CrossFit program gains foothold on Fort Jackson

By Wallace, McBride, Fort Jackson Leader

fort_jacksonFORT JACKSON, S.C. — A CrossFit training program is now available at Fort Jackson, free of charge for active military and government employees.

The program has been gaining steam over the last few months as volunteers have worked to create a functional, officially sanctioned CrossFit training program on post. Started in 1995, CrossFit is a relatively new concept that combines weightlifting, sprinting and gymnastics that, working together, improves a person’s cardiovascular endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, accuracy, agility and balance.

“I’ve been doing Cross Fit for almost two years and just got certified to teach it in December,” said 1st Lt. Sophie Hilaire, who leads two CrossFit exercise classes on Fort Jackson each week. “This is going to make you more of a well-rounded athlete. It’s stuff you’d actually use in real life.”

Workouts are typically short– 20 minutes or less — and require intense physical exertion. And the variety of exercises in a single session changes daily.

“Every day they’ll have some kind of workout, and it’s almost always different,” Hilaire said. “It’s not always going to be as easy as a barbell that fits exactly in your hands. Sometimes it’s going to be a huge tire you have to flip or a box you have to jump on top of.”

The Fort Jackson program put a lot of equipment to use during a time of day it was otherwise collecting dust, said Lt. Col. Mike Daniels, 187th Ordnance Battalion commander.

“A lot of this equipment during the course of the day goes largely unused,” he said. “We had almost all of the equipment we needed, so why not use it? It’s a savings to the government and we’re getting twice the bang for the buck out of this equipment.”

Because of the Army’s non-profit status, Daniels said the gym was able to get a certified CrossFit program at no cost.

Classes take place on Tuesdays and Fridays at noon at 2250 Sumter Ave.

“It’s a 20-minute workout at lunch, which is enormous,” said Dr. Dave Ricciuti, of the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness-Performance and Resilience Enhancement Program. “You can fit it into your day. The intensity is great, too. It’s scalable, you can do the same workout with different weights.”

Although the program unofficially began in January, Hilaire said the 187th wasn’t able to formally acknowledge it as a CrossFit gym until the program received corporate approval, which happened earlier this month. Some of the Soldiers participating in the program since the beginning said they have seen improvements in their regular physical training routines.

“It’s helped me with my upper body strength a lot,” said 1st Lt. Angela Boyd. “I used to get tired if we did 30 pushups in the morning. But today I think we did over 100 pushups.”

“It helps with your overall strength,” said Capt. William Whitfield, who has been with the program since the beginning. “I can tell when I go on a run that I’ve built endurance. My legs are stronger, my abs, upper body strength … everything’s increased. I don’t get as tired.”