6 exercises every infantryman needs to master - We Are The Mighty
MIGHTY FIT

6 exercises every infantryman needs to master

Serving in the infantry comes with its fair share of hardships, both mental and physical. Rigorous schedules, deployment cycles, and long training hours can be taxing on anyone. Such a demanding lifestyle requires that you be physically fit. After all, your strength and endurance may be the reasons you survive that next, intense firefight, so exercise isn’t optional.


Now, having served time in the infantry, it’s easy for us to look back and see the things we wish we had known before loading that heavy pack on our backs and going on patrol. Invariably, veterans will tell you that they wish they had pushed themselves harder during those long PT sessions.

 

Sure, some exercises felt like a waste of time, but there were a select few that many of us wish we had mastered before hitting the front lines.

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Great endurance exercise: Side-straddle hops

If this exercise looks familiar to you, that’s good — they’re also called “Jumping Jacks.” The act of jumping up and down while moving your arms and legs in a fanning motion isn’t what makes this exercise important. The fact is, the side-straddle hop is intended to promote uniformity within a squad. Everyone is supposed to hit their physical marks at the same time.

Although this movement does help with cardiovascular endurance, its primary purpose is to get troops working together and on the same rep count. If the rep count is 20 and a troop decides to wrongly start number 21 while everyone else stands at attention, they’ll be punished.

You don’t want to be that guy.

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8-count bodybuilders

The military takes pride in achieving uniformity — there’s a reason why everyone’s got a matching uniform. The importance of consistency extends into our daily workouts. One of the best exercises we’ll perform in a group is eight-count bodybuilders.

This exercise involves moving through a series of eight positions. Start in the standing position and lean forward, touching your palms to the floor — this is position number one.

Follow the video below for a complete breakdown of the positions you’ll sequence through.

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Great upper body exercise: 4-count push ups

The military is known for pushing the human body to and beyond its limits. The average fitness fanatic usually counts each push-up with a single digit. That’s not how it works in the armed forces. We score each movement and for every two push-ups we complete, we only get credit for one.

Watch the video below to see why.

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Low-crawling

How many times throughout military history has a troop had to crawl, either to save one of their brothers or to flank the enemy? The answer: countless. People don’t realize just how exhausting it is to crawl for extended periods of time. Give it a shot and see how quickly you get winded.

That’s why it made our list of infantry exercises.

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Best exercise for legs: Squats

Having strong legs is one of the most important aspects of fitness for the infantryman. We typically patrol on foot and haul heavy gear — both of which are made easier by keeping our legs fit. Most troops fall out of hikes because of malnutrition and sore legs. Proper squats will help you develop those essential muscles.

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Angel of Death

This sounds like a rough exercise, right? Well, it can be brutal if you’ve never done it. It’s called “Angel of Death” because the action is, essentially, the opposite of making snow angels. First, lay flat on your tummy. Next, elevate your arms and legs and proceed with making those snow angels.

This motion works out your lower back, which is essential to grunts. After a long, tactical movement, you’ll be happy you prepared your lower back — trust me.

MIGHTY FIT

The Back Squat: The full-body exercise king

The back squat is often referred to as the king of all exercises, especially by those who frequently squat — and those who like a nice booty. But does it live up to the hype? And, more importantly, should you be squatting to get you closer to your fitness goals?


6 exercises every infantryman needs to master

That’s what I call full-body stimulation. Even the face gets a workout…

(Photo by Senior Airman Alyssa Van Hook)

Muscle recruitment

The squat is touted as that exercise which recruits the most muscle mass with the most weight possible.

You may immediately think of thrusters as an exercise that proves this previous statement false. The problem there is that, strength-wise, the upper body lags behind the lower body. So, a weight that may be difficult for you to press overhead will likely be very easy to squat to depth with.

The back squat, on the other hand, isometrically engages the upper body without impacting the work of the lower body.

The barbell back squat actively works just about every muscle from the ribs down if performed correctly, and it also works the shoulders and upper back isometrically.

If you’re one of my clients, you are familiar with the cue, bend the bar over your back. This cue engages the pulling muscles of your back and arms even more, since you are literally trying to bend the bar over your back with your hands. This cue also has the benefit of locking your core into a tighter contraction, so that you can transfer more force from your legs into the weight.

How To Squat: Low Bar

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This is the same concept as trying to push a button with a noodle vs a rod. If it’s a really light button, you may be able to do it with a noodle, but it’ll be a lot harder because much of the force is being lost. The rod directly transfers all your energy straight into the button efficiently.

There isn’t another exercise that allows you to move as much weight as the back squat with so many muscles. It can be considered a true test of total strength. Not only that, but it can save you time.

If you only have 45 minutes for a workout, you will be able to hit more muscle groups faster by chunking them into compound exercises like the back squat. Five sets of squats will always be faster than 5 sets of leg extension, 5 sets of leg curl, 5 sets of calf raises, and 5 sets of glute bridges.

For the average trainee, this efficiency approach is more than sufficient for satisfying your need for muscular stimulation. If you are a bodybuilder, a different more isolative approach may be required. Remember, everything is dependent on your goals.

6 exercises every infantryman needs to master

More muscle mass equals more testosterone. The squat is highly effective at building lower-body mass.

(Photo by Sgt. Roger Jackson)

Hormonal response

The typical bro-scientist states that the back squat is superior in raising anabolic hormones, like testosterone and growth hormone, which then act like a systemic steroid that boosts your muscle-gaining ability throughout your whole body. This is true to an extent, specifically when you are training at 90% intensity with heavy weights. The boost lasts for about 15-30 minutes.

A 15-30 minute spike of testosterone is enough to make you feel awesome, boost your mood (it has been shown to positively affect both anxiety and depression), and help you keep on gettin’ after it in the gym. 15-30 minutes isn’t enough to boost whole body muscle growth to any considerable degree though. Don’t worry, though — it still helps.

