Fort Bragg designs program to improve warrior readiness
Fitness Program Specialist Jessica Johns, left, helps program a row machine for a Soldier participating in the Soldier Physical Enchancement Program, Mar. 25.

FORT BRAGG, N.C. - If something has been lacking from your platoon's daily physical fitness program or if you're looking to increase your overall fitness, Fort Bragg's Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation offers the Soldier Performance Enhancement Program.

Located at the Tucker Physical Fitness Center off of Ardennes Road, behind the Airborne post exchange, the program offers certified strength-conditioning specialists and state of the art fitness equipment. SPEP offers different programs designed to help build a culture that increases the readiness for Soldiers in tactical environment.

SPEP was developed with the idea to get Soldiers more physically fit for their jobs rather than training to pass the Army physical fitness test, said SPEP Coordinator and Fitness Program Specialist Casey Gilvin. The program is designed to help every type of Soldier, from wounded warriors to special population Soldiers. It also helps increase fitness levels for Soldiers who are already physically fit, Gilvin said.

"This is an amazing program with cutting edge techniques and staff," said Cecilia Clark, performance enhancement specialist with the Army Center for Enhanced Performance.

In cooperation with Womack Army Medical Center and the Warrior Activity Recreational Sports program, Soldiers who require physical therapy and wounded warriors who are cleared by the doctor are able to begin training and conditioning to support the transition process from rehabilitation to full duty status.

The different programs within SPEP are designed to help small groups of Soldiers reach their fitness goals during the six-week course led by fitness program specialists. Each instructor is certified, has a college degree in exercise science and has experience in human performance.

While participating in the programs available, the instructor will make sure the Soldier exercises safely and gets maximum benefit from each exercise.

"This doesn't happen overnight. We are here to give people the tools to be able to reach out and meet their goals," Gilvin said.

The program officially opened in July 2009, but trained three test groups of Soldiers in May. "We started out with the trial program and loved it so much, we've decided to continued on," said 1st Sgt. Frank Enriquez, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 7th Special Forces Group. "I've seen an overall better physical performance in the Soldiers. They've lost a few seconds on their runs and have gained repetitions."

Along with conditioning and enhancement of the Soldiers' overall performance, another program offered is an advance equipment technique course. These group sessions teach proper technique using weights, as well as gaining agility and flexibility. "We're teaching Soldier's how to properly workout so they can teach others," Gilvin said.

If working out in groups or committing to a six-week program seems daunting, daily workout programming is available at the physical fitness center.

"We program daily workouts five days a week so that the recreation user or individual can get an idea how to put all this stuff together," said Gilvin. "It's cookie-cutter; not specific to you, but you'll get results by doing something different."

Fredrick Physical Fitness Center is currently being renovated to support SPEP and is scheduled to open in the summer of 2011, allowing for a bigger population of Soldiers to participate in the program.

To register for SPEP, units are required to provide a memorandum requesting training from their commander and one from a medical professional providing clearance for all participants.

"This is a culture change; it's so outside the box. We have the ability to train special populations and yes, we can train the high-end soldier too. We can reach out and touch anybody," said Gilvin. "It's just a matter of embracing this because it is such a substantiating different way of providing fitness results."

Page last updated Thu April 1st, 2010 at 16:47