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Strength Training for the Warfighter

Kraemer, William J.1,2; Szivak, Tunde K.1

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: July 2012 - Volume 26 - Issue - p S107–S118
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31825d8263
Brief Review

Kraemer, WJ and Szivak, TK. Strength training for the warfighter. J Strength Cond Res 26(7): S107–S118, 2012—Optimizing strength training for the warfighter is challenged by past training philosophies that no longer serve the modern warfighter facing the “anaerobic battlefield.” Training approaches for integration of strength with other needed physical capabilities have been shown to require a periodization model that has the flexibility for changes and is able to adapt to ever-changing circumstances affecting the quality of workouts. Additionally, sequencing of workouts to limit overreaching and development of overtraining syndromes that end in loss of duty time and injury are paramount to long-term success. Allowing adequate time for rest and recovery and recognizing the negative influences of extreme exercise programs and excessive endurance training will be vital in moving physical training programs into a more modern perspective as used by elite strength-power anaerobic athletes in sports today. Because the warfighter is an elite athlete, it is time that training approaches that are scientifically based are updated within the military to match the functional demands of modern warfare and are given greater credence and value at the command levels. A needs analysis, development of periodized training modules, and individualization of programs are needed to optimize the strength of the modern warfighter. We now have the knowledge, professional coaches and nonprofit organization certifications with continuing education units, and modern training technology to allow this to happen. Ultimately, it only takes command decisions and implementation to make this possible.

1Human Performance Laboratory, Department of Kinesiology

2Department of Physiology and Neurobiology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut

Address Correspondence to William J. Kraemer,

Copyright © 2012 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.