Believe it or not, dumbbell training has been around since ancient Greece. They used stone or metal that was carved to include a handle and weighed between 4 and 20 lbs. They were called halteres. The term dumbbell, however, is believed to have originated in England (Hedrick, 2020). Various types of dumbbells can be used with a single or a pair of dumbbells in a bent over row, bench press and more.
These include adjustable, fixed, and selectorized. no matter what style you use, dumbbells have many benefits, and these include:
Can be used anywhere
Suited for explosive training
Little training space is required
Can train all muscle groups
Only need a relatively small number of dumbbells
Safer than barbells on specific exercises
Easier for individuals with injuries
Easier to learn than barbell exercises
A more complex motor activity
Opportunity to perform alternating movements
Opportunity to perform single-arm movements
Adds a balance requirement which works core muscles
Stabilizing muscles are more active
Reduces the potential for injury by enhancing joint stability
Increases potential range of motion
Adds variation to the training program (Hedrick, 2020)
Now that you know why using dumbbells is essential in a workout, let us look at how to incorporate them into your program. You can either incorporate dumbbells into an existing program or design a whole new program for your client. Either way, there are some necessary steps you will want to take.
Decide on your philosophy of training.
Establish your client’s goals.
Use scientifically sound information and concrete guidelines (Hint: You can find these in a W.I.T.S. course).
Use the concept of periodization: The practice of dividing training into specific cycles with each cycle targeting a specific physiological adaption.
Incorporate training variables.
Teach proper technique. Technique should always take precedence over intensity.
There are a plethora of dumbbell exercises out there. These dumbbell exercises can work all the major muscles for the full body effect. Those exercises can work the tricep muscles, upper arms, and develop full range of motion.
Almost any exercise your client is doing on a machine can be done with a set of dumbbells. Add in simple variations on each exercise, and you have just quadrupled the movements you can do. You can work on muscle isolating movements like bicep curls or compound movements that work multiple muscles at one time, like squats. You can even put the two together and have your client do a squat-bicep curl move.
“This is the interesting part of designing training programs because it is part science and part art—art in the sense that you can use your creativity to design what you believe is the best approach to improving athletic performance. Although the art aspect provides room for creativity, the vast majority of a training program should be based on science” (Hedrick, 2020)
So take a look at the programs you are designing and ask yourself where can I add in some dumbbell training? Want to know more about programming, various exercises for upper body, weight loss aspects and more? Sign up now for the Introduction to Dumbbell Training in the W.I.T.S. Store
Check out this great Infographic about guidelines of resistance training
Hedrick, Allen, (2020). Dumbbell training. (2nd ed.). Human Kinetics.
Martha Swirzinski, Ed.D.
Martha holds an Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction and a master’s degree in Kinesiology. She has over 25 years of experience in teaching exercise science, health education, and personal training. She teaches in higher education and develops courses worldwide for various organizations. She has been with W.I.T.S. in multiple roles, including mentoring online programs, course development, webinars, and teaching since 2009.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been, and continues to be, a struggle on virtually everyone across the globe. Economies are tanking, people are losing jobs, and prolonged isolation is driving record cases of depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders. Most attention during the pandemic has been on adults; after all, they are (generally speaking) more at risk of complications from this virus than children and, for the most part, have been the ones driving infections.
The start of the public school academic year, however, is right around the corner and many school districts are struggling with the learning environment and the decision whether or not to physically welcome students back in their buildings. While evidence suggests that children are less likely to have severe complications, we have seen the number of children contracting COVID-19 dramatically increase since schools and camps started re-opening. A recent report from the American Academy of Pediatrics reports that, in the last few weeks of July, 97,000 new cases of COVID-19 in children. As more states begin to re-open their schools, it’s anticipated that the number of cases will skyrocket. Online education is an option but this article is about being at home.
Why does this matter to personal trainers? Odds are, if numbers continue to climb, schools will close again. If schools close again, that means that most interscholastic athletic teams will also stop playing and practicing and children will not be physically active during physical education class. Simply put, this means that most children will not have any guided physical activity in their lives. This is a major public health concern! As a baseline, during normal times, fewer than 25% of children meet the recommended physical activity guidelines for their age. Even those children who are involved in sports fall victim to this. Have you ever thought about how much time is spent during practice simply standing around?
