“Strength Training for the Warfighter” an article by William Kraemer and Tunde Szivak discusses methods that can be used to make endurance training for soldiers and professional athletes more effective.
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Kraemer and Szivak deviate from the traditional methods used in endurance training for soldiers which focused on physical fitness.
Kraemer and Szivak propose that endurance training for soldiers should be based on mission requirements that involve tailoring endurance training programs to meet the psychological, physical, and environmental challenges encountered on the battlefield.
These scholars maintain that the main purpose of endurance training programs is to increase power and maximal strength because they are the basis of neuromuscular fitness.
Another aim of endurance or resistance training is to shield soldiers from injuries and improve performance (Kraemer &, Szivak, 2012).
Kraemer and Szivak argue that in order to come up with effective endurance training programs, one needs to understand physiological principles of power and strength development. In order to make muscles more powerful, an endurance training program should be designed in a way that stimulate more motor units.
Current endurance training programs used by the military are ineffective because they stimulate a few motor units. In designing an effective endurance training program, certain variables need to be taken into consideration.
These include choice of the program, order of exercises, load resistance used, rest between exercises, and number of sets.
These variables should be designed to enable concurrent training, which is training both the anaerobic and aerobic metabolic systems (Kraemer &, Szivak, 2012).
Lastly, Kraemer and Szivak also stress on the need of paying attention to workout styles. In regard to this, Kraemer and Szivak advocate for a flexible nonlinear approach because it incorporates several workouts.
Ideally, in endurance training, one should start with minor workouts, followed by light workouts, moderate workouts, heavy workouts, and finally very heavy workouts (Kraemer &, Szivak, 2012).
Kraemer and Szivak make important points when it comes to designing endurance programs for soldiers. Currently, soldiers are subjected to heavy endurance training, mainly in the form of long-distance running that is not compatible with their needs in the battle field (Ferruggia, 2008).
Additionally, long-distance running does not give soldiers the necessary muscle mass and strength they need to deal with the challenges on the modern battlefield.
This is because it does not train the relevant muscles and motor units. Kraemer and Szivak’s proposition that military endurance training should be tailored to meet the needs of soldiers is essential.
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Kraemer and Szivak’s proposal for designing military endurance programs is also useful. They suggest that military endurance programs do not have to be linear and rigid. Military commanders and trainers should let soldiers engage in exercises, they feel comfortable with without forcing them to stick to a strict training schedule.
In addition, Kraemer and Szivak maintain that effective endurance training programs should allow soldiers adequate rest between training sessions. This is useful as the current military endurance training programs overwork soldiers, leading to depletion and damage to their muscles, instead of building them (Baechle &, Earle, 2008).
Kraemer and Szivak clearly indicate that effective endurance training programs are not based on long training hours and heavy physical exercises, but on understanding the needs of soldiers in the battlefield and body physiology. However, Kraemer and Szivak fail to elaborate what types of exercises are effective in endurance training.
Baechle, T. R., & Earle, R. W. (2008). Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning (3rd ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
Ferruggia, J. (2008). Fit to fight: an insanely effective strength and conditioning program for the ultimate MMA warrior. New York: Avery.
Kraemer, W. J., & Szivak, T. K. (2012). Strength Training For the Warfighter. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 26(7): 107–118.