Members of the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team at Fort Benning are putting the Army’s new exercise regimen to the test in their daily physical training.
Just before dawn one morning this week, about 75 soldiers from Golf Company, 203rd Brigade Support Battalion gathered on a field behind the Kelley Hill Headquarters Building for rowing, power jumps, leg body twists and other exercises instead of the old push-ups, sit-ups and 2-mile run.
Two weeks ago, the Army announced plans to toughen its fitness tests to make sure soldiers have the strength, endurance and mobility suited for the battlefield.
Fort Benning, which includes the Armor and Infantry School to form the Maneuver Center of Excellence, is one of eight installations taking part in trials of the new fitness program.
Spc. Matt Hayes, a member of 110th Field Artillery Battalion and one who has led groups with the new approach to fitness, said new exercises are different compared to the old program.
“You see a focus a lot more on the core than the usual sit-ups and runs,” he said.
The new exercises were not a surprise to Kristi Garcia, 25, of Alice, Texas. She was introduced to them in basic training at Fort Jackson, S.C. eight months ago.
“I enjoy them only because from basic I had them incorporated there so having them here is not something new to me,” Garcia said after the morning workout. “It’s something I’m used to. I know the drill a lot more.”
Familiar with the old version and the new, Garcia said the new version helps a with a whole body workout and gets you sore.
“It is the variety of it,” Garcia said. “Instead of five repetitions, it is 10. There is different body structure. We work on our abs, arms and legs all in one.”
Spc. Darren Stone, 21, of Lakeland Fla., likes the new fitness exercises because they are more combat related.
“It’s a lot more stuff that is going to help us on the battlefield than push-ups and sit-ups,” he said. “It works the whole body instead of just abs, legs. It is a lot of cardio and endurance.”
Stone said he enjoys the power squat, jumping and leg exercises. He cautioned anyone who hasn’t done the exercises that it will take some time to get accustomed to them.
“It took a little while to get use to them,” Stone said. “I’m use the old push-ups, sit-ups and running.”
It just more combat related an will help us more in the field than the PT.
At the 3rd Brigade, all soldiers took part in some exercises even though a few couldn’t stand or kneel for certain moves.
“The only thing you notice for this is everybody is set up to do PT,” Hayes said. “Everybody does the same thing. If you can’t do it, you do alternate exercises. You can still stand in formation for physical training.”
Garcia has a tip for soldiers who haven’t tried the new exercises.
“Enjoy it because it will give you a good workout,” she said.