News: Soldiers get nationally accredited training, trickles into Army PT regimens
Story by Capt. Chad Ashe
FORT STEWART, Ga. – Natural movements define functional fitness and those movements not performed correctly can be subject to injury. Soldiers who execute their tasks - and at times deployed in harm’s way - should be taught how to perform movements safely. Functionality is the basis of why CrossFit® coaches were brought to coach 3rd Infantry Division soldiers at Fort Stewart.
Several soldiers from 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade recently attended the course offered at Fort Stewart. The end state for the college-level course is for graduates to take lessons taught by instructors and apply the philosophy to unit physical training programs to coincide with current PT objectives. The goal is not to replace but enhance. Lessons on safe movements were coupled with proper nutritional habits and the science behind fitness.
Army Sgt. Rory Kennedy, Company B, 603rd Aviation Support Battalion, is a squad leader for the battalion’s armament shop. He said he will incorporate functional movements by adding it to PT with program processes taught by the course, and using the unit’s training equipment to help increase target areas. He says by varying the workouts this will ultimately improve his squad’s Army Physical Fitness Test scores.
“Proper form and the knowledge to instruct or correct soldiers on form would be the biggest take away from the course,” said Kennedy. “The whole concept of functional movements and working high intensity into a program covers a large area of what any soldier might be required to do [physically].”
Injury prevention can be incorporated for soldiers who use weight training for PT. These soldiers can be at greatest risk during movements such as the dead lift or squat which can place strain on the lower back when performed incorrectly.
Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 John Kemp from 3rd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment agrees. It is his job as the aviation safety officer to insure injuries are prevented—off and on the ground. He says functional fitness methods use movements that directly translate to tasks soldiers perform daily.
“As soldiers are taught to correctly dead lift and perform a variety of other functional movements, the number of back, knee, and other common workplace injuries begins to decline,” said Kemp. “There is a direct correlation between the lack of fundamental knowledge as it pertains to safely performing physical tasks such as lifting equipment, and the number of monthly accident reports I fill out on young, otherwise healthy soldiers who hurt themselves doing simple physical tasks.”
As a platoon leader for Troop B, 3-17 CAV, 1st Lt. Robert Caraccilo is in charge of nine aviators and five crew chiefs. He says that since his soldiers are a diverse population and vary in technical skill level using various weights, implementation will be slow and piece meal at first.
“But in order to minimize risk and injury, I believe if done correctly [functional fitness] could greatly improve individual soldiers fitness and in turn affect the unit in a positive way,” said Caraccilo.
Caraccilo added, “A healthy life style both in nutrition and exercise is paramount to the success of a soldier.”