I had the pleasure to take part in Pat McNamara’s inaugural Combat Fitness Class on June 9 in Southern Pines, NC. There were five students in the class each from a different state: New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina and Illinois. The class was a mix of LE, military and civilians with all but one person having been exposed to Pat before.
The class took place at Southern Pines barbell. The gym was closed for the day for the class, but since there was only 5 of us, Pat did allow a few people that walked in to work out on their own, which was nice of him.
Many people have been on Pat for a long time to conduct this class, and I was glad to be part of the first one. I think it will have real benefit to people who want to learn some new exercises and how to organize their workouts in a different way, a way that will work your whole body more thoroughly in a shorter amount of time.
In Pat’s description of the class he writes:
“Focusing on self preservation and longevity, CST will introduce the chassis and its external components to power, strength, and agility training in all plains of motion within the full muscle spectrum range.”
While this description can sound daunting to some, this class was not a beat down course in which you are driven hard all day long. This is definitely meant to be more of a cerebral course and it was. We did get in an exhausting workout at the end of the class but there was plenty of learning to be done before then.
We started off at 8:30am with Pat lecturing on a number of different topics. Many of the principles that he teaches in his TAPS shooting classes (which I had taken the week before in High View, WV) are incorporated into his fitness philosophy. The two main similarities being: “Think performance over outcome” and “Understand the status of your weapon system at all times”. In this course the weapon system is your body.
We took 10 minutes to warm and loosen up and from there we spent about and hour and a half going over the Olympic lifts which Pat believes are fantastic tools, when done correctly, to build strength and power. This module was taught by his AI, Joe, who demonstrated proper form on the following lifts: back squat, front squat, power clean, push press, and dead lift. We all practiced these lifts while constantly being watched and corrected on our form by Joe and Pat. I used dumbbells for most of my weight workouts and Pat was there to give me methods for conducting these exercises with dumbbells in addition to a few more challenging ones that I had never seen before.
Pat then took us into how he organizes his workouts and what types of exercises he would do for them. He also taught us some neck exercises, which he says aren’t done enough or at all by most people. He also talked to us about doing transverse (twisting) plane of motion exercises and that these are often ignored also, but power in the transverse plane will translate into power in combat/fighting.
Throughout his demonstration of various exercises he showed us, many of which his devious mind developed himself, he allowed the students “discovery learning” time to try them on our own under his watchful eye.
We then did some combatives work and he expounded on his philosophy of unarmed combatives techniques. I really enjoyed this, it had been a long, long time since I had done any sort of bag work and it was nice to get some tips from Pat on my form. This is one area, boxing, that I would like to expand on in my own fitness training.
At the end of the day, it was time for our workout. He setup 9 exercises around the gym with the 10th being a couple block run outside that would set the pace for each station. We did a round robin workout, hitting each station twice. You worked out at your station while the runner was out and when he retuned we switched to the next station, had a 30 second break and then we started again. I don’t know how long it took us to finish the two rotations, but I know that each one of us was totally gassed at the end.
We then got back together by the white board while Pat summarized our day and answered some questions. I believe we walked out the door right around 3pm.
If you want to learn some new workout routines and exercises and/or are wanting to start a new fitness routine, I highly recommend taking this class. Pat will definitely give you many ideas on how to organize your fitness regimen. I imagine that if I took this class again, he would have several different exercises in the round robin than he had in this class. Pat has a wealth of knowledge on many topics and I thank him for taking the time to impart it to those of use willing to learn.
I would like to thank Pat for putting this class together for us and for the individual attention he gave each one of the students. I would also like to thank Joe for his section on the Olympic lifts and with helping out all day long with the class. I would also like to thank Southern Pines Barbell for allowing us to take over the gym for the day.
We did take a lot of pictures throughout the day. Hopefully, Paul at Grey Group will be getting them and posting them soon.