There is no substitute for training like you fight, training under pressure, and training under tight time constraints to simulate stress. As we believe deeply at MTNTOUGH, if you want to become great at something outside the gym, you need a ton of reps with some extra stress when inside the gym.
This week MTNTOUGH COO Ara Megerdichian brought a unique workout to The Lab in Bozeman. This workout has been around for a while and was created by another gym but Ara added a few tweaks... modifications specifically created to confuse, distract, and stress out the local athletes. The pressure was created, and we learned a ton on how we react and where we can improve as individuals under chaotic circumstances.
- Teams of 4
- Racing for Total Team Bodyweight Assault Bike Calories (4 200lb Male Athletes Need 800 calories to Finish)
- 40% of Team Bodyweight Must Be Loaded on Barbell
- Team Must Not Allow Barbell To Touch Ground Until Workout Is Complete (Team Can Use Any Strategy To Keep Barbell Off Ground)
- All Penalties Required Teams To Complete 20 In Sync Burpees
- Penalties Included: Bad math, not enough weight on the barbell, taking to long to load barbell and biking without barbell off ground.
As the local MTNTOUGH'ers completed the workout and all huddled together for Ara's "AAR" or After Action Review, it was apparent we had all learned a lot about ourselves and how to improve. Athletes were frustrated, and the winning team had won by a large margin. Some teams had dropped the ball completing basic math...leading to significant penalties while others were so distracted by the barbell they neglected the objective, total bike calories. The bottom line was the pressure had created a scenario where the only team to finish was the team that practiced "slow is smooth, and smooth is fast." They were victorious as they calmly & patiently communicated as a team with a laser-like focus on bike calories, not letting themselves panic or get sidetracked by the barbell.
Whatever you are training for...to prepare yourself for a crisis add some time limits. Add some pressure. Add some stress. Mimic a crisis and force yourself to think with many distractors. Learn to be slow under pressure.
Ara is a retired military officer and Army Ranger. He's led some of the toughest and best soldiers in the world, trained Rangers and paratroopers, and taught physical education at the United States Military Academy. He believes in pushing the limits of physical, mental, and emotional endurance to find the strength to turn walls into hurdles: "Every time you find a ceiling…it becomes your next floor – so break through it, stand up, and get ready to drive further."