Why “Project Warhorse”?
Training for War
When horses were used in war, they had to be big, powerful animals that could perform a range of tasks to completion at their highest effort in an ever changing environment. The training of these horses had to be outstanding and specific – naturally horses hate surprises, confusion, and the smell of blood. But the training had to be specific in such a way that the horses could handle situations not specifically prepared for in training. Trainers used concepts (handling noise, aggression, being around other animals) and then provided the horse with a wide range of experiences based on those concepts so it would feel comfortable in whatever unexpected circumstance it faced on the battlefield.
Preparing for Battle
In our training, we can do a lot of different things. But in a program designed specifically for General Physical Preparedness, those things need to be limited to the physical qualities that have the most impact and positive carryover to unexpected physical tasks.
In my current thinking, these are those physical qualities:
Hypertrophy = increasing the size of muscle tissue
Strength = the maximum load muscle tissue can withstand
Strength Endurance = The ability to produce force over time, especially at higher percentages of one rep max
Endurance = how much pain can your body take and still perform close to 100%
Stamina = how long can your body take pain and still perform close to 100%
Hypertrophy sets the stage for a greater potential of strength gains. The nature of hypertrophy work – multiple sets of relatively high reps performed close to failure – also increases strength endurance.
Also, looking jacked makes people happy and happy people train harder.
Strength is the primary quality of both performance and longevity. Improving strength will improve almost everything you do in the gym, it will save your spine when you pick a box off the floor, and it will help keep you out of a nursing home.
Typically endurance and stamina increase together, and this is primarily done through training the aerobic system. The training of the aerobic system can come in different forms – intervals, steady state continuous, etc – but they all have the goal of increasing resistance to fatigue and increasing the maximum sustainable pace of physical effort.
Going to War
When we go into “war” we want to be big, powerful animals that can perform a range of tasks to completion at our highest effort in an ever changing environment, and our success depends on developing the most important physical tools we have at our disposal: strength and aerobic capacity.