Review: Special Forces Fitness Training

Get ready for bootcamp!

special-forces-fitness-training.jpg
Special Forces Fitness Training. Augusta Dejuan Hathaway

"Tough guy" fitness is in fashion - from boot camp-style group fitness programs to CrossFit and Tough Mudder, everywhere you turn there's a workout encouraging you to push harder, get stronger, and go longer. The good news is these workouts rarely require much in the way of equipment - they focus on bodyweight training and functional exercises. The bad news is that many standardized programs and races cost a lot of money.

Boot camps and CrossFit boxes frequently charge more than $100 per month, and a single Tough Mudder or Spartan Race entry can set you back more than $100, as well.

I understand why these programs cost so much - you're paying for training and programming, and in some cases location, equipment, and additional personnel. My problem with the expense is that with a little knowledge and a basic home gym, anyone can mimic similar workouts at home for next to nothing.

But people don't mimic the workouts at home because: a) they don't know how, b) they don't want to put together their own programs, or c) they can't get motivated to workout at home.

Unfortunately, I can't help with motivation - that's something you have to muster up on your own - but if you'd like to exercise at home, and you just don't feel confident in your ability to put together a program, I have the answer: Special Forces Fitness Training by Augusta DeJuan Hathaway.

Special Forces Fitness Training

Augusta DeJuan Hathaway has a Master's degree in kinesiology and served as the fitness coordinator for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps at Kaneohe Marine Base in Hawaii before serving as a strength and conditioning specialist at Ft. Benning, Georgia and for the U.S. Special Operational Forces at Ft.

Bragg, North Carolina. In other words, if anyone knows how to run a boot camp, this guy does.

And what he wants you to know is you don't need any crazy equipment or an insane workout routine to become "special forces fit." His book, Special Forces Fitness Training, provides readers with 30 different workouts, training plans for three-, four-, five- and six-day-a-week routines, and illustrations of 166 different exercises.

The program does call for equipment you may not have at home (things like body armor, military helmets, and canteens), but Hathaway always provides recommendations for readily-accessible alternatives. For instance, instead of using a military helmet, you can use a medicine ball, basketball, dumbbell, kettlebell, or plate weight.

Special Forces Fitness Training Benefits:

  • Hathaway is a true expert whose programming can be trusted. With two degrees, multiple certifications, and years of experience in the field, you can feel confident that the workouts provided by Hathaway are high-quality.
  • The book is easy to follow. From start to finish, the book's format was well planned and executed. It encourages readers to perform a personal fitness assessment to gauge starting fitness level, then each workout is adjustable based on this level. Workouts are clear and exercise images are sized appropriately to visualize proper form.
  • The workouts are tough, but not excessive. Most of the workouts are quite challenging, but that's the point. Special forces operatives are some of the fittest people in the world, so a program designed to get you "special forces fit" isn't going to be easy. But while workout intensity is high, workout length is reasonable. For instance, the workout, "The Few," is only 33 minutes long, including nine minutes of rest, but you're going to be kicking your own butt for the 24 minutes of work. Trust me, I tried it!
  • The book includes warmup and stretching exercises. Many fitness programs downplay the importance of a proper warmup and stretching routine.
  • The book introduces readers to traditional and non-traditional exercises. Special Forces Fitness Training includes standard exercises like a basic squat, but also includes unusual exercises, such as The Belasco and the Partner Pullup. The Belasco, for instance, involves a 10-yard forward bear crawl, 10 pushups and 10 mountain climbers to complete a single repetition. I found it refreshing to include unusual exercises in a bodyweight training routine.

Special Forces Fitness Training Drawbacks:

From a content-perspective, there's not much to criticize. I love the book, the workouts, and the format. That said, I've found that workout books are generally difficult to follow in real-life situations.

Here's the problem: The workout routines are toward the beginning of the book, listing all the exercises you should perform for the day, while the illustrated explanations of each exercise are all toward the back of the book. If you don't automatically know what the "offset-hand pushup" entails, you have to go searching for it. I wish the workouts provided corresponding page numbers for readers to quickly reference each exercise.

Also, unless you want to lug the book around and continuously open and re-open it throughout your workout to follow the routine, you have to re-write the program or take a picture of it to access it on your phone. I found myself re-writing the routines on paper so I could fold them up and carry them with me.

Finally, I do wish the illustrations were printed in color. The black-and-white print makes it difficult to make out details in some of the photos, particularly those that were taken outside.

Takeaway

Special Forces Fitness Training offers high-quality workouts with well-illustrated exercises. I'd recommend this book to anyone who is interested in boot camp-style, back-to-basics fitness training, and who is self-motivated enough to workout at home.

Continue Reading