Filed under: Extreme fitness programs
The Department of Defense (DoD) and American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) convened a workshop at the Uniformed Services University in Bethesda, MD, that examined various aspects and issues of high-intensity training (HIT) programs—now referred to as Extreme Conditioning Programs (ECPs).
The executive summary of the workshop and can be read here.
High Intensity Training (HIT) conference presentations are now available on our website. These presentations provide informative information on this hot topic.
Have you ever been tempted to try the exercise equipment advertised on late-night infomercials—the products that promise to enhance various body parts or provide a great workout for a low, low price? Most of it isn’t necessary to get into the shape you want. Some of the most effective workouts can be done at home—with only your own body weight. It’s not that equipment is bad—correct use of weights and some machines can be very effective—but it isn’t necessary, nor is it an excuse to prevent you from getting in a good workout when equipment isn’t available.
There are some clear benefits to exercising at home without the use of equipment, including saving time and money that you would spend at a gym. Most importantly, exercising by using your body weight provides you with the ability to exercise anytime and anywhere—you aren’t restricted only to the times when you have access to the piece of equipment or device. Also, there are a variety of ways to go about a home-based program, ranging from workouts on DVD to a workout you create for yourself. Those already familiar with online workouts may know that YouTube has been afire with videos of extraordinarily fit people demonstrating their workouts done with minimal equipment in their homes, backyards, or local parks. Always proceed with caution—these videos are impressive and can be useful, but realize that they come with a risk of serious injury. Before you begin any home workout, consult your physician and/or an exercise professional to determine what is safe, and best for you.
We list some examples below of fitness moves that can be performed at home without equipment. These moves should be performed properly and at the right intensity level for them to be effective and safe. The American Council on Exercise (ACE) provides an Exercise Library that displays the proper form for many exercises.
Squats (Single Leg)
For a complete workout, visit ACE’s At Home (Without Equipment) Workout.
According to an article in the October 28, 2010 edition of USA Today, boot-camp workouts, strength training and core exercises are among next year's top 20 trends.
Click on link below to access the article.
Photo: Red Wolf/Flickr
ABC News affiliate WSET.com (Lynchburg, VA) has an article on rhabdomyolysis and exercise - specifically working out with P90X, an high-intensity exercise program. Rhabdomyolysis is the breakdown of muscle fibers resulting in the release of muscle fiber contents (myoglobin) into the bloodstream. Some of these are harmful to the kidney and frequently result in kidney damage.
Rhabdomyolysis is a potentially deadly condition that can be triggered by overdoing exercise/workout programs.
Click on link below to access the article.
The October 12, 2010 edition of the Montreal Gazette examines the science of fat burning and asks the question - is there a workout guaranteed for weight loss and fat burning?
Each day, more than 10,000 Americans visit emergency rooms for sports and exercise-related injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many of those who get injured are getting hurt due to being inactive and then suddenly taking on a major exercise program, such as training for a half-marathon – hence the weekend-warrior syndrome. Physorg.com has an article that provides common sense tips for avoiding the weekend-warrior pitfall of doing too much, too fast, too soon.
The Off Duty section of the Air Force Times recently published an article that looks at the popularity high-intensity fitness programs and concerns about their safety.
Last week, Wired Magazine ran an article on high intensity fitness programs that are 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 in Bethesda, MD.
In response, Wired has published a follow up article that offers a view of CrossFit from a soldier's perspective.
Fitness programs are trending right now, and there's a move away from the traditional focus on calisthenics and running in the military. Our Warfighters are increasingly interested in ensuring that they are optimally prepared to deal with the rigors of being deployed. Most have found that unit physical training programs are not adequate to prepare them for a year of going up and down the mountains of eastern Afghanistan. Therefore, it’s not surprising that many have looked outside the military and are increasingly embracing extreme fitness programs.
Two of the more popular programs are P90X and CrossfitCrossFit. P90X is a commercial, 90-day, home fitness program emphasizing cross-training and varied exercises. The cardiovascular conditioning, strength, and flexibility components are designed to promote overall physical fitness. HPRC has recently posted a review of P90X that looks at the suitability of the program as a readiness tool. CrossFit is similarly a strength and conditioning fitness methodology that combines weightlifting, sprinting, and gymnastics. It has been described as everything from a fitness company to a grassroots health movement to a cult. (crossFit homepage link) Both P90X and CrossFit are designed as intense exercise programs and are not ideally suited to beginners or unfit users.
So what is right for you? This is an important question, but difficult to answer because of the lack of research associated with popular intense fitness programs. Both of the programs referenced above have shown good results with a large number of practitioners. There has, however, been a history of muscle damage (rhabdomyolysis) associated with each program. This is a dangerous condition where muscle fiber breaks down and is released into the blood stream, poisoning the kidneys.
To determine what the right fitness program is for you, it’s important to consult the experts in your organization. Talk to your supervisor first and ensure that you are matching your fitness program to your functional job requirements. Each of the Services are moving toward functional fitness programs and leaders are increasingly shifting away from a focus on the “daily dozen.” What you are looking for in an exercise program might be available in your unit or on your base. You should also consult your local health provider. They will be able to help you establish your baseline fitness level and determine how aggressive you can be initiating a new and more intense fitness program. They can also help you establish a program to ramp up from this baseline that puts you on a path to continually improve your fitness level without getting injured.
Because of the necessity for better information on the risks and benefits associated with extreme fitness programs, HPRC will host a conference prior to the end of the fiscal year 10 (FY10) that will include some of the leading experts on the subject from across the country as well as representatives from each of the Services. The conference will be held at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. If you are interested in getting information on the conference please send us a note at the “contact us” button on the HPRC homepage. The intent of the conference is to ultimately establish the right framework to push the fitness envelope and to dramatically reduce the risk of injury.