Duane is a US Army Veteran who served in Iraq. Here he teaches his son Konrad how to back squat.
Today is the 241st birthday of the United States Marine Corps. The Marine Corps birthday is a special day of celebration for all of us who served. Happy Birthday Marines! Oorah!
I joined the US Marines right out of high school in 1989. I hail from a deep and distinguished family military tradition. All of my grandfathers and great uncles served in World War II, my father is a US Army Vietnam veteran and my brother served 20 years in the US Navy with action in Iraq and Afghanistan.
My own military service took me to Saudi Arabia in 1990 for the Persian Gulf War or Desert Storm. I was young, 19, and very eager to serve my country.
Being in a war is not easy. Boy, is that the understatement of the year! However, it's the aftereffects of wartime service that are really uneasy. Post traumatic stress is a household name now. But, when my grandfathers, great uncles and my father returned home from war, NO ONE and I mean NO ONE talked about the trauma and stress. Sure, they would mention boys who were "shell shocked" but, for the most part, the VA, other veteran's and most non-family members urged them to "just get over it." I can tell you firsthand, it's damn near impossible to "just get over it."
This attitude, to "just get over it," does not serve us in any way. It does not serve us as veteran's of a foreign war and it does not serve us as humans. Just getting over it does not help you understand, it does not help you be mindful, and it does not help you move on.
It took me a few years of very hard and difficult work to recover from my stress. Luckily I have a great support system in my dad, my brother and my husband. Dealing with stress is the most important mental toughness training you can endeavor to do. It is the KEY to happiness, longevity, vitality, and being a good human.
All of us have stress in our lives. All of us have the ability to manage our stress. Managing our stress is done through cultivating and deepening our awareness of how events, people, sounds, sights, smells, etc. can trigger us. Knowing your triggers is the first step in learning to react differently to them. Once you know what triggers you, then you can acknowledge, breathe, relax and respond.
I'm happy to share more of my story with you, and I'd rather do it in person. Today and Veteran's Day can be emotional days for me and other Vets. Thank you for your gratitude and patience.
Reps for load. Today is a spicy rep ladder of back squats. We are getting heavy and working strength and muscular endurance. You don't need to be symmetrical as you make your way up and down this ladder. However, you do need to put some heavy weight on the bar for the middle singles. Aim for at least 85% of your current 1 Rep Max for a heavy single. Good luck! Make this Marine proud:-)
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