I’ll let that sink in…

6 exercises every infantryman needs to master

You don’t need growth hormone to get huge. You do need it to keep those muscles on the bone though.

(Photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Joseph Rullo)

Growth hormone, despite its name, doesn’t help grow your muscles at all. Its name is super misleading and will probably continue to confuse people — at least until we start communicating via telepathy and no longer have a use for words.

Growth hormone actually grows connective tissue, like tendons and ligaments. It’s still super important, because without it, your huge muscles would tear right off the bone when you flex.

6 exercises every infantryman needs to master

350+ lbs on your back will stimulate growth and your desire to be strong.

(Photo by Airman BrieAnna Stillman)

The real benefit

This spike in testosterone that you experience from heavy squats is enough to make you hungry for more weight, more reps, and more gains, which will result in higher motivation to continue getting in the gym.

The more consistent you are with your lifting sessions, the more muscle mass you will put on. That increase in muscle mass directly correlates to an increase in overall testosterone throughout the entire day, not just during your workout. It raises your testosterone baseline. That means you will have more energy, feel stronger in general, and have a higher capacity to burn fat in general.

We discussed the fat burning effects of resistance training here.

Staying consistent with the barbell back squat will have a huge effect on your overall progression towards being a better, stronger, and sexier human.

6 exercises every infantryman needs to master
MIGHTY FIT

3 tips for executing a proper deadlift at the gym

For years, men and women have stepped into the gym looking to lift to gain some extra muscle — which is awesome. We, the dedicated, alternate between “arm day” and “chest day” in a never-ending quest to keep our bodies guessing, avoiding that awful “plateau effect.”

Despite its importance, however, many of us dread “leg day.” You should never neglect your lower body strength, but it’s harder to find the motivation to work on something that isn’t glamorous. Thankfully, if you want to bulk the entire body up at the same time, there’s one particular exercise that’ll do the trick: the deadlift.

The deadlift gets a bad rap in the gym world. Many amateur lifters perform exercise using lousy form or simply too much damn weight and end up injuring themselves. The fact is, there are many ways to screw this movement up — and only one way to do it right. Use these tips to get the most out of each massive rep.


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Boom!

Foot positioning

Proper foot positioning depends on the individual and how much power they can generate. However, in general, most people want to stand with their feet about shoulder-width apart, if not just a tiny bit wider. Keeping your feet too close together lowers your center of gravity and knocks you off balance.

We don’t want that.

A solid footing will better ensure you lift properly.

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Hand positioning

After putting on a lifting belt, many people wrap their hands around the bar in opposing positions — one palm facing out and one palm facing in. Others take a simpler route and lift with both palms inward. What’s most important here is to maintain a symmetric angle with both arms. Having one arm flared out more than the other can result in an injury — our bodies weren’t meant to carry more weight on one side than the other.

Most people position their hands just outside of their knees to maintain symmetry. However, different types of deadlifts require different hand placements. For starters, keep your hands in the standard position until you get comfortable.

6 exercises every infantryman needs to master

A rounded back will probably result in a sore back.

Pulling up

Your feet are set, your grip is firm, and you’re ready to do the lift. Give the weight an initial tug upward and straighten out your back. As your rise up into the lock-out position, the weighed bar should just about scrape your shins. If the bar is more than an inch or two away from your front leg, it’s not correctly positioned and you’re risking injury. Remember, the closer the better.

MIGHTY FIT

Watch: How to pass the Naval Special Warfare Physical Screening Test

Think your physical fitness is top-notch enough to become a SEAL? If you’re even loosely considering taking the Special Warfare Physical Screening Test there are definitely some things you need to know. Watch this video for the top tips and a blueprint on making your way through the hardest workout PT test for US Navy special forces. It’s not just physical fitness that’s required to crush this test – it’s mental toughness, too.

The PST is a hardcore workout with strict time limits that challenges your physical fitness. First, there’s a rigorous 500-yard swim in under 12.5 minutes. You get 10 minutes to rest before starting the next part of the workout where you race to achieve a max number of pushups in two minutes. Two minutes to breathe and then you try to max out on sit-ups. Another 2-minute break before maxing out on your pull-ups. Then, you have a ten-minute break before the brutal 1.5-mile run – that has to be completed in under 12.5 minutes. 

Oh, and if you really want to be considered, you exceed these standards – not just meet them. 

So while the Army might be complaining about the new standards for the ACFT, the SEALS have been cross-training for so long that they make it look easy. 

How to cut down on the minutes it takes you to complete the test

To really do well on this, you need to identify your weaknesses and then crush them.

  • Train like you’re testing. Keep the same time limits for your own breaks. That way when you get to test day, it won’t seem completely impossible to regain your breath. 
  • Focus on progression. Get repetitions in throughout the day. For the exercises like sit-ups, break them up into sets. For example, if your max is 50 sit-ups in 2 minutes until failure. Break that up into 25 sit-ups several times a day to work on max progressive overload.  
  • Pacing is key for each test. Swimming 500 years in 12.5 minutes will wipe you out unless you pace your swim, using underwater recovery techniques including breaststroke, sidestroke and combat swim stroke to utilize your swim as a warm-up that gets you ready for the next part of the workout. 

The Navy Seal training pipeline includes six-month basic training on underwater demolition and airborne operations as well as three months of tactical training. Maintaining a top level of physical fitness and regular workouts is a necessity for a SEAL.

MIGHTY FIT

5 reasons these Yoga Joes are smarter than you

“No pain no gain.”

“Suck it up.”

“Pain is weakness leaving the body.”

