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Army Times asked soldiers how to improve the Army Physical Fitness Test and many wrote back to say pullups would be a better measurement of strength than pushups. (T. Anthony Bell / Army)

Army Times asked soldiers how to improve the Army Physical Fitness Test and many wrote back to say pullups would be a better measurement of strength than pushups. (T. Anthony Bell/Army)

Army Times’ Joe Gould unleashed a revelation recently, reporting that soldiers want pullups added to the service’s PT test. Right now only Marines must get their chins over the bar. According to Gould:

Soldiers across the Army say there’s a simple way to better measure an individual’s strength and prepare them for combat — add pullups to the PT test.

“They’re difficult to do, and it’s the kind of thing that can save your life — to be able to pull your own body weight,” said Sgt. Maj. Alfred Todd, a medical official with the California Army National Guard.

Sgt. First Class Daniel Lopez-Bonaglia, a Fort Hood soldier with 4th Sustainment Brigade, said pullups provide a better snapshot of overall fitness compared with the pushup.

“You can fake a pushup, but not a pullup, because your chin has to go to that bar,” said Lopez-Bonaglia, who deployed twice to Iraq. “If you’re overweight, there’s no way you’d be able to do a pullup.”

These soldiers are not alone in their views. Army Times recently asked readers to weigh in on what PT changes they wanted to see. The request received thousands of responses and many endorsed the idea of making pullups a part of the Army Physical Fitness Test.

Get the full story here.

Driven Sports stopped distributing Craze in 2013 in the wake of a USA Today investigation that reported tests finding an undisclosed amphetamine-like compound in the product. (Alison Young/USA Today)

Driven Sports stopped distributing Craze in 2013 in the wake of a USA Today investigation that reported tests finding an undisclosed amphetamine-like compound in the product. (Alison Young/USA Today)

USA Today reports that the FDA has issued a warning to the maker of the pre-workout supplement Craze. The product was pulled from the shelves of GNC stores on military installations in October following a report that it contained a methamphetamine-like ingredient.

The FDA letter dated April 4 classifies the supplement as “adulterated” for lack of evidence that the ingredient “Dendrobex” has been present in the food supply. Now Craze’s maker, Driven Sports, is marketing a new product – Frenzy – as its replacement.

Read more over at Army Times.

Wounded Warrior Retired Senior Airman Scott Palomino performs the standing shot at Rancho High School, Las Vegas, Nev., April 8, 2014. During the trials wounded warriors competed in swimming, basketball, volleyball, track and field events, cycling, archery and shooting competitions. Palomino was hit by a mortar in Balad, Iraq, which led to his medical discharge in 2005. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Master Sgt. Cecilio Ricardo)

Retired Senior Airman Scott Palomino performs the standing shot at Rancho High School, Las Vegas, during the Air Force Wounded Warrior Trials 2014. Athletes competed in swimming, basketball, volleyball, track and field, cycling, archery and shooting. (Senior Master Sgt. Cecilio Ricardo/Air Force)

Got a great military fitness photo? Send it our way at pt365@militarytimes.com.

Surge can hold more than 50 pounds of water.

Surge can hold more than 50 pounds of water. (Manufacturer photo)

A very small family of fitness gear can challenge your aerobic system, build strength, power, and explosiveness and — in the confines of whatever fitness center you use (CrossFit and similar gyms excluded) — this equipment is definitely considered unconventional.

Look beyond the standard lineup of fitness equipment, and more importantly, ask your fitness directors do the same. This is not an all-inclusive list, nor is it everything that you can do with the equipment. Ideas, comments, other items to consider? My contact info is at the end of this article.

Surge

This water-filled, active-resistance cylinder is made by Hedstrom Fitness, the same company that brought you BOSU. It can hold more than 50 pounds of water and is made in the U.S. The cylinder consists of a heavy molded poly-material; it has a fill hole on one end, markers that take the guesswork out of weight equivalency, and both vertical and horizontal handles.

Read more…

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.

Read more…

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.

Read more…

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.

Read more…

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!