May 31, 2011
By Daniel Cernero, III Corps and Fort Hood Public Affairs
FORT HOOD, Texas, May 26, 2011 — To break up the monotony of the standard physical training, Staff Sgt. Johnathan Vines and his Soldiers from the personal security detachment for Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 4th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, do things a bit different for one day out of the week.
Soldiers in the platoon nicknamed “Addonexus” put themselves through the “Gauntlet,” an intense circuit training with a variety of exercises designed to work out the entire body.
“For my Soldiers, it’s a different workout – different muscle groups than regular push-ups and sit-ups,” Vines said. “For the most part, it’s something that is different for the guys. After a while, you kind of get bored just doing push-ups and sit-ups.”
Victoria Wolford, the III Corps and Fort Hood Health Promotion Office operational fitness coordinator, runs Operational Fitness Training courses for noncommissioned officers, and she said that this Gauntlet PT perfectly exemplifies what they are teaching in the course.
“This type of PT (physical training) should be somewhere in the training calendar (for all units),” Wolford said, adding that it shouldn’t be done every day and that release runs are still needed in the schedule.
Wolford added, “This is doable for the rest of the Army, because it is applicable to any unit. Units like Vines’ are developing standards (that can help other units).”
She said it helps build strong Soldiers, emphasizing the different aspects of a Soldier being “strong” – both physically and mentally.
Vines, who had previously participated in the 40-hour long course, said he was able to pick up a lot of techniques to bring back to his platoon.
An example of one technique he learned was how to properly do a log-lift exercise.
“It’s easy for someone to bend over, pick it up and flip it,” Vines said. “It’s a lot harder to actually do it with technique. But once you get the technique down, then it is completely, 100 percent easier to do.
“I have a lot of guys (who) are back strong that can bend over, pick it up and flip it. But after about two times, you can notice that they’re starting to lean over a little bit because their back is starting to hurt,” he said of his Soldiers who attempt the exercise without the proper technique.
When Vines’ Soldiers were performing the Gauntlet PT they did the workout in the full Army Combat Uniform, or ACU. However, for this platoon, getting to that point was a gradual process that took about five weeks.
“The first time we did it in (the Army physical training uniform) just so everyone could get a feel for it,” Vines said. “Then we escalated up to boots and (the PT uniform), then to ACUs and soft shoes, and then ACUs and boots.
“This week was supposed to be our week to be in OTVs (outer tactical vests), but we’re deploying, so everything that we have is packed.”
The exercises ranged from pulling a truck, to swinging a hammer on a tire, to more than 10 other stations along the circuit.
Vines said he first learned of this PT about two years ago when he was at Fort Knox, Ky. Since then, he’s been able to add little things here and there that he’s picked up from the fight house.
“The dummy that you’d have at a fight house, we transferred that from a dummy to a sandbag/duffle bag,” Vines said. “We added a little bit more weights, so it’s a little more awkward to carry and a little more awkward to pick up than wrapping your arms around a dummy.”
By doing this, Vines said it makes you focus on different muscle groups.
At the end of the Gauntlet circuit, Soldiers then paired up to do “escape from the mount,” a combatives exercise.
“(At the end of PT,) that’s when it’s important to do combatives,” Wolford said. “Nine out of 10 times, when the enemy comes at you, you’re not always fresh and ready to fight. Also, if you’re already exhausted, you’re going to rely on technique more, which will make you more efficient.”
Vines added that doing the combatives portion at the end is very important for endurance.
“Because if the guys can do (the Gauntlet) for an hour and half, and turn around and pretty much have the crap kicked out of them for 30 seconds to three minutes,” Vines said, “then they can pretty much endure anything.”