By Sgt. Omar Estrada

1st Cavalry Division public affairs

CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE ADDER, Iraq - The 3rd Advise and Assist "Greywolf" Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, is in the process of molding 21st century, combat-ready soldier-athletes by ensuring they are well rounded in the following pillars: physical, social, emotional, family and spiritual.

These pillars of fitness ensure soldiers are balanced and able to perform under many challenging situations.

Capt. Joseph Lopez, brigade physical therapist, conducted a physical resiliency training class at the Memorial Hall on Contingency Operating Base Adder, Iraq on Sept. 19.

For the past 30 years, the Army conducted all physical training sessions using guidance from Field Manual 21-20, which encouraged soldiers to pass the Army Physical Fitness Test by running four to five miles three times a week, along with pushups and situps.

But recent research has shown that doing pushups and sit-ups until soldiers reached muscle failure does not allow soldiers to fully progress with their physical resiliency.

The progression of Training Circular 3-22.20 is dramatically improving soldier mobility outside of that straight-plane mentality of the past three decades. This is much more realistic both in an athletic culture as well as in combat; soldiers don't do things in a straight line in a deployed environment.

"It's going to make physical readiness fun to perform, instead of doing the dull fashion of pushups, sit-ups and go run," said Sgt. 1st Class Larry J. Owens, the senior brigade paralegal.

Under the Army's new physical resiliency training program, soldiers will conduct physical training in the normal army physical training uniform for the first couple of weeks, then progress to wearing the Army combat uniform, and finally, doing the same agility and endurance movements with a combat load by providing sufficient training before upgrading to each stage.

"This will dramatically improve the soldier athlete or the tactical athlete that the Army wants us to become," said Lopez.

During combat, a soldier must be able to jump, conduct three- to five-second rushes, kick in doors or drag a wounded comrade to safety. Performing some of these movements requires the body to twist and turn into positions that a four-mile run will not.

If soldiers practice in an environment that requires them to move a lot more and then transition to heavier loads prior to deployment, that may decrease the risk of serious injury.

"What we want to do is have warriors physically resilient before going to a combat situation," said Lopez.

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