If you’ve read my previous blog post (The Hidden Benefits of Physical Activity in Youth), you’re already familiar with some of the lesser known benefits of physical activity in children. From a COVID-centric perspective, though, there are three major benefits to focus on:
Regular exercise boosts the immune system – Research has consistently shown that regular, moderate-intensity exercise has immune-boosting benefits that may help children and adults to fight off infections, including COVID-19.
Regular exercise may prevent weight gain – Energy balance and how it applies to body composition is well-known among personal trainers, but consider that kids are eating more fast-food than ever. That, coupled with childhood obesity rates being what they are, means this is a target demographic that desperately needs our help!
Regular exercise will reduce stress and anxiety – We know adults are stressed but kids are, too! One of the most important components of in-person schooling is the enhanced social dynamic it provides or a work online learning balance. Simply being around their peers is incredibly beneficial for most children and, since March, many have been isolated and have not had the opportunity to engage in regular age-appropriate conversation with friends.
This all may seem bleak but there is good news: we can help! There are strategies that personal trainers can utilize to help families stay active together and promote a healthy lifestyle for both their children and themselves. Join me in our upcoming BlogCast to learn more about these strategies and how you can help this unique demographic survive and thrive during this pandemic.
Want more specific ideas to excel with our youth and your children? Check out our Youth Fitness Foundations programs and others for direction to expand this market as a Personal Trainer and as a parent. Check these out!
By Abby Eastman MS Ed, Professional Fitness Trainer and Entrepreneur
A couple months into our newish normal during Corona Virus shutdowns I was missing the gym, my friends, the energy of teaching a classes and the encouragement of my gym family. I knew I needed to get into a better routine and figure out a way to navigate the roads ahead. In our area of the country we still have shutdowns and not everything is open. And although it has been tough not having my normal space, toys and connectivity with clients, adjusting to a new normal has had a lot of perks! I have more time to exercise on my own and experiment with new full body workouts and pop into my favorite group classes I can’t normally attend via zoom. I have even brushed up on my video training skills while gaining new clients virtually.
Even though heading to your favorite gym for a daily workout or train might not be a possibility right now, here are a few tips for setting up a home workout space.
First: When at all possible stick to your regular full body workout time and help your clients do the same. Are you a morning exerciser? Great – schedule yourself in at the time you would usually hit the gym! Work with clients to help them keep their regularly scheduled time even if it has to be a remote session. Having a sense of routine in this uncertain time can help us mentally and physically stay in shape.
Second: Trainers, explore what new options you can offer clients virtually. Reach out to current and past clients to share your new services. You can provide custom, home-based programs on the equipment they have available. Try scheduling a free 15-minute virtual session to give them a jumpstart. Boot camp, small groups, private sessions, outdoor sessions and pop up workouts are just a few options you can offer if you haven’t started already. Share with clients the benefits of booking additional check-in sessions the keep their momentum. It will keep them accountable and connected while building your business.
Additionally, this is a wonderful opportunity for us as personal trainers to break out a new fitness plan and get out of our own training rut. You could try a new workout routine app, hop in a fellow trainer’s virtual class, or breakout those old workout DVD’s. Have you been meaning to try kickboxing, martial arts, or yoga? Been eyeing a new certification or continuing education course? Now is a great time to experiment with activities you may not normally get the chance to from the comfort of your own home. Bonus: now you can have your AC adjusted just how you like it! Clients will enjoy the spice you bring to their sessions.
Third: Create your space! You do not need a lot of space but having dedicated area can help you stick to your routine. Great fitness at home workout equipment options include:
These items do not take up a lot of space and can make for a great total body routine whether building muscle, bodyweight exercises or anything with fitness at home.
If you have extra space, search through your local online yard sales and gym equipment sales. Many sell refurbished gym equipment for great prices. Grab your favorite cardio machine and pair it with a bench, corner cable unit and you will have a whole new area to look forward to. Challenge yourself to stick with your workouts and reward yourself with new toys.
