JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - The Army substituted static stretches for the more dynamic Preparatory Drill with the introduction of the Physical Readiness Training program. Now, the Performance Triad – a holistic approach to well-being that incorporates sound sleep and nutrition practices with safe physical activity – encourages soldiers to prepare to perform every time they hit the gym, not just during unit physical training.
Maj. Daniel Rhon, a physical therapist at Madigan Army Medical Center, said preparing properly puts the body in “prime condition” for strenuous physical activity.
Rhon related preparing your body for physical performance to starting a car on a cold day.
“You wanna get your engine going,” he said. “If you just get up in the morning, for example, and try to run down your stairs, you might feel a little stiff or a little sore.”
The Performance Triad Leader’s Guide and Planner recommends tailoring your preparatory routine to each workout session. The Physical Readiness Training program provides structured preparatory exercises that prepare specific muscle groups for activity. Before physical training with a unit, soldiers complete movement drills to prepare for runs and conditioning drills before strength training.
People should use the same concept of preparation when working out on their own. Rhon recommended taking a light jog before a long run or doing a few pushups before lifting weights.
Preparation is not limited to warming up before a single training session.
By creating a workout plan that incorporates cardiovascular training with resistance training, soldiers can prepare their bodies to perform under the harshest conditions for extended periods of time.
Rhon said a balanced workout plan might include three days of cardiovascular training and two to three days of resistance training per week.
The need for preparation extends beyond the gym and to the battlefield. Sprinting 50 meters to cover under fire while wearing 60 pounds of body armor and ammunition demands cardiovascular endurance. Carrying an injured buddy who bears the same load demands strength. Soldiers are unable to do either if they’re injured.
“Preparation for anything can be helpful,” Rhon said. “We train, we go through a preparation process for missions and for procedures at the hospital. The same thing comes into play when you’re getting ready to perform physically.”
For more information about preparing to perform and the Performance Triad, visit http://www.armymedicine.mil.