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PRMC Diary Jan 8 - 11 2019

Discussion in 'PRMC Diaries' started by Firedrake, Jan 14, 2019.

  1. Firedrake

    Firedrake Member

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    Passed PRMC
    PRMC 18-034 Jan 08-11 2019

    Day One

    I arrived at Lympstone and was met by the Corporal from the platform after about ten mins.. With a gesture to move forward and told to report I gave my surname, and was then told to follow.

    I had a wheeled carry case but as expected I was told to carry it. Another lad already had one up on me and had a large sports bag that he could wear over his shoulder..

    We were brought into the block where we met a couple of lads who had already arrived. First things to do were to fill in some admin, ensure you fill it all in as stated by the corporal, if you are unsure there are laminated sheets on the wall with your initial orders for the day. There are several sheets consisting of personal details, hobbies, media consent and some others. Once the forms were filled out, I changed into PT rig which includes my numbered PRMC bib, unpacked some of my things and reported to the Corporal to be weighed and measured.

    Stand to attention, knock and report correctly

    “Corporal I am PRM (surname), reporting”

    You will soon be sent on your way, ensure you have filled out everything requested, or you will make yourself known as someone lacking attention to detail.

    Next you will draw out you kit from the cupboards this included:

    ● 1 x Green mug for whets

    ● 1 x Water bottle

    ● 1 x Pair of boots

    ● 3 x Combat trousers

    ● 1 x Combat Shirt

    ● 1 x Combat Jacket

    ● 1 x Belt

    ● 1 x Green Sports T-Shirts


    Polish your boots in the quadrangle and that is pretty much it for a while until everyone else arrives.

    (Important: All orders and requirements for initial arrival are laminated on the wall by the doors; if unsure of what you have to do, don’t bother the Corporal unless you have to.)

    Once every body arrived and everything was squared away we changed back into suits and had a briefing with the Corporal, covering what’s expected on course, ground rules, cleaning rota and whet fund.

    Frankly day one has very little to it. We went to scran, where I fueled up on pasta, soup and cake with custard and then we went back to learn the basics of drill (Ranks, Files, Blank Files, keeping in step and forming up)

    After that we cleaned, got to know each other and went to bed.

    Day Two - RMFA, BFT & Swimming Test

    This day started with most people rising at 0450 to go straight into the showers. The showers in the block have two temperatures, cold and hot. Personally I used the sinks to lather up then went straight into the showers, it seemed the most efficient way to get through without getting cold while standing naked waiting to go through.

    It’s worth noting from this that if you are particularly modest and not used to being naked amongst the lads that you just grit your teeth and crack on with it. You’re not being measured up, you just need to get through swiftly and shave and get on about your business.

    We cleaned up the corridor, kitchen space, heads (toilets), showers, sinks and ablutions (large sinks for cleaning kit.) We then back into suits we lined up and numbered of to ensure we were all there

    We made our way over to the galley at 0600 for breakfast. Carbs are important for the days at Lympstone, personally my breakfast consisted of

    ● 2 Fried Eggs

    ● 3 Rashers of Bacon

    ● 2 Fried Bread or 3 Hash browns

    ● 1 Black Pudding

    ● 2 Sausages

    ● Beans

    ● A bowl of porridge with a topping of granola and some yoghurt if available

    We then got a briefing from the Sgt Maj WO1 who was the most senior person you are likely to meet on the course. This briefing was about what is to be done in the tests, the expectations and requirements.

    The RMFA (Don’t scratch or fidget)


    The Bleep Test

    We were marched over to the gymnasium and split into two groups to perform the bleep test separately while the other group waited.

    In the PTI’s paraphrased words
    “If you don’t get at least 11 on the bleep test, you shouldn’t be here”

    I was in the second group looking on as we had the first failure of the course. He dropped out at 10.2 and quite indecorously at that, swearing at himself in a way that everyone could hear. Don’t be that guy, he didn’t ingratiate himself towards anyone being like that and got shouted at by the Corporals.

