I have been assigned the duty of Special Populations Physical Trainer for my unit. My duties will commence next month. Special Populations are soldiers who failed their last Physical Assessment test or did not meet the Army’s bodyfat and weight requirements.
Now, I’m producing workout templates, that I can easily reference for a certain day’s training event. I plan on using the near fail-safe method of alternating hard and easy days–a method that everyone seems to ignore these days, even the supposed cutting edge Crossfitters.
Intensity is and always has been the core of my training regiment. It produces the fastest and best results. Low intensity workout are good for recovery and fat loss, but for athletic and health benefits, you’ve got to ramp things up–way up. My easy days will consist of ruck marches and perhaps just a walk. Some of the soldiers will probably be left wondering what benefit they get from so easy a workout. I’ll remind them on the hard days why they need the easy ones.
The two most important sides of the exercise coin are intensity and time. As intensity goes up, time goes down. And as time goes up–intensity must go down. If anyone tells you they work out for four hours at the gym, I can tell you that they’re not doing it very intensely.
Some who see my training may mistake it for Crossfit. I’ve stated before my problem with Crossfit, but also make the concession that Crossfit fundamentally changed the way people trained. Intensity became key–and for that I commend Greg Glassman, Crossfit’s founder. But the cult-like mentality of many Crossfitters is troubling, leading to mindlessly following the Workout of The Day (posted daily on the Crossfit website). Also, Crossfit lacks a significant strength protocol. Again–alternate easy and tough days and watch yourself explode. Try to peak everyday and wither like an over-watered flower.
I’ll incorporate some of the following workouts and ideas into my program:
Dumbbell Complexes: Pick 5-6 exercises with dumbbells and continuously move through them in a circuit.
Bodyweight Circuits: My favorite. I have several templates that I already use. My 100, 200 and 300 workouts are incremental in difficulty and easy to perform anywhere. I use the 300 template regularly and I can assure you, it’s an ass-kicker. Here was today’s 300 workout–300 calisthenic reps in a circuit:
50 Hindu Pushups
30 Frog Jumps (Standing vertical jumps)
20 Diamond Pushups
25 Jumping split-squats–4 count (place hands on hips; jump as in a jumping jack only move your feet front and back instead of out to the sides.)
30 Flutter kicks–4 count
50 wide hand pushups
20 Frog Jumps
25 Mountain Climbers–4 count
50 Regular pushups
25 Split Squats–4 count
I finished the workout a few seconds under 18 minutes. I could feel the bile building in the back of my throat as my body pushed out the Human Growth Hormone….
Tabata Sprints: Remember the gassers you did for your high school football of basketball team? Suck it up Soldier!
Good ‘ol weight training: Guess what? 3 sets of 10 repetitions of bench press and squats works just about as well as anything. So simple people stopped doing it….showing the incessant need for humans to over-complicate.
There are two types of Soldiers that fail to meet Army fitness standards: The uninformed, the unmotivated. Genetic deficiancies as well as issues in the personal life also enter the equation, requiring added doses of dedication and knowledge. My mission is to provide knowledge to those who lack it and to motivate those that don’t care. Of the two, motivation is the more difficult to impart as the greatest drives come from within, not without.
But a good leader makes his troops want to perform to standard. There are a hundred ways to skin a cat and every soldier must be handled in subly diferent way, with varying degrees of praise and admonition. Some require very little of either, others lots of both.
If one person in my PT group fails the PT test, I will have failed my unit.