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Corps Strength – Weight Bearing

In issue two of Retired Marine Master Gunnery Sergeant Paul Roarke’s series on functional fitness he discusses methods to train for weight bearing.

After almost ten years of combat operations in Afghanistan, Marines and Soldiers know the importance of being in top physical condition. Not just running or lifting weights but in their ability to bear weight. Meaning their ability to operate while wearing heavy combat gear. Today’s front line military is outfitted with the very best weapons, protective gear and communications equipment. However while much of this stuff is made of the newest high tech materials, in the end when you pile it all on the back of a young hard charger, its still pretty heavy. Just the basic four components of a “fighting load”; weapon(s), ammo, protection and water will run at least around 25lbs. Add to that any combination of comm gear, crew served weapons, night vision, extra ammo, etc. etc. now your load can easily reach 50lbs or more. We have all seen pictures of our people humping huge loads up the rugged mountains in Afghanistan (in the cold). To do this for hours on end and still have the ability to fight requires training and real world conditioning, not football or MMA skills. I know from my own hard learned experience that the only way to condition yourself to “hump” a heavy pack is to do it. However while training back in the rear that may not always be practical. A good training alternative and what I recommend in my book “Corps Strength” is the next best thing to your actual gear; a weighted vest. I use and recommend the vests made by VMax. They come in all different weights, colors and are comfortable and durable. I have beat the hell out of mine for the last couple years it is still gtg. It is held securely to your body by velcro straps so it doesn’t shift around, allowing you to do many different exercise movements, I keep my 50lber it in the back of truck and use it for all types of training. Everything from kettle-bells to straight hiking. I think it’s the best way to get yourself conditioned to carry weight. It also is a great piece of gear for firefighters and law enforcement people to train with. Try it, it works.

Semper Fi

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