The CrossFit Solution
October 6, 2010
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- It's not conventional, the intensity at which it's performed may seem daunting, and it is by no means easy...but neither is combat. It's CrossFit, and units Army wide have begun to utilize the basic concepts of this physical training method to mold stronger and more apt Soldiers.
Recently, Soldiers of 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, were able to experience CrossFit first hand from some of the most knowledgeable CrossFit athletes in Hawaii.
CrossFit Oahu, located in Honolulu, has been sponsoring Soldiers from all over the island for the last two years, introducing command groups and Soldiers to CrossFit as part of a "Train the Trainer" course. The premise of the course is to teach Soldiers how to not only become a better CrossFitter, but how to coach others in proper form and execution of the exercises.
"For a lot of Soldiers, Physical Training is all about just checking the block," said CrossFit Oahu owner and CrossFit trainer, Bryant Powers. "Our program is based off of results rather than dogma or tradition so it can be applied logically to a battlefield situation."
What sets CrossFit apart is its capacity to train for the unknown and unknowable. According to Greg Glassman, founder of the CrossFit movement, the stated goal of CrossFit is to "develop a broad, general and inclusive fitness, the type of fitness that would best prepare trainees for any physical contingency."
For avid CrossFitters, the concept has become almost a religion.
For Sgt. First Class Tommy P. Meza, a CrossFit certified instructor and CrossFitter, the religion has worked miracles. As a platoon sergeant, he has implemented the CrossFit program with his platoon. Given the successful results of this, he has also implemented the program into his company's PT and brigade staff officer PT.
"As you'll hear time and time again, CrossFit is a RESULTS-based regimen," said Meza. "In the time I've been working with the platoon in CrossFit, 97 percent of the individuals in the platoon have improved on their Army Physical Fitness Test. They have a more professional military appearance because they are more fit and most importantly, the camaraderie and team building skills we've learned from doing CrossFit together are incomparable."
Members of the platoon took time in early September to attend Power's Train the Trainer course at CrossFit Oahu.
"It's up to the leaders to take the action necessary to make CrossFit an integral part of everyday training and use these Soldiers who have this new education," said Powers. "It can be an easy integration. The leadership just has to make the decision to do it, take the time to teach it and make it a repetitive, recurring type of training. It takes very little to take the initiative and move in a more innovative direction."
By no stretch of the imagination is CrossFit physically easy. What makes CrossFit work is it's full range of body movements and the intensity at which they are performed.
"CrossFit is all about getting out of your comfort zone," said Christopher Browning, a CrossFit instructor in Waipio "Many people are surprised when they get out of their comfort zone and tap into body awareness, where you understand what you are capable of. You can do the CrossFit movements all day, but you will not become that truly powerful, versatile and hybrid athlete unless you combine them with high, high intensity."
"Our command talks about all of us Soldiers being 'Warrior Athletes'," said Meza. "I believe that CrossFit can make us into the type of athletes that can persist and conquer during combat. I believe CrossFit breeds that Warrior Athlete mentality."