Sports Training & Conditioning Zone!

An Inside Look at EXOS' Tactical Training Techniques

By: Nick Winkelman

Military operators commonly perform in chaotic, random environments. But training purely under random conditions, ironically, doesn't develop the qualities necessary to operate in that space. Instead, it's necessary to take a systematic approach to build those qualities in the right sequence across a program that enables an operator to develop the tools needed to function in a random environment.

At EXOS, we've spent years supporting tactical athletes across all branches of the military, developing and fine-tuning our approach to human performance. During this time we've gained critical insights about the training systems needed to optimize operator performance. It's for this reason that we're excited to announce our newest online education course, EXOS Presents – Tactical Training Systems.

This five-hour course has three core features: injury prevention, strength and power development, and Energy Systems Development. The systems recommended in this course can be applied in any training environment with any equipment or no equipment. NSCA, NASM, and ACSM all offer continuing education units for this course.

The injury prevention section is based on our model of Pillar Preparation, which emphasizes strategies around self-massage, active stretching, muscle activation, and movement integration. This is based on our philosophy of total integration of the shoulder, torso, and hip to prevent injuries and ultimately maximize performance.

The strength and power section is based on our movement-based program design model. This model provides a systematic way to build programs, with an emphasis on optimizing weekly training splits, daily training blocks, movement selection, and identifying volume loads that specifically address desired strength and power qualities.

Within the ESD section, we provide a systematic approach to self-assessment and program design across five critical energy system categories: anaerobic power, anaerobic capacity, aerobic power, aerobic capacity, and recovery. Not only does this give the operator tangible starting points, it provides programming guidelines to take those metrics and improve across each of the five categories.

Though we designed this program for the tactical community, the systems presented can be used by anyone looking to improve their performance and decrease their risk of injury. A key design feature of this program is the ability to apply each section independently or as a cohesive human performance training system.

The ability to express a diversity of mission-specific physical qualities is critical to the success of the modern operator. This takes a unique training system that develops each quality in a manner that's sequential and decreases the risk of programming interference (e.g. too much endurance work stagnates strength development). This course meets this need by providing a system that allows you to help operators develop multiple qualities at once to better prepare them for the demands down range.

If, for instance, you're looking to develop power, strength, and endurance on one particular day, you could begin with power movements where speed and rhythm are crucial, such as a hang clean or kettlebell swing. You would then complete lifts designed to increase strength and lean muscle mass, such as deadlifts, squats, and bench presses. Endurance movements would be done last in a circuit fashion with movement efforts exceeding 60 seconds. An example would be a lunge circuit into a pushup and then a pullup. The relative intensity decreases as we move through the workout, so athletes have sufficient energy to complete the session with good technique.

Learn more about the EXOS Presents – Tactical Training Systems online course.

(June 2015)