The 43rd Adjutant General Battalion's Fitness Training Unit hosted a Pose Method Specialist Certification Course Oct. 26 and 27, taught by the U.S. Army Center for Initial Military Training in an effort to help prevent running injuries.

According to Lt. Col. David Feltwell, CIMT command physical therapist, Army Physical Fitness Doctrine primary developer and Master Pose coach, it's all part of the Army's new approach to holistic health and fitness.

Feltwell said this new system includes training and testing that is "cutting edge" and will have a doctrinal base supported and spread across the enterprise.

"We're in the early stages of writing and completing that doctrine and of pushing out that system to the force," he said. "This training block is the proponent office moving out ahead of that to see how well we can train and teach this to our Soldier population especially in the initial entry where it might have the biggest impact on Soldiers."

What is the Pose Method and what does it teach?

Posemethod.com explains the technique as being a simple process with three elements or "key poses" that allow the body to utilize gravity as the means of movement instead of using muscular effort. Students are taught to check their running form by using the video recorder on their smart devices and counting the number of video frames used to reach each pose.

"We teach runners a skill," Feltwell said. "It's not something you can just go out and expect everybody to do really well, although everybody knows how to run, they don't know how to create that movement or coach it to someone who is having trouble."

Capt. Mackenzie Jones went through the training while stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas, in 2013, and decided it would be of benefit to the Soldiers on Fort Leonard Wood.

"As the Fitness Training Unit commander, I see Initial Entry Training Soldiers from across the installation sustain injuries and fail their Army Physical Fitness Test due to running," Jones said. "I used this training within my company and after seeing positive results, decided to collaborate with other leaders to ensure we had as many cadre knowledgeable on this subject as possible."

The course touches on a number of running injuries that can be avoided by using this technique such as, plantar fasciitis, shin splints, runners' knee, hip injuries and even low back pain.

Jones, who is also an Army physical therapist, said the method not only improved his running efficiency but he has also seen it improve run times and decrease pain for others as well.

"Running form is not only about your shoes or feet," Jones said. "This course taught us how to evaluate the entire body while an individual travels through the running position. This provided a simple way to teach anyone, regardless of body type or fitness level, how to improve their running mechanics."

A total of 35 leaders ranging from drill sergeants and platoon sergeants through company commanders and physical therapists, from all three training brigades, and General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital, attended the recent training. Those who attended the class can now conduct training within their units.

Jones said he plans to conduct similar training sessions with IET units during cycle breaks and/or at the beginning of red phase in Basic Combat Training.

For those wanting to attend a Pose Method Course, the FTU is working to get another session scheduled for spring 2018.