CrossFit program improves APFT scores
By Ms. Marie Berberea (TRADOC)
FORT SILL, Okla.– The students of the Air Defense Artillery Captains Career Course have figured out how to raise their Army Physical Fitness Test scores by 13 percent. The solution is easy: CrossFit; the workout is hard.
“I don’t know how to describe how good it is. Every part of you hurts afterwards. There’s running involved, there’s a lot of upper body strength, lower body strength so all those key elements for your APFT improvement we get out of it,” said said Capt. Christian George, CCC small group leader.
Maj. Stu Bryden came up with the idea of cross training with CrossFit-type exercises for a workout that is not typical of most Army mornings.
“Bryden provided us with this concept. He picked out the equipment, we looked it over at the battalion and then decided to buy it because it looked like a good deal,” said Col. Ron Hildner, 1st Battalion, 56th ADA commander.
“It’s not just the basic sit-ups, push-ups and run everyone spends so much time doing,” said George. “We got $20,000 worth of the equipment through the ADA brigade, the lets us use the track twice a week, and we’ve got 60 enthusiastic students who embrace whatever we do.”
The group walked the track May 9 as George explained the workout for the 10 different stations. They varied from jumping rope, to using kettle bells, to doing burpees. There were also modified exercises for the Soldiers with injuries. In between each set they ran a lap.
One student swears by it. She said she always hovered around a 290 score on her APFT and wanted to break 300. She said after this grind of a workout she is now well in the 320s.
She’s not the only one. Hildner also participated and testified to its challenges.
“This was a high intensity leg, core workout that frankly I’m not used to. This is my first time doing it with the class. I’m still standing, but I’m not going to be.”
Not one to make a mountain out of a molehill, Hildner said the slight incline on the track was mentally challenging as he was already physically tested.
“I think what the different dimension for me is I’ve done it on the stations, but haven’t done it running in between stations. You get to this hill over here and realize that’s a tough hill.”
“I’ve been in the Army for over 20 years and your body gets used to the run, sit-ups and push-ups. This is like P90x or Insanity. This gets to whole body fitness. It keeps the muscles guessing,” said Hildner.
The 2-13 and 3-13 CCC classes do long runs on Mondays, CrossFit-body circuits Tuesdays and Thursdays, intervals Wednesdays; and Fridays they do what George calls “instructor surprise.”
“We’ve done humvee pushes, gun carries, at Rucker Park we jump off all the stuff. If you get a good group of people there’s no limit to what you can do,” he said.
The students don’t just stop there, George said many go back for a second workout after class so they’re prepared for their Army life after training.
“They’re about to become battery commanders, So it just gives them that opportunity to ruck up, present themselves to their battery and go ‘Hey look, I can do this so can you guys,’” said George.