So, for something different tonight, I downloaded a sample of Scott Sonnon’s TACFIT. He provides the sample if you register here. In this case, the sample workout was the Israeli Special Forces workout that apparently he provided them at some point.
I’ve looked at Coach Sonnon’s stuff over the years, and thought about trying it out–you all know how I love to learn and try new stuff. 🙂
He Russian Martial Arts style and fitness solutions were always the counterbalance to the Systema of Vasiliev and Ryabko on the American continent. They often end up in the same place, but take different paths to get there. Where Vlad uses almost completely intuitive training, letting you learn everything through experimentation and “feeling,” Coach Sonnon intellectualizes everything, providing tons and tons of explanation. He doesn’t skimp on mind-body connection, though. His stuff is all about that–he just tries to understand all of it and explain it. Each style of instruction probably fits different types of students.
I’ve noticed that some Vlad-trained instructors (such as Kwan Lee and Kevin Secours) teach a combination of both, in different proportions.
Lots of history there. Anyway. I downloaded it and gave it a try. I like it. This progression is almost criminally simple, though the exercises aren’t. Which is okay. I was looking for something simple to progress through, and exercises which are a little more gymnastic than the typical calisthenics than what I do with the SEAL workout.
Basically, there are four exercises and you do a couple of reps for each exercise (depending on your level) within the span of a minute. That’s one round. The extra time left in the minute is your rest time. Brilliant! Really. You have 20 rounds, therefore you are limited to 20 minutes.
Since he puts this out for free, I’m okay with delineating it a bit more. The beginning level is only two reps per minute of each, then four for intermediates, then six for the hardcore types. As it was my first time seeing the workout, I chose the beginning level. 🙂
The exercises are a little bit exotic, but not too much. But I’ve found they’re excellent full body movements, and fairly intense. You start off sitting in a butt-to-floor squat, hop down on all fours, then back up again. Second exercise is rolling all the way back and attempting to pop the floor with your toes. Next, you do whats called a Springing Tripod. He explains it best:
A little note here–this was the hardest one for me, and I still haven’t mastered it. Everything I’ve learned (and taught) in the combat arts says not to post like that when you fall, and my instincts went totally against it. I got a few in, but most of the time, I collapsed into some sort of break fall. I’ll work on this, and see what happens.
The fourth one is type of “plank” where you extend out straight (with you hands and feet on the deck) then, keeping hands and feet in place, you pull back into sort of a crunch with you knees and feet turned to one side. Sorta like this:
I did okay with the previously noted exception of the Springing Tripod. Those drills are neat and I can see and feel how they will develop both your strength and your stamina in the 20-minute format. I did about five rounds, took a breather set or two, then went most of the way to finish, ending up with one more rest set on the way. My hands were hurting from the Springing Tripod, as you can imagine from hitting the hard concrete floor with just a thin carpet layer on it. I’m glad to have learned these, and like having an alternate bodyweight circuit. I’m going to keep using it for a while, and may actually purchase some of his stuff.
He’s very big on both training the principle strength drills, and drills that facilitate mobility and recovery. And he can do playful, EF-type stuff, too: