Coach Mike Chadwick

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It is my privilege to announce that the Forum will be hosting a question and answer thread from Coach Mike Chadwick, the CEO of Red On Fitness. This will give members the opportunity to post their training/fitness related questions on this thread.

Red On Fitness was founded by a serving Paratrooper / Royal Army Physical Training Corps Instructor, Coach Mike Chadwick. Mike has spent his career managing, leading, optimising human performance and enhancing resilience for Tactical Athletes around the world. He is a renowned tactical Athlete coach and Para Reg PTI.

Please wait for Mike to post below and then send your questions. Understandably he is very busy and please be patient for his answers. This is a huge benefit for the forum. Please refrain from sending Mike private messages- Questions are best asked on the main forum rather than via PM. Others will benefit from the experienced answers on this thread.
 
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Let’s do this. For those of you who don’t know me or seen me on social media (@coachmikechadwick), my names Mike and I’ve been in and around the Parachute Regiment since passing out in April 2008. I’ve served with 1&2 para and after a moving into physical development full time within the RAPTC to help shape the way in which the Army train, I’m now working with 4 para. I’ve worked on all pathways into the Reg, so please fire away any questions and I’ll do my best to answer them. If I don’t know the answer, I should hopefully know where to find it or who to go to..
 

Aldo

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Fan boying a bit here, genuinely am a fan of your work and your social media posts have definitely helped me train or at least think more about training smarter.
I guess my question is a basic one- what would you say is the best way to improve running endurance as I can see this forms a big part of phase 1 training? Is it literally a case of smashing the miles or would you recommend intervals etc? For context I’m looking to join 4 PARA
 

smudge67

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Hey Mike, thanks for taking time to do this. Do you have any specific exercises you think recruits should be doing specifically to help them pass P Coy. Cheers.
 

Nutter

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Don’t want to flood this with questions and I’ll let you catch up @Coachmikechadwick but wanted to say that it’s great you are doing this! This forum has already helped answer some questions and this is a fantastic result having you on it.
When you get a chance my question is about the level of fitness you recommend a potential recruit (I’m ex reg Inf, 1 R Irish- looking at 4 PARA also) should be prior to rocking up. Metrics like what sort of distances would you want to us able to run, timings, press ups etc? I don’t want to use the application process time to get fit, I want to arrive fit. The is awesome cheers!!
 
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Fan boying a bit here, genuinely am a fan of your work and your social media posts have definitely helped me train or at least think more about training smarter.
I guess my question is a basic one- what would you say is the best way to improve running endurance as I can see this forms a big part of phase 1 training? Is it literally a case of smashing the miles or would you recommend intervals etc? For context I’m looking to join 4 PARA
Hi mate, so to improve running endurance, I have a few recommendations below.
1. Improve correctly muscle activation and core stability (for the parachute regiment recruits at afc one of the small changes I made was improve their glute activation and making their core bombproof. This was a huge factor in more than doubling the depo pass rate and At 16 they had an 88.5% p company pass rate).
2. Provide the body with a foundation of strength. (With endurance, you are going further for longer. This takes its toll on the joints, especially under fatigue, so provide those joints with ample strength to ensure they can remain constant and efficient throughout). This is often neglected in running training although it reduces the likelihood of injury as it reduces ground contact; Meaning we reduce the time the foot is on the floor. We can do this by adding strength training in the form of heavy resistance training, explosive resistance training and plyometric training. Strength training is clearly something I think very highly of and it’s what’s I’ve introduced into every programme in the British Army that I’ve been involved in. It can provide multiple benefits to your physical competency. It positively reduces the likelihood of muscular skeletal injuries (a key factor in surviving depo) as well as improving performance across a myriad of training modalities, including endurance.

3. A follow in from strength is running economy. An increase in muscle mass specifically around the proximal region of the lower limbs enhances biomechanical and physiological factors which positively influence running economy and therefore enhance running ability.
4. You don’t have to just run to improve endurance. Use a myriad of equipment from swimming, rowing, cycling, assault bike, skiergz, cross trainers! Try everything and become accustomed to them all. It will help to increase the fun factor of training by changing the environment and gives you new goals and tests to get use to and good at, all whilst improving endurance.
5. Test! If you do not measure, then you are guessing! I now provide full time coaching to people wishing to take their first or next step in Tactical athletic development, regardless of aim, I always begin their programme with a test. I then use that test to measure their ability and build a plan to get them to their goal.
 
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Hey Mike, thanks for taking time to do this. Do you have any specific exercises you think recruits should be doing specifically to help them pass P Coy. Cheers.
Do the stuff that everybody hates. Prior to every session begin to conduct Glute activation with resistance bands and the Big 3 (thoracic curl up, side plank and bird dog) . I also recommend you start getting strong by conducting squat and deadlift derivatives. Not only will this reduce the likelihood of you getting injured. It will improve your speed, which may improve your chance of survival later on in your career.
 

BT9

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This is great!

@Coachmikechadwick I’m aiming for Para Reg Officer. Something I really struggle with are pull ups. Will this be an issue and is it worth working on these or should I stick to the likes of press ups, sit ups etc?
 
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Don’t want to flood this with questions and I’ll let you catch up @Coachmikechadwick but wanted to say that it’s great you are doing this! This forum has already helped answer some questions and this is a fantastic result having you on it.
When you get a chance my question is about the level of fitness you recommend a potential recruit (I’m ex reg Inf, 1 R Irish- looking at 4 PARA also) should be prior to rocking up. Metrics like what sort of distances would you want to us able to run, timings, press ups etc? I don’t want to use the application process time to get fit, I want to arrive fit. The is awesome cheers!!
Your mantra of arriving fit is great. Be careful not to over step what arrival looks like. At the top of the tree, the biggest failure of UKSF is people arriving over worked having peaked months ago! Looking at it for the reg in much more simpler terms, is turn up fit and ready for anything, but you dont have to be able to pass p company on week 1 day 1. Thats what the process is for. For those joining the regular army, the instructors you have at Depo are literally world leading and will guide you to becoming the best. A programme i conducted at AFC (op achilles) can validate for this. For years the junior soldiers pass rate was horribly bad, why, because at their age, they over trained to turn up at depo weeks before p company to just get injured as their bodies couldnt take it. We changed that process positively by making the junior soldiers strong and providing a foundation for the instructors to mould them. (There is a bit of science behind the maturational status and what to train when.)

For reserves, you need to ensure your ready, but you need to plan around your lifestyle, so often you see programmes released saying to train this on monday and that on wednesday at 1100 (people have jobs, and familes and a life). Ensure your programme fits around your life and not the other way round. You are joining an incredible club, but one that asks a lot of you; you'll need that support team (family) around you to support you through it.
In terms of training specifics, as ive mentioned in other questions. Its about being strong first and foremast and staying the course, if your not strong and you break down and get injured , then you have 0 chance of passing. If your strong and stay injury free, then your already 100% more likely to pass as you will stay on course! Improve lower limb strength and make your core bombproof!! Everything is driven from and connected to the core, so its important you dont neglect it.
 
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This is great!

@Coachmikechadwick I’m aiming for Para Reg Officer. Something I really struggle with are pull ups. Will this be an issue and is it worth working on these or should I stick to the likes of press ups, sit ups etc?
Yes that will be an issue as you have pointed out a flaw and you now need to fix it. It doesnt matter how irrelevant to your job that flaw is, if you have recognised a weakness, fix it and get use to attacking and winning everything! Improve pull ups by firstly getting on the bar and practising and by switching it around and conducting lat pull downs (elicits the same muscular activation).
 

Nutter

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Your mantra of arriving fit is great. Be careful not to over step what arrival looks like. At the top of the tree, the biggest failure of UKSF is people arriving over worked having peaked months ago! Looking at it for the reg in much more simpler terms, is turn up fit and ready for anything, but you dont have to be able to pass p company on week 1 day 1. Thats what the process is for. For those joining the regular army, the instructors you have at Depo are literally world leading and will guide you to becoming the best. A programme i conducted at AFC (op achilles) can validate for this. For years the junior soldiers pass rate was horribly bad, why, because at their age, they over trained to turn up at depo weeks before p company to just get injured as their bodies couldnt take it. We changed that process positively by making the junior soldiers strong and providing a foundation for the instructors to mould them. (There is a bit of science behind the maturational status and what to train when.)

For reserves, you need to ensure your ready, but you need to plan around your lifestyle, so often you see programmes released saying to train this on monday and that on wednesday at 1100 (people have jobs, and familes and a life). Ensure your programme fits around your life and not the other way round. You are joining an incredible club, but one that asks a lot of you; you'll need that support team (family) around you to support you through it.
In terms of training specifics, as ive mentioned in other questions. Its about being strong first and foremast and staying the course, if your not strong and you break down and get injured , then you have 0 chance of passing. If your strong and stay injury free, then your already 100% more likely to pass as you will stay on course! Improve lower limb strength and make your core bombproof!! Everything is driven from and connected to the core, so its important you dont neglect it.
Excellent points and all understood, thanks.
Fantastic point about putting what is important first-family! 4 PARA looks hard enough without having dramas at home. All noted and understood! Hopefully you stick around as I’m sure many more members will want to chip in. Lads get on this, this is a golden opportunity. Thanks again
 

Dot

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Prob a shit question sorry but what would you say is a good mental way to shut up that voice in your head that wants you to quit? I want to be a Para more than anything and know I’ll hit the wall at some point but want to smash it shit question lol
 

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Dot

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Also one more from me, is it worth getting used to running in boots. I’ve my PRAC in January
 

Nutter

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Prob a shit question sorry but what would you say is a good mental way to shut up that voice in your head that wants you to quit? I want to be a Para more than anything and know I’ll hit the wall at some point but want to smash it shit question lol
Good question mate. No such thing as a shit question
 

HGH77

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Hey @Coachmikechadwick, really appreciate you taking the time to do this. My question is how many times a week do you think a para hopeful should be running a week and which styles or types of running will be of most value. Thanks!
 
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Also one more from me, is it worth getting used to running in boots. I’ve my PRAC in January
No mate, you’ll have plenty of time for that. Get comfortable in trainers and concentrate on being physically competent become
Prob a shit question sorry but what would you say is a good mental way to shut up that voice in your head that wants you to quit? I want to be a Para more than anything and know I’ll hit the wall at some point but want to smash it shit question lol
You have to understand your why. Whenever you train, it must be for a reason so always consider that reasoning. If your why (becoming a paratrooper) doesnt motivate you, then you maybe out of sync with your goal. Becoming a reg bloke is difficult, i will not lie to you and tell you otherwise. If it was easy, everybody would be a paratrooper and earn an extra £200 a month, working next to the best and most motivated soldiers in the world. You have to want it more than anything and do whatever it takes to go and get it. Dont ignore the voice, use it for momentum.
 
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