    Practice the bleep test before you come. I practiced on a 15m one and usually got between 11.6 and 12.6. I will certainly be striving for higher

    I think I would have done better in the RMFA Bleep but every time I turned I slid about a foot. I was wearing Altra Torin 3.0 trainers, which are zero drop and fantastic for marathons but for this bleep test they didn’t really have what it takes. So a bit of advice, bring a separate pair of trainers purely for the RMFA tests just because they are great running shoes doesn’t mean they will be great for the bleep test. One of the lads on the course was wearing Merrel Barefoot trainers and he said they didn’t slide at all, he did however ask the Corporal first if this was acceptable as the Joining Instructions state to wear well cushioned trainers. I am sure Hi-Tech type trainers with the light brown wax type soles will also excel in this regard.

    Bodyweight Exercises

    PTI - “You really should be maxing out every exercise”

    Press-Ups Test

    If you prepared for this and have good form, you will be alright. I was shocked to see some being pulled in the 25 range. I for one wouldn’t even go to PRMC until I could confidently do between 40 and 50 on the bleep after doing a bleep test. If you don’t practice with the bleep test and bodyweight exercises together, it’s hard to get a realistic view of what you can achieve. However for me, exerting myself before Press-Ups usually takes 15-20% off of my max reps I can attain..

    Tips

    ● Lock your arms fully as you wait for the beep this will take the strain off the muscles

    ● Go down and up as quick as possible so you can spend as much time as written above

    ● Keep your elbows in tight and look straight ahead

    ● Make a conscious effort to breath in the resting position - you actually get a fair bit of time between reps

    Sit-Ups Test

    Straight into the sit-ups. You probably get a minute and a half between exercises while the PTI do demonstrations.

    Again same applies as the Press-ups. Be prepared, you really should be getting above 60 or you are going to end up having to make up points on the difficult day.

    Tips

    ● Come down hard after you elbows touch knees, coming down slow will cause resistance, sapping energy and lowering your score

    ● Breathe in as you go back to resting position and expel all air as you sit up. Full lungs will be an encumbrance as you go to sit up

    ● The beep seems really fast on this one which makes it really easy to get in front of it because you feel rushed and as such rush them. Stay calm and crack on focusing on your breathing and staying to the beep..

    Pull- Ups
    Some lad came and couldn’t even do one Pull-Up. I’m not sure what possessed him to tell his AFCO he was ready.

    One thing though the bar isn’t made to be the ideal bar to pull yourself up on - it gets sweaty, it had limited grip qualities and was generally not what you may be used to pulling up on, be aware of this.

    RMFA Rundown

    All in all I was on track for how I was expecting to achieve in these tests. I was no way near top of the pile, there were in fact some absolute phys ninjas in these tests but when you hear people being pulled off in the mid 20’s for reps, you really start to question whether they were taking it seriously.

    We then got made to do a bit of extra phys because people were scratching and fidgeting throughout the tests.

    We then showered, went to lunch and had a good hour and a bit to digest.

    The BFT.

    I was a bit concerned for this, when I run by myself my best time was 10.15. This isn’t good by any stretch. Furthermore I had been reading on here that the warm up run was between 10 and 11 mins with a savage warm up beforehand. Personally I think the warm up was what was needed and consisted of what I was later told was RAMPF

    ● Raise Pulse

    ● Activate Muscles

    ● Mobilisation

    ● Potentiation

    ● Functional

    The run out was not anywhere near as bad as expected, hitting what was likely a 12m 1.5mile

    The return started on a slight uphill climb but the majority was flat. I was really happy with my time here running with others certainly helped and I came in under 9.30. I may have even got in under 9.15 if it wasn’t for the early traffic of people blocking my ideal pace out of the gate. So some advice, start at the front. You will probably need a slash, so do it in the hedge near the start point rather than in the trench at the back.

