ARLINGTON, Va. – Army Recovery Care Program Soldiers are incorporating high intensity interval training (HIIT) into their adaptive reconditioning to prepare for their return-to-duty. The program is held at the Joint Base San Antonio Fort Sam Houston Soldier Recovery Unit in Texas and helps Soldiers improve their fitness one bear crawl, lunge or power jump at a time.
SRUs provide adaptive reconditioning programs that help wounded, ill and injured Soldiers achieve goals and return to active lifestyles. It’s one part of the Army Recovery Care Program, which helps Soldiers, their families and caregivers transition.
Twice a week, Soldiers gather at Freedom Park to complete 25-minute HIIT sessions filled with movements, such as body squats, push-ups, tire pulling or tire flipping. COVID-19 precautionary measures of sanitizing equipment and social distancing are implemented during the morning sessions.
“It’s very physically challenging but it’s rewarding,” said Sgt. 1st Class Jeremy Enriquez, Return-to-Duty Platoon Sergeant at the JBSA SRU.
Erik Holderby, physical therapy assistant at the JBSA SRU, said that he implemented the HIIT program to increase Soldier fitness levels slightly faster than other training would because they have 45-90 days to be in military shape. For some Soldiers, it’s been two years since they’ve undergone physical training, and Holderby is responsible for returning them to duty in the best shape possible.
“It lets the Soldier build up slowly without causing re-injury to themselves and setting them back,” Enriquez said.
Holderby said that the HIIT program kicked off in the summer of 2020 and welcomes the Return-to-Duty Platoon Soldiers and others who would like to participate. Though it’s still somewhat new, the program appears to be a success. In fact, everybody who has taken it has passed the Army Combat Fitness Test.
“To me, that is extraordinary results,” Holderby said.
Enriquez said that the HIIT program offers Soldiers knowledge and confidence about how to work out and shows them that they can complete a body weight workout with just motivation, knowledge, space and opportunity. Some Soldiers who have left the SRU continue to use it as a training program.
The program is customizable and different, Enriquez said. Soldiers can work out at their own pace and challenge themselves with workouts that don’t feel monotonous because they change. It can also be tailored to individual Soldiers while still including everyone participating in the session, he said.