FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Plateaus are expected with any fitness journey, but Fort Rucker's fitness training staff hopes a new rewards program can help patrons break down barriers and reach new fitness heights.

"The Fort Rucker Lifting Club is a rewards program for participants as they train towards certain weight goals and milestones by tracking their improvements in certain lifts from resistance training," Zea Urbiztondo, fitness program specialist, said. "There are two programs within the Lifting Club, each with their own exercises and milestones to track.

"Barbell Benders incorporates the traditional powerlifting movements -- back squat, flat bench press and deadlift," she added. "Weights & Plates incorporates Olympic Weightlifting movements -- the clean and jerk, and the snatch."

According to Urbiztondo, milestones are reached once the cumulative total of all lifts in each program is performed within the same day.

Progress is tracked with binders located at the front desk of both the Fort Rucker Physical Fitness Center, Bldg. 4605 on Andrews Avenue, and at the Fortenberry-Colton Physical Fitness Center, Bldg. 5900 on Skychief. Each binder has designated forms that an individual can use to track their progress through each program's lifts. Tracking is done by the individual on an honor-based system and can be done at either facility. Participants with forms at both facilities will be consolidated periodically, she said.

"I designed the Lifting Club as a program for people to get excited about weightlifting, and to help give participants strength-based goals as opposed to just coming into the gym and lifting without purpose," Urbiztondo said. "There are already established tracking programs for running, walking and swimming, but there was nothing that catered to the people who preferred resistance training.

"Ever since the functional fitness area opened a year ago, the amount of people who have included both powerlifting and Olympic weightlifting into their workout program has drastically increased," she added. "It is always rewarding to see someone hit a personal record while lifting, so I wanted to establish a program to continue that excitement."

The club can help both seasoned fitness enthusiasts and participants with newly-adopted fitness routines, according to Urbiztondo.

"By participating in the Lifting Club, you can surround yourself with like-minded people who are all striving for a certain strength goal," she said. "The fitness community is about building each other up and supporting each other towards their fitness and health goals. You can learn something new, and surprise yourself with strength and abilities you might have never known you could achieve."

And for participants who are new to weight training or fitness in general?

"Best tip I can offer to someone new to fitness or weight training is to ask for help from a trained professional," Urbiztondo said. "Learn the movements first, and practice good form and technique. Establish good lifting habits before trying to lift heavy. Strength will come, but bad technique breeds injury and bad habits.

"The Lifting Club can benefit individuals regardless of fitness levels by not only introducing something new to them if they have never done weight training before, but can also help give them a little bit of a competitive edge if you need some motivation," she added. "For those who have been weightlifting already as part of their workout regimen, then the Lifting Club can help give them a push to work towards that next milestone in the program."

Urbiztondo added that adopting a resistance training regimen has numerous benefits.

"From a performance perspective, resistance training helps build muscular strength and endurance, as well as increase power production," she said. "Body fat percentages decrease and a general overall increased level of fitness and health can be achieved."

For more information, call 255-2296 or 255-3794 or visit https://rucker.armymwr.com/us/rucker/programs/fitness-centers.