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This Program is a very basic 6 Week Conjugate Rotation, modified from a program I wrote for myself a little while ago and really enjoyed. It is designed to build a bigger Squat, Bench, and Deadlift. It is really back-to-basics style programming, and I’ve written it for people who are looking for a new program, or would like to try a conjugate style program for the first time.
Size. Strength. Bigger Squat. Better 10km run time. Better conditioning. Bigger Bench. I always had a goal. And yet, if you had followed that up with another (probably even more important) question, “show me how your program will help you achieve that?”, or, “how will your workout today take you one step closer?”, I would have probably been a little stumped. Sure, I could tell you I wanted a bigger bench, and point to my Arnold 6 week program full of supersets and push-pull splits, and say, “well, if I do enough flat bench twice a week, surely my bench will go up?” Yeah, it might. But, is that all there is to it? And, why do I want a bigger bench? And, what if that isn’t actually working?
The population’s experience with mental health concerns is subjective, and varies from person to person, so when someone who hasn’t directly experienced or witnessed something as complex as PTSD - from where do they draw their understanding? What about someone who is experiencing it, but their personal experience doesn’t align with their current perception? What is the first step in understanding an acronym that represents a complex and diverse levels of experience?
At Anvil, we sell Custom Training Belts. One of the team, and my training partner, recently said to me over coffee, “Why don’t you write an article for the people who don’t know what belt they need, or why they might even want one?” 
So here I am, writing down everything I know about Training Belts. If you do spend some time in the gym, or you’re a crossfitter, olympic lifter, powerlifter, bodybuilder, or just a casual gym goer with a deep thirst for some understanding of why those fat guys strap themselves in before sucking in as much air as they can and benching some stupid amount of weight for 1 rep with an 8cm range of movement - this one’s for you.

How long does it take to form a habit? How about an addiction? How many times must I perform an activity to cement it in muscle memory? And, how long does it take something to become monotonous, especially if I’m just doing the same thing over and over again?

And why does any of that matter?

I admit that for 2-3 years, I fell into the crowd of people that didn’t see any compelling reason to train my biceps - and I admit that the most likely reason for that was a lack of research on my part. While there is no clear cut group upon which you can label ‘bicep denyers’, the belief appears to have the highest presence amongst the ‘functional’ fitness communities. 
During the time that I wasn’t adding some kind of direct bicep stimulation into my programs, I did a range of different training types, and none of them seemed to me as sports in which I needed bulging biceps to excel. As I look back now at the training I’ve done in the past and the ways I could have improved it, one of the things I wonder is if doing some kind of isolated bicep training would have been beneficial.

Volunteering – It’s like your first “LIVE” hand grenade throwing range experience. It’s a bit scary, you’re relying on others NOT to screw up. It can be funny (like the guy who let go on the downward swing in front of himself and everyone); then a run for dear life, a dive and three guys piling onto the Sergeant behind the sandbags. Then, the swear words and the usual debriefing - it happens! 

Never Volunteer for Anything:  “Nunquam Voluntarius Pro Quisquam”

It was recently brought to my attention that with the issues of gun control and mass shootings in the United States, it was counterproductive for me to post pictures of soldiers firing their weapons at the range on our Instagram page. The argument presented to me was, “If we are trying to promote a community focussed on positive mental health, pictures of us with guns will work against us because gun control and mass shootings are at the forefront of social and political focus in the US.”

