Updated: Jun 23, 2019
Through December 2015 to the end of February 2016, LiftLab ran a small group training program that we labeled "Immersion Training" but later was dubbed the LiftLab Militia due to the involved members’ love for guns, hunting, and overall patriotism (in all seriousness it was mainly due to the three military personal we had involved and the fact that all the training was structured and ridged in time caps).
The purpose of this group was to run a training experiment in which the program was extremely rigid in the right places and would eliminate any hurdle to ones fitness goal success.
Merriam-Webster defines “immersion” as the complete involvement in some activity or interest and the one thing that all the members in the group had in common was they were ready for a lifestyle change.
The program started with a questionnaire that asked everyone about their goals and what was needed on a daily and weekly basis to achieve the goals. This questionnaire asked about obstacles and support systems that would either help or hinder the achievement of the goal.
Participants were instructed to be as detailed as possible since data driven outcomes have shown that the more specific one is in identifying a goal the more likely the goal will be achieved.
Additionally research has shown a greater success rate in the goal when subjects identify possible obstacles and solutions to those obstacles at the onset of pursuit of the goal.
After completing the questionnaire all participants got together to go over the actual training program and what was to be expected. The program had strict demands despite everyone having full time jobs. Participants had to make at least 3 trainings per week.
The Immersion Training program also included reading and writing assignments. The group had a daily journal and assigned reading from “The Way of the SEAL: Think like an Elite Warrior to Lead and Succeed”.
Data was tracked by each participant using three methods.
First, the participants would log the strength portion of the training program with pen and paper.
The endurance portion of training was monitored electronically logging workouts using the polar HR app.
Athletes kept a journal regarding what helped or hurt with their pursuits.
We had a brief weekly meeting that we would do usually during our warm up to talk about our goals and keep them in the front of our mind. We called it "front sight focus" as it was a lesson from our reading. However, we held longer group meetings approximately every three weeks outside of the gym and the focus of discussion was dealing with obstacles that were preventing success.
The physical training program was written by Dan Brown and was your typical block periodization.
The basic idea of block periodization is that each training cycle is broken up into three blocks focusing on a specific goal and is lined up in a specific order that each block builds off the previous in a logical order.
Hypertrophy and aerobic endurance is usually the first block, followed by strength and a transition from aerobic endurance to sprinting, and the last block is power and sprint endurance.
Since we had three months of training each block lasted a month. Our typical week looked like this:
M- Deadlift/Lower Body Pull + Upper Body Pull + 15:00 HIIT
T- Recovery/Slow Endurance
W- Bench Press/Overhead Press/Upper Body Push+ Lower Body Push (Not Barbell Squats) + 25:00 Tempo Conditioning
Th- Recovery/Slow Endurance
F- Squat/Lower Body Push + Upper Body Push (Not Barbell Bench) + 15:00 HIIT
The weekly layout stayed the same but as the blocks progressed, reps and sets as well as conditioning and accessory exercises varied to meet the demand of each block.
Before we started training as a group we had a test week that tested us on the big three barbell movements (Deadlift/Squat/Bench Press), both a short and long row (500m sprint and 2K sprint), and basic body weight movements (Push Ups and Pull Ups).
Also since each one of our training goals were similar yet different, most of us had a second workout program that was written by myself that included extra weightlifting or conditioning/running.
Each week training started at 5:30AM and ended promptly at 6:30AM since everyone had work obligations and also being the middle of winter the weather was unpredictable. Training was challenging but due to the fact that we had a great group of guys it was fun and made getting up early in the cold manageable.
Along with the hard training we had weekly readings from the book “The Way of The Seal” which taught us how to better deal with goal setting, hard training, and the pushing through mental barriers. At the end of the week we all would try to get together to go over the readings as well as recap and reflect on our goals. This small meeting time was great since it kept us close as a group and helped us keep our sights set on our goals.
The three months was challenging but well worth it and it helped all of us get to where we wanted to be in our lives as well as give us tools that we can use daily to set and reach new goals. We had another test week at the end of the three months and everyone bettered their scores. All in all it was a successful program since everyone improved in the gym and outside of the gym.
Those who had military training or schools passed or are still involved in school but doing well.
Both Dan and I have talked about potentially running another Immersion Group and there has been some interest. Below is the results of both the test weeks and if you are interested in learning more about the program we ran and the training please email Jess Clark at firstname.lastname@example.org or Dan Brown at email@example.com.