Interview Kokoro Germany: Special Forces Workout Training

I am very honored as my friend in Germany – Art Claas van der Heide – asked me to put together a guest blog at SuprFit to discuss Special Forces Workout Training.

I am psyched to hear that Art and his friend Stephan Gross are working on setting up the CrossFit Kokoro gym in Germany and look forward to hearing more of their progress.

Art: How do your experiences as a Navy SEAL affect your current training?

SGPT: Probably the biggest impact is that I stay committed to my training. Even though I am older now (almost 50) and could prop my feet up and take a well deserved rest – I work hard to get after my workouts with gusto. I continue to realize that to do anything in life with a level of success you must go for it 100% and my experience with the Navy SEALs forged that message into my mind and body on a daily basis.

During my time at Basic Underwater Demolition School (BUD/S), on a Navy ship at sea and during my times in the SEAL Teams – the bodyweight workout was a cornerstone of our physical workout. Many times we had to improvise as you may have been on a ship or submarine with little room to workout so we had to adapt to the small space workout. We would do squats, sit-ups, lunges, pushups and jumping jacks for an hour often in a small cramped space. Sometimes we did not have the luxury of a nice workout facility so we would have to make do with what we had as it was necessary to keep your body in top shape.

So this experience – of working out in the small space with bodyweight – is one that I have brought to the present and helped shape our website

Art: How do your fitness clients at SEALgrinderPT benefit from that experience?

SGPT: We post up a daily bodyweight workout at that can be done with no equipment. Sometimes we do have a workout that requires a jump rope or sand bag – but even on a ship at sea, you can find or make that equipment to use. If you don’t have a jump rope you can do squat jumps instead. If you don’t have a sand bag you can fill up a plastic bag with water or just do burpees.

We also work hard to instill mental toughness at SEALgrinderPT. We teach our athletes to “Learn How Not To Quit”. So we have articles and videos that help athletes realize they have the ability to push and fall forward and not give up on their dreams no matter how big.

Art: What kind of workout training regimen suits the military service best?

SGPT: In my humble opinion I believe that SEALFIT, CrossFit Endurance and SEALgrinderPT would be excellent choices for athletes who aspire to military service. With all programs, an athlete should study and start the program slowly and learn the proper form and technique. CrossFit has a good “On-Ramp” program where you learn the basics of the exercises so that you can make progress and learn properly and avoid injuries.

For athletes that are going for Special Forces I do believe that you will need to have an endurance component in your workouts. So running, swimming, ruck marching, biking and rowing longer distances will benefit you and help build durability. This is a key component as Special Forces athletes need to be able to go long distance as that is part of their mission.

The video below shows the need to go long distance as we have to go all week with no sleep in BUD/S.

You must be able to carry your bodyweight and gear long range as part of the minimums for Special Forces – so all of the programs above use that as a building block to build you.

Art: Why should Special Forces soldiers and policemen train in the SEALgrinderPT methods?

SGPT: I believe that mastery of bodyweight exercises is fundamental building block for all around fitness and a forerunner to more complex movements with the barbell. It is also the easiest to start with as you need no equipment. Anyone can start out with pushups and sit-ups in their garage, basement or a local park. So SEALgrinderPT is a good starting spot for many Special Forces athletes.

I have posted up a few of my favorite tips for Special Forces Workout Training below.

Special Forces Workout Training Tip #1:
Build Consistency now. One of the best traits you can build is to have consistency and discipline. Yes; we can run hard and swim but we have to be able to do that week after week in BUD/S. We have to be consistent and persistent. A great method to easily build consistency is to read 5 to 10 minutes every day. Pick a great book that is inspiring or good knowledge and read every day. Not occasionally or every other day. Every day. No matter how tired you are you can always read 5 minutes before bed. Get in a good habit and read and grow your mind – This will pay off in your Special Forces training.

Special Forces Workout Training Tip #2:
One of the prime elements of Special Forces training is running. Start out with getting a good pair of running shoes to train in. Don’t do like I did years ago and use a crap pair of shoes and wonder why your feet and shins hurt. Ease into running and don’t do too much too quick. This is an easy way to get shin splints and have foot problems if you overdo it. Supplement your running with rowing, air dyne bike and rucking. Don’t run every day and take a few days off after about 4 weeks of constant running to let your body and legs heal and rebuild.

Special Forces Workout Training Tip #3:
You do not need to get huge or bulk up for Special Forces training. You want lean muscle. Most of the exercises performed in BUD/S are bodyweight exercises. Sure you will lift boats, logs, and classmates – but individual physical training (PT) is bodyweight based. So, if you are carrying around 20 useless pounds of mass– it will effect performance and potentially add to your risk of injury. There has never been a Navy SEAL who thought they should have lifted more weights before going to BUD/S.

Special Forces Workout Training Tip #4:
Spend time in the field ruck marching and building up your durability and conditioning. I remember that the Ruck marches in the mountain training for BUD/S were brutal. I wish I had spent more time with the Ruck and getting my body (shoulders and traps, legs and feet) ready for the load. I had never really used the ruck and I paid for it dearly. Now; many years later – I ruck march at least once every 2 weeks and keep my conditioning at a higher level.

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