These clichés are why your back hurts and your knees are jacked up. Sure, you need to push yourself during strength training if you want to get stronger and you have to mentally overcome the discomfort signals from your body during a long run, but there’s a difference between your edge and your injury. If you don’t know where that line is, then you risk an injury that could cause chronic pain for the rest of your life.

A lot of training injuries come from improper alignment, working out without warming up or cooling down, tight muscles, and weak joints.

Guess what will help: yoga. I DARE YOU TO TRY IT, YOU COWARDS.

Here are 5 reasons why:


[instagram https://www.instagram.com/p/B2FicRwjt4_/ expand=1]Yoga Joes on Instagram: “Holding a plank is better with friends. (and pretzel sticks) #yogajoes #yoga #yogajoe #yogaeverydamnday #heretokeeptheinnerpeace”

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Yoga can help prevent shin splints

Shin splints are a common ailment in military recruits. A U.S. Naval Academy study found that 97 percent of study participants suffered shin splints during training and on average each patient had to stop running for 8 to 10 days. They got off pretty easy — unless those 8 to 10 days were during a critical physical training time period like boot camp or deployment.

Guess what can contribute to shin splints: weak ankles, hips, or core muscles.

Guess what can help strengthen your muscles, stabilize your hips, and build your core: yoga.

[instagram https://www.instagram.com/p/BErp0kEzfJz/ expand=1]Yoga Joes on Instagram: “Drop and give me twenty dogs. DOWNWARD-FACING dogs. #yogajoes #yoga #downwarddog #soldieryoga #heretokeeptheinnerpeace”

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Yoga prevents lower back pain

Does your lower back hurt? TRICK QUESTION – I KNOW IT DOES. When you stand for long periods of time (say, at attention or on patrol), the increased pressure on your spine can making the lower back muscles tighten and spasm, leading to pain. Adding gear and a weapon kit and you’re only compounding the pressure.

A yoga practice includes postures and movements that alleviate the lower back and stretch the muscles on the back of your body, from your achilles tendons to your calves and hamstrings to your traps and shoulders.

Do Downward Facing Dog like a real man. Your body and your country will thank you for it.

[instagram https://www.instagram.com/p/BEeIVESTfBq/ expand=1]Yoga Joes on Instagram: “The yogic forcefield will disarm your enemies with shock and ohm. #yogajoes #yoga #shockandawe #heretokeeptheinnerpeace”

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Yoga helps manage anxiety

The military is a mind-f*** at a minimum. The United States has been operating in sustained conflict for eighteen years. The stress of combat, of losing friends, and of trying to find self-worth when your country sets you up on a hero’s pedestal is traumatic — and the symptoms of trauma are literally lethal.

A yoga practice gets you out of your mind and into your body. It helps you breathe deeply. It’s a discipline-oriented program that helps you actively combat the stress you’ve endured.

But don’t just take my word for it — ask Navy SEAL Mikal Vega.

Related: This SEAL will show you how to fight the enemy when it follows you home

[instagram https://www.instagram.com/p/BEeK2F8TfHD/ expand=1]Yoga Joes on Instagram: “Headstand tribunal. #yoga #yogajoes #military #soldieryoga #heretokeeptheinnerpeace”

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Yoga can help your neck pain

Don’t do a headstand. You’re not ready.

You’re strong enough to do a headstand, sure. Headstands are easy to do — but they’re very hard to do correctly. That’s the thing about the military mindset — we’re brainwashed trained to become the ultimate fighting weapon so we ignore pain and tackle too much physicality too fast.

Adding too much weight too fast at the gym stresses the back, neck, shoulders, and knees.

Standing at attention or carrying 100 pounds of gear strains the neck — it literally causes a condition known as “military neck.”

Doing 10-second stretches at the end of your gym session will not repair the damage you just did over an hour of weight-lifting. But a 30-minute daily yoga practice might.

[instagram https://www.instagram.com/p/BkdkihaFRvI/ expand=1]Yoga Joes on Instagram: “Awesome triangle pose photo by @airman.yogi – looks proportionally real! #skyyoga #usafr #yogajane #yogajoesseries2 #yogajoe #yogajoes…”

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Yoga can prevent knee pain

In 2009, the Army reported that on average soldiers were going to sick call twice a year for musculoskeletal injuries. According to Military.com, the knee joint is susceptible to injuries of the connecting tissues of ligaments and tendons, compression tissue of the cartilage, and muscular strength and flexibility imbalances. The most common injury is Patello-Femoral Pain Syndrom (PFPS) or pain along the Iliotibial Band (IT Band or ITB).

Two critical ways to prevent and treat that pain? Stretch and strengthen the hamstrings, calves, and lower back. You need to stretch daily for a sustained period of time. Guess which poses in yoga really target these areas of the body: Warrior Poses.

Ancient military cultures used to take care of their bodies because they didn’t have advanced weaponry to rely on for deadly force. With the advance of weapons, we’ve come to treat the human component of war as disposable.

Don’t treat your body like it’s disposable. Take care of it. Take care of your joints. Take care of your spine. Take care of your mind.

Otherwise you’ll suffer. That’s the plain truth.

MIGHTY FIT

49ers star gives Super Bowl tickets to Gold Star family

San Francisco 49ers super star tight end George Kittle announced on Twitter that he gave two tickets to attend Super Bowl LIV to the family of fallen Army Sergeant Martin “Mick” LaMar.


6 exercises every infantryman needs to master

https://twitter.com/gkittle46/status/1220397761352200192?s=21

According to the Associated Press, LaMar joined the Marines and served for four years after graduating high school in 1986. Following a decade of working as an electrician and with an armored truck company, LaMar joined the Army in 2007 despite relatives’ efforts to talk him out of the decision. His brother-in-law Gilbert Alvarado told the Sacramento (Calif.) Bee that LaMar “wanted to go back.”

