James Beyer, 46, Dayton Ohio, crosses the finish line to win the U.S. Air Force Marathon's men's full marathon event at 2:35:47, Sept. 21. (Michelle Gigante/Air Force)

James Beyer, 46, of Dayton, Ohio, crosses the finish line to win the 2013 Air Force Marathon in 2:35:47. (Michelle Gigante/Air Force)

If you’ve even heard of the Air Force Marathon — and chances are good you haven’t — you might be quick to dismiss it. Especially after you find out it’s in, um, Ohio.

While it may not enjoy the dramatic location or running world prestige as that other military marathon, organizers say the Air Force Marathon — like the service itself — is “younger and hotter” and just as worthy of a spot on your big race bucket list.

“Everyone knows about the Marine Corps Marathon, but we’re just as good, easily,” says Rob Aguiar, Air Force Marathon race director at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base just outside Dayton, where the race is held every September. “We’re pretty darn good.”

That’s big talk for a relatively little race, but Aguiar says he knows some things you may not.

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Soldiers and civilians participate in the Hero Workout of the Day at Kieschnick Gym at Fort Hood, Texas, on Feb. 23, 2013, in memory of 1st Lt. Daren M. Hidalgo, a platoon leader with the 3rd Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment from Vilseck, Germany, who lost his life during an improvised explosive device attack in Kandahar province, Afghanistan. Competitive events such as CrossFit  (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Christopher Calvert/Released). Fort Hood is one of the top installations for exertional rhabdomyolysis cases, seen most often in hot climates and competitive workouts such as CrossFit, experts say.

Soldiers and civilians take part in the Hero Workout of the Day at Kieschnick Gym at Fort Hood, Texas, on Feb. 23, 2013. Fort Hood is one of the top installations for exertional rhabdomyolysis cases, seen most often in hot climates and competitive workouts such as CrossFit, experts say. (Sgt. Christopher Calvert/Army)

The summer months are a great time to get outside, play hard and break a sweat. And most troops are fit enough to push through a sweltering dog-day workout.

But danger lurks as the mercury soars and dew points rise, especially for young recruits, combat arms personnel and anyone stationed in brutally hot parts of the U.S.

Neglect your hydration and you may be at risk for muscle breakdown, kidney failure or even death, a condition known as exertional rhabdomyolysis, or “rhabdo.” Rhabdomyolysis occurs when overworked muscles break down, releasing a protein, myoglobin, into the bloodstream. This protein can overwhelm the kidneys, causing damage and, in a worst-case scenario, renal failure.

Last year, 378 active-duty troops experienced potentially life-threatening cases of rhabdo, according to a report from the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center.

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An airman models the legacy physical training uniform, left, and the modified PT uniform, right. (Tech. Sgt. Lionel Castellano/Air Force)

An airman models the legacy physical training uniform, left, and the modified PT uniform, right. (Tech. Sgt. Lionel Castellano/Air Force)

Hey airmen, tired of your old “swishy” warmups? Air Force Times writer Oriana Pawlyk has some good news for you.

She writes:

The Air Force’s announcement in 2009 that improved PT warmups would soon be available was welcome news to airmen who complained about the “swish” and discomfort of the standard-issue baggy warmups they had been wearing since 2005.

But when the improved physical training uniform hit the shelves at Army and Air Force Exchange Service locations the following year, it was up to airmen to use their clothing replacement allowance to buy the better-fitting version made of more breathable fabric. And the replacement allowance — at $22.38 per year for the jacket and $14.30 for the pants — covered one-third of the cost of the $67.15 for the jacket and $42.90 for the pants.

Now, four years after the IPTU first became available to airmen, the Air Force will begin issuing the updated warmup as part of the standard-issue clothing bag for men and women entering the service. All recruits and cadets will start receiving the IPTU on Oct. 1, Air Force officials said.

Read the rest of Oriana’s story over on Air Force Times.

A parkour student in Brookline, Mass., leaps over a balance beam. Parkour borrows elements from martial arts, gymnastics, rock climbing and more.

A parkour student in Brookline, Mass., leaps over a balance beam. Parkour borrows elements from martial arts, gymnastics, rock climbing and more. (AP photo)

As Navy Cmdr. Bill Whitmire stood in the parking lot of a Gulfport, Miss., shopping mall one recent afternoon, his attention wasn’t on sales or bargains. Instead, his eyes scoured light poles, stairways, parking barriers and other targets of airborne opportunity.

“I see 12 things right now that I would like to try hang on or vault [over],” the 44-year-old Whitmire said with obvious excitement. “That’s the beauty of this sport. The world is your playground.”

He’s talking about parkour — an increasingly popular sport that combines gymnastics, martial arts and a child’s love of playground possibilities. For Whitmire and other enthusiasts, parkour and its sister sport, freerunning, are fresh, fun ways to stay fit, healthy and combat ready.

