Circuit Training and Exercise Drills - Conditioning Drills
Some large units prefer to use sets of calisthenic exercises as part of their PT sessions. The drills are designed to be done progressively and are intended to supplement muscular strength and endurance training sessions.
Leaders can mix the exercises to provide greater intensity, based on the fitness level of the soldiers being trained. However, they should choose and sequence them to alternate the muscle groups being worked. Soldiers should do each exercise progressively from 15 to 40 or more repetitions (20 to 60 seconds for timed sets) based on their level of conditioning. They may also do each exercise in cadence unless timed sets are specified. For timed sets, soldiers do as many repetitions of an exercise as possible in the allowed time. Using timed sets, both the well conditioned and less-fit soldiers can work themselves to their limits.
Grass drills are exercise movements that feature rapid changes in body position. These are vigorous drills which, when properly done, exercise all the major muscle groups. Soldiers should respond to commands as fast as possible and do all movements at top speed. They continue to do multiple repetitions of each exercise until the next command is given. No cadence is counted.
Performing grass drills can improve CR endurance, help develop muscular endurance and strength, and speed up reaction time. Since these drills are extremely strenuous, they should last for short periods (30 to 45 seconds per exercise). The two drills described here each have four exercises. Leaders
can develop additional drills locally.
The soldiers should do a warm-up before performing the drills and do a cool-down afterward. The instructor does all the activities so that he can gauge the intensity of the session. The commands for grass drills are given in rapid succession without the usual preparatory commands. To prevent confusion, commands are given sharply to distinguish them from comments or words of encouragement.
As soon as the soldiers are familiar with the drill, they do all the exercises as vigorously and rapidly as possible, and they do each exercise until the next command is given. Anything less than a top-speed performance decreases the effectiveness of the drills.
Once the drills start, soldiers do not have to resume the position of attention. The instructor uses the command “Up” to halt the drill for instructions or rest. At this command, soldiers assume a relaxed, standing position.
Grass drills can be done in a short time. For example, they may be used when only a few minutes are available for exercise or when combined with another activity. Sometimes, if time is limited, they are a good substitute for running.
Most movements are done in place. The extended-rectangular formation is best for a platoon- or company-sized unit. The circle formation is more suitable for squad- or section-sized groups.
When soldiers are starting an exercise program, a 10- to 15-minute workout may be appropriate. Progression is made by a gradual increase in the time devoted to the drills. As the fitness of the soldiers improves, the times should be gradually lengthened to 20 minutes. The second drill is harder than the first. Therefore, as soldiers progress in the first drill, the instructor should introduce the second. If he sees that the drill needs to be longer, he can repeat the exercises or combine the two drills.