“He wanted to fight for his country,” Alvarado said.

According to Military Times, LaMar was assigned to 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas and died Jan. 15, 2011 in Mosul of wounds sustained when an Iraqi soldier from the unit with which he was training shot him with small-arms fire. Also killed was Sgt. Michael P. Bartley.

LaMar was a “great guy with a big heart” who loved his family, according to his brother-in-law, LaMar died on his wedding anniversary. His next leave was set to start Jan. 30, 2011, and he would have seen his three-month-old daughter for the first time then.

Kittle donated the two tickets to LaMar’s wife, Josephine, who will be bringing her and Mick’s son to the game against the Kansas City Chiefs on Feb. 2 in Miami.

“The work I do with the USAA and the TAPS organization is something I really have kind of fallen in love with,” Kittle said (via the Sacramento Bee). “I have a lot of family in the military, so it’s something that I just respect, and the sacrifice that they give is the ultimate sacrifice. So if I can ever give back and make a family’s day or just make them smile a little bit, then I’ve just done a little part in their lives.”

The Salute to Service’s mission is to be a year-round effort to Honor, Empower and Connect our nation’s service members, veterans and their families. It is grounded in deep partnerships with nonprofits and organizations that support the military community in the United States and across the world. In partnership with USAA, the NFL expands Salute to Service off the field to honor and recognize our military by bringing players and team personnel to military bases, hosting thousands of service members at NFL games and events, and enlisting NFL fans to show military appreciation. Learn more about the Salute to Service and their NFL experience at Super Bowl LIV, here.

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Top military doc is open to changing obesity standards

The Army is likely catching a lot of grief lately, after a news story reported that Pentagon data showed Joes are fatter than their brethren in other services.


But are they really?

According to the head of the new Defense Health Agency, the way the military measures obesity using the so-called Body Mass Index might be a bit behind the times.

6 exercises every infantryman needs to master
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Matthew Senna, assigned to Joint Multinational Training Command, performs push-ups during the Army Physical Fitness Test at U.S. Army Europe’s Best Warrior Competition in Grafenwoehr, Germany, July 30, 2012. (Photo from U.S. Army)

“I know that Navy has looked at this in terms of modifying what they say is a healthy weight and a healthy body mass and I think that’s appropriate,” said Vice Adm. Raquel Bono, Director of the Defense Health Agency told WATM during a breakfast meeting with reporters Oct. 20.

“Do I have any indication that [obesity] is hurting readiness? No,” Bono added. “But I would actually say that is one of the hallmarks of being in the military is that we’re always ready.”

According to the services, a Body Mass Index of 25 or over is considered unsat (the BMI is determined by a simple calculation of height and weight). The National Institutes of Health define obesity as a BMI of 30 or over.

A 44 year-old male who weights 215 pounds and is 74-inches tall has a BMI of 27.6, for example. That’d be considered “clinically obese” to the DoD.

Some in the services argue measuring weight standards using the BMI is a blunt instrument, putting perfectly fit and healthy servicemembers on notice for not being up to snuff.

And while she’s all in favor of modifying how the level of fitness to serve is calculated, Bono is concerned about the overall trend on obesity, with the Pentagon reporting nearly 10 percent of its troops are overweight. And Bono recommended healthier choices in chow halls, regular exercise (not just for the PFT), and stopping smoking.

“My job is to make sure I’m enabling the department to have the healthiest troops possible,” Bono said. “I struggle with encouraging troops to make healthier choices — even when we activate servicemembers with health data or scary pictures of what smoking can do to you they still persist in those behaviors. I don’t know what the right answer is.”

MIGHTY FIT

7 of the most common mistakes you’re making in the gym

Every day, when we hit the gym, we see the same thing: Men and women of various ages doing everything they can to bulk up or lean out. Getting in the gym and doing a solid workout helps relieve all the stress you’ve accumulated over the last few days or hours.


However, there are countless gym patrons who show up and don’t know what they’re doing. They lift heavy weights to impress the cute girl wearing yoga pants or count by threes while doing a set of push-ups.

There’s a long list of mistakes we see happening at the gym, but addressing even half of them would take too damn long. So, here are the top seven.

Locking your joints out

Contrary to popular belief, your joints don’t contain muscles — but they are attached to a few nearby. When unprofessional gym scholars hit the bench and raise their weighted bar, many think that completing a rep means locking our your joints.

The fact is, stopping the rep right before you straighten out that joint is the sweet spot. Fully extending your elbow or knee joints takes physical stress off the muscle group you’re trying to work.

So, please stop.

Swinging the weights

Many people in the gym want to look as strong as possible. There’s an unspoken air of competition that blankets the gym, born of peoples’ egos, which can flourish out of control.

Using bad form to up the weight impresses nobody. In fact, to people who often exercise, you’ll just look stupid.

Taking too long between reps because you’re looking at your phone

Taking a short break allows us to briefly recover between sets. However, don’t keep checking the messages on your phone because you’ll end up losing track of time.

Challenging your muscles means causing them to tear in a controlled manner. It’s harder to get them to tear if you rest for too long between sets.

Not using manageable weight

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Lifting heavy weights to look cool will, ultimately, make you look dumb. It’s easy to laugh at someone in the gym when they’re trying to lift beyond their physical stature, but it’s dangerous for everyone

Not focused on the ‘negative’

Outstanding, you lifted the bar! Now, lower that sucker down even slower than you raised it. Many uneducated people believe that lifting a weight is their only battle — not true. It’s actually only half the fight.

When we say “negative,” we’re talking about the process of lowering the weight back to its original position, not the opposite of the word “positive.”

The negative portion of the rep helps to tear the muscle a lot more in a controlled setting. More controlled tear, the more muscle we will build during the recovery cycle.

