Introduction - Type
Type refers to the kind of exercise performed. When choosing the type, the commander should consider the principle of specificity. For example, to improve his soldiers’ levels of CR fitness (the major fitness component in the 2-mile run), he should have them do CR types of exercises. These are discussed in Chapter 2.
Ways to train for muscular strength and endurance are addressed in Chapter 3, while Chapter 4 discusses flexibility. These chapters will help commanders
design programs which are tailor-made to their soldiers’ needs. The basic rule is that to improve performance, one must practice the particular exercise, activity, or skill he wants to improve. For example, to be good at push-ups, one must do pushups. No other exercise will improve push-up performance as effectively.
Warm-up and Cool-Down
One must prepare the body before taking part in organized PT, unit sports competition, or vigorous physical activity. A warm-up may help prevent injuries and maximize performance. The warm-up increases the body’s internal temperature and the heart rate. The chance of getting injured decreases when the heart, muscles, ligaments, and tendons are properly prepared for exertion. A warm-up should include some running-in-place or slow jogging, stretching, and calisthenics. It should last five to seven minutes and should occur just before the CR or muscular endurance and strength part of the workout. After a proper warm-up, soldiers are ready for a more intense conditioning activity.
Soldiers should cool down properly after each exercise period, regardless of the type of workout. The cool-down serves to gradually slow the heart rate and helps prevent pooling of the blood in the legs and feet. During exercise, the muscles squeeze the blood through the veins. This helps return the blood to the heart. After exercise, however, the muscles relax and no longer do this, and the blood can accumulate in the legs and feet. This can cause a person to faint. A good cool-down will help avoid this possibility.
Soldiers should walk and stretch until their heart rates return to less than 100 beats per minute (BPM) and heavy sweating stops. This usually happens five to seven minutes after the conditioning session.