Military Performance Training

Learn the Basics of Military Performance Training

Guest Blogger Sean Vander Veer breaks down the focus behind military performance training.

Military performance training is different from traditional strength, bodybuilding or speed and agility training. The program must focus on preparing the individual to become an athlete in an arena where results and finishing the task at hand are extremely important.
The training program includes concepts from all three traditional programs listed above as well as focusing on increasing endurance capabilities in an effort to ensure the individuals are ready to perform in a wide variety of environments. Training must ensure longevity throughout their career so the program works to reduce the risk of injury.
Most programs will incorporate the following aspects into the structure of the training cycle:Kristen Ziesmer, Sports Dietitian - Military Performance Training


  • Muscular endurance
  • Muscular strength


  • Anaerobic endurance
  • Aerobic endurance


  • Agility
  • Balance
  • Coordination
  • Flexibility
  • Posture
  • Stability
  • Speed
  • Power

What the Program Consists Of

The main focus behind military performance training revolves around the individual’s ability to excel at the various movements of everyday life under extreme circumstances. These movements include running, pushing/pulling movements, jumping, start/stop movements, bending, rotational movements, squat movements, etc. Programs for military performance training are very time involved usually consisting of 2 workouts a day or one 75 to a 120 minute session per day.
Kristen Ziesmer, Sports Dietitian - Military Performance TrainingMilitary Performance training does have some similarities to traditional strength and body training programs where the general rule is to expose the body safely to stimuli that will cause physiological and structural adaptions to take place. The outcome is that the individual will have an increased ability to work longer (endurance) as well as the ability to return to normal once the activity or task has been completed. The performance training follows 8 principles of physical training, some of these you will have seen before.

8 Principles of Training

  1. Specificity: How you train will correlate into your exercise response and chance at success.
  2. Overload: This is a demand placed on the body greater than it is accustomed to. In order to determine the overload, one must first evaluate the individual’s physiological variables (specificity) and then consider the following: frequency, intensity, and duration.
  3. Adaptation (Rest & Recovery): Adaptation to training occurs during periods of rest, when the body recovers from the training period that stressed the muscle and central nervous system.  Adaption allows for growth.
  4. Progression: This is the change in overload (frequency, intensity, duration) in response to the advantages gained through the adaption phase.
  5. Plateau, Retrogression and Reversibility: The progress we make is rarely linear, predictable or consistent. Why we hit a plateau:
    • Too much time spent doing the same type of workout using the same equipment in the same environment.
    • Either too little or too much competition (frequency / duration)
    • Plateaus are a normal consequence of a maintenance overload and may also occur normally, even during a well-designed, well-implemented step-loading progression
    • When an individual’s adaptation or performance levels decrease, then retrogression has occurred.  Retrogression may signal overreaching or over training during a program.

6. Maintenance: This is about sustaining an achieved adaptation with the most efficient use of time and effort. The individual will have reached an acceptable level of physical fitness or training and the amount of time and effort required to maintain this adaptation will depend on that person’s physiological abilities.

7. Individualization: Individuals require personalized exercise prescriptions based on their fitness levels and goals, and individuals will adapt differently to the same training program. The same training overload may improve physiological performance in one individual, maintain physiological and performance levels in the second individual, and result in performance decreases in the third.

8. Warmup/Cool-down: A warm-up prepares the body for activity by elevating the body temperature, in contrast to cool-down which allows for a gradual return to normal body temperature. The best type of warm-up is specific to the activity that will follow and should be individualized to avoid fatigue.
Elite Nutrition has the capabilities to help anyone who is looking to pass the Military Performance test by incorporating a 3-6 month training and nutrition program that will focus on those dynamic movements and skill sets listed above.
Thank You

Thank you to all the brave men and women who have served for our freedom!

Sean Vander Veer, RD, CPT
Elite Nutrition & Performance
Sean Vander Veer Elite Nutrition and Performance RD

Sean Vander Veer






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