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The New Army Fitness Program
Copyright Pete Kautz 2019
Wouldn't it be great if the federal government would spend a lot of money to develop a kick ass workout plan that might leave your local gym in the dust? Well, guess what - they DID and we can all benefit from this as a great educational resource with pdfs, videos, and written instruction detailing the whole thing!
This is good stuff especially if you're that old school type where Arnold's classic book on bodybuilding was the last one you read. Get ready to step into the 21st century in the same way that the Army Combatives program they initiated some years back advanced them to basics of Filipino Stick and Knife Fighting, Muai Thai and BJJ over just WWII era chin jabs and axe hands.
The United States Army has recently upgraded their fitness test, called the ACFT (Army Combat Fitness Test) to better reflect functional strength for warfighters. The new test is age and gender neutral in the scoring and solders must score high enough for the MOS (Military Occupational Specialty or "what their job is") they are serving in and the message seems to be "Get in shape or get another job".
It will go into effect in 2020, so solders have time to adapt to the new standards of performance which are greatly influenced by modern physical culture and athletic science. For example, kettle bells and sled drags are now featured training gear alongside traditional free weight deadlifts, calisthenics and running.
The workouts more resemble modern gym culture than anything else. If an instructor did these same routines at a local place people totally would pay to do them! In that sense for Army personnel they are making it something that's more like a perk and less of "mandatory fun time" though now there is an explicit standard of performance which all warfighters must adhere to.
You can see the entire ACFT program with videos for the 6 scored events and drills to help develop them here. This is your tax dollars at work putting together a great comprehensive resource for exercise and fitness...thanks Uncle Sam for this Xmas gift!
Additionally, because obesity among young people is such an issue they created a pair of missions called C.O.R.E. Ops which you can find here. One is for strength and the other for endurance. They are like old-time radio dramas with voice acting, music and sound effects that you listen to while you work out and are instructed to do different exercises for time.
For example, you hear the squad leader say "OK, we have to run across this field to get away from a drone. Get ready for 30:60's. On my command you will sprint for 30 seconds and then walk for 60 seconds. Are you ready? Move out!" and then there is music playing at the cadence to exercise to - in this case a very fast beat followed by a very slow one.
During your rest periods the story part of the mission plays out, so it's easy to know when to work and when to catch your breath. It definitely draws you in and makes the exercise seem easier.
You can stream these online or download them to a device. Online you can also follow along and see each exercise and how to do it if you don't already know. The site has pdf files for each one as well.
I tried out the Eagle Eye mission and it was fun. It's kind of a novelty in the sense that you might get bored hearing it over and over again, but to engage a younger audience and get them into the habit of exercise I can totally see it. The story has the slightly futuristic elements right out of contemporary video games in the form of the Talos Armor - a computer assisted set of body armor you're wearing.
And if it was a new mission every other week or something? That might be kinda' cool, like being alongside the Shadow or other radio hero while doing pushups and drinking your Ovaltine...
Is this a new hybrid of athletics and entertainment we will see more of? Only time will tell!
All my very best to you,
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