There are multiple threads out there about tabbing.
mixed advice has caused much confusion for recruits.
On my alpha I was told by all pti to not tab in preparation for my bravo and that running was enough. A luitenant with his wings told us he didn’t do any in preparation for p-coy just endless amounts of squats and lunges with bodyweight or a 10kg weighted vest.

When I say this is confusing for recruits I mean reservists. The regs you don’t start tabbing right away and it’s a much more gradual build up. 3 days into alpha we had a 2 miler at your regiment weight. It doesn’t sound much but having never done a loaded March a 25kg load carry even over 2 miles it was a shock to the system, the main thing I was thinking about was the 15kg lighter guy right next to me carrying the same weight and the hell he must be going through.

after my alpha just before Bravo I went out once a week with 25kg in a day sack upping the distance by 1 mile each week until I reached 6 miles equivalent to the bravo output. In all honesty my 3 mile input was not significantly easier but I did notice a difference. We were told to use webbing and rocket pouches which made for a different distribution in weight than I had trained for and with the webbing making it more difficult to swing my weapon which too makes a difference.

Now it’s not like we are rucking enormous distances however for some it’s just a confidence thing.

Reservists are not typically eased into tabbing and told to not practice by the staff, others say you absolutely can as long as you do it safely and build up.

With a long story and things I have noticed the question I have is do you think reservists should be training for tabs in their own time or train that has less impact on your body (hill sprints, leg workouts) at the end of the day left foot in front of right, right foot in front of left repeat is not hard. if anyone else has alternate view or programs they followed anything at all it’s all welcome advice. I’m pretty sure we will end up with more of the same, some saying do it and some saying don’t for various reasons but we might just be able to help some people out.

Cheers
 

MrBane

LE
Moderator
Kit Reviewer
Reviews Editor
Just put a backpack on with a bit of weight whenever you go anywhere. You don't need to go and tab, just walk with weight on you. You'll condition over time and run a far lower risk of ******* yourself with injury.
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
I'd also throw in a point about bone density and general conditioning.

It's all very well people preaching about low/no-impact exercise - and I say this as a keen swimmer - but if you don't condition your body to tabbing it'll come as a rude shock and you'll increase your risk of injuries such as shin splints (which WILL screw your career) and lumbar strain. There really is nothing quite like moving while carrying weight. You don't have to over-do it but I'd add some of it in to start to get used to it.

Get good boots and look at shock-absorbing insoles, too. I've used Sorbothane and Spenco Polysorb over the years, and by hell they make a difference.
 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
The reason PTIs say don't do it is primarily:

A) Procedural: tabbing in Army policy is a "supervised" activity which needs trained (ETL, Unit PTI or above) supervisors, therefore it would be a conflict to advise unsupervised people to undertake the activity alone.
B) Risk aversion: the Army not wanting to be liable if people do something dumb and get injured.
C) Recruiting pipeline: the Army wants to minimise potential recruit delays or no shows due to injury.

None of these has much to do with preparing you for being good or bad at tabbing. Like you say, the policy is designed for Regulars who have a 14+ week buildup programme for all this.

Preparing yourself to be good at tabbing is a different matter. The basic rule is that all running with weight is bad for you (specifically, bad in musculoskeletal terms), and the heavier the weight generally the worse it is. That said, like any physical activity, gradual buildup and training will prepare you for the activity, improve performance, and lower the risk of injury. Tabbing is no different to weightlifting or similar physical stresses in that regard. Lots of people in cities run to and from work with up to 10kg, and that's on concrete surfaces. There's no magic to it.

So, yes, preparation will help and is a good idea, but also yes, it's all doing some damage, so minimising that is key.

The four main factors to consider are: weight, impact, form and loading. Weight means: go lighter whenever you can. The higher the weight carried the worse it is for you, even if you won't know that until your late 30s. The best way to prep for carrying 50+kg is not to always train with that weight. Start low and build up. Impact means: minimise it wherever possible. Prefer grass to tarmac and tarmac to concrete. Wear trainers / approach shoes when possible (low weight good ground) and good boots with shock absorbtion when not. Doing lunges and squats as a no impact alternative is also sound. Form means: fit and set up your bergan / daysack well, and have good running or walking form to reduce muscle strain. Do core exercises to build back and core strength, which will help good form. Load means: stay within your capabilities and don't overdo weight carrying. Once a week max is plenty.

To build up, just do the normal Army programme: start at 2 miles with 10kg and every 2 weeks increase by 2 miles and 2kg. Supervision and march discipline aside, there is really no difference between doing that with a PTI and on your own.

Once you are trained and have done all this, the same applies to maintaining and building fitness. Tabbing / running with 10kg for 5-8 miles once a week or fortnight, or doing step machines etc with weight on, will slowly build up your weight carrying fitness, while keeping the damage you do to yourself long term to a minimum.

