CAMP H.M. SMITH, Hawaii --
Personal trainers with Camp Smith and Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay, have come together to prepare Marines for the Combat Fitness Test.
The Commandant of the Marine Corps recently announced the CFT will be fully implemented Oct. 1, but personal trainers warn that just because a Marine is strong at the Physical Fitness Test, doesn’t mean he’s ready for the CFT.
Bob Gallagher, personal trainer with Camp Smith’s Fitness Center, and his peers have teamed up in creating PT programs designed to prepare Marines for the CFT, said Curtis Stranghoener, assistant fitness manager for the fitness center here.
“The days of just aerobic and only aerobics are over,” Gallagher said. “The CFT isn’t the kind of test you can walk into and pass. You have to come in and prepare for it or there’s a good possibility you might fail.”
The CFT is a grueling anaerobic exercise according to Gallagher. The CFT focuses on how a Marine’s body can perform under stress during exercises that deprive the body of oxygen (anaerobic). All the exercises in a PFT, three-mile run, crunches, pull-ups and flexed-arm hang, are geared toward sustaining a steady pace. But, the CFT, which consists of movement to contact, ammunition lift and maneuver under fire, is about power.
“There are Marines who come into the gym everyday and would do very well at the CFT,” Gallagher said. “But they’re the exception. You have to take physical fitness very seriously to do well with this new test.”
Gallagher has developed a series of circuit exercises to help Marines prepare and is offering his time to any Marine who wants to take a crack at it.
For example, one of his circuit courses consists of squats, 36-pound kettle bell swings, 30-pound ammunition can shoulder presses, lateral rows, step-ups, all consisting of 20 repetitions, and two sets of kettle bell sprints.
The goal is to complete the circuit three times in 10 minutes. Marines who meet the challenge increase the weight of the kettle bells and lower the number of repetitions each time they conduct the workout.
“When it comes to training Marines, I say train them as you would an athlete,” Gallagher said. “This workout will prepare them and once they can complete the program with 54-pound kettle bells, that’s when I say ‘OK Marine you’re ready for the CFT.’”
But, he warns Marines not to become complacent if they pass the CFT.
According to Gallagher, the CFT, though challenging, will be a walk in the park compared to fiscal 2010’s CFT.
Where fiscal 2009’s CFT will be a pass and fail system requiring 15-45 ammo can shoulder presses depending on age and gender, FY 2010 may be scored and calculated into promotions. It may require more than 90 ammo can shoulder presses to receive a high score.
Gallagher recommends at least eight weeks of training before taking a CFT and warns that improper or lack of training could lead to serious injuries.
“Don’t hurt yourself just because you want to pass,” he said. “It’s not going to do you any good. Train hard and get ready.”
Gallagher encourages all Marines to stop by their on-base Fitness Centers to learn more.