Trainers create your virtual space for optimal training by:
Taping off a pre-determined space for filming. Place an “X” where your computer or camera stand goes and a square of tape around the perimeter that is within the viewing area you need to stay within while filming. Makes it easy to jump into a session quickly and ensures clients can see you!
Try an adjustable camera stand. You can easily adjust the viewing area so the client can see your form while standing, seated or reclined.
Be sure the lighting is pointing toward you. Lights shining in from the side or behind you make you look like a dark shadow. It also makes it hard for clients to see you.
Set the stage you created with all equipment clients will need so it is visible to them when they sign on.
Create a clean background behind you that is simple.
Wear bright colors! You will show up best on camera in bright, solid colors.
If you are filming at your facility, show off a familiar space to help clients feel at home.
Welcome clients just like you would at your facility and invite all types of strength training, body weight, cardio, HIIT exercise requests if possible.
While this may not be the way we are accustomed to working with clients there are plenty of ways we can continue to reach people virtually. Many clients are finding virtual workouts with a personal trainer easier to attend. Clients can stay in the comfort of their home or office, kids can be in the background and they can skip traffic!
Share with us what ways you are reaching clients; we’d love to hear what new tricks you’ve learned!
Abby holds a BS and Ms Ed in Exercises Science. She has over 20 years of experience teaching health education, group exercise, yoga, and personal training. She has taught at the university and community college levels and directed a variety of community fitness programs. She has been working with W.I.T.S. in various rolls including mentoring online programs, continuing education creation, leading webinars, and teaching in-person certifications since 2004. She believes everyone deserves to feel and live their best life and is passionate partnering with others to help them get there.
Abby Eastman MSEd, ACSM Exercise Physiologist/EIM II, CHWC, E-RYT200
As the COVID-19 pandemic transforms our society and a myriad of industries, including our own, concerns about safely continuing to pursue fitness goals have emerged as fitness instructors and the clients they support weigh the risks versus rewards during these unprecedented times.
Nationwide, cases have continued to surge in spite of attempts to temper the proliferation of the virus as government organizations at the federal, state, and local levels work to strike a delicate balance between curating the health of citizens and restoring the economy. Measures such as abridging capacity and hours of operation of multiple fitness and recreational facilities, including temporarily shuttering venues and suspending services, while disruptive, are intended to keep us healthy.
Long term held beliefs about exercise adversely impacting immune system is the functioning has been corroborated by a landmark review authored by Gleeson (2007). The review demonstrated that the inflammatory response of a singular bout of intense and prolonged exercise mirrors that of infection, sepsis, or trauma, triggering the release of inflammatory cytokines, including tumor necrosis factor, and interleukins 6 and 10, C-recreative protein, and interleukin-1-receptor antagonists that, in concert, influence the augmentation of circulating white blood cells, known as leukocytes.
Hormonal secretion following an intense bout of exercise induced activity, specifically epinephrine and cortisol blunt the secretion of leukocytes and impair cell mediated immunity and inflammation, thereby increasing the susceptibility of infection and modulating the morbidity and severity of illness. Previous research established a strong correlation between a exercise dose and upper respiratory tract infection among humans. Health fitness exercise bouts consisting of a stimuli that is too novel, too frequent, too intense, and too voluminous to which the subject is accustomed have been found to increase pathogen infection risk. There has been a considerable amount of studies that have demonstrated the temporary ergolytic effects of acute exercise on immune system functioning, ranging from three to 72 hours post-exercise. Researchers and health and exercise professionals have coined this period of time characterized by temporary suppression of the immune system as “the open window”.
To simultaneously curtail infection risk and facilitate the achievement of improved fitness industry qualities or biomotor skills, one must account for life stress, energy availability, sleep duration and quality, travel, and exposure to environmental or climate extremes beyond the exercise frequency, intensity, volume, and type, according to Professor Neil Walsh, a faculty member at Bangor University in the United Kingdom, who outlined recommendations for athletes to maintain immune health.
