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Athlete to Royal Marine

28 December 2016
Fitness blogger Ross Edgley was invited to train with the Royal Marines at the Commando Training Centre for the day. In this blog he explains what he learned…

6am, November, 7. 2016 and I’m lucky enough to be invited to the Commando Training Centre in Lympstone, Devon.

I’m a long way from the School of Sport and Exercise Science at Loughborough University where I usually train, but the world-renowned military base tucked away in the south west of England feels somewhat familiar with its proud heritage of sporting excellence and pioneering research.

 But do good athletes make great Royal Marines? Or do good Royal Marines make great athletes? 

In summary, transitioning from life as an athlete to a Royal Marine would be a welcome change for many sportsmen since the expertise and resources are very similar.

Ross Edgley

That’s exactly what I intended to find out.

As a former international athlete turned writer I’ve been enrolled in a 24-hour “taster” training session and tasked with finding out if enlisting at Lympstone would be a logical move for young talented athletes.

The Expertise 

Even before I arrived at the Commando Training Centre I had a profound respect for the Marines.

Not just because I’ve witnessed many of my friends earn their Green Berets, but because during the 4 years I studied Sports Science a reoccurring theme was how the military was at the heart of many innovations in strength, conditioning and optimizing human physical performance.

Take the Repetition-Weight Scheme used by gyms the world over:

Variable                                 Strength              Power               Hypertrophy        Endurance

Load %                                    80-100                70-100              60-80                  40-60

Repetitions                               2-5                      1-5                     8-15                    25-60

* “One Rep. Maximum” is a term used to define the maximum amount of force that can be generated in one maximal contraction or lift.

This was based on the work of army physicians like Dr. Thomas L. DeLorme who pioneered a new strength-based rehabilitation technique to help the thousands of those returning home injured.

According to research published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning, "DeLorme's new protocol consisted of multiple sets of resistance exercises in which patients lifted their ten-repetition maximum.

DeLorme refined the system by 1948 to include three progressively heavier sets of ten repetitions, and he referred to the program as Progressive Resistance Exercise."

Basically, if you’ve ever trained for sport your routine — whether you knew it or not — was impacted by the Marines and military.

The Resources  

Closely related to cutting-edge research is the state-of-the-start equipment that’s housed on base. This includes a £3 million facility created to treat recruits injured in training and was unveiled by Fleet Commander Admiral Sir George Zambellas back in 2012. With in-house physiotherapy bays each equipped with some of Europe’s most gifted rehab experts, other services include the most up-to-date strength and stamina equipment and a reduced-impact surface running-track.

Which ensures the Royal Marines can get their recruits back into training quickly and rehabilitate them at the training centre within the Royal Marines family, without having to send them off-site.

The Verdict

In summary, transitioning from life as an athlete to a Royal Marine would be a welcome change for many sportsmen since the expertise and resources are very similar.

After my “24 hour taster” I can honestly say if I had known then what I know now and hadn’t started my fitness blog, I would have eagerly arrived at the gates of Lympstone ready for 32 weeks of training and selection after I left university, keen to earn a green beret.

You can read more of Ross's Blog here:

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