The Ultimate Firearms Destination for the Gun Lifestyle

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A Former Delta Operator Shows You How to Boost Your Speed and Quickness

In previous issues, we outlined the elements of my Combat Strength Training (CST) system and put together an example of a workout to develop power. This time we will discuss some of the components vital to mobility — and mobility equals survivability!

CST is a performance-based approach to maintaining your combat chassis, and mobility is a critical aspect of it. We break mobility down into speed and quickness. Speed is the rate or swiftness of action in one direction. Quickness is the ability to rapidly change direction without the loss of speed, balance, or body control.

When it comes to training, combat readiness, being fit, and having a warrior mindset are non-negotiable. You — in fact, we all — live in a world of persistent conflict. We must be our own agents of correction. So take responsibility for yourself, as you cannot always rely on others. We also cannot outperform our own self-image. Being functionally fit and healthy increases confidence. Confidence and performance work hand in hand, so confidence is a true battlefield multiplier.

Last time, we discussed how the work week should be broken down into a strength day, power day, muscular development day, and a speed and quickness day.

When we work, we should work in circuit and in anaerobic chunks at near metabolic threshold to meet an aerobic goal (i.e. working in short explosive durations to where you’re almost about to pass out or throw up). From 35 to 45 minutes is more than enough — if we are working correctly. Our repetitions should be meaningful and performed with conviction.

We should work the combat chassis in all planes of motion and within the complete muscle spectrum range. Whether your combat chassis performs like a Porsche or a Jeep, you can incrementally retrofit it so that it performs more efficiently at near maximum capacity.

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Mobility equals livability, so work speed and quickness exercises into your training regime.

Train Like You Fight

The CST program is intended to replicate real-world movements necessary to save your life or your loved ones. If we were to build a scenario around it, we could approach it as follows. You are out with your kids. Psychopath enters restaurant. A nearby window is your only way out. So you heave a chair through the window (power). You hoist your two kids, who are between 55 and 75 pounds each, out the window (strength). Then you negotiate your way through the chaos to safety (speed and quickness).

“Train like you fight” is a ubiquitous and oft-abused axiom, typically heard in the military and LEO communities. We love saying it, but few know what it really means. Newsflash — it has nothing to do with how much black Velcro and MultiCam we strap onto ourselves. Spontaneity and non-telegraphic motion are key components to winning a gunfight or a street fight…but few train for that fight.

Being strong and powerful in a sagittal plane of motion is not enough to ensure combat readiness. In order to ensure that our combat chassis is capable of rapid movement in multiple directions, we must incorporate speed and quickness training into our regime. This is worth mentioning a second time — mobility equals survivability! It is hard to attack a moving target, especially one that has keen sense of proprioception (i.e. your own perception of the relative position of the neighboring parts of your body).

When I run students through pistol and rifle range drills that require rapid change of motion and short explosive bursts of speed, many guys run like they’ve got a corn cob shoved up their ass. They “duck walk” on flat feet and are awkward and herky-jerky, like a baby giraffe trying to walk for the first time.

As we plan out this particular training strategy and draw examples of a speed-and-quickness workout, keep in mind that it is not my intention to neglect traditional agility exercises. Rather I am giving you additional movements to add to your carte du jour. Jumping rope, traditional ladder drills, and plyometrics are all necessary components that add to overall athleticism. However, note that some plyometrics are high impact and may not be conducive to self-preservation and longevity.


Work these seven exercises in circuit for about a minute each until you are done with all of them. Repeat the revolution four times through, and use weight most appropriate for you. Remember, CST works on a performance-based training methodology. Keep in mind that performance is not measured by some arbitrary standards, but by doing what we can with what we have. And we all perform differently.

Keep in mind that this is a speed-and-quickness workout. All repetitions should be performed as fast as possible — with real conviction. So don’t “flat dick” it! Get some!

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1 Focus Bag: If you don’t have a focus bag, you can use a heavy bag or simply shadow box. However, a focus bag or double-end bag will allow you to work visual acuity as well as fast hands. Concentrate on straight jabs and crosses, rather than heavy, winding haymaker punches. Work “punches in bunches.” Keep your head low and tuck your chin into the pocket of your shoulder at the extension of your punch. Rotate on the balls of your feet and throw from the hips. Replicate the motion you would use when throwing a ball.

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2 Wall-Ups: The height of the box should be determined by your level of athleticism. This exercise replicates the motion of jumping through a window or hurdling a fence. It will test your ability to work in the transverse plane of motion and will also test your functional flexibility. I consider this a “low-impact” plyometric exercise, since you are controlling your descent.

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3 The Seven: This is a footwork drill, intended to be run as fast as possible. It is mapped out like the diagram. Face one direction running up and the other direction running back. Run this twice through – up and back, up and back. This should take 45 seconds to a minute depending on your level of fitness and on how smoked you are through the revolutions.

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4 Rubber Band: Use resistance bands and adjust them to fit your specific needs. Draw a start box under your feet with the band extended and taut, but not stretched. Draw “drop boxes” at about 5 yards out with a 5-yard spread. Set a kettle bell or dumbbell in one of the boxes. On your start, reach out to the weight and transfer it to the other “drop box.” Move back to the start box, but not beyond it. Rinse and repeat for about a minute.

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5 Jump Dips: Adjust rings to just over your shoulder height. Jump and pull with your arms extended until you reach a full “knees to chest” position. This is another example of a low-impact plyometric.

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6 Alternating Ball Pushups: This exercise is a little risky, as there is a chance of jamming a shoulder here. So if your body says, “No,” then don’t do it! The pushup itself can take a backseat to the motion of transferring the ball back and forth between the left and right sides. You can modify these and do them on your knees if you need to. There’s nothing wrong with doing sissy pushups as long as your ego doesn’t get in the way.

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7 Medicine Ball Turns: This is all about the transverse plane of motion, the one we tend to neglect most often when we work out — but the one used most often in life itself. Sit with the medicine ball in front of you. Select a weight based on what you are capable of. Attempt to turn with the ball and place it behind you. Turn in the other direction to reacquire your grasp on the ball and repeat.

About the Author

Pat (Mac) McNamara has 22 years of special-operations experience, 13 of which were in the U.S. Army’s 1st SFOD-D (Delta). He has extensive experience in hostile fire/combat zones in the Middle East and Eastern Europe. He trains individuals at basic and advanced levels of marksmanship and combat tactics. Based on his wide-ranging experience, McNamara emphasizes a continuous thought process and accountability, utilizing a training methodology that is safe, effective, and combat relevant. He retired from the Army’s premier hostage-rescue unit as a sergeant major and is the author of T.A.P.S. (Tactical Application of Practical Shooting) and Sentinel.