Using a gym machine the wrong way

This one’s pretty self-explanatory. No? Okay, well check out the gif below for a better understanding. We’re not sure what this exercise is called.

Stopping the set before hitting failure

If your set requires you to push out 12 reps and you do it without much of challenge, you’re wasting your time. You can only build muscle if you challenge the sh*t out of yourself and push your muscle beyond its limit.

This limit literally means you’ve reached muscle exhaustion. If you’re not using a manageable weight, you might as well just text on your phone because you’re not accomplishing anything.

MIGHTY FIT

Fantasy Football After Action Report: Week 7

This was a strange fantasy football week. Consider which of these teams you’d rather have going into week 7: Team A (Matt Ryan, David Johnson, Kerryon Johnson, Will Fuller, Tyler Boyd, and Evan Engram) or Team B (Jacoby Brissett, Chase Edmonds, Latavius Murray, Marvin Jones, Zach Pascal, and Rhett Ellison). Team A, right? Well, that would leave you with a grand total of 16.8 points. Team B? 177.8 points. That’s why Janet from marketing is undefeated in your league right now.


Marvin Jones to the end zone today.pic.twitter.com/zuJb5LmTK0

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Blue chip medal

Jacoby Brissett, QB, Colts- Jacoby Brissett is 2nd in the NFL in passing touchdowns right now. His 14 passing TDs are only one behind the current #1 holders, and he’s played one less game than them. This is while playing without TY Hilton for an extended period of time, an insanely high red zone efficiency, and continuing to have balls dropped by Eric Ebron (as is tradition). Brissett is available in around half of leagues right now and is immediately worthy of an add.

Darren Waller, TE, Raiders- Darren Waller went into week 7 as the 7th highest scoring tight end In fantasy football (without a single TD, mind you). He finally broke pay dirt in week 7 and is currently the #2 fantasy tight end. Not bad for a player who was on the Ravens practice squad a year ago. He is Carr’s go-to target, and a bright spot in an offense riddled with weak air weapons.

Marvin Jones Jr, WR, Lions- You probably woke up Monday morning with a groan. Maybe you slapped at the snooze button on your iPhone, tricking yourself into eight more minutes of half-assed sleep before you had to drag your lifeless body into the shower and grab a handful of dry Cheerios before your commute to work. Marvin Jones most certainly did not wake up that way Monday morning. The Lions wideout had FOUR touchdowns on Sunday. Hell, he still might be asleep right now. But hey, he earned his rest.

Ezekiel Elliot, RB, Cowboys- Lost in the shuffle of up and coming RBs and electric WR performances is fantasy football’s half-decade stalwart, Zeke. He rushed for 111 yards, had 376 receiving yards, and a touchdown. When pressed about Doug Pederson’s over-zealous guarantee of a Philly win in Dallas, Zeke said, “We don’t give a f*ck what Doug Pederson says.”

“how many times did Melvin Gordon get stuffed at the goal line?”pic.twitter.com/Tr4Ye4cgDp

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Loss of rank

Melvin Gordon, RB, Chargers- After perhaps the least successful holdout in recent memory, Gordon, with a whole lot of dough on the line, re-entered the Chargers lineup as a shadow of his former self. His snoozefest of a performance on Sunday was capped with a fumble on the 1-yard line with 19 seconds left. The Chargers were only down by 3. Gordon may have lost much more than just the game.

Evan Engram, TE, Giants- Evan Engram was targeted five times on Sunday. He caught one of those for a measly 5 yards. This was against a mediocre Cardinal secondary, and with (an albeit hobbled) Saquon Barkley to draw defensive attention. Daniel Jones did him no favors, however, as he turned the ball over three times, and was sacked eight times. This does not bode well for the talented tight end moving forward. Consider trading him to a tight end streamer in your league if possible.

Devonta Freeman, RB, Falcons- On the list of “dudes-I-wouldn’t-want-to-fight-in-the-NFL” Aaron Donald would be #1 and #2— one for each fist. Devonta Freeman obviously doesn’t agree with this sentiment as he tried to toe-up with the behemoth monster Rams tackle, and was promptly saved by the referees from certain death (by being tossed out of the game). In addition, the Falcons continue to lose and play from behind, making Freeman’s running opportunities thin at best.

Derek Carr, QB, Raiders- Despite the box score, the Raiders played the Packers pretty close for 28 minutes. They were driving to the goal line for a would-be go-ahead score before halftime, when Carr rolled out to the right and dove for the endzone with a grip on a football that was so delicate that a light breeze in Lambeau would’ve been enough to knock it into the endzone for a touchback. It was eerily reminiscent of a 2017 incident of the same caliber. The Raiders lost the rock, and the Packers drove and scored before halftime to make it a 14 point swing. Carr is a mediocre fantasy play, and should be dropped in all but deeper 2QB leagues.

Nobody even laid a hand on Chase Edmonds @ChaseEdmonds22pic.twitter.com/Q9zKjwKkVx

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Promotion watch

Chase Edmonds, RB, Cardinals- Edmonds dominated the backfield this Sunday in spite of a (shaky) David Johnson return. He put up an insane 35 fantasy points, and is only owned in 17% of leagues. He should be picked up at all costs, especially considering he’s in an offense that has been putting up really good numbers at the behest of rookie sensation Kyler Murray.

Auden Tate, WR, Bengals- In the past five games, Auden Tate has a least six targets per game, alongside either a 50+ yard performance or a touchdown. That makes for a fairly reliable flex play for someone who could easily be snatched off the waiver wire this week. With Tyler Boyd playing a bit more quietly lately, and AJ Green not expected to return before November, he could be highly useful.

