FORT CARSON, Colorado – Known as the “Quiet Professionals,” Green Berets are some of the most highly-trained Soldiers in the Army. Their readiness requires them to have a performance training program designed to increase physical performance and emotional well-being, prevent injuries, and improve mental skills necessary to perform optimally in training and combat operations.
This is the goal of the U.S. Special Operations Command’s Human Performance Program (HPP), also known as Tactical Human Optimization, Rapid Rehabilitation and Reconditioning Program (THOR3).
A Special Operations Soldier assigned to 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Fort Carson, Colo. said the training at THOR3 significantly contributes to enhancing physical capabilities. He also indicated the physical improvements made are resulting in increased attendance in the program according to the Green Beret assigned to 10th Group.
“The biggest thing about the THOR program is its growth,” said the Special Operator assigned to 10th Group. “You see more people filtering in. The facility will definitely need to be expanded to accommodate that.”
Training methods used, include experiential and Socratic learning, didactic instruction, field and hip pocket coaching, office mastery and team/committee integration.
“We try to purify the clay and mold it into that elite Soldier,” said a THOR3 program strength and conditioning coach. “Collaboratively, our approach is to optimize the mental, spiritual, and physical condition of the Special Operations Forces Soldier.”
The THOR3 program staff at 10th Group consists of a human performance program coordinator, strength and conditioning coaches, physical therapists, a dietitian, and a cognitive enhancement specialist.
The purpose of THOR3 is to create programs for Special Operations-Focused missions by using professional sports–quality staff to provide coaching in strength and conditioning, physical therapy, dietetics, and cognitive enhancement.
“Our goal is to increase their mental and physical capabilities to help them recover from injuries sustained in combat or training, helping them to stay combat ready, longer,” said a cognitive enhancement specialist with THOR3. “Cognitive enhancement is a formal part of the program, which seeks to provide a systematic way to build mental and emotional strength.”
In addition to the mental aspect of the program, proper nutrition is required to optimize rehabilitation and performance. This is an often overlooked, yet vital aspect of human performance, which is emphasized by the THOR3 team.
“We have added THOR3 nutritional items at the dining facility that are scientifically proven to improve a Soldiers performance,” said a performance dietician with the performance program. “Often overlooked, there are specific foods you must eat to effectively optimize the body’s potential, along with rest, recovery and training.”
Additionally, the total holistic approach to fitness includes the collection of data. Information is collected through sports science data during heart rate monitoring, GPS tracking, mobility tests, lactate testing, and body composition testing. This testing is needed to assure the effectiveness and overall management of the program.
“We collect the data from tests run on the Soldiers and personalize a training program for them to optimize their abilities physically, tactically, technically and mentally,” said the performance analyst assigned to the program.
While the focus of the THOR3 program is to improve current operational longevity, and reduce the potential for injury, the added value to the SOF operator is the improvement in their overall health, coupled with improving physical and mental well-being that is the catalyst for success throughout their personal and professional lifetime.