Yesterday was another day I found myself privileged to train with Ramsey County SWAT team, the best of the best. What a great bunch of guys.
The day started with physical fitness. Kasey designed a fabulous obstacle course that was not only designed to push yourself physically and mentally but to specifically train in skills that would serve them well in their profession: run, climbing stairs 2x2, push ups, body drags, belly crawls, fireman carry of another team member, crunches, zigzags from one door to another, more running till you wanted to throw up and when all this was done a shoot, testing your accuracy after heavy stress: 3 bad guys standing alone and 2 more bad guys hiding behind a hostage.
I watch them all go through the course while I was keeping time. Those guys worked hard and got pretty excited as this was turned into a contest between team #1 and team #2, for time, speed and accuracy. You are only as strong as your weakest link, you shoot only as well as your least accurate shooter. So team effort is highly promoted to encourage everyone to increase and better their skills. And frankly a bunch of Alpha males given a challenge, always push themselves a bit harder. Great way to train for reality and to encourage, support and develop all the skills necessary for a great SWAT team. Awesome training!!!
It is very important to know exactly why and what you are training for in the first place THEN you can develop a training program. First ask the question, and then provide an answer. Never just randomly select a training method because it looks cool or your best buddy is swearing by it. If it will not help you accomplish your goals. It’s a waste of time at best and negative reinforcement at worst.
At the end of the day they offered me the opportunity to run the course by myself. Of course I jumped on it… I am a bit crazy and seem to enjoy pain. And frankly, how hard could it be. Those are all exercises I already have included in my own personal training. I know I can do this easily. Still I was a bit nervous as the pressure to keep up at least with their average time was definitely on. They were spurring me on. I started off full speed, no problem, I run all the time, this is easy. Switch to push ups, no problem. More running then belly crawls, damn those were tough. I was pushing hard to get it done in good time. The guys were awesome. They encouraged me the whole way through. They were cheering, spurring me on, shouting , “Get going! Don’t give up! Keep that ass moving! You’re almost there!”. This was actually really helping. The body drags and fireman carry were hard. Those guys are just a bit larger and heavier than I am, even their smaller guy. I honestly thought I was going to throw up half way through. But no stopping for me. Giving up is for sissies. At the end of the second round, I was tired, shaky… good time to put a gun in my hands. Strangely, the minute I had a gun in my hands and with the guys around me putting the pressure of a realistic shooting scenario, I became strangely calm and collected. I nailed the first 3 bad guys then the hostage situation… that was nerve racking. Killed the first guy and honestly I still am not sure if I put a bullet in the hostage trying to kill the second guy. No time to stop as I had to run back to the starting line. I finished in 12 ½ minutes. Their average time was 11 minutes with the fastest guy clocking at 8 and the slowest at 14. So I was happy. Heck I would have been happy just finishing the course at that point. It was amazing to me how a course I could have normally ran through with no problem brought me to the limit of my physical fitness by just adding the pressure of time and getting spurred on the whole way through. I thought my heart was going to jump out of my chest and burst at one point, I was honestly looking for a bucket at another. My legs were shaky, my lungs were burning. I felt great!
This is the kind of pressure you might find yourself under when you are fighting for our life. Can you handle it? Will you keel over by yourself and stack the odds in the bad guy’s favor or will you “get that ass moving”? Everyone needs to push themselves hard at some time. This might not be a typical training day but if you don’t get an occasional workout that will bring you past your limit, how do you know where your limits truly are?
This old grandma kicked her own ass yesterday… and smiling about it too
So get that ass moving
Be smart, stay safe