Key guidelines among the few dozen presented are summarized below for personal trainers in working with potential clients:
Undulating training stress throughout training cycles and weeks
Incorporating active recovery sessions
Incrementally increasing volume and intensity, but no more than 5-10% per week
Minimize unnecessary life stress
Monitor, manage, and quantify all forms of stress, both psychological and physical
Aim for more than seven hours of sleep each night; nap during the daytime, if able to, or necessary
Monitor sleep duration and quality; ensure darkness at bedtime
Be cognizant of reduced exercise capacity in hotter, more humid environments
Permit acclimatization to changes in, or extreme weather
Uphold optimal or recommended nutrition, hydration, and hygiene practices
Do not engage in extreme dieting; be sure to consume a well balanced diet
Discontinue training if experiencing symptoms “below the neck” as they could be indicative of an upper respiratory tract infection (URTI)
Avoid sick and/or symptomatic people
Practice good hand hygeine
Exercise evokes a hormetic effect, or dose-dependent response, meaning that moderate exposure can be beneficial, but amounts either too minimal or excessive can cause harm. This is precisely why exercise physiology scholars and health and medical professionals alike have embraced the mantra of “exercise is medicine” in recent years. Too little exercise results in greater cardiometabolic disease (aka conditions of “disuse”) risk, whereas too much exercise results in greater injury or illness (aka conditions of “overuse”). As mentioned in an earlier post, “acute singular bouts of exercise at or above lactate threshold (55% of VO2max among untrained individuals; 85% of VO2max among trained individuals) for periods of up to, or more than one hour, contributed to temporary immunosuppression. Regular exercise among individuals has shown to yield immunoprotective benefits. The takeaway here should be, exercise during this time should be regarded as a tool to reinvigorate and recover, not bury and deliberately fatigue. Sparingly perform sets to failure and limit volume at or beyond lactate threshold.”
In summary, immune system performance and overall health can be achieved through regular exercise. During times of greater illness transmission and infection risk, fitness professionals, athletes, and enthusiasts must practice both diligence and vigilance to ward off foreign pathogens. Fitness goals should be targeted and inputs, such as time and effort should be quantified to calculate training load. Rest and recovery should be as equally, if not greater prioritized.
Gleeson, M. (2007). Immune function in sport and exercise. Journal of Applied Physiology, 103 (2), 693-699.
Let’s face it, the COVID-19 pandemic (in relation to a baseball analogy) has been a curveball that no one has been able to hit cleanly. That being said, we all still need to stand in the batter box and take our best swing.
As states across the country begin to allow fitness centers, health clubs, wellness centers and athletic facilities to open, there are still numerous precautions that have to be considered with coronavirus. For all of us who are actively involved with the Fitness Industry, we can’t simply think that it is going to be business as usual. Its not. All of us (members, clients, personal trainers) are going to have to be much more conscious and take a proactive approach to try and ensure the safety of everyone. This won’t necessarily be easy, but it is doable.
The following is a usable list of suggestions that should be considered when you prepare to reopen to start fitness sessions and training activities for your client base:
Fitness Facility Usage
Remove equipment (strength and cardio) from some areas and have it located in another part of your facility to help with physical distancing
Make some equipment (strength and cardio) unusable (maybe by posting sign on it), then changing which equipment is usable daily
Utilize multiple doors in the facility – One for “Entrance” – One for “Exit”
Temporarily remove all fitness accessories and portable recreational equipment (bands, balls, bars, etc.) from the fitness area
Supply additional cleaning supplies, then require all participants to clean up / wipe down fitness equipment after use
Require wearing a mask or cloth face shields be worn by everyone in the facility
Perform temperature checks for everyone entering the facility
Air flow is key so use your fans in the building and leave your fan setting for the A/C on.
Require all members or clients to sign a Liability Waver specific to COVID-19
Additional Hand Sanitizer units should be installed in facility
Limit that only 2 people may be in any rest room, at any time
Limit that only 2 people may use the elevator, at any time (if you have one)
Consider establishing a “fitness room capacity’, then require any interested participant to schedule an appointment time, in order to use the room / equipment
Consider to temporarily not allow access to the locker rooms / showers
Consider foot-plates or arm-bars to open the doors in the facility
Consider offering any live fitness-group classes virtually
Temporary suspend any recreational activities, games