Do you dare to become SAS Fit?
‘Rugby players are hard as nails!’ ‘Those olympic rowers are made of some tough stuff!’ These are sayings we hear all the time and don’t get me wrong, I agree with both but nothing is as strong physically and mentally than our SAS Commandos. Being in peak fitness may be the difference between life and death. I’ll be honest, it would be difficult to replicate a workout that would push you like these guys would but with the exercises below they’ll help you toughen up and prepare you to be SAS fit.
Front Squats –
The front squat is a great full body workout. You’ll be wrong in thinking it’s just a leg exercise as they’re so much more than that. Recruiting muscles like, the quads, hamstrings, adductors, gluts, calves, upper back and abdominals. If you’re going to survive in combat you’ll need more than bicep curls!
Wide Grip Pull Ups –
Can’t pull yourself up and over a wall or from the water and into a boat then good luck lasting in these conditions. Working on your pull ups will only do you good due to it’s massive demand on muscles like the lats, biceps, traps, erector spinae and obliques. Pull up bar in the park? Get to it!
Named after Royal H. Burpee in the 1930’s, it was originally a part of the Burpee test where the aim was to measure agility and coordination through a series of rapidly executed burpees. Improving agility may be vital especially when told to hit the deck! Hate them? Suck it up!
Walking Lunges –
This will not just help with your grip strength but they’re a back friendly lower body exercise engaging the gluts, hamstrings, calves and even the core muscles. This single leg work will help when in difficult terrain like sand, mud or rocky hills.
Kneeling to bottom squat (Aka ‘Russians’) –
Start off in a kneeling position (on both knees) lifting one leg at a time to then come into the bottom off a squat then one leg at a time back to your starting position and repeat. This will toughen up those quads ready for a position that may be required when under fire or approaching an enemy target.
Farmers Walks –
Think someone is going to come and lift your bags of supplies for you like the bell boy at the hotel? No chance. One way to make some heavy carries easier is the Farmer Walks exercise. Just lift some heavy weights and get moving. It’ll work your grip strength, shoulders, back, core and will make your lungs feel like an uzi has been taken to them. Enjoy.
This closed kinetic chain exercise will come in useful with having to push yourself our of a bunker or tank. Strong traps, chest, shoulders and triceps will only make these ever present tasks as physically demanding as polishing your boots.
SAS Mental Toughness
Being in the SAS is obviously a feat in physical endurance but also requires a mental toughness made of titanium. Here are 4 ways to improve this –
Cold Showers –
Have a shower as you normally do then before you get out switch it to cold only. Do 10s seconds the first time then more time each day. This will be massively demanding on your willpower. It’s easy to give in but stay focused and stick with it!
Before doing this ensure your form is good otherwise expect something to give like your lower back. The same principal as previously mentioned. Start with a time, for some this will be 30 seconds, other 90 seconds but then attempt to ass 10 seconds on each day. Again, it’ll be easy to stop but don’t. Persevere.
…Or meditation. Clearing your head of thoughts and focusing on your breathing will bring stress levels and your heart rate down. In the middle of the jungle taking on guerrilla warfare isn’t exactly the same as your being on the matt in your Fulham Yoga studio but it can help you clear your mind when experiencing the toughest of challenges.
NB. Enya albums and candles are not required.
This can be applied to many situations in life – tough day at the office, brutal session in the gym or an 18 mile hill run at 5am with all your ammo. Think hard about why you are there. Focus on the pay off in the end. Once you’ve achieved your goal it will all be worthwhile. Just don’t let it all get to you!