FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- The gauntlet has been thrown down for Fort Rucker's Tactical Throwdown second quarter challenge and active duty Soldiers are urged to sign up and begin training.

The Tactical Throwdown quarterly challenge, organized by Zea Urbiztondo, fitness program specialist, debuted earlier this month with a pull-up challenge.

"I decided to name it 'Tactical Throwdown' to designate the challenges as designed for the tactical athlete and to awaken a sense of competitive spirit between the Soldiers," Urbiztondo said.

Spc. Matthew Vecchione, C Company, 1st Battalion, 11th Aviation Regiment, won the male division with 25 strict pull-ups in one minute and 1st Lt. Katie Roki (1st Bn., 145th Avn. Regt., D Co., won the female division with 12 strict pull-ups in one minute.

Each challenge remains open for one week to allow Soldiers the opportunity to tackle the challenge at their convenience.

"I appreciate that the contest spanned a whole week," Roki said. "It made it much more convenient for me to participate."

The second quarter challenge, a kettlebell and burpee challenge, takes place June 19-23.

"Soldiers can sign up by calling the Fort Rucker Physical Fitness Center front desk and leaving a message to schedule a time to 'score out,' or they can contact me directly via email," Urbiztondo said. "Each challenge attempt must be conducted and verified by the functional fitness specialist or a designated scorer in order to qualify."

According to Urbiztondo, the rules for the second quarter challenge are as follows.

• Fastest time to completion of all repetitions.
• Time begins as soon as kettlebell moves from floor for first repetition.
• Time ends as soon as participant stands up from final burpee.
• Burpees will be performed in a ladder format (10 kettlebell swings followed by 1 burpee, 10 kettlebell swings followed by 2 burpees, 10 kettlebell swings followed by 3 burpees, until 10 kettlebell swings followed by 10 burpees are completed.)
• All repetitions must be completed at each round before moving on to the next round.
• Kettlebell must come between legs at downswing and at least shoulder level at upswing.
• During burpee, feet must leave ground during jump and chest must touch ground during down phase.
• Chalk and tape on hands and wrist are permitted.
• Gloves, wrist wraps, straps and grips are not permitted.
• Official score attempts must be conducted and verified by the functional fitness specialist or designated scorer. A maximum of two attempts may be submitted, but the best score will be used.

Tactical Throwdown challenges will continue quarterly until the end of the year, when a final competition will be held.

"Each new challenge will be announced soon after the previous one ends, so that the elements of each competition will be unknown to everyone until a few weeks before the scoring period begins," Urbiztondo said. "Since each quarter's challenge rules are not posted until the previous one ends, it only gives the participants a few weeks to prepare for the new challenge. Since health and fitness should be an ongoing mission, maintaining a daily fitness routine that works on muscular strength, power and endurance will be the best way to prepare for any fitness challenge.

"The challenges are not overly complex, but each one is meant to tax you in some way," she added. "Those who incorporate functional movements into their fitness programs will benefit best because of the multi-linear, multi-planar movements the challenges embrace."

According to Urbiztondo, repeat participants should expect to be increasingly challenged in future Tactical Throwdown competitions.

"I wanted these challenges to get progressively more difficult throughout the year, culminating in a final 'throwdown' that will include a lot of elements of tactical and functional fitness," she said. "I chose movements and exercises that build in intensity, as well as exercises that should be fundamental for them as tactical athletes, but will still challenge their fitness capabilities by testing their muscular strength, power and stamina.

"Competition is always a good way to push yourself because it forces you to have to go to that mindset when you start hitting a wall," she added. "It gives them something to train for and by having a goal to work toward, you are able to push your abilities and really see what you are made of."

Urbiztondo added that these challenges factor into the Performance Triad by giving participants fitness goals to work toward.

"In order to be ready and in the right state of mind to perform well, you need to ensure you take care of your body at all times -- not just in the gym," she said.

According to Urbiztondo, winners of each challenge will be highlighted in the Fort Rucker PFC on an engraved plaque, along with additional certificates and awards.

For more information, call 255-2296.