Kirk Cousins, QB, Vikings- Kirk Cousins hears y’all talking sh*t. Over the last three games, he has thrown for ten touchdowns and over 300 yards in every performance. Next week he plays against a Washington Redskins defense that would give up 30 points to Adam Sandler’s team from “The Longest Yard” making him the absolute top quarterback add.

Latavius Murray, RB, Saints- Murray came through for the injured Alvin Kamara in a big way: 119 rushing yards, 2 TDs, and five receptions for 31 yards. The Saints play the Cardinals next week, followed by a bye in week 9, so they will most likely opt to sit Kamara through two weeks to ensure adequate rest for the talented running back—making another full Murray game a more than viable RB option for next week.

#Raiders RB Josh Jacobs lays the truck stick on #Packers S Adrian Amos on his first carry of the game.pic.twitter.com/AyA1oPJCQp

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Badass hit of the week

Josh Jacobs

The days of bruising running backs seems to be over. Marshawn Lynch was the last living relic of days when Earl Campbell, John Riggins, Mike Alstott, and Jerome Bettis plagued NFL linebackers. That doesn’t mean that today’s running backs lack some pop every now and then. Take this absolute truck stick from offensive-rookie-of-the-year front runner Josh Jacobs, he takes Adrian Amos to the canvas on his first carry of the day. Pad level, son. Ice up.

MIGHTY FIT

100 bodyweight squats vs 10 barbell squats

Why are you working out? That’s always the first question you should be asking yourself. I’ve been asked on multiple occasions about the benefit of doing bodyweight exercises as a replacement for barbell training. Usually, they go something like this:

“Are bodyweight squats better than barbell back squatting?”

To which my response is usually something like:

“Better, how?”

If your goal for working out is to get better at bodyweight squats …then sure, they’re better.

If however, your goal is to increase muscle mass, (which it is 90% of the time, whether you realize it or not,) well then, probably not. The reasoning relies on a theory called “effective reps.” But first!


6 exercises every infantryman needs to master

Real easy to get distracted.

Your time and attention

If you’re doing 100 repetitions of bodyweight squats, it’s going to take a while, minutes at the very least. That’s assuming you’re going as fast as possible, which will lead to your form breaking down.

If you’re slow and controlled and performing each rep perfectly, you’ll be spending much longer on 1 set.

No matter which way you decide to tackle this beast, one thing is going to take a hit:

  • Your time
  • Your form
  • Your attention

That right there is reason enough for me not to go this route.

On the other hand, if you’re doing sets of 10 reps on the barbell back squat, that’s something you can accomplish in under a minute with a relatively high level of concentration on form.

6 exercises every infantryman needs to master

​Quarter squats increase anterior knee pain. Just one of the many form failures that usually occur during body weight squats.

When form breaks down

How we move becomes etched in our brains as a motor pattern. If your form is bad on an exercise like the bodyweight squat, it will transfer to how you move in real life.

Eventually, that crappy form will lead to an injury. Maybe it will be when you try to pick up something heavy like a weighted barbell or an overweight baby. Maybe it will be from doing something you love like playing adult softball, hunting, or picking up overweight babies.

What usually happens when people get injured is that they demonize the activity they were doing when the injury occurred and completely ignore the other 99 things they did that actually contributed to the event that caused the injury.

It wasn’t that activity, that activity was just the straw that broke your CamelBak…(see what I did there).

So, if you’re half-assing 87 out of 100 bodyweight squats three times a week, and in turn, moving throughout your life with crappy/lazy movement, then it’s only a matter of time before you hurt yourself doing something that would have otherwise been enjoyable.

6 exercises every infantryman needs to master

Those are for sure effective reps.

Effective reps

The idea is that the closer a rep is to failure, the more effective it will be in recruiting the most amount of muscle mass and in turn be the best at building muscle.

Assuming you can only do 100 bodyweight squats and the last rep is quite close to failure, then 1 out of 100 is an effective rep…and it took you minutes to get there, and 87 or those reps sucked.

Assuming you’re in relatively good shape, you can actually do many more than 100 bodyweight squats so even rep 100 isn’t anywhere close to failure. That means you are getting ZERO effective reps. You basically just wasted minutes doing a bunch of crappy half-assed squats that did nothing except make you waste your precious time.

I should note that by “failure” I mean you couldn’t do one more rep no matter what, all of your leg muscles are on fire, and they feel like they are going to pop from the excess blood flowing into them. I do not mean that you’re bored or “kind of” tired from something and just want to stop. Register the actual difference.

On the contrary, weighted squats offer you the opportunity to feel like you’re approaching failure, usually around rep 6 or 7 out of a set of 10 if you choose an appropriate weight.

If you do 3-4 sets of back squats that’s nearly 16 effective reps, that’s a great session.

To top it off you don’t need to do 95 reps prior to getting there.

6 exercises every infantryman needs to master

People with long limbs tend to have a difficult time doing body weight squats in general. Their long torsos pull them onto their toes.

Conclusion

Bodyweight squats are great if you have no other option, if you just want to make a workout brutally annoying and also mildly difficult, or if you hate yourself. Otherwise, they are just a recipe for wasted time, establishing poor motor patterns, and not getting many effective reps.

If your goal is to build muscle, get stronger, burn fat, or workout smartly throw some weight on your back.

6 exercises every infantryman needs to master

Valgus knee collapsing imminent on the first Marine from the right.

References

Here’s a few links if your interest on effective reps has been peaked.

6 exercises every infantryman needs to master
MIGHTY FIT

5 workout machines you should skip while at the gym

Service members have crazy schedules, which makes it hard to find time enough to work on your physique. Most of us have only about an hour to spend each time we hit the gym. Typically, the routines we do in that brief period consist of using free weights and a few workout machines.

Many people who step foot in the gym are there to lose weight. They’ll use the various isolation (or single-joint) machines believing that if they use every machine the gym has to offer, they’ll start to lean out. The unfortunately fact of the matter is that not all the machines in the weight room burn a lot of calories when you hop on and start repping.