    The Swimming Test

    This test really is about composure. You don’t have to swim fast, just focus on being graceful and calm, as I think that is what they are looking at. You will be put in one of two groups - this divide to my understanding is based on correct utilization of the legs when swimming i.e whether you can perform breast stroke correctly. We then stepped off the diving board. The best way to explain the technique is a bit like doing a Nazi march off the board but instead of saluting the Fuhrer, you hold tight onto the bottom of your shorts. We did a length; a width and another length, then we tread water while I waited for the brick to be thrown in. Once the brick hits the water track it with your eyes and follow it down, expel all air as you descend, as it’s unlikely you will get to the bottom with air in your lungs. By the time I got halfway to the brick my body was telling me I needed air so when I finally got it I shot to the surface and in quite an undignified manner went straight over to the Sgt Maj with the brick expecting him to tell me to hit the showers. He did not, he told me to move away from the side and compose myself, which I did pretty quickly once I had a breath or two. I can tread water for an hour quite happily, short of boredom, so once I got my breath back all was good. I was told to climb out of the pool and get to the showers.

    If you don’t get the brick, or seem particularly uncomfortable in the water you will get a deferred pass and have to do day 1 again. So show some grace when you’re in there.

    Day Two Complete - Rundown

    It’s strange really, a lot of the lads including myself were really worried about day one, I guess this is because you are being marked and there are clear criteria which you are being marked against and the fear of not measuring up to the clear requirements cause anxiety. However If you have practiced the RMFA, as it is on the day and you know what scores you will get then you don’t really have to worry so much. The likelihood is that you will have eaten a better meal at Lympstone before you do the tests then you may have at home get a better warm up and as such perform better. If you know that you can do a 11.9 Bleep, followed by 48 Press-ups, 70 Sit-ups and 8 Pull-ups tell yourself that while you are waiting to perform them, be confident in your abilities but most of all in your preparation.



    Day Three

    This day is without question the harder of the two days. I learnt a lot about myself this day; my strengths, my weaknesses and all the stuff in between. The Bottom field had a light frost and the temperature was probably between 0-2 degrees which in hindsight was probably ideal for the amount of exertion done but at the time made me think it would be harder.

    The Confidence Test - Not a punch through the net, but high ropes.

    I enjoyed this part of the test. We first learnt how to traverse a rope which was about 5ft off the ground. Then we moved onto the actual test. I’m not too sure of the heights of the ropes but it consist of

    ● A medium height rope maybe 7-10ft (one that if you rolled off in to a hang you could happily drop off)

    ● A jog across a plank of wood with a small gap onto another plank

    ● A rope which is 30% higher than the last one and slightly less taught

    ● A climb down the net

    The hardest part of this test for me was running along the plank. I have never been particularly comfortable on small platforms at height and there was frost on the plank which didn’t help alleviate that. I stood to attention waiting for my order to proceed and jogged across the plank, did a small hop across the gap and moved on to the next part. If you walk you will be told to do it again.

    Assault Course

    We then got taken through the assault course being given demonstrations of how to do the obstacles correctly, the first obstacle was frozen over, though it is a very shallow pool. The monkey bars also had ice on them so using an open grip was not a good idea. We had a go on the obstacles and then had our timed run through. Give 100% between the obstacles a lot of time is lost by not running fast enough. Even more time is lost by not performing the correct technique causing you to fall off, or by not landing two footed and being told to redo the obstacle.

    The Determination Test

    Odd Crawls and Walks

    This was for me the hardest part of the week and consists of many types of exercises to test your resolve. I’ll give distance estimates but these may be quite inaccurate.

    ● 50-75m of Crab walks (This exercise tests hip flexor strength and was the hardest for me)

    ● 50-75m of Duck walks

    ● 50-75m of Bunny hops (I have no words for how my quads felt. I still have DOMS now)

    ● 50-75m of Bear crawls

    I personally found the crab walks and bunny hops the hardest and excelled on bear crawls. Everyone is different so don’t get disheartened if you fall a bit behind on one exercise, so long as you give 100% you will catch up on others. For me this was the hardest part of the day, three days later my quads are still aching.

    Drags and carries

    This was a very difficult test again, for some more than others. I feel like I “did well” here and I can only put that down to the amount of 80 – 100 kg squats, 76kg sandbag carries and 120 -150kg deadlifts I did in the gym.

    We paired off to similar weight groups to perform

    ● Fireman’s carries

    ● Backwards drags

    ● Pulls

    These are performed uphill over approximately 100m. Do your oppo a favor, if he falls over pull him up so you can carry on. The backwards drags were the hardest for me.

