Tucker Center trains Soldiers, promotes Army readiness
John Reese works out using a medicine ball at Tucker Performance Enhancement Center Thursday. Tucker offers specialized training to help Soldiers and units to reach their fitness goals.

FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Tucker Performance Enhancement Center, off Bastogne Drive, is a busy hub first thing in the morning.

From 6 to 9 a.m., the gym is used for fitness training by units, said Casey Gilvin, fitness coordinator.

Units can train for six weeks, usually two to three days a week, he said. Training incorporates the use of specialized equipment such as kettlebells or involves Olympic lifting and an introduction to basic fitness and performance concepts. Some performance concepts include identifying health issues that need to be cleared before beginning an exercise regimen or setting parameters for which types of activities will be performed, said Gilvin.

Soldiers typically request training help in passing PT tests, which involve a two-mile run and two minutes each of push ups and sit ups. Special Forces Soldiers often request training in building leg strength, which is more outside of the traditional Army protocol.

"We implement and we constantly reassess to make sure that we are meeting the needs and that we get them to their goals," Gilvin said.

The group to fitness instructor ratio is determined by the size of the group and the group's ability level, he added. For instance, a group of 20 Soldiers of normal ability would be assigned two fitness coaches.

Another need often addressed at Tucker is individual training to recover from injuries suffered by wounded warriors.

The Tucker staff work in partnership with physical therapists at Womack Army Medical Center to get a Soldier back into condition or to help the warrior pass a PT test.

"The biggest thing that we can give people is education. We can teach them technique," Gilvin said.

Getting training at Tucker is an alternative to a regular run down Ardennes Street or simply doing push ups and sit ups, said Nate Barnes, a fitness program specialist.

"It's non-impact cardio that saves on knees and hips," he said. "It's something to supplement PT and kind of cure boredom and the mundane."

It is an alternative that some Soldiers seem to appreciate.

Sergeant John Reese, 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, frequents the center at least four times a week. As recently as nearly a week ago, Reese's squad worked to improve muscular endurance and strength.

On Thursday, Reese completed power and Olympic lifting. He also did a few repetitions of tossing a medicine ball against the wall, before leaving for the afternoon.

It is important for Soldiers to take advantage of the fitness equipment and training available at Tucker, if only for one reason - it helps to improve cardio, Reese said.

Improving and maintaining physical fitness at Tucker also ensures that Soldiers are ready to answer America's call when needed.

Tucker Performance Enhancement Center is located in Building C-5838, at Tullidge Way and Bastogne Drive. For more information about its services, visit www.fortbraggmwr.com or call 432-3573.

Page last updated Fri October 29th, 2010 at 14:49