To burn the most calories in the shortest time, most gym professionals recommend focusing on compound movements — exercises that require more than one muscle group to move a weight, like pull-ups or dumbbell presses.

So, which machines should you avoid if you want to burn fat?


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Leg extension machine

Leg extensions help bulk up your quadriceps. Most of these machines require you to sit down and enjoy yourself as you rep out the sets. This is a very isolated movement — and that’s not the best way to challenge your body and burn fat. Instead of sitting on the machine to work on your legs, consider standing up and doing some non-weighed squats.

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Calf raise machine

Yes, the calf-raise machine will bulk up your calves up — but it won’t burn off those unwanted calories and lean you out. There are plenty of other options when it comes to working out your calves. The video below will show you a few techniques that introduce compound movements to a calf workout.

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Bicep curl machine

On this machine, a patron sits down and works their biceps against resistance while in a static position. Even if you’re trying to work on your arms, the process of selecting, moving, and returning free weights will help you burn a little extra fat.

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Seated tricep extension

If your goal is to build massive triceps, then you’ll want to add a few tricep-related exercises to your routine. However, if you’re also looking to burn some extra fat in the process, you might want to conduct your training in a stress-loaded, standing position.

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Seated abs crunch machine

There many ways to get a solid ab workout — but you’ll find that very few fitness trainers recommend that people take a seat in ab crunch machines. Those machines are fine for beginners or people with medical conditions, but everyone else should strike this machine from of their minds and replace it with these:

MIGHTY FIT

Why it’s so hard to keep the weight off, part 1

Why is it so difficult to keep the weight off?


That’s the real weight problem we presently have in our military and in our country. We can lose weight, but in the world, only less than 1% of those people are able to successfully keep the weight from coming back. It’s a problem because we’re confused as to why everything we have tried in the past and everything that is currently available as tools to help us lose weight isn’t working.

Think about it. No one goes on a diet just so they can gain the weight back. When you start a diet, you imagine how you’ll feel once you reach your goal. But then what? What about life after the diet? That question is what we’ll answer in this two-part article.

6 exercises every infantryman needs to master

What You Do Know: Fitness & Weight Loss Basics

When embarking on true transformation – not just relying on more motivation or ingesting more information – it’s important to revisit the basics and separate the facts from opinions.

Whether you’re new at working out or dieting or not, there are some fitness basics that are easy to understand and apply. And fortunately for you, if you’re a member of the Armed Forces, then exercise and good nutrition are standard issue. Unfortunately, the standard is growing too large and getting stretched to the point where there are legitimate health concerns, such as high blood pressure, chronic stress, eating disorders, and post-traumatic stress even in those who haven’t been in traditional combat.

We’ve seen warning signs for years, and as hard as the military tries to help improve the quality of life and opportunities to increase our chances of living as well-balanced a life as possible as a military member, the results aren’t sticking. In the Army, for example, we see that “[the] bad news is that the typical lifestyle of Soldiers puts them at a higher risk for hypertension and heart disease. Too often, Soldiers cope with the stress of Army life by smoking, drinking and eating unhealthy,” according to an article from Army.mil in 2011. “The good news is though, with lifestyle changes and/or medication, you can reduce your risk.”

Weight Loss is Easy

Weight loss is just being in a caloric deficit for a long enough period of time to change the shape and weight of your body. The reason why losing weight is so desirable for so many is because, honestly, you feel better in addition to looking better. You’re more fit, slimmer, in less joint pain, and have an easier time walking or going up and down the rungs on a shipboard ladder, which is typically only six feet of steps at a time, less than you’d find in a standard house.

The human body is complex but also simple. It likes to be at a normal weight where there is just enough fat, like Goldilocks’s bowl of porridge – the body likes feeling “just right.” If you carry more fat than your body prefers, then it will let you know by sending you signals like joint discomfort, maybe heat rashes, low back pain, tightness in your muscles, etc. Have you noticed how these symptoms either decrease or completely go away when you start losing weight?

You don’t just feel better because of the food or supplements you’re now taking – your body naturally feels better when it doesn’t have to spend so much effort and energy at maintaining as much weight as it was. You got yourself closer to feeling “right.”

Conversely, the human body doesn’t like being too low in weight. It will let you know with fatigue, hormones not performing optimally, and slowing down your physical movements in order to preserve energy.

6 exercises every infantryman needs to master

The human body was designed to move and to eat, but we are living at the extremes of too much movement or too much food, or not enough movement or not enough food. We’re using as many externals things as we can to help us feel “normal.” But the more we rely on the latest fad diet, the latest supplements, the latest technology (clamping our stomachs down), the less normal and more disconnected we feel from our natural weight and state of being.

Losing weight is easy because there are so many ways to lose weight. Interestingly, all diets share the same secret but in their own different flavors: you lose weight because they put you in a caloric deficit. That’s how weight loss works in any diet.

CALORIC DEFICIT PER DIET

Ketogenic: removed an entire food group (carbs).

Paleo: removed an entire food group (processed food).

Whole30: removed processed foods and more, including grains, legumes, sugar, dairy, and junk food (basically the same as Paleo but a little more restrictive).

Weight Watchers: created smaller portions, which is a caloric deficit.

Mediterranean Diet: low on red meats and processed food (steak and donuts pack more calories per volume than fish and grains do).

Low Carb: lowered processed carbs. You still eat tons of carbs on this diet, but those carbs come in the form of spinach, carrots, apples, etc (all vegetables and fruits are carbs).

The reasons these diets don’t work is because:

1.) You can still gain weight or stall your weight loss if you eat too much of the food within that diet, and,

2.) When the diet is over, if you go back to eating the way you were before, then you start getting back your former body.

