News>AEDC Fitness Center offers customers a new exercise asset, the Crossfit program
From left, Capt. Brandon Herndon and 1st Lt. Wes Meredith, under the supervision of Kevin Duncan, AEDC Fitness Center assistant, lift kettle bell weights as part of their Crossfit program workout at the running track. (Photo by Jacqueline Cowan)
From left, Capt. Brandon Herndon and 1st Lt. Wes Meredith, under the supervision of Kevin Duncan, AEDC Fitness Center assistant, go through a full-body exercise called a “burpee” as part of their Crossfit program workout recently at the running track on base. (Photo by Jacqueline Cowan)
7/20/2012 - ARNOLD AIR FORCE BASE, Tenn. -- The staff at AEDC's Fitness Center is excited about a new program they are offering to those who use their facilities.
Kevin Duncan, AEDC's Health and Wellness Center (HAWC) fitness assessment monitor, said the program, called Crossfit, is a strength and conditioning regimen founded in 2000 by Greg Glassman, a physical fitness coach. He developed Crossfit specifically for law enforcement and military personnel.
"The short definition of Crossfit is that it's a constantly varied, high intensity functional movement workout," he said. "Functional movements are just that, exercise movements that mimic tasks someone makes in their particular line of work. Originally this could have been a medic or soldier with a field pack carrying a wounded comrade off of the battlefield, or a downed pilot carrying survival gear to evade capture in difficult terrain."
According to the Crossfit company's website, "the program is not sport-specific but done correctly promotes broad and general overall physical fitness with a focus on cardiovascular and respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, agility, balance, coordination and accuracy."
Duncan added, "Functional movements are important because they enable us to move large loads over long distances and do so quickly. That's pretty much what Crossfit is."
He emphasized that the Crossfit program is designed to allow people, regardless of their age, physical condition and ability, to adjust the workout to a level they can handle.
"You kind of set your own intensity," Duncan said.
Ron Stephenson, sports and fitness director at AEDC's Fitness Center, said, "These programs are generally referred to as extreme exercise programs (ECP's). The program is intense, but with proper supervision we can offer most exercise enthusiasts without moderate to serious joint limitations the opportunity to see major changes in muscle activation as well as increases in metabolic profile without significant risks.
"It's no exaggeration to say that this program has been and continues to be used by tactical operations teams, military special operations units, champion martial artists, and hundreds of professional athletes worldwide. Our primary mission is to ensure our active duty personnel are physically fit for world-wide deployment and Crossfit is a major tool we offer to ensure deployment capability."
Lance Baxter, chief of AEDC's technology branch, discovered and started using Crossfit while he was deployed to Iraq.
"Mr. Waltermire and I are training together three mornings a week using the Crossfit program," Baxter said. "I started when I arrived in Iraq, mostly because the person I was replacing had been doing it and I just was following his routine, but also I wanted to try to get in better shape in general.
"I am in better shape and have been more able to stick with a routine exercise program with Crossfit than I have with any other exercise plan before."
Capt. Brandon Herndon, assistant director of operations for AEDC's Space and Missile Ground Test Complex, learned about Crossfit from 1st Lt Wesley Meredith, a developmental engineer with Arnold's Space and Missile Ground Test Complex.
Bart Stewart, Multispectral Signature Modeling and Analysis Capability manager at the Space and Missile Test Complex, also uses Crossfit on base.
Jessica Herman, AEDC Air Force Analysis Branch's deputy said she learned about Crossfit from Meredith and Stewart.
"I have only been able to make it to a few Crossfit sessions so far due to my schedule," she said. "I tried Crossfit for the first time a few months ago on their recommendation. I like the variety and intensity of the program, and hope to be able to attend more regularly in the future."
Duncan explained how Crossfit first came to his attention.
"1st Lt Wesley Meredith has been training for rugby and he wanted to start doing Crossfit. So, I talked to my boss about taking a Crossfit certification course to start it here and went to that the beginning of March.
"So far, I've been working with Wes and Bart Stewart. Every now and then we'll have a few more people show up to do Crossfit with us."
Duncan acknowledged that the Fitness Center only has a limited quantity of Crossfit equipment, but he said it lays the foundation for a thorough workout.
"What we have provides the user with different forms of resistance which mimics just about any movement one may need to rely on when deployed," he said. "For example; an individual may be required to carry two 40 pound ammo cans in a crouched run for up to 100 yards.
"We can have that individual crouch-run with two 40 pound kettle bells for the same distance and by varying the resting interval between run sets, that individual can produce more power to accomplish the task in a real-world setting."