Grissom leads the way in PT changes

  • Published
  • By By Staff Sgt. Michael Hunsaker
  • 434th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

The Air Force is pushing the physical fitness assessments to July 1st to help battle COVID-19.

Air Force leadership is also using this time to assess potential components to improve the current assessment.

Grissom had the opportunity to participate in a study on alternate physical fitness exercises, which may one day be included in the Air Force's physical fitness test.

Dustin Fulkerson, 434th Force Support Squadron exercise physiologist, was tasked with administering the new components and collecting feedback on how beneficial these new components could be.

"Individuals are on a volunteer basis and were encouraged to come over here and participate so they can give their two cents on what they think about the activity," said Fulkerson. "They can represent themselves in the activity, so that the data that's pulled, General Brown [Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr., Chief of Staff of the Air Force] and the other decision-makers will be able to see, 'is this something that's comparable or more profitable than a 1.5-mile run and sit-ups and, is it a better push-up assessment or an upper body strength assessment than our normal one-minute push-ups?' And that's pretty arguable at this point."

Three new exercises were tested here, which included a two-minute hand release push-up, an extended cross-knee crunch, and a three-minute modified burpee.

"Practicality is also being considered with these assessments," said Fulkerson. "What type of a test mimics something that would be pretty common for someone in the fighting force to be able to do?"

According to Fulkerson, due to Grissom's UTA schedule, the base is able to gather more data that can be communicated to leadership.

"We are off-cycle due to the retirement [of Col. Larry Shaw 434th Air Refueling Wing commander]," said Fulkerson. "Data has already been submitted by other installations. Grissom has had more time, so theoretically, Grissom should have more people."

Fulkerson would like people to enhance their workout with these exercises even if they do not become part of the official test and follow the principle of progression, specificity, overload.

"I would encourage people to adopt these exercises into their training," said Fulkerson. "Specificity, you still need to do push-ups and sit-ups, but these will help you for that."

Staff Sgt. John Kenney, 434th Security Forces Squadron fire team member, and Staff Sgt. Danielle Singleton, 434th Logistics Readiness Squadron material management, took part in the physical training leader recertification test and decided to stay for the study.

"It's very similar to the direction the Marine Corps took," said Kenney. "Where you still have your standard PT test for six months, then you do a combat fitness test which is more like a CrossFit type workout, and I feel that this does add that component. You had to think, you had to be aware and had to exercise more of your muscles, and your core got involved more. It was nice to see the diversity of the muscle groups."

Singleton felt her input would make a difference in the larger Air Force.

"You always need a couple of people to test out," said Singleton. "Different people, different backgrounds, just so that you can get a better idea of how it works and who it is going to work for or if it is going to work at all." 

The 434th ARW is the largest KC-135R Stratotanker unit in the Air Force Reserve Command. The Citizen Airmen from the Hoosier Wing routinely deploy around the world in support of the Air Force mission.

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