Physiology of Aerobic Training

Aerobic exercise uses oxygen to produce most of the body's energy needs. It also brings into play a fairly complex set of physiological events. To provide enough energy-producing oxygen to the muscles, the following events occur Greater movement of air through Increased movement of oxygen from the lungs into the blood stream. Increased delivery of oxygen-laden blood to the working muscles by the heart's accelerated pumping action. Regulation of the blood vessel's size to distribute blood away...

Maintenance Phase

Once the soldier reaches a high level of fitness, the maintenance phase is used to maintain that level. The emphasis in this phase is no longer on progression but on retention. Although training three times a week for muscle endurance and strength gives the best results, one can maintain them by training the major muscle groups properly one or two times a week. More frequent training, however, is required to reach and maintain peak fitness levels. Maintaining the optimal level of fitness should...

APFT Failures

Although it is not the heart of the Army's physical fitness program, the APFT is the primary instrument for evaluating the fitness level of each soldier. It is structured to assess the muscular endurance of specific muscle groups and the functional capacity of the CR system. Soldiers with reasonable levels of overall physical fitness should easily pass the APFT. Those whose fitness levels are substandard will fail. Soldiers who fail the APFT must receive special attention. Leaders should...

Progression and Recovery

Other important principles for avoiding injury are progression and recovery. Programs that try to do too much too soon invite problems. The day after a hard training day, if soldiers are working the same muscle groups and or fitness components, they should work them at a reduced intensity to minimize stress and permit recovery. The best technique is to train alternate muscle groups and or fitness components on different days. For example, if the Monday-Wednesday-Friday (M-W-F) training...

Exercise To Music

Aerobic exercise done to music is another excellent alternative to running. It is a motivating, challenging activity that combines exercise and rhythmic movements. There is no prerequisite skill, and it can be totally individualized to every fitness level by varying the frequency, intensity, and duration. One can move to various tempos while jogging or doing jumping jacks, hops, jumps, or many other calisthenics. Workouts can be done in a small space by diverse groups of varying fitness levels....

Passive Stretches

Pnf Stretching

Passive stretching is done with the help of a partner or equipment. The examples in this chapter show passive stretching done with a towel or with a partner. When stretching alone, using a towel may help the exerciser achieve a greater range of motion. Soldiers can do PNF (Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation) stretches for most major muscle groups. PNF stretches use a series of contractions, done against a partner's resistance, and relaxations. Obtaining a safe stretch beyond the muscle's...

Concerns for Optimal Physical Performance

Carbohydrates, in the form of gly -cogen (a complex sugar), are the primary fuel source for muscles during short-term, high-intensity activities. Repetitive, vigorous activity can use up most of the carbohydrate stores in the exercised muscles. The body uses fat to help provide energy for extended activities such as a one-hour run. Initially, the chief fuel burned is carbohydrates, 'but as the duration increases, the contribution from fat gradually increases. The intensity of the exercise also...

Rope Skipping

Rope skipping is also a good exercise for developing CR fitness. It requires little equipment, is easily learned, may be done almost anywhere, and is not affected by weather. Some runners use it as a substitute for running during bad weather. A beginner should select a jump rope that, when doubled and stood on, reaches to the armpits. Weighted handles or ropes may be used by better-conditioned soldiers to improve upper body strength. Rope skippers should begin with five minutes of jumping rope...