10 L(G)ift Ideas for the Formerly MAMF (Military-Aged Male or Female) in Your Life

TAGS: combat ready hex bar, signature posterior chain developer, veteran's day, 2019 wishlist contest, outside submission, Veterans, EliteFTS SS Yoke Bar, veteran, Onnit Primal Kettlebells, Christmas gift ideas, Heavy Grips, Low Row, gift list, contest, knee sleeves, wish list, wrist wraps, elitefts.com, holiday, bands, military

OutsideSubmission-3 columnist

Many of us older active and veteran members of the military have some special issues to deal with when it comes to training. I am a former military-aged male and still in the Marine Corps Reserve. Though the spirit is willing, the body has a lot of miles on it. Life in the military tends to put a few more miles on the odometer than is typical and the injuries start adding up. Uncle Sam doesn't care. He wants you fit and ready to fight!

With that in mind, Veteran's Day is today and Christmas is right on its tail. You may be struggling to find the right gift for the aging veteran who still wants to "get some" on the daily. You may have noticed that as each year passes, they spend a little more time warming up and doing rehab than actually getting that some they so desperately crave.

Don't despair. Christmas is the season of hope, and below are 10 ideas that will help ease the pain that years of abuse from Uncle Sam have wrought on that body. So break out the AMEX and get them back in the fight!

I have made selections to address the most common issues at a variety of price points.

veterans day list gallery

1. elitefts SS Yoke Bar

Why do they want this? If they spend a lot of time rucking 80-plus pounds all over creation, then there is a good chance the low back and shoulders don't work as well as they used to, if at all. This marvelous invention addresses both those issues.

First, it takes all the pressure off of your shoulders typically incurred in the low back bar squat. It does so by moving them to those oh-so-easy-to-reach handles right in front of your dumb face. Second, it moves the weight a little higher up on your back and takes a good bit (not all) of the weight off your lower back.

If your old soldier complains that they can't squat any more from either of these issues, then this idea will eliminate all those excuses! This is a must-have for the broken. For real... buy it.

2. Tommy Kono TK Knee Bands

Why do they want this? These quarter-inch thick neoprene sleeves do the best job of keeping hurting knees warm and lubricated. The compression will minimize pain and reduce their exposure to injury. This is a nice, cheaper item that will add years to your squat life.

3. Heavy Grips (any size)

Why do they want this? You may be asking yourself, “What injuries does this help?” None. Two words: trigger control.

4. ONNIT Darth Vader Kettlebell

Don't ask why you want this; ask why don't you already have it. It's a 70-pound kettlebell shaped like Darth Vader's head. If you stopped reading this list to go buy it immediately, I wouldn't blame you; in fact, I think less of those of you still reading. But seriously, kettlebell swings are an amazing way to develop the strength in your posterior chain, which is crucial to managing and reducing lower back pain. So much force... will be with you.

5. elitefts Signature Posterior Chain Developer

Why do they want this? Real talk, unless your MAM retired as a three-star general, this is probably out of your price range. But nothing, and I mean nothing, will help you develop the posterior chain muscles like this monster. If it's out of your price range, I get it... it's out of mine. I don't have one. I want one... seriously, buy me this thing.

If you can't scrape up the coin for this bad boy, get yourself a solid GHR, and it will get you 70 percent of the way there for a fraction of the cost. Either of these items will do an incredible job developing those posterior chain muscles. Do you see a pattern developing?

6. Low Row with Bench

Why do they want this? Cardio. You still have to pass that physical fitness test, stud, and this well-built, well-priced item will build some muscle while getting those lungs going and taking pressure off your knees.

Bonus: Aging Marines can now substitute the 5k row for the three-mile run, so tell your accountant it's tax-deductible (I have no idea if it's tax-deductible or not, so don't blame me if you get audited).

7. Combat Ready Hex Bar

Why do you want this? The Marines aren't the only ones modernizing their fitness tests. The Army is implementing a 3RM deadlift utilizing a trap bar identical to the one elitefts offers. You need to do 340x3 to max it out.

Even if you aren't in the Army, this is a great idea because, much like the SS Yoke Bar, it takes pressure off the lower back and — wait for it — develops the posterior chain.

8. elitefts Heavy Wrist Wraps

Why do you want these? They help stabilize and support your wrists on those heavy lifts. Why do you really want them? The make your forearms look huge. Get ‘em when they are on sale, and you are getting an elite(fts) product at an amazing price!

9. Bands

Why do you want these? Bands are a great tool and can be used in many ways. There are a ton of different brands and sizes designed to do a lot of different things. But frankly, hooking one of the lighter ones up to your rack and doing rotator cuff conditioning is one of the best investments you can make for your shoulder joint. Internal and external rotation and flexion and extension; they’re all on the menu, and one smaller band can help you hit it all.

Remember, we are spending more time warming up and doing rehab than ever at our age, and this is one of the best maintenance pieces of gear you can get. They are way cheaper than rotator cuff surgery. Rotator cuff surgery didn't make my list... and you don't want that. It sucks.

10. Give Them Thanks

Why do they want this? Frankly, they might not, but they deserve it. They put their lives on the line and their bodies through the wringer to keep us all safe.


Kevin Lear is a husband and father of three who is currently serving in the Marine Corps Reserve. He was on active duty from 2002 to 2008. He lives in the Houston, Texas area and works for the Department of Homeland Security. He spends his free time teaching war-fighting strategy and tactics online and the weekends with his family or at the range. He loves spending time with his family, but his little ones aren't so little anymore, so he’s holding on a little tight. Having a garage gym means he’s home with them and not at some globo gym. Kevin has developed a passion for his garage gym — a passion for the process. He finds that adding to it and sometimes blowing it all up to start over is, for some strange reason, deeply satisfying — almost as satisfying as putting it to good use!

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