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Group PFT in the Military and Law Enforcement
This week, I had the opportunity to speak at a major Naval
command with the command’s division Remedial PFT leaders.
From this I have developed a generic form of my answers to their issues as a
part of my deliverables to the PFT Consulting Service I do for Military and Law
Enforcement commands. Many of the issues the Navy is having with
the physical mission stretch across the board within all branches of the
military and law enforcement. The
problems many group PT leaders are having are the following:
Group PT Ideas
Motivation to reach above the minimum standards
Foundation Building for Remedial PT (flexibility / endurance)
Pre-PFT Meals for better performance
Upperbody strength in pushups and abdominal exercises
Running Speed for the 1.5 mile timed run
Body fat percentage – tape test
If I had the answer as to how to motivate people to become better fit and healthy, I would probably have a New York Times bestseller! People are all different and some things will motivate one to exercise and not work for the rest of the group. Usually the motivating factors include, but are not limited to the following:
1 – Future Deployment to War Zone – Presently, the chances of deploying to a war zone are greater than ever and occur within many branches whether or not you are in a combat unit or at a permanent duty station within the United States. Many people want to be smaller targets and seek to lose weight when traveling to Iraq or Afghanistan. Others just want to be able to be fit to survive and build their abilities run or ruck over long distances. Building upper body and lower body strength and endurance is the key to this goal. Think of working out as a means to “gain fitness”, not as a means to “lose weight”. Before you know it, you are fit and you have lost weight.
2 – Career Options – To further your career, you need to score above average on your physical fitness tests. And conversely, if you fail your PT / Run test or your body fat test, you can easily lose your military career altogether, not just miss a promotion.
3 – Vanity – Wanting to look better in and out of your
clothes always works. It is a
motivating factor for many of us, but should be a sub-goal of your overall plan.
Focusing on more tangible factors like timed runs, PT scores, and even
inches lost tend to motivate the masses better than subjective goals.
4 – Teaching People is the Key – Many people just do
not know HOW to workout. So they do not like to do it. As with anything that is
new to use, exercise too can be fun and exciting IF the instructor can be
informative by properly describing techniques, mental tips to pass with higher
scores, proper nutrition prior to performing the PFT, and list of workout ideas
for people to follow when not working out with the command.
All the above “tools of the trade” can be found in the StewSmith.com
As mentioned above, with a majority of the group, you have to build a foundation of fitness, before expecting stellar results. The way, I recommend the group focus on stretching and multiple sets of low to medium repetitions to build a solid core before advancing onto maximum sets of two minute testing. By building a foundation on the pushups, situps, pullups, and running, the PT group will grow in a steady progression.
Remember to work both sides of the muscles in order create strength balances near the major joints of the body as well as to prevent injury. For instance, the opposing muscle groups of the chest / upper back, biceps / triceps, thighs / hamstrings, and stomach / lower back should considering is preparing a fitness plan.
Pushups flex the triceps, chest, shoulders while stretching the upper back muscles. Exercise the upper back should also be considered. See the Lower Back Injury Prevention linked below for three great exercises to help with upper body balance.
Back / Stomach – Situps, crunches, and other abs
exercises engage the stomach muscles while the lower back muscles are stretched
/ strained. See upper back and
lower back Injury prevention article
See the Super Set and PT Pyramid Articles listed below for
more detail and sample workouts.
workout – training philosophy and top ten questions / answers
Branches PFT Standards
For the PFT programs that require pushups, here is a way to build pushups in a short period of time. Click the links below for details to add up to 50-100% to your pushup totals in as little as 14 days.
Running is by far the most challenging part for all
branches of service. However,
improving running and preventing running injuries can be taught as simply as it
is to perform a pushup. Below there
are running plans the Group PT leader can use to help increase endurance and
decrease run times. Take baby steps
when it comes to running. If you
have never run, you should walk ¼ mile, run a ¼ mile and build up accordingly
until 1.5 miles is doable in a fast walk or slow run.
Once you build that foundation, you can add to your speed.
For both men and women, situps or curl-ups are the easiest
exercise to perform at above average levels.
It does not take but a few short weeks to improve your abdominal strength
and endurance and for most it is a matter of learning proper pace.
Most people start off too fast and burn out in a two-minute period.
See the articles linked below for more information.
Your Situps – Decrease Your Pace
but still have energy to PT / Run / Swim etc..
The last problem area is the Tape Test where the body circumference is measured. The article below on the Tape Test will assist with ideas to lose the inches and gain the inches where needed to pass this test.
This article should prove to be an all inclusive reference guide for you to prepare yourself as well as your command for accepting the challenge of scoring above average on the PFT, as well as preparing PFT failures and Tape Test failures to reach their goals and surpass them. See the StewSmith.com Fitness Store for more workout programs. Good luck with your endeavors and feel free to email me at email@example.com should you have any questions concerning fitness in or outside of the military.
Contact me concerning a personalized service I provide for military and law enforcement commands.
Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. If you are interested in starting a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle - check out the StewSmith.com Fitness eBook store and the Stew Smith article archive at StewSmith.com. To contact Stew with your comments and questions, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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