion, try to focus on looking at ceiling. Paired with lungs full of air, it will drastically help to make your body more horizontal. Then, you have to create an undulation, starting from the upper body, ending at the feet. This will create a whip effect.

Kind regards,

Pet'
 

Delta

Level 1 Valued Member
Thank for all the input regarding the swimming. All the swimming pools are currently closed in the country that I live so I will need to pick train that at the moment they re-open again. I made a mistake in my initial post as well, it is 25m swimming in one breath. I guess that is doable but I need to practice it.

I am currently in my third week of the strengt program of Fabio Zionin and I feel it is well programmed. I am doing this strength program and to keep on training the push ups I add a pyramid of 20-30-40 push-ups every time at the end of my training. I do this 3x a week and I run 3x a week (all in the aerobic zone). I scheduled this for 8 weeks, till the end of may.
 

offwidth

Level 9 Valued Member
Thank for all the input regarding the swimming. All the swimming pools are currently closed in the country that I live so I will need to pick train that at the moment they re-open again. I made a mistake in my initial post as well, it is 25m swimming in one breath. I guess that is doable but I need to practice it.

I am currently in my third week of the strengt program of Fabio Zionin and I feel it is well programmed. I am doing this strength program and to keep on training the push ups I add a pyramid of 20-30-40 push-ups every time at the end of my training. I do this 3x a week and I run 3x a week (all in the aerobic zone). I scheduled this for 8 weeks, till the end of may.
Do you have any natural water swimming opportunities? Lakes, ocean, rivers, etc?
 

Tigger

Level 5 Valued Member
The 50m underwater test, is for CDQC (far down the path) or Phase 2 (?) of BUDs. Only worth focusing if you're headed to BUDs. Otherwise, focus on 50lbs rucking while carrying a 10lbs mace and sometimes a 16kg kettlebell. You're going to be wearing those things ALL the time and the more comfortable you are, the more brain cycles you have to focus on the difficult job of command and control.
 

Manuel Fortin

Level 6 Valued Member
I made a mistake in my initial post as well, it is 25m swimming in one breath.
This is much more manageable. Requires practice to swim efficiently, but maybe practicing walking while holding your breath can get you part of the training. When I go for distance under water, I am actually very relaxed. This is a very low effort. definitively less intense than jogging (otherwise, you use up all your oxygen too fast).
 

pet'

Level 8 Valued Member
Hello,

+1 @Manuel Fortin One has to be both extremely efficient and technique has to be dialed in.

One can work on CO2 tables. Oxygen Advantage has protocols like so. We can do them while walking / running.

Kind regards,

Pet'
 

Delta

Level 1 Valued Member
I have been four days out of training due to the stomach flu.

Apart from that, the schedule is going quite decent. I am currently in week 4 of the Fabio Zionin program and I feel is it challenging. I think it will be quite hard in the last weeks. I saw that I had to do around 60 reps of Pull Ups in one session in the last week. It would be great if I could do that, thinking that I had a RM of 3 Pull Ups in december 2020.

The constant running in lower heart rate zones is very frustrating so far. Based on my VO2 max on my watch (run with chest strap HRM) my VO2 is constantly going down.
 

pet'

Level 8 Valued Member
Hello

@Delta
"Training for the Uphill Athlete" is an excellent book regarding [trail] running. It offers programming as well. Those programmes are based on % of the "event" so they are easily scalable. If one is expected to do a 30k run or ruck, it can be useful.

VO2 is something mostly defined by genetics. Obviously, it remains possible to increase it, but only to a certain (=small) extent. Running LSD as you are doing (using MAF for instance) makes you "build your engine". Basically, it trains your ability to run faster and longer while still being in the aerobic zone. LSD is the zone where your cardio vascular and muscular system can play the role of a "vaccum cleaner": they can clean lactic acid at least at the same rate than you are producing it. Usually, Z1 / Z2 training ensures that you clean faster than you produce. However, it needs volume.

This will drastically help you to recover faster from other high HR activities (interval, fighting, OCR, local muscular endurance (pull up test, etc...))

On the top of LSD, you can do threshold runs. In this case, this is more of very strictly controlled interval thing. If you exceed the Z3 training zone, you are not aerobic anymore.

The goal of using both of the strategy above is to reduce the "Aerobic Deficiency Syndrome", which is getting into an anaerobic state fairly quick. People who mainly do HIIT are likely to fall into this category.

VO2 is not the only performance factor. One can find both very good and very bad athletes with high VO2. Technique is paramount, proper breathing as well, for example.

Most of the time, selection is all about being durable. Strength will drastically help, but stamina as well. GTG is good for this purpose.

Kind regards,

Pet'
 

Delta

Level 1 Valued Member
Hi Pet,

Thank you for the response, accodring to my watch I have a VO2 max of 50 now, but I have already been to 54 when I did more HIIT training. I believe my VO2 max will increase again when I will re-integrate HIIT training in my schedule. I'm running 40 - 45km a week now in the aerobic zone, which I think is decent and it aligns with what people like Stew Smith say.
 

Delta

Level 1 Valued Member
Hello

@DeltaMost of the time, selection is all about being durable. Strength will drastically help, but stamina as well. GTG is good for this purpose.

Kind regards,

Pet'

That is what I read and hear a lot, it is all about work capacity. To put simple, I guess it's having a strong aerobic base (being able to stay active for a long time) and to have the strenght to be able to do what you have to do (obstacles with a vest, pulling yourself up when wearing a vest, ...) during your tests.
 

Delta

Level 1 Valued Member
My idea now is to finish this strenght program in at the end of May and I will be contacting a personal coach to help me scheduling the next 4-5 months. I have been reading and listening to a lot of information but it remains hard to program a personal strength + running schedule.

I think I have a good base already, compared to the metrics that are being asked in the test, it's now planning more specifically and identifying weak points that I don't see myself.
 
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