Photo of Nicole Snyder working out with a U.S. Army Master Fitness Trainer
Fort Gordon, GA -
Fort Gordon graduated their first class of Master Fitness Trainers in March. Almost fifty soldiers completed the month-long course with nationally certified trainers.
The old days of focusing on strictly endurance and muscular strength are gone. Instead of running long distances and testing speed, soldiers are now told to focus on proper form and putting less pressure on the joints. Exercises are also job-specific, so the training helps soldiers perform better on daily tasks and reduce injury in combat.
As the clouds roll over Fort Gordon, and the sun comes up, soldiers gather on Barton Field to get ready for physical training.
The exercises these soldiers perform are anything but ordinary; they are specialized and took years to develop.
“What I said when I first began this, is that I wish I had done this 22 years ago,” said Captain Ryan Boileau.
Captain Ryan Boileau commands this brigade and works with his two Master Fitness Trainers to enhance exercises.
“What this has done is take the soldier from the core phase, their beginning to improve their agility and their ability to stretch and withstand the different exercises we are doing, and improves upon that,” said Boileau.
This new training has helped the Captain recover from some of his own injuries.
“I came off of a hip injury about two or three years ago, and I noticed a significant difference when I started doing this versus the other physical training exercises that we do. Everything we do from the first stretch all the way until the end, I feel it in my hips and my core area, and I have started to feel a lot different because of it,” said Boileau.
Sergeant Ashley Armstrong graduated with Fort Gordon’s first class of Master Fitness Trainers last month.
“The Army told us this is what we are going to do, we are changing the program and a lot of the people were very uncomfortable with that change, but now they have us to explain to them why, the whole reason behind it is to mitigate injury,” said Armstrong.
Armstrong showed me an example of a change to the standard military push-up, instead of keeping the arms on the outside of the body where it puts pressure on the joints; the arms are brought in close to the sides.
A majority of the exercises put emphasis on the core, such as hip raises. When it comes to staying healthy, Master Fitness Trainers help soldiers right down to the core.
“Were not just experts in the manual, we also know nutrition, so we are able to advise soldiers who have nutrition issues; we are able to help out with physical profiles and injuries,” said Armstrong.
As the trainers take a last look at their team, the soldiers finish their hour-long session with slow stretches… a different look to winning the war.