    Leopard Crawls

    This was 200 odd meters of crawling hips down across a lightly frosted field. Tough work on the inside of the knees, some lads had what looked like carpet burns afterwards. To be fair though the hardness on the surface probably helped us crawl the distance. If the field was a bog the resistance would have likely been much higher.

    Tip
    • Go at the fastest pace that you can maintain and get a rhythm. No point in flying out the gate if you die half way through

    After this came some more callisthenic and circuit exercises then it was on to the tank.

    The Tank

    This was pretty daunting, given the fact that the first obstacle on the course was frozen over. However we all had to hang from the monkey bars, then once one man dropped in, we all had to. I was expecting to be freezing the moment I got in the water but as we all dropped in and sat around the side with our chins touching the water for about 30s it wasn’t that bad. To be fair because of the calories burned I didn’t feel the cold until about 15 seconds in, then by the time it became particularly uncomfortable we were getting back out of the tank and made to exercise again. Even on a cold day, soaking wet, if you keep moving you will be ok.

    We then went back to the block for lunch but we got a 'extra phys' for running through the block in muddy shoes when we were told not to. It was probably the hardest 'extra phys' we got, maybe because we just finished the hardest test. It consisted of bend and stretch press-ups followed by 10 in our own time followed by more on command where we were told the error of our ways. We had to do press and jump burpees called bastards to help the 'extra phys' ingrain itself

    As the corporal said
    “Not what we need before the endurance course”

    Lunch from a hotbox (loads of meatball pasta) Take this opportunity to stretch and rollout (if you brought a foam roller)


    The Endurance Course

    We got on the coach after lunch and went straight out to the endurance course which is at Woodbury Common. I actually really enjoyed the endurance course, it was hard, don’t get me wrong; it’s not just a run through the sheep dip and crawling through tunnels and streams, there are added squat jumps, hill sprints, pays to be a winner , bear crawls, pull ups, baby carry’s and some other calisthenics exercises.

    Peter’s Pool

    Here you all go in up to your chest and then have to submerge yourself completely for three seconds. We had to do this twice because someone didn’t completely submerge themselves. Natural buoyancy will make your head pop above the water but if you roll yourself backwards and allow your feet to lift then it is easy to stay under.



    Face Plant Pool

    I don’t know what this obstacle is called but it involves you running into a water obstacle where the depth dropped quite suddenly, causing a stumble into the water. Some handle this better than others and this obstacle may be a source of amusement for the training team as some of us fell forward in a rather undignified manner.



    Sheep Dip

    This is directly after and quite frankly it was over and done with so quickly I can barely remember it.

    Smartie tubes

    These are two small tubes to call through. Now I can only tell you what the right hand side is like as I had to go through it twice as the other tube was full. All I can say was it was a bit like Andy Dufresne’ escape from Shawshank. Smelly, with your hands submerged in several kinds of dirt but also rewarding, as once you are here you are not that far from the end. There are several tunnels on the course, these being the smallest however they are all pretty hard on the knees but as you are all going through the course together they also cause traffic, so they are an opportunity for a breather, even if you don’t want to smell it.



    Final Stretch

    There is a point in the course where you may see two vans. They may do this to test your will. Just carry on, we hadn’t finished until we had returned to where we left our water bottles, done the final carries to the road and been awarded a Mars bar.

    Being on the coach after was really rewarding, as you knew unless you were an absolute idiot at some point on the remainder of the course, you had passed. Some of the lads chatted; some looked out of the windows in personal reflection of what they had been through.

    Physical Aspect Complete

    We go back to Lympstone and had a good wash.

    The rest of the course consisted of cleaning, admin and briefings about fitness, stretching and diets.




    Overall Fitness tips other than the obvious

    · Run some 10ks and half marathons

    · Do plenty of weighted squats and lunges

    · Do Hill Sprints, Heavy sled pushes and large sandbag carries

    · Do squat thrusts with 10kg in each hand

    · One PTI said we should be doing max rep on all bodyweight exercises 3 times a day

    · Practice the bleep Test (it doesn’t take long)
     
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  2. MassamanDave

    MassamanDave New Member

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    Thanks for posting and congratulations! Any idea on when you'll be starting RT?
     
