“It’s better than YouTube.”
Several dozen members of various XVIII Airborne Corps units recently found a more effective way to learn appropriate weight lifting and exercising methods during a two-day seminar from Power Athlete at Frederick Performance Enhancement Center, Aug. 23.
The objective of the session was to provide “a fresh or different perspective on how we can use the tools in the weight room to really empower performance,” said Luke Summers, COO, Power Athlete.
Soldiers participated in lectures and practical sessions that put education into action. Power Athlete’s curriculum was developed by John Welbourn, a 10-year NFL veteran, who spent the majority of his career with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Welbourn put his wealth of knowledge from years of working with the world’s best strength and conditioning coaches into a program that emphasizes a task-specific training method.
“The goal is to increase general athleticism, which is just your ability to efficiently and effectively use your body to accomplish a specific task,” Summers explained.
He said many Soldiers train for one purpose — the Army Physical Fitness Test. However, according to Summers, it is important for them to take a step back and look at training from a broader perspective.
Maj. Jay Hanson, Medical Operations Officer, Surgeon’s Office, XVIII Airborne Corps, agreed.
“We’ve got to expand beyond just the PT Test,” he said. “Running, pushups and sit ups aren’t getting it done and won’t get it done for the SRT (Soldier Readiness Test) or anything else. The only way we can expand that knowledge is by getting squad leaders and team leaders trained up, and that’s mostly what we have in here. We want them to go back and teach the Soldiers proper movement.”
Summers hopes these Soldiers gain a desire to establish a base level of strength. He described this as an ability to move efficiently through seven primal movement patterns, some of which include the squat, lunge, step, push and pull.
After individuals develop this base strength, they can translate that into additional coordinate abilities that make them a safer, more effective mover, Summers said.
“Think of it as fuel economy on a car,” he explained. “It starts to increase that fuel economy on the muscle car so you’re not burning nine miles to the gallon, you can get 30 miles to the gallon with that same movement.”
Soldiers can achieve this through basic barbell movement and short duration, high intensity bouts of exercise or conditioning.
Summers said it is important for leaders to balance long distance training, like ruck marches, with the basics of barbell training, strength and conditioning and sprinting.
“That would take these guys and gals orders of magnitude above their physical abilities and reduction in overuse or structural injuries,” he said.
This reduction in musculoskeletal injuries is a major goal of the XVIII Abn. Corps, according to Hanson. In addition to the Power Athlete sessions, XVIII Abn. Corps Soldiers have also participated in a Poe’s Running seminar, Mobility WOD, and SPARTA program to improve injury and re-injury rates.