News: Semper Fit teaches service members more efficient physical training
Story by Lance Cpl. Kenneth Trotter
IWAKUNI, Japan - Station Marines and sailors took part in the Semper Fit Combat Fitness course at the IronWorks Gym here June 23-24.
The course’s goal is to improve combat fitness readiness and train non-commissioned officers and above in creating different exercises that can be used during physical training.
“We’re trying to train the body for overall performance and combat fitness,” said Alma Dickinson, Semper Fit health promotions director. “It’s a very different way to train.”
The course is meant to work in conjunction with the combat fitness test, which is designed to test a Marine’s combat readiness.
Dickinson said though the course is designed to work alongside the CFT, it can extend past that.
“We’re trying to provide a different way to train overall physical performance,” said Dickinson. “The Marine Corps, back in 2007, started looking at how to train Marines to be physically ready to perform in urban combat situations adding short duration, high—intensity movements so [Marines] would have to perform in those types of situations.”
The course consisted of inclass learning in the mornings followed by hands-on practical application in the afternoon.
The first day consisted of lectures on training for the CFT, performance and injury prevention. Later that afternoon, the students were introduced to the total resistance exercise suspension trainer. The TRX is a device utilizing straps of varying lengths to provide resistance.
Dickinson demonstrated several techniques to the 26 participants in the course.
Some of the exercises involved variations on rows, barbell curls and pushups. A few participants found the exercises challenging from their regular PT.
“It definitely brings something different to the table,” said Sgt. Mark A. Parado, a course participant. “It forces you to concentrate on keeping everything straight and aligned. It was definitely hard to keep my arms straight through the exercises. It’s something I’ve never done.”
Parado also said the possibility of using certain aspects of the course for group activities was something to consider.
“The courses and training we’ll receive for the CFT will definitely help in a combat situation,” said Parado. “[The TRX] is something I would employ with my Marines when we’re looking for a different way to train.”
The next day the course participants spent part of the morning having another lecture on fitness modalities and tactical nutrition.
“Nutrition plays such a huge role in the performance of our
bodies,” said Dickinson. “If you’re doing intensive PT, you need to put high-quality fuel in your body. This helps to bring about better gains in their performance.”
The afternoon was spent teaching the students exercises that could be used in combat situations, such as speed drills, plyometrics and an introduction to kettle bells.
The last step in the course had the participants put together their own workout programs, testing their knowledge of what they learned.
Sgt. Gerard Jones Jr., a course participant, said once he spends more time learning more in depth the fundamentals of the program he would apply it to PT sessions with his Marines.
Combat readiness and proper fitness are integral parts of the Marine Corps. Both are required in order to ensure Marines are able to be a force-in-readiness.
The Semper Fit Combat Fitness course will hopefully open a way for Marines to better streamline the process and be ready to meet our