Soldier Enhancement Program provides Fort Bragg Soldiers with physical fitness options
July 22, 2011
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Physical training is a cookie cutter part of most Soldiers’ routines, but Fort Bragg’s Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation offers something more exciting with the Soldier Performance Enhancement Program.
The SPEP is designed to offer programs different from normal PT to help increase physical fitness in Soldiers, rather than just focusing on passing PT tests. The program boasts certified, strength-conditioning specialists and the latest fitness equipment. The goal of SPEP is to increase the level of preparedness for Soldiers in tactical environments.
“The purpose is just to improve overall Soldier physical fitness,” said Casey Gilvin, SPEP coordinator and fitness program specialist. “We utilize concepts proven to make individuals bigger, faster, stronger and more agile. The program and exercises are multifaceted. We do a little bit of everything.”
SPEP is meant to educate people that there’s more out there for them than standard PT, Gilvin said.
Gilvin said SPEP has the ability to supplement PT completely, but is most often used to coincide with Army physical training.
The program is flexible and open to all Soldiers, from wounded warriors to special population Soldiers, said Gilvin, but each Soldier must have medical clearance.
“It’s designed for Soldiers at every level of fitness,” Gilvin said.
SPEP caters to each group, and is programmed to address the needs of each group.
“It’s not cookie cutter,” he said.
The program is typically set up in six-week courses, ranging from 60 to 90 minute sessions each day. Gilvin said over 80 percent of the workouts are held before 8 a.m., during typical PT time and sessions are held at both Tucker and Frederick fitness centers. However, the program is currently held primarily at Frederick, said Gilvin.
SPEP was in its early stages in Fall 2008, and started training its first group in Spring of 2009.
But, as mentioned before, the program is not entirely about physical fitness.
“Education is a big part of the program because we’re not always going to be there,” Gilvin said. “We want to spread the wealth around and give individuals tools to make themselves better.”
As for what Soldiers can expect day-to-day during the program, Gilvin said activities vary.
“We try to think outside the box. “(Our workouts include) picking up heavy objects like tires and kettle bells, sprints, diving on top of objects, squatting, dead lifting, pressing, doing multiple things, not just one element. We focus on the strength element, the core element and agility,” he said.
Active-duty Soldiers on Fort Bragg can be a part of the program, with medical clearance.
“Traditionally it’s unit-based,” Gilvin said. “A unit will approach us and ask about training groups, then there’s a memorandum process and a health screening.”
Historically, the average groups size is about 22 individuals per session. But the program is willing to accommodate all sizes, sometimes even a few platoons at a time.
Overall, Gilvin said the program has been met with positivity and many Soldiers who participate come back for more.