A major part of being in the military is making sure you are physically fit. Soldiers from 4th Battalion, 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), took this principle to a new level during a physical fitness seminar, Jan. 7 - 11, at Smith Gymnasium on Joint Base Myer Henderson Hall, Va.
During the seminar, Soldiers were given intensive exercise instructions on strength training, work capacity training and range fitness.
"This is a pilot course for the type of fitness I hope to cultivate and promote at this unit," said Lt. Col. Paul Edgar, commander, 4th Bn., 3d U.S. Inf. Reg. (The Old Guard). "We are not taking away from what the Army has in place for physical training. We are only adding to it."
The seminar taught unit leaders how to perform the training, as well as how to incorporate it into their own workout systems for their Soldiers.
"We are training these leaders on small group physical training so they can take it back to their sections and lead," said Edgar.
Edgar hopes by teaching this functional and practical fitness program his Soldiers will become stronger, more adaptive combat fighters. Staff Sgt. Benjamin Cross, who served as an instructor during the seminar, said the program will certainly prepare Soldiers for the day they go downrange.
"I have been in situations where I have fallen down on patrol while carrying a full load of ammo, equipment and whatever else that I had. It nearly knocked the wind out of me; but training like this helped me to get up and push on through it," said Cross, infantryman, Honor Guard Company, 4th Bn., 3d U.S. Inf. Reg. (The Old Guard).
Cross explained the system doesn't just train the muscles to get bigger through repetitious movement. It also gives a person a unique way to achieve a total body workout.
"We train on everything from the head to the feet during the workouts. It can consist of a set of squats with weights immediately followed by step-ups. Then you can lift a kettle bell followed by jump pull-ups," said Cross. "It's a heavy exercise followed by an explosive movement."
Cross said the program also teaches Soldiers how to use everyday equipment to get a similar experience.
"Our workouts can be just picking up sandbags off the ground and lifting them over our heads or sometimes we pick up ammo cans and go running," said Cross.
Many of the Soldiers saw how effective the program was by the end of the first day.
"I really enjoyed the training," said Staff Sgt. Deangelo Benjamin, signal support non-commissioned officer, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Bn., 3d U.S. Inf. Reg. (The Old Guard). "By the end I was sweating and I felt stronger. It was a total body workout. I am always looking for ways to really challenge myself and my Soldiers, and I know this will get the job done."
Cross strongly believes and stands by what the program instills in those who follow it.
"It builds unit cohesion and strong fitness characteristics that Soldiers can apply anywhere," said Cross. "Soldiers are professional athletes in certain respects, and it is our job to continue to find ways to improve ourselves and overall the Army."