Some Thoughts on Kettlebell Training and Infantry Fitness

May 31, 2002 06:29 PM

I just finished Annual Training (AT) with the National Guard Light Infantry unit to which I am assigned. We spent 6 days in the field doing Search and Attack missions. Not as long and grueling as most of the field problems we did when I was on active duty, but a pretty good test nonetheless.

Daily movements were dismounted and fairly long. I found I was as tired as usual during movement, but my recovery time was much shorter when we stopped for a break. I "caught my second wind" in about half the time I used to.

When we made contact and began rushing or crawling, my movements were faster than before I started with the KBs. As before, I was able to shorten the time between rushes because my recovery time was quicker. I attribute this to many sets of high rep, one arm snatches. I figured that short bursts of intense activity with short rest periods in between would closely mimic dismounted movement and 3-5 second rushes. Seems I was right.

This led to some problems, as I ran off and left the platoon.

Most interesting was the ability to absorb repeated impacts. The shock absorption effect of KB training was demonstrated when I hit the ground. There was none of the usual jarring and crunching associated with hitting, crawling and rolling. While I had the usual number of bruises, I had no soreness or stiffness, even after 5 nights of sleeping on the ground. (I'm too lazy to carry the sleeping mat.)

After we redeployed and I got home, I grabbed the KB's and started in. I only lost one rep off each set (I usually do 3-4 sets of 3-5 reps) but had no trouble completing my workout. I lost nothing on the one arm snatches, but because we had been wet for so long, my hands had softened so much I couldn't complete the cleans. I had no trouble pulling the weight; I was just shredding my hands. My muscle tone was undiminished, proving Pavel's contention that this muscle is "real" not "virtual," pumped up fluff.

Best of all was grinding a bunch of buffed 20-year-olds into the ground. At 37, I was the third oldest guy in the platoon and am in better shape that I was at 27, on active duty. We really need to keep doing this.

?Randy Bartlett, former active duty Army Infantry Officer,

currently employed as an Instructor with Wackenhut Services, Inc.

under contract to a federal agency.

Currently assigned to C Company, 1/153D Infantry.

Randy is a Master Fitness Trainer and a former SWAT Officer