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Enduring the pain for more gain

Capt. Jeffrey Croniser, logistics officer, and Capt. Darby Mee, communications officer, Coordination, Liaison and Assesment Team U.S. Southern Command perform tire flips during Marine Corps Training and Advisory Group’s monthly unit physical training event. MCTAG is a unique organization created to address increasing requirements for security cooperation activities in support of regional Marine Force headquarters. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Gunnery Sgt. Alexis R. Mulero)

Endurance is an important aspect for the Marine warrior athlete to consider. It is the side of physical training that prepares a Marine for everything that’s needed of him, from carrying a pack and rifle, to moving equipment and ordnance around the battlefield.

For the Marine Corps Physical Fitness and Combat Fitness Tests, endurance plays a key role in attaining the coveted score of 300. Endurance is what allows Marines to push themselves to the limit to excel.

“Endurance plays a very important role in preparation for the PFT and CFT,” said Ryan Massimo, Combat Fitness Program Manager, Semper Fit and Exchange Services Division. “Included in the PFT battery of events is the three-mile run which incorporates aerobic endurance with specificity towards cardiovascular testing. Muscular endurance also plays an important role in the PFT as the abdominal crunches and pull-ups incorporate strength and endurance testing.”

Students from Class 4-12, Sergeant’s Course, Staff Noncommissioned Officer Academy Camp Pendleton, Calif., conduct a Combat Fitness Test during training June 1, 2012. The curriculum requires students to complete a Physical Fitness Test and CFT to graduate Sergeants Course. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Christopher O’Quin)

He added, “the CFT also utilizes both the muscular and aerobic endurance aspect in the 880 yard shuttle, maneuver under fire and ammo can lift.”

Like running, the only way to improve overall endurance is by consistently working at it and pushing past the pain to maximize the gain.

“If you want to work on improving endurance, the most important factor is consistency, because endurance comes from gradually increasing the amount of time for whatever activity you’re doing.” said Victor Plays, a track coach for the 2012 Warrior Games and former Olympic competitor. “For example, if you want to run a marathon you need to build up your endurance so you’re capable of completing that distance.”

In the end, Marines will improve their endurance through consistent strength training and aerobic exercises such as running, combining the two can produce a greater effect. This will ultimately result in more fit and combat-ready warfighters.

“Endurance is a key component to any sound strength and conditioning program, and should be balanced with other means of physical fitness training which include speed, agility, power, strength, flexibility and core stability,” Massimo said. “Incorporating endurance on a consistent basis with the inclusion of the (aforementioned) means of training will allow a Marine to recover from modalities of training and not over train to only one aspect of a sound strength and conditioning program.”

“A tactical athlete’s physical fitness should include endurance, speed, strength, agility and power in order to be successful in task specific situations.”

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One Response

  1. Jeff says:

    Truly groundbreaking article. Imagine that, to improve endurance I need to exercise more, huh.