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How We Trained in OMEGA, Latvia’s Anti-Terrorist Unit

October 20, 2004 02:19 PM

In "OMEGA" we just had to do just about everything. Every morning we did some running and basic mobility drills, a couple of leg swings or dynamic stretches. Then we either went to the pool for swimming or jumping into water: from different heights, in different positions, a couple of people at a time, etc. Or we went to the Old City in Riga where there are a lot of old buildings. We practiced climbing walls, houses, roofs, jumping from different heights, jumping from one house or roof to the next one, etc. Or we did some tactical training for hostage rescue, every time in a different place: an airport, a parking lot, in the city, in a house, on a bus, on an airplane, or wherever.

The training was very physical, with lots of pushups, situps, walking in a half squat with the gun ready. Then before lunch we got about 20 minutes of weight training: double bodyweight squats, pullups, maybe dips, rarely bench or military presses. We squatted almost every day for 2 sets of 5-7 reps with a max weight. You had to work up to at least two times your bodyweight. Pullups were usually done with the bodyweight only for 3-5 sets of 8-12 reps or were pyramided: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-6-5-4-3-2-1, etc.

After lunch clean your weapons and go shooting. Walk or run, run with weights or with a gas mask and do pushups and situps on the way. Climb some dunes, sometimes in a gas mask, shoot. For missing you got some extra pushups, running, or climbing. Anyhow, it was always stressful, physically challenging, fast -basically as close as possible to reality. Whatever we did, it was never the same, there were some basic principles or routines that we did, but they always changed so you never know what would be next, so you had to be ready.

Then we had our martial arts practice. First we studied SAMBO self-defense techniques, then we sparred full contact with no gloves or any protection, at least twice a week. We got to spar with some World and European champions in boxing, kickboxing, karate, or sambo, every time somebody different. You would have to stand and fight against them, get beat up, but don't ever give up, or you are gone from the team right away.

Stretch in the end, go home, heal up, come back for some more tomorrow. We did this Monday through Friday. On Saturday we got thrown out somewhere, usually at the beach or in the woods, and we had to run 10-20 miles in a certain time, or we missed the ride home. On the weekends we also practiced parachute jumping.

I left law enforcement and today train on my own. Now I do mobility drills and dynamic stretches from Pavel's Super Joints book in the morning (30 min.), then either my Russian Martial Art practice (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday), or kettlebell training (Monday, Wednesday, Friday). I do 45 -60 min. of circuit style training (3-5 rounds), I also change the reps, sets, and exercises every time using the main principles from The Russian Kettlebell Challenge
. Following are the exercises that I do: pullups, dips or one-arm pushups, side presses or windmills, one legged squats or overhead or front SQs, snatches or C&Js, hanging leg raises, jump rope, leg swings or kicks using elastic bands. I wrap up with some 3 sets of 15-30 reps of C&Js, or cleans, or jerks, or swings, or snatches, or snatch pulls. I change things every time. KB training just makes me feel good, it's like drugs.

In the evening I stretch, usually 2-3 times a week. I do Pavel's isometric stretching routine. I also stretch for 5 minutes, easy, at the end of my KB workout. And listen to this -I am always energized while I was always tired back in my Omega days. Keep in mind that I don't drink coffee or anything of the sort; I don't take any steroids, vitamins, protein, etc. I feel good, strong, and people tell me what a good shape I am in. I eat everything and as much as I want. I am ripped, flexible, better in my martial arts or just fighting in the bar (that's my job-a bouncer in a hot place) -and all of this in so much less time and with less effort. Thanks to Pavel.

I forgot to mention that the Power to the People! deadlift routine fixed my lower and middle back problems by 80%. I had some serious injuries and doctors wanted to commit me to a wheelchair. I said, "Forget it!", and started a routine of water and special exercises plus massages. I still had pain until last year though, until a friend gave me a copy of Power to the People! as a present and I went on the PTP DL program. I started with 135 lbs. and finished with 550 lbs.


Vilnis Rusins is a veteran of Special Intervention Group OMEGA, Latvian anti-terrorist unit, one of the top three Police Sambo competitors in Latvia, and a European Taekwondo Champion in fighting and breaking.