Earlier this year, our Brian Dwyer gave us a very special look at how the Army is using technology to help soldiers train for battle, but sometimes it takes just good old fashioned hard work. We've all see the videos of soldiers waking up early, running, jogging, push and pull ups. Well, the Army is about to go through another major transformation, changing the physical training from the basics to complete battle functionality. Over the course of this week, Brian will take us inside this new daily workout, Functional Fitness, and how this "Ultimate Exercise" is getting soldiers ready for anything.
FORT DRUM, N.Y. – “Functional Fitness is about preparing the body for the challenges of the real world," said Lt. Col. Sean Bernabe, 1st BCT Deputy Commanding Officer.
"Fitness has been cyclic. A lot of the stuff that we're doing now is stuff the Army was doing in the 40s and 50s," said Maj. Rob Montz, Guthrie Medical Clinic Chief of Occupational Therapy.
"You see some films of Army units doing calisthenics and squats and lunges. Well, those are the kind of things you'll see in a more modern Functional Fitness workout," said Lt. Col. Bernabe. "It's about not just building a specialist in running or a specialist in lifting heavy objects, but the decathlete that can do all those things."
But somewhere along the line, the Army lost its way. The functionality of the 40s and 50s gave way to the muscles of the 80s and 90s.
"That ‘going to the beach’ type muscles, they don't work here. They don't work in combat, they don't work here. They're great for the beach but not so great for the Army," said Sgt. Shadrach Miller, 2-22 Squad Leader.
Sergeant Shadrach Miller is a squad leader for Triple-Deuce. He's one of thousands who will soon be doing this on a regular basis. It's called combatives, wrestling, grappling. It's using moves and techniques to overcome pure strength.
"They're going to run into contact with the enemy. They're going to be in close proximity. Especially our MPs, who'll be dealing with detainees. You can never say that everybody is going to be compliant 100 percent of the time. Sometimes they're going to get physical and they're going to want to get violent," said SSgt. Joseph Cole, a combatives instructor.
"I'm 40. I'm rolling with guys who are 20. They're quite a bit faster and stronger than me. I'll hang with them just using the techniques and stuff like that," said Sgt. Miller.
"We're giving them the ability to see where their pitfalls may be and where their strengths and weaknesses are by giving them exercises they're not normally going to do within the Army's PRT program," said SSgt. Cole.
But for some, it's training they've never done. They say there's fear with the unknown. Functional Fitness can force a soldier to stare it right in the face.
Now take that fear and get ready to ramp it up