Non-Profit Military Affiliate of the 43 rd Airborne Battalion
CrossFit Sweat Saves Blood is open free of charge to all Army of the Czech Republic members, both regular and in Active Reserve.
Mission of CrossFit Sweat Saves Blood is primarily to provide a facility to paratroopers in order to prepare them for their main task – defense of the Czech Republic’s interests. Since the service as a paratrooper is unimaginable without superior physical fitness, it is essential to dedicate extraordinary care in order to gain and maintain physical fitness.
Last but not least the purpose of CrossFit Sweat Saves Blood is to provide a meaningful way how to spend paratroopers’ off-duty hours.
When you hear "CrossFit Box" or „CrossFit Gym“, the image that comes to mind is probably a purpose-built location somewhere in a former factory or a warehouse with high ceiling, with a dedicated trainers, where classes are held on a regular basis. None of it applies to CrossFit Sweat Saves Blood.
Instead, think of us as more of an "on-demand CrossFit box“. CrossFit Sweat Saves Blood opens primarily on demand from individual paratroopers or whole airborne units, during duty hours or after them. The necessary condition is a presence of the head coach, his deputy or one of auxiliary fitness instructors of the 43rd Airborne Battalion. Regular classes are held 15:00 – 16:00 each Monday – if the work load and weather permits. Not to forget – we are a CrossFit Box in the open air.
Army: paratrooper of the 4th Airborne Company (Active Reserve), 43rd Airborne Battalion
Specialty: CrossFit Level 2, owner of the CrossFit Pardubice
I am a civilian from a military family with the longstanding interest in sport and fitness. Both had direct influence on my decision to quit my former profession and fully follow my dream – to run my own CrossFit box – CrossFit Pardubice.
It was nowhere else than in CrossFit Pardubice where I first met paratroopers of the 43rd Airborne Battalion in Chrudim. After a careful consideration, when in September 2016 they held their first selection to the 4th Airborne Company (Active Reserve), I could not have stayed behind.
I hope that my assistance to other trainers in CrossFit Sweat Saves Blood will help to all paratroopers of the 43rd Airborne Battalion to fulfil their main task – to be prepared for everything that they will encounter in their service. I cannot imagine more pressing need for an exceptional physical fitness than among paratroopers.
Battalion PT Officer
Second Lieutenant Jakub Pros
Army: paratrooper of the 43rd Airborne Battalion
Specialty: Military Faculty of Physical Education and Sport, Charles University in Prague
After graduating from Charles University I had to choose where to make best of my knowledge, abilities, and skills. With a clear conscience I can say that I had chosen correctly when I joined the 43rd Airborne Battalion. I am glad that motivation and approach of our paratroopers to conduct physical education is in comparison with other units extraordinary.
During my studies I have tried several sports. I took advantage of all of them during my following career, to the greater or lesser extent. Although the studies were primarily focused on Special Physical Training I understood more and more that the role of General Purpose Fitness is indispensable.
CrossFit can provide paratroopers the complex and functional training of locomotive abilities and skills, and moreover, considering the group nature of CrossFit lessons, it deepens the team spirit and group solidarity. Both of these qualities are entirely indispensable for all paratroopers.
Battalion Physical Training Instructor
Master Sergeant Pavel Stránský
Military: paratrooper of the 43rd Airborne Battalion
Specialty: all-round skills in fields of General Purpose Fitness and Special Physical Training
I have always had a positive attitude toward sports, even before joining the Army. Now I fully realize that the physical condition of each soldier, and even more a paratrooper, is often the deciding factor influencing the successful accomplishment of various combat tasks. For this reason I have always done my best to conscientiously prepare myself for these physically demanding tasks.
When I was given the offer by 2LT Jakub Pros to become the Battalion Physical Training Instructor and take part in improving the fitness level of our Battalion, I had my doubts whether he made the right choice. Today it is clear that, even given all the obstacles in our way, we are heading in the right direction to improve the Battalion’s fitness and the overall readiness all given tasks.
All this is possible only thanks to tremendous effort of our leadership and other Battalion members who significantly influence technical, material and other necessary condition to achieve our task.
