FORT DRUM, N.Y – With the U.S. Army transitioning from the Army Physical Fitness Test to the Army Combat Fitness Test, safety and knowledge are crucial in successfully preparing Soldiers for the fitness test, according to Craig Doran.
Doran, the lead strength and conditioning coach for the Holistic Health and Fitness (H2F) team for the 10th Mountain Division Sustainment Brigade, and other coaches from H2F conducted a physical training extender course throughout March to help implement those priorities within the formations in the brigade.
The course, which was one week long, taught Soldiers new cues, techniques, variations of exercises, and how to program physical training plans.
H2F coaches conducted hands-on training with soldiers during the course to ensure they understood how to teach and correct techniques and forms.
“What we are trying to do with this course is coach up Soldiers and attempt to provide them with enough knowledge to implement and run their PT program as if [the H2F coaches] were not present,” said Doran.
Doran, who has been an H2F strength coach since September of 2021, said although strength coaches are assigned to battalions and companies, there will always be more Soldiers than coaches.
“We are far outnumbered, so in a sense, we are trying to recreate ourselves through these Soldiers,” added Doran. “We want them to be better leaders during PT and help Soldiers regardless of fitness level to progress.”
Sgt. Zach Newman, a squad leader with Charlie Company, 548th Division Sustainment Support Battalion, 10th Mountain Division Sustainment Brigade, was among the group of Soldiers that attended the course.
“I was pretty excited to attend the course,” he said. “I like to work out and was excited to learn and expand my knowledge about fitness, programming, and how to help increase my squad’s overall fitness level.”
Newman added that his favorite part of the course was understanding why it’s essential to include regression exercises into PT plans.
“A lot of senior leaders are stuck in the old ways of doing PT, which include long runs every day, but what this course has taught me is that there are ways to improve our two-mile run without running long distances every day,” said Newman. “Some of those bad habits can actually lead to injury, which our H2F team is trying to decrease. They want us to improve our fitness while staying injury-free.”
Doran said that the course covers a lot of information but hopes that, at minimum, it will help leaders master the basics of how to conduct pt.
“You don’t have to score a 600 in your ACFT to be a good leader and coach,” said Doran. “We just want these leaders to be safe and have some information to carry with them as they plan and instruct these sessions.”