- Former military trainer Mark Lauren says that military-style training can build a strong, healthy body.
- Lauren says he was pushed to exercise until he passed out when he trained in the military decades ago.
- But he realized that less is more, and you can get in shape in just nine minutes a day, he told Insider.
Training to survive as if you were in the military can transform your body and keep you fit for life, according to a former U.S. Special Operations Forces instructor.
“You can achieve your best body by training the movements that are most important to your survival,” Mark Lauren told Insider.
Lauren joined the United States Air Force, underwent rigorous training, and then the special operations community in the 1990s, eventually becoming the physical trainer for nearly 1,000 elite Special Operations warriors, including SEALs, Rangers, Green Berets, Force Reconnaissance Team, and Air Force commandos. Around the time of September 11th. His job was to train recruits to be ready for anything.
Lauren still holds the US military record for swimming underwater for the longest distance (133 meters (436 feet), which took 2 minutes 23 seconds), before she fainted underwater.
However, Lauren realized that long, strenuous workouts did not necessarily lead to better results because it was an inefficient use of energy, prolonged recovery, and increased risk of injury and fatigue. This led Lauren to develop his own body weight program for his flocks.
“In the military, it’s about general preparedness,” he told Insider. “How do we train these guys in special ops so they can jump out of planes, do road parades, slide on ropes, dive, etc?”
This means training to improve joint posture and function by developing the ability to move and move weight around the body in different ways, with the goal of being prepared for anything. The functional exercises in Lauren’s exercises include push-ups and gluteal bridges.
“When you gain muscle through high functional training, your body demonstrates mastery of yourself, which leads to mastery of your environment, which is exactly what we need to survive and reproduce,” Lauren said.
Some military exercises push recruits to the extreme
Historically, the mindset in the military—and in the special operations community in particular—is that “you suck it up and you go to the wall and that’s the way it’s done,” Lauren said.
In training to be a Marine, for example, recruits must undergo what is known as “Hell Week.”
“For us in the Air Force, it was just a tremendous amount of training,” Lauren said. “They would smash us, and then at the end of each day they would take us to the pool and torture us in the water.”
It wasn’t uncommon for people to lose consciousness underwater while trying to complete tasks, says Lauren.
“It was your choice to either do it, leave, or miss out on trying,” he said. “And if you faint, they’ll take you out, wake you up and say, ‘Are you okay?’ And if you’re like, “Put your ass back in the pool, do it again.”
First Lieutenant Joseph Liu, a public affairs officer in the US Air Force’s Special Warfare Training Wing, told Insider that training has evolved since Lauren’s time, and that fitness is meant to “build candidates to meet operational requirements,” not quitting. The ward provides support including nutrition and hydration recommendations, body composition testing, physical therapy, and psychological support for trainees.
More is not necessarily better
When Lorraine became a Special Forces instructor around the time of 9/11, the Army decided to reorganize Special Forces training as very few personnel were graduating, he said.
Most special operations courses are designed to “push candidates to the floor,” Lauren writes in his new book, Strong and Light.
Learning from his own experience, when Lauren designed his exercise programs, made them more efficient and found that his recruits got better results.
Programs are designed with “general aptitude” as a goal, focusing on essential skills that carry over into all aspects of life.
“The most effective program produces the best body”
Lauren’s spirit and military experience have inspired the workouts in his new book, which is designed to be completed in nine minutes, to help people achieve fitness goals with minimal effort, requiring no equipment.
Each exercise is nine minutes long and consists of three sections: floor work, standing work, and mobility exercises, as previously reported by Insider.
Movements Lauren uses in his workout include glute bridges, starfish swings, and bottom squats.
Lauren said that not only will they create a fit and healthy body in just 0.3% of a person’s week, the workouts will also create a strong, slim and “beautiful” physique.
“The most practical program produces the best body,” he said.
He said Lauren’s exercises improve posture and joint function while also building muscle by improving basic athletic skills that are always used with limited effort. Research indicates that functional training can improve speed, muscular strength, strength, balance and agility.
“For me, fitness is about being able to survive,” Lauren said.
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