Initially, I had a whole range of different reactions to this perspective. As an infantry veteran who spent a significant period of his early adult life learning the  specifics of various weapon systems, and subsequently teaching these to countless new soldiers as an Australian infantry instructor - I found it very difficult to see a correlation between civilian mass shootings, gun control debates, and images of soldiers on operations overseas. As a professional soldier, the importance of weapon safety, the lives of your mates, and the rules of engagement are drilled into you with every training scenario or learning opportunity. For a link to be considered between a supplementary image on an article post and the mass shootings overseas was deeply insulting.
If all you do for the rest of your life is walk 10 minutes after every meal, you can reap significant benefits compared to if you don’t do it. However, for most people, this should not be where you stop. Every day you do this, you reinforce the habit that exercise is a natural and necessary part of a healthy life. Not only does exercise become a physically reinforced habit, your brain forms associations between the activity and a positive psychological/emotional outcome of ‘feeling better’ - also the psychological positive reinforcement of completing goals you set for yourself, or overcoming challenges you set for yourself is productive. 
There is no point arguing the benefits of exercise. That argument has been won time and time again, with benefits being demonstrated across mental and physical health and well-being, short term and long term health, and an improved quality of life. And yet, I learned recently that the newest generation of children in the United States is the first generation in history with a shorter life expectancy than their parents and grandparents. This is due to increasing levels of obesity and the plethora of health conditions that come from a sedentary lifestyle. This isn’t limited to just the US, either. In Australia, obesity levels are higher than ever, with over 25% of children recorded as obese (according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2018).
A runner may have a sprained ankle, a weight lifter may have pulled a muscle, or it may just be the flu.These injuries and illnesses that you have inevitably experienced throughout your life can feel like a setback, and it’s normal to feel that - I know I feel that way, no matter what I’m training for. The common response we come across to these setbacks, however, is usually:
“I can’t do anything because I’m injured/sick.”
Heat injuries come in two forms. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Both are a direct result of dehydration, which is defined by the Australian Government health agencies as “when the water content of the body is too low”. Loss of fluids in a hot, Army environment was a daily concern. Combat troops are constantly training in warm uniforms, wearing body armour, and carrying heavy weapons and packs.
When I decided I was leaving the military, I knew I wanted to study. I’d been pushing my body for five years straight and was missing the mental challenges that only an academic setting could provide. So despite the confused and fearful looks I received from career soldiers who couldn’t imagine a world outside a green uniform, I pursued that. If you’re also someone from a military or emergency service background looking at studying, then the one thing I would want you to take from this is that what may appear to be a drastic and reckless change, is absolutely possible.
The go-to Army exercise for developing bodyweight strength, demonstrating physical prowess (no matter the time or place), or just implementing some “corrective physical training” in the event that someone is taking too long or doing the wrong thing, is the Push-Up. Unfortunately, doing so many push-ups, usually past the point of technical failure, has a bad habit of causing more harm than good. Speaking from personal experience - after a few years in the army, I started to have a persistent, sharp stabbing pain in the front of my shoulders. This was a combination of multiple factors, the two main ones being lazy posture and poor exercise selection for the rest of my training program. Luckily, once I located the source of the pain - my issues were easily fixed, and within a week or two that frustrating shoulder pain was a thing of the past!
I know it can be a pain in the ass to find out after you start a new job that it isn’t as exciting as it looked from the outside, but sometimes internal issues can take a little while to manifest. I personally worked for 6 months before encountering my first major issues with my leadership, but I stuck around until the 12 month mark just in case it had been out of the ordinary. Unfortunately, it became progressively worse from there, and I made the decision to finish the year and move on. For the sake of your mental health, make the hard choice. DO NOT stay in any job that is adding extreme levels of stress to your mental wellbeing.
I left the Army after 6 years in Infantry. I spent 7 months in Kandahar, Afghanistan, in a close personal protection capacity, and I spent a year instructing soldiers at the School of Infantry in Singleton. I worked with all different types of people, protected US Generals and Australian Colonels in Afghanistan, and trained with men and women from a long list of allied nations. I led small combat teams, gave orders to groups of soldiers and officers on operations, and  instructed multiple courses of over 40 soldiers. Additionally, I wrote and successfully delivered two strategic papers to high level staff. I thought that my range of experiences gave me a good understanding of how to communicate effectively and work efficiently with any group of people. I never thought that after everything I experienced in the army, I would leave a 9 - 5, Monday to Friday job because it had a “toxic work environment”.
As a veteran, you’re entitled to a lot of mental health support, though much of it isn't advertised by DVA. This isn’t surprising, considering  everything you don’t claim is money saved for them. For the crew at Anvil, we consider every resource spent on helping veterans to be well spent - so as a part of the effort to assist those currently  serving and ex-servicemen and women with their wellbeing, we’ve put this guide together for those seeking free mental health consultation.

This is a wake up call for every combat soldier spending 2 hours in the gym a day getting worse at their job.

I left 6 years in Infantry with a deployment to Afghanistan, a year training soldiers at the School of Infantry, more life experiences than I can poke a stick at, some of the best mates I’ll ever know, and a body riddled with injuries. The “demands of the job” is an excuse I have made a thousand times before when my body began to fall apart after long walks carrying over 70% of my own bodyweight, poorly sized equipment, thousands of hours training uncomfortable weapon positions and practicing combat drills all over the worst locations Australia, America and Afghanistan had to offer. Unfortunately like every gym goer with an ego and access to a mirror, my primary focus was on the front of my body. 

Take it from us, if you’re after longevity and excellence in a combat role, stop using the mirror to assess progress and start working on your posterior chain.