What comes to your mind when you hear a word “fitness” or “gym”? Most of you immediately think of rows of exercise machines, tread mills and TV screens on mute in front of them. Strength workouts consists of several isolation movements using exercise machines. The movements are pre-defined by machines, both their range and trajectory. Usual training starts with warm up on a stationary bike, continues with weight training and is finished by the final stretching. Once, maybe twice a week some cardio. With head phones on, in your own world. No surprises, no variation. Is it the most effective way how to prepare yourselves physical stress in regular life? Or even the enormous physical stress during airborne operations?
Our demand for fitness is to be prepared to cope with all physical demands of regular life, training and combat, including the previously untried physical tasks. During these situations there almost never exist the strength, endurance and gymnastic component of fitness in isolation. Most of daily physical activities include all of them I one moment, just in a various ratios. A paratrooper in combat does not have luxury, after many bound sprinting to a wall, to rest before climbing over it. Therefore, the same principles are applied during our lessons.
We believe that the foundation of physical training for paratroopers is functional training. Training that utilizes common movements of human body which no one invented – squats, jumps, runs, pulls, presses, climbs – but we, given the nature of our current lives, we unlearnt them to utilize them. Training that utilizes all three physical domains – strength, endurance and gymnastic ability – into one complex. Only then is a paratrooper prepared for situations that can be expected in combat – the unexpected.
“CrossFit is constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity. All CrossFit workouts are based on functional movements, and these movements reflect the best aspects of gymnastics, weightlifting, running, rowing and more. These are the core movements of life. They move the largest loads the longest distances, so they are ideal for maximizing the amount of work done in the shortest time. Intensity is essential for results and is measurable as work divided by time—or power. The more work you do in less time, or the higher the power output, the more intense the effort. By employing a constantly varied approach to training, functional movements and intensity lead to dramatic gains in fitness.“ CrossFit HQ
That is the definition. How to briefly explain to someone who has never heard of CrossFit what can he expect. CrossFit is nothing else that “Sokol 2.0“. It is a modern coherent methodology based on scientific principles of observability, measurability and repeatability. In practice it is combination of athletics, weight lifting and gymnastics with admixture of other sports. The meaning is not specialization and achieving the best score in a specific sport or an event, but to achieve the overall improvement in fitness and eliminating “gaps” in physical abilities which all of us have. According the CrossFit methodology the 10 general fitness skills are:
Double march with equipment and weapons at the distance of 10 km, forced march in mountainous terrain, or series of bounds – without this ability a paratrooper cannot prevail in any combat situation.
Airborne operation usually last for hours or even days. Physical and mental endurance is the quality that the selection process of paratroopers is focused on. Therefore, it is one of the aspects separating paratroopers from regular infantry units.
Can you get aboard a helicopter with a fully loaded rucksack after a week-long operation behind enemy lines? Or get up with a wounded buddy on your back? These situations are examples of situations when strength is the deciding factor for a paratrooper to completing combat mission.
Flexibility is not just about whether you can touch your toes. Think of your muscles like springs. When they are constantly pressed they lose the ability to function properly. If you want to serve as a paratrooper for years, maintaining your natural range of motion is entirely crucial for you.
Are you not able to put a fully loaded rucksack on you back or a bed of a truck? Or hand over a 0.50 cal ammo case over your head to you buddy behind a heavy machinegun? Then you lack sufficient muscle power.
How far you can ran during 3-second bound under fire? For a paratrooper speed can mean the difference between life and death.
Are you frightened by the Irish Bench during a NATO obstacle course? Overcoming a wall utilizing a running technique was never one of your strengths? Then you have to improve your coordination.
Can you change your direction during a bound? Or immediately aim after throwing a hand grenade? If you can, agility is one of your strengths.
Is climbing a rock face your second nature? Overcoming an abyss utilizing French bridging your favorite pastime? Balancing on a ramp of a fast flying tactical airplane an ordinary experience. Then welcome among us.
Can you throw a hand grenade into a building’s window with enemy in it? Or to conduct a parachute landing closer to your leader than anyone else in your squad? Then you joined paratroopers correctly.
Three fields of combat training are the most crucial for any paratrooper – shooting, tactics and physical fitness. Role of physical training is to be the glue for other fields of combat training in order to achieve the maximal combat effectivity of every single paratrooper and consequently the whole unit during combat missions. The physical training for a paratrooper is not just about “basic physical training” where the 43rd Airborne Battalion utilizes CrossFit methodology and functional training. It is also about “special physical training” – hand-to-hand-combat, military climbing, and combat swimming. However, the basic physical training is the necessary foundation for the following development of special physical training, but also all other fields of combat training.