Finally, remember that all of this is a minimisation program, not prevention. Your body is designed to carry your weight, not your weight x1.5 or x2. Ultimately most infantrymen and similar roles end up with some degree of knee and feet problems in middle to late age. The only way to avoid that is not to do it at all.

PS Like @Cold_Collation says, I'd agree that there is definitely a performance benefit to training for it. Your body adapts to carrying weight by doing it and the impact: even when not specifically tabbing fit I still find weight carrying much easier than fitter people who have never done it.
 

The_Duke

LE
Moderator
I would agree with everything Sarastro has said, and would specifically highlight a couple of key points:

1. Preparation. After decades of training recruits, I am still amazed at how shit they all look when tabbing. Get your weight compact, neat, central, not lopsided etc. The amount of people I watched have the lesson on this and then fall apart trying to carry the leaning tower of Pisa still amazes me.
2. Technique. Watch how the DS move. Recruits tend to do things which make life really hard for themselves. You are going to be clocking 15 minutes per mile - a brisk walk. You don't need to be doing sprints, high stepping or anything else daft. Just walk. When you have to double, shuffle. Lift your feet just enough to clear the ground.

And finally, be careful. Don't ruin everything by trying to run down steep slopes, over rocks etc. If you face them in a test, so be it. Do them in your own time and you have wasted everything.
 
Hey everyone. Really useful info in the thread above. I am currently training to join the reserves and (as mentioned) haven’t done much in the way of tabbing - just running and push ups etc. I would like to add some walking into my prep with a Bergen and the real nerdy question is simply, can anyone tell me what the standard issue Bergen is called and where I can get one outside of a unit? I figured training with the same kit would be a worthwhile exercise rather than going to my local hiking shop. I plan to start with low weight and low mileage. It would just be useful to train with similar kit so it’s not so much of a shock. Ideally what bag and what boots shoots I get to get myself started. If it really doesn’t matter then please say so - I have to buy something regardless.
 
Any half-decent civvy one will do, all you need really is a day sack. If you buy a rucksack/ bergen you will just overload it.
 

UKTAP

LE
Hey everyone. Really useful info in the thread above. I am currently training to join the reserves and (as mentioned) haven’t done much in the way of tabbing - just running and push ups etc. I would like to add some walking into my prep with a Bergen and the real nerdy question is simply, can anyone tell me what the standard issue Bergen is called and where I can get one outside of a unit? I figured training with the same kit would be a worthwhile exercise rather than going to my local hiking shop. I plan to start with low weight and low mileage. It would just be useful to train with similar kit so it’s not so much of a shock. Ideally what bag and what boots shoots I get to get myself started. If it really doesn’t matter then please say so - I have to buy something regardless.
Don't waste money before you join - you won't know what you want until you've actually done a bit of stuff, and you'll just end up spunking a load of cash on something that you won't use, because you'll realise that it's chad.

When you get issued your kit, that will be fine. Until then, any rucksack and some walking boots will do the job.
 
Hey everyone. Really useful info in the thread above. I am currently training to join the reserves and (as mentioned) haven’t done much in the way of tabbing - just running and push ups etc. I would like to add some walking into my prep with a Bergen and the real nerdy question is simply, can anyone tell me what the standard issue Bergen is called and where I can get one outside of a unit? I figured training with the same kit would be a worthwhile exercise rather than going to my local hiking shop. I plan to start with low weight and low mileage. It would just be useful to train with similar kit so it’s not so much of a shock. Ideally what bag and what boots shoots I get to get myself started. If it really doesn’t matter then please say so - I have to buy something regardless.
I'm a big fan of these boots; they're issued, and so you'll be able to keep wearing them while in training.
Get your feet used to them now: win.

