Dr. Kelly Starrett is the granddaddy of mobility training and the inventor of Mobility Wod and the newly created, The Ready State. He has written multiple NY Times bestselling books; Becoming A Supple Leopard, Deskbound AND Ready to Run. He is my go to for everything mobility related and the inspiration for my book, The Nimble Warrior. We sat down on the pod to chat about what keeping our warfighters fighting means in a modern combat environment. We discussed the importance of keeping our warfighters fighting but not from the tactical level but from the holistic approach of looking at the entire soldier from soup to nuts.
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The truth is, we don’t really give a shit if our warfighters get broken or not. At least from my experience and Kelly brings it up as well that if we truly did care about our warfighters, we’d be treating them like elite athletes. In the Canadian Armed Forces, we have approximately two thousand medical releases every year and 60% of those are releasing due to physical injuries.
So, 1200 otherwise competent soldiers are having their careers ended prematurely due to injury. Now, let’s add some context; obviously some of these are grave injuries that may have occurred in an operational environment and no amount of foam rolling will bring your foot or arm back. But, since Canada’s engagement in a hot war has been over for nearly a decade, we can safely assume that most of these injuries are training and overuse related.
“What we need to do is say…here is the most robust a person we can create, in this moment and we’re going to minimize the degradation of this person during this combat mission. They’re gonna get back and we’re going to help rebuild that system to the best of our ability. Our hypothesis is that we can do better. If we have someone in the Marine Corps not retire on full disability, that’s a win.”
Where To Begin
According to Kelly, the conversation just needs to begin at the unit level on injury and injury prevention or what people in the biz call “prehab”. I can honestly say that we didn’t do shit with respects to prehab. Well, that’s not entirely true, we sexily rotated our hips, tried to pull our shoulders out of our sockets and presented our asses to our platoons before every PT run.
Was there a rhyme or reason for it? NO.
This was just plain and simple a case of, “this is what I did in basic and now you will too.”
Was it effective? NOPE.
Did our PT reflect our operational demands? NOT REALLY.
I can say, with confidence, that learning the basics of human movement mechanics and how to address the little tweaks that inevitably arise is the single best place to start the conversations at the unit level. Why? It’s practically free to initiate and all you need is a handful of trained NCOs that can identify basic movement faults and suggest a simple set of corrective exercises to a troop in need.
My blog post “Keeping Our Warfighters Fighting – The Squat” was written to address this very point and make it easily digestible for any level of PT instruction experience. With that said, here are the most salient points to take away from our chat:
- Build in a proper recovery plan for your troops post exercise/training course/operation;
- Address mobility issues before heading on course or deployment;
- Unfuck your sleep;
- Properly educate your staff and troops on the importance nutrition has on performance and longevity.
It doesn’t need to be complicated – Keep It Simple Stupid
If your unit needs a helping hand in reducing injury rates and improving performance, I’m always available for a chat. You can see how this might shake out by checking out one of my training seminars at The Royal Montreal Regiment.
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Train Hard, Fight Easy.
Dave is a retired infantry officer and Afghanistan war veteran. He’s the creator of the HRD2KILL training program that was built on the principles that got him from not being able to get out of bed to competing in the Crossfit Open, Spartan Races and the Montreal Gaelic Athletics Association. You can find more mobility based exercises in his new book, “The Nimble Warrior”, now available on Apple Books and Amazon or read his new HRD2KILL Blog