Here’s the thing…

It’s not the food or the diet that is the reason for the weight regain. In Part 2, the actual reason will become crystal clear.

MIGHTY FIT

The endurance boost training plug-in

Half of readers get tested on their endurance capability. The other half is worried about surviving the zombie apocalypse. Lucky for you, in the Venn diagram of fitness, those two overlap quite nicely.

This endurance plug-in lays out a very simple and effective plan to get you up to snuff for the PFA or the incoming wave of walking-dead. If you’re worried about your chainsaw-wielding skills or max push-ups, you better be using the Mighty Fit Plan to prepare!

I’ll be talking in terms of running, but this basic template can be applied to swimming, cycling, Pogo-sticking, or any other endurance training modality.


6 exercises every infantryman needs to master

Don’t get me wrong training outdoors can be a mind-blowing experience. If you enjoy it you should do it.

(Photo by Fabio Comparelli on Unsplash)

How to logistically fit in endurance training

Strength training is the base of any solid training plan. Three days of strength training is the minimum in order to ensure all bases are covered. That still leaves four days a week to train.

Typically, you don’t want to do the same type of training two days in a row. That means your endurance training sessions should alternate days with the strength training days. That covers 5-6 days a week.

Day seven is special: it’s a day of rest. Some people may need two days of recovery, while for others, one is enough. The number of runs you engage in per week depends on your current level of fitness, your proximity to your race or test day, your ultimate goal, and one other factor…:

The level of enjoyment you get from endurance training!

6 exercises every infantryman needs to master

It’s not all sunrises and mountain views though…

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Debra S. Sainer/Released)

If you enjoy running, go out three days a week. If you are doing it for work, run twice and add the third day two months out from your test. If you’re like me, ignore it entirely until you get winded going up a flight of stairs and then start training it to ensure you are more survivable in the zombie apocalypse.

Soreness is the last limiting factor. If you are sore from lifting and sore from running, only run two times a week until you are recovering efficiently enough to be fresh on day six.

You need to learn to trust your body, but also not be mentally weak. If you feel good enough to train, you should; don’t allow soreness to be a convenient excuse to be a lazy POS.

6 exercises every infantryman needs to master

There’s a reason many professional swimmers get fat after retiring. Read the article below and commit it to memory.

(Photo by Gentrit Sylejmani on Unsplash)

This plug-in is not for fat loss

I know this needs to be said. It is highly likely that the world has convinced you that cardio is the best type of exercise to achieve fat loss. I’m here to tell you the prior sentence is a horrible generalization and exaggeration. It’s plain wrong.

The intricacies of fat loss in relation to exercise are spelled out here.

In short, cardio makes you lose weight indiscriminately. You’ll lose fat, muscle mass, and a whole bunch of other “stuff.” This total decrease in size means two things:

  1. Cardio makes you require fewer calories all day; this needs to be reflected in your diet to achieve continued fat loss.
  2. Over time, you become more efficient at cardio, so you burn fewer calories for the same workout that used to burn more.

Here’s the full article again. Read it and commit it to memory so you can start shutting down any bro science that claims you lose fat by indiscriminately running, biking, or swimming more.

6 exercises every infantryman needs to master

Sometimes you gotta run…You can’t kill ’em all.

(Zombieland Oct 11, 2009)

The 3 workouts of the endurance boost plug-in

Here are the template workouts to improve your endurance. Start where they recommend, and progress as able to achieve your peak performance.

6 exercises every infantryman needs to master

The epitome of long and slow, the open water swim.

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Kevan Dunlop)

​Workout 1: Long and slow

Run for 25 minutes at a pace in which you can still speak in full sentences.

If you have a heart rate monitor, the goal is to keep your heart rate under 60% of your heart rate max. That is roughly where most people can carry on a conversation while running.

6 exercises every infantryman needs to master

You don’t need blocks for your sprints but you do need to PUT OUT.

(Photo by Nicolas Hoizey on Unsplash)

​Workout 2: Sprints

400-800 meter repeats (for those of you training to improve PT test scores.)

Choose your distance, and always do that distance so that you can gauge improvement. Time yourself, and then rest for 2-3 times that length of time. Sprint as hard as you can every repetition for the entire length. Don’t cheat yourself.

Start workout one with four iterations of your distance and increase 1-2 lengths every two weeks as your recovery permits.

Example:

  • Week 1: 4×400 meters
    • 1: 75 second sprint/ 150 second rest
    • 2: 80 second sprint/ 160 second rest
    • 3: 86 second sprint/ 172 second rest
    • 4: 91 second sprint/ 182 second rest
  • Week 2: 4×400 meters
    • 1: 72 second sprint/ 144 second rest
    • 2: 79 second sprint/ 158 second rest
    • 3: 83 second sprint/ 166 second rest
    • 4: 85 second sprint/ 170 second rest
  • Week 3: 6×400 meters
    • 1: 72 second sprint/ 144 second rest
    • 2: 79 second sprint/ 158 second rest
    • 3: 83 second sprint/ 166 second rest
    • 4: 85 second sprint/ 170 second rest
    • 5: 90 second sprint/ 180 second rest
    • 6: 97 second sprint/ 194 second rest
  • etc…
6 exercises every infantryman needs to master

I love people that look the part. I’d be the guy running a marathon in cargo shorts, eating tater-tots for a mid-race glucose boost.

(Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash)

​Workout 3: Timed distance

Run your race length or the length of your PT test and time yourself.

Simple and idiot-proof. Just hop on a site like gmaps pedometer and plan your route.

Mighty FIT is making some big strides to bring you the fitness content that you want to read, please take 2 minutes and let us know what your preferences are here. Michael and the other writers will take your input to craft future articles and training plans.

6 exercises every infantryman needs to master
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