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The Benefits Of Functional Training In The British Army

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Charlie Page

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functional training in the army
10 July 2023 2 min read
The Benefits Of Functional Training In The British Army

Having spent 13 years in the Army and for the most part as a ‘Physical Training Instructor’ I have watched the evolution of functional training take shape and the benefits of which it serves to all soldiers, regardless of their age or gender.

Although the Army is equipped for such training, what it does not allow for is bespoke training to take place such as CrossFit (or as we all call it “British Army Warrior Fitness”) which isn't recognised as a sport, and therefore not funded.

My Unit is held at high readiness. Consequently we must have the ability to adapt rapidly to, and subsequently cope with, extreme environmental conditions – this ability is closely associated with high levels of physical fitness. By setting up and procuring such a gym will enable us to have successful operational performances.

Soldiers must be physically and mentally fit while prepared to operate at short notice, anywhere in the world. If fitness levels are not maintained, operational capability may be compromised with the inevitable increase in the risk of failure.

We currently undertake annual and bi–annual tests which give a measurable outcome across all components of fitness (Endurance, Strength, and mobility). We can then structure our programming around those outcomes. This is something very similar to what functional (CrossFit) training would do.

Noticeable Benefits Of Functional Training

What we are seeing with such training is an increased ability to operate at such a high level for a sustainable amount of time. I have personally taken 15 soldiers across all age brackets up to 50 years old through a yearlong training programme tailored to the individual and focused on functional fitness. The evidence I gathered was outstanding. I had individuals moving the best they ever could and running their quickest mile times whilst they also gained 25kg+ across all compound lifts, injury free!

To summarise, training in the style of a CrossFit athlete has far more benefits than any other type of training and to set up such a gym with Again Faster equipment would only make us more responsive and ready within our role as soldiers.

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