With its emphasis on practical, natural movement, parkour focuses on getting someone from point A to point B in the fastest, most efficient way possible — whether that’s over, under, around or through, with a lot of room for individual creativity.

“It’s like being Batman,” said Salil Maniktahla, co-owner of the 10,000-square-foot Urban Evolution, a parkour gym in Manassas, Va. Maniktahla and his team train students in their gym and eventually unleash them into the world. “We’re running, jumping, climbing, rolling, falling and more. It’s the art and discipline of moving through your environment in an interesting and elegant way.”

Read more…

I have a passion for compound movements, complexes — multiple exercises with a specific weight — and functional workouts. Here’s a workout that is as close to a “total package” as I could get using a minimum number of exercises. You can do this one even if you’re a beginner — simply choose appropriate weights, repetitions and sets.

The workout consists of a total body lift; three lifts that hit the back, shoulders, and legs; a bodyweight exercise that helps the core and upper body; and a cardio exercise that also can help improve the run portion of your PT test. Modify, if needed, from the standard six rounds. One round is six reps of all six exercises. Rest as needed between rounds.

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Deadlift

This is the king of lifts not only for the principal muscles involved but also the stabilizer muscles that are used. Those with a good level of fitness can choose between 165 and 225 pounds. Everyone else should downsize. Technique is important, and there are dozens of good Internet videos on this lift.

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ptuniform

Airmen: Do you still choose to wear the legacy PTU jacket and running pants? Have you not made the switch to the new, “optional” IPTU?

If so, why haven’t you made the switch? Is there something you still like about the PTU, and if yes, then what do you like about it?

If you absolutely did not like the PTU, why couldn’t you wait to switch over to the IPTU? What do you value about the IPTU?

SOUND OFF: Email opawlyk@airforcetimes.com. Your comments could be used in an upcoming PT uniform story!

Alicia Weber

A screen shot from Alicia Weber’s record-setting inverted rows video.

When Alicia Weber was a little kid, no one ever told her girls can’t do pullups. And if they did, she never listened.

“I started pullup training at, 4 and I am still going strong at 33,” says Weber, a personal trainer and wide-ranging athlete. Of course when you lay claim to a slew of world records, “going strong” takes on a whole new meaning.

Weber says she’s broken more than 400 fitness records since 2008. At RecordSetter.com – the Wikipedia-like answer to the Guinness collection – she currently holds nearly 200 titles.

Among her more than two dozen pullup records: 57 consecutive pullups and 43 pullups in one minute. If you want to beat her most egg-on-spoon-in-mouth-pullups-in-one-minute record (yes, that’s a thing), you’ll have beat her 16 reps.

But you don’t have to be addicted to setting records to get good at one of her favorite exercises.

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(Photos by Jon R. Anderson staff)

Former Marine Nic Doucette wants to raise $25,000 for the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund by paddling the length of the Mississippi River. (Photos by Jon R. Anderson staff)

The best way to get in shape for a big kayaking trip, most paddlers will tell you, is to do a bunch of little kayaking trips.

kayak2_250

Former Marine Nic Doucette has a big trip coming up this summer. A very big trip. In fact, it’s an epic, 2,552-mile, from-source-to-sea, Mississippi River-sized trip.

His mission: to raise $25,000 for injured service members through the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund by padding from the big river’s headwaters at Lake Itasca, Minn., all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico.

Currently in school at the University of Wisconsin’s Whitewater campus, he just has one problem when it comes to getting ready for the more-than-two-month trip.

“Wisconsin weather has not been kind to my training,” he tells PT365 in the middle of his spring break. ”We’ve still got at least an inch of ice on the river up here.”

Instead, he’s been hitting the gym at least six days a week all winter to make sure he’s ready.

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Marine Maj. Misty Posey demonstrates pullups.Courtesy of Maj. Misty Posey

[It's pullup week here at PT365. Catch the first post -- Zero to max: How these women are acing pullups — practical advice for anyone -- here.]

It’s the cliché everyone hates to hear when they’re convinced they can’t: “If I can do it, you can, too.”

Whatever. We want to cling to our excuses.

But these four women want to rip those excuses right out of your hands, even while making those hands — and arms, shoulders, back and core — stronger than you ever imagined possible.

The excuses and challenges that held them back and how they beat the pullup anyway:

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Maj. Misty Posey practiced "negatives" and half pullups. (Courtesy photo)

Maj. Misty Posey practiced “negatives” and half pullups. (Courtesy photo)

The dreaded pullup.

Among the basic bodyweight exercises, few garner more fear and loathing than standing below that hated bar.

That’s because the pullup works not just your biceps and forearms, but also taps something deep down in your shoulder muscles, plus the core-stabilizing lats, abs and middle back. It’s a full upper-body workout unto itself.

No wonder women can’t do them. Or maybe it’s only the Wonder Women who can. Most just aren’t built for that kind of heavy lifting. It’s basic biology — right?

Not really. At least not according to Marine Maj. Misty Posey.

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