Friday, September 17, 2010

The Big 3: Too Much For Our Troops?

The U.S. military's concerned that our soldiers aren't physically prepared for CrossFit, P90X and Insanity workouts:
More troops than ever are flipping tractor tires, lobbing 50-pound kettle bells and conquering the Three Bars of Death in an effort to become “tougher, faster, hard-bodied freedom fighter[s].” But some of them are also working out until they puke, faint or suffer permanent organ damage. Now, a team of medical researchers have a message for recruits: you’re probably not fit enough for CrossFit.

Ditto for P90X and Insanity. Together, the brutally intense fitness regimes are “the big three” being studied and evaluated in a review of high-intensity fitness programs by the Consortium for Health and Military Performance (CHAMP) at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.
CHAMP's examination of "the big three" workout programs is just beginning, but researchers are hoping to publish results and recommendations in the next few years. Already, there are signs that fitness is on the decline in the military, which doesn't bode well for the formal incorporation of CrossFit, P90X or Insanity into our uniformed services' PT programs.
Thirty-five percent of American youth are unfit to serve because of health problems. Compared to the Army’s new new training regime, which wants troops to embrace yoga and calisthenics, start slow to avoid injury and sweat their way to basic fitness levels, CrossFit’s standards seem all the more extreme.

“Certainly, we are addressing a perceived lack of fitness among recruits,” [CHAMP medical director Col. Francis] O’Connor says. “People are doing too much, too soon, too fast. Participants [in high-intensity programs] need baseline strength and flexibility, and they simply aren’t prepared.”
But from my (admittedly limited) vantage point, all the CrossFitters with military backgrounds I've come across are insanely fit. I work out twice a week with a fortysomething Lieutenant Colonel in the Marines, and he routinely shreds our WODs. I've got to think that kids half his age are able to kick butt, too.

(Source: Wired)