 
Thanks for the info ladies. Yeah I’ve heard good things about Alt Bergs. I went for a 10km trot today just in my trail running shoes and a 10kg rucksack. That was certainly enough for now. The aim is to just pass the time and build up some basic military fitness whilst we are all cooped up at the moment. I doubt my bag could handle much more weight than that (or my traps). I’ll look at different boots and figure that out as I’ll need something to wear once government gives us the green light to head out to national parks again. I’ll stick with that weight and distance for now and just creep up slowly.
 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Thanks for the info ladies. Yeah I’ve heard good things about Alt Bergs. I went for a 10km trot today just in my trail running shoes and a 10kg rucksack. That was certainly enough for now. The aim is to just pass the time and build up some basic military fitness whilst we are all cooped up at the moment. I doubt my bag could handle much more weight than that (or my traps). I’ll look at different boots and figure that out as I’ll need something to wear once government gives us the green light to head out to national parks again. I’ll stick with that weight and distance for now and just creep up slowly.
1. Boots are a mixed blessing: boots are only really required on rough ground, and even then a lot of modern shoes will do well. The major advantage of doing boots now is getting used to the additional weight. If you are doing this in parks or an urban area (tarmac / concrete), trail shoes are preferable. A lot of the advice here is handed down from a time when there were many fewer options available on the market and assumes you're walking over countryside, which is not usually the case these days. Be sure to try extensively before you buy - Altbergs, for example, are fine, but they tend to run very narrow and have a thin and high heel which (for me) reduces balance. I swear by the Salomon Quest 4D / Forces boots (note: I'm not sure these are accepted in training), because they have both a wide midfoot and a flared heel which just works with my biomechanics. Personal fit is everything. Your aim is something that is lightweight, comfortable, and in which you personally feel stable and confident even on rough ground. Non-slip and tough soles are a big bonus. Ultimately you'll end up trying a number of options until you find what works for you, but that's just a fact of your boots/shoes being a lot more used and important to you than your average occasional walker.

2. Less so with rucksacks. Most civvy rucksacks are built differently to military ones. They strongly prioritise putting weight on the hips and stabilising it around the chest. Military ones put the weight carried high up and largely on the shoulders and small of the back, because they have to fit on top of webbing. Although they come with stabiliser straps, they aren't really used because on patrol you need to be able to shoulder and dump your kit rapidly. I wouldn't bother buying a bergan - you'll overload it as said above. If you want to get something you can use while in, have a look at something like the Camelbak military daysacks (the Motherlode line), or the the bespoke daysacks somewhere like JayJays. The issued patrol packs are great pieces of kit if you can find one (this one: MTP Infantry Patrol Pack | 45L | Survival Aids - £69.95), but I've never seen them cheap online, and, of course, you're buying something you will get issued. Don't get the cheaper NI type daysack, they are shit. The key point is: how your daysack is designed will substantially affect how your core and upper body musculature adapts to weight carrying in a way that boots don't, so you want to get it right early on.

3. Get your form sorted early like @The_Duke suggested. I'd recommend doing a 50/50 mix of striding out walking fast, and a gentle jog, swapping between each every 5 minutes or so (i.e. the Para/bootneck way). That will maximise both your fitness and comfort with various forms of tabbing, and make it a lot easier when someone puts a weapon in your hands and asks you to tab to the PTI's preferred pace.

Whether to spend money...? If you're serious about doing this then the process of finding good kit is an investment, just like buying suits, shirts or a laptop for any other job. How much you spend depends on how much disposable income you have, how serious you are about the job, and how much you intend to use it. People tend to spaff away £100 on incredibly temporary things like going out on the smash to an expensive bar, or a dress they wear to one event, while fretting about spending £100 on stuff they use every day for years and that can injure or hold them back if cheap and crap. The other way round might be more sensible. If you have £100 to spend, I'd reccommend getting a daysack and sticking to the approach shoes for now. Spend a few months trying different types of boots in stores while you work out what is good for you.

Also: ladies? Really? Do yourself a massive favour and stow the chat until you have literally any more experience than none. It will only result in you avoidably embarassing yourself. Nobody likes being the new kid who knows nothing and nobody, but if that's what you are, recognise it and behave accordingly. Humility goes a long way in the Army, because there are so few fcukers who have any.
 
Excellent info thanks. The MTP Pack was the one I was looking at so that’s a good sign. Time to start tabbing. I’ll work on my banter whilst I’m at it.
 

Type 66

Old-Salt
When I look back on my military career tabbing here, there and everywhere, i loved it, however with hindsight and a knackered left knee ( i cannot run anymore, just cycle for fitness) i think the order of breaking into double time....double march, should be binned. It is precisely why myself and many others have knackered knees, some haveing knee replacements.
Pure marching from A - B is no problem, done at speed, again no problem. The problem comes when running with your Bergan, when both feet are momentarily off the ground your body weight plus bergan , webbing and rifle weight, are compounded by at least 3 times for every step you take, on a single knee joint! Eg 140 pound young soldier, 60 pound began, 30 pound webbing 10 pound rifle...240 in all becomes 720 pounds momentarily each time your foot strikes the ground. The PTI trade need to sort this out ASP.
It was in the running boom of the mid eighties that i read about each foot strike being 3 x your body weight.
 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
When I look back on my military career tabbing here, there and everywhere, i loved it, however with hindsight and a knackered left knee ( i cannot run anymore, just cycle for fitness) i think the order of breaking into double time....double march, should be binned. It is precisely why myself and many others have knackered knees, some haveing knee replacements.
Pure marching from A - B is no problem, done at speed, again no problem. The problem comes when running with your Bergan, when both feet are momentarily off the ground your body weight plus bergan , webbing and rifle weight, are compounded by at least 3 times for every step you take, on a single knee joint! Eg 140 pound young soldier, 60 pound began, 30 pound webbing 10 pound rifle...240 in all becomes 720 pounds momentarily each time your foot strikes the ground. The PTI trade need to sort this out ASP.
It was in the running boom of the mid eighties that i read about each foot strike being 3 x your body weight.
Think it is more complex than that. A large part of why infantrymen get knackered knees is taking a knee - as the UK's foremost knee specialist (who has done a lot of work on infantry) told me: "I keep trying to tell the Army that knees aren't meant for kneeling." As you suggest, you can increase that for the amount of weight being carried, which has spiked since 2001. The same applies to generic musculoskeletal effects caused by weight carrying which have knock on effects - flattening the spine reduces the inherent shock absorbtion of the human body, for example, which increases shock on joints like the knees and hips. So the constant strain of carrying very heavy loads and overloading knee joints in ways they aren't designed for is far more likely to be a cause than the comparatively low percentage of the time spent running on tabs. Exactly the same principle applies to, for example, posture: people tend to assign a posture injury to something they did for 30 minutes a week on a run, when in fact it's been cued up by the 8hrs a day they spend sitting down.

Running with weight is definitely a problem, but it simply doesn't happen beyond a certain point. The maximum amount I've seen even top-level infantry able to run with is about 30kg, beyond that everyone devolves to a shuffle. Also, the actual impact varies massively according to ground and footwear: a guardsman marching on the square in drill boots is taking a lot more shock than a recce soldier running with weight on heather.

As I wrote above, there are multiple factors which all play into it. Instead of a one size fits all answer, the solution is to be aware of all those factors and minimise/maximise each of them as much as possible where possible.
 

Type 66

Old-Salt
Re the taking a knee, i remember on the ILRRPS course in Germany, taking a knee whilst on patrol, one of the instructors said don't bother, if your not in contact you are simply wasting energy. He was Hereford.
 

Mesaboogie

Swinger
There are multiple threads out there about tabbing.
mixed advice has caused much confusion for recruits.
On my alpha I was told by all pti to not tab in preparation for my bravo and that running was enough. A luitenant with his wings told us he didn’t do any in preparation for p-coy just endless amounts of squats and lunges with bodyweight or a 10kg weighted vest.

When I say this is confusing for recruits I mean reservists. The regs you don’t start tabbing right away and it’s a much more gradual build up. 3 days into alpha we had a 2 miler at your regiment weight. It doesn’t sound much but having never done a loaded March a 25kg load carry even over 2 miles it was a shock to the system, the main thing I was thinking about was the 15kg lighter guy right next to me carrying the same weight and the hell he must be going through.

after my alpha just before Bravo I went out once a week with 25kg in a day sack upping the distance by 1 mile each week until I reached 6 miles equivalent to the bravo output. In all honesty my 3 mile input was not significantly easier but I did notice a difference. We were told to use webbing and rocket pouches which made for a different distribution in weight than I had trained for and with the webbing making it more difficult to swing my weapon which too makes a difference.

Now it’s not like we are rucking enormous distances however for some it’s just a confidence thing.

Reservists are not typically eased into tabbing and told to not practice by the staff, others say you absolutely can as long as you do it safely and build up.

With a long story and things I have noticed the question I have is do you think reservists should be training for tabs in their own time or train that has less impact on your body (hill sprints, leg workouts) at the end of the day left foot in front of right, right foot in front of left repeat is not hard. if anyone else has alternate view or programs they followed anything at all it’s all welcome advice. I’m pretty sure we will end up with more of the same, some saying do it and some saying don’t for various reasons but we might just be able to help some people out.

Cheers

I remember struggling doing that tab on alpha. Even though the distance isn't that great, it was the first time I'd done one (having being advised not to practise). After that I thought ah screw it i'm going to do some training on my own. It definitely paid off, i'm sure it put me at higher risk of injury but it was worth it to get used to carrying weight.
 

Jonnynoname

Old-Salt
I would say just do normal runs but do some training for the muscle groups we know that are the weak link.
Lower back, dorsal raises, hyper extensions, romanian deadlifts.
Knees, lots of squats at various depths. Do not go below parallel straight off with weight. Work at it.
Leg extensions, leg curls. Working the hammies & muscles around the knee, vastus medialis, lateral is.
Front of sh ins, Tibialis anterior. Put a plate on your toes raise your toes upwards to shins. Best seated. Soon burn.
If properly prepared these muscles should prevent injury.
People say Yeah but i don't want big muscles but that won't happen.
 

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