  3. Firedrake

    Firedrake Member

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    I am hoping for 4th March. I got a C Pass but reckon I can get a good B before I get in. I'm pretty sure if I squeezed out a few more pull ups and did a bit better at the Bleep test I would have been a B grade.
     
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  4. Firedrake

    Firedrake Member

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    I am hoping for 4th March. I got a C Pass but reckon I can get a good B before I get in. I'm pretty sure if I squeezed out a few more pull ups and did a bit better at the Bleep test I would have been a B grade.
     
  5. MassamanDave

    MassamanDave New Member

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    How many point were you off a B and what were your stats if you don't mind me asking?
     
  6. Hubb97

    Hubb97 Member

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    Surprised you didn't get crucified for that:D
     
  7. Firedrake

    Firedrake Member

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    Bleep - Low 11's - 2 Points (I always get 3 points on a different floor, with extra training and correct footware I reckon I can get 12.6 which would be 4 points)
    Press - Low 40's - 4 Points (about 10 more for 5 points)
    Sit- ups - Low 60s - 4 Points (about 10 more for 5 points)
    Pull-Ups - 8 - 3 Points ( 3 more for 5 points, 1 more for 4 points)
    BFT - Under 9.30 - 3 points

    They don't tell you your Assault course score even if you ask, so its hard to know how many total points I got. Its clear I didn't get 5 points on it though. I probably got 2 or 3.
     
  8. Firedrake

    Firedrake Member

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    I didn't know there was a limit. The way I looked at it, a fried breakfast is high in fat and protein. So I needed some carbs in there somewhere. I had a half ladle of porridge and enough granola to cover it. It wasn't a heaped bowl probably half to 3/4 full, as I didn't want to be bloated.
     
  9. Hubb97

    Hubb97 Member

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    Haha quite a lot for a 3 mile gym tests really but nicking 2 deserts is the ultimate sin!
     
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  10. JRodwayyy

    JRodwayyy Member

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    What’s happened to the 3/4 mile troop run back to Lympstone after the endurance course? Have they removed that now?
     
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  11. Caversham

    Caversham Former RM Commando, Moderator

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    They haven't done that for quite a while now.

    Alan
     
  12. JRodwayyy

    JRodwayyy Member

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    Was a while a go when I passed a prmc, was 2015 and we had to do it then. Looking to re apply this year though didn’t even know they stopped doing it. What’s the reason for it?
     
  13. forrest

    forrest New Member

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    Thanks for posting this. Got my PRMC tomorrow.
     
  14. Caversham

    Caversham Former RM Commando, Moderator

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    I would guess supply and demand. Less people applying these days, so a gentle easing of the standards for PRMC. Same as the night out, that is no longer done.

    I would stress that there is NO easing of the standards in RT, before everyone starts jumping up and down!

    Alan
     
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  15. Morticia

    Morticia Member

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    @Firedrake great diary, very detailed it will surely aid those yet to attempt PRMC.

    Good luck!
     
  16. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker Admin

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    PRMC forever evolves - if it didn't, the forum would probably become obsolete pretty quickly.

    The diaries are invaluable.
     
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  17. BillyTheKid

    BillyTheKid Member

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    I heard the training team only do the 4 mile run back to camp if there are any unsuitable candidates left on the course
     
  18. Caversham

    Caversham Former RM Commando, Moderator

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    I would imagine that if any candidates were deemed unsuitable, at any point, then they would be pulled and put in the back of the safety wagon.

    To my knowledge the run back has not been done for a considerable time now. Happy to be corrected by those more in the know.

    Alan
     
  19. TheBreak

    TheBreak New Member

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    When I did that run back in 2014 it was a real emotional rollercoaster. A couple lads also failed here and wrapped. I remember having a tear in my eye when I saw the end. To be greated by 50 push ups in our own time!

    Really useful to see these diaries and those of PRMCR too.

    Well done on getting the pass!
     
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  20. epicurean

    epicurean New Member

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    Good in-depth post.

    Sounds like it hasn’t changed much at all since I did mine in 2010.

    Looking forward to doing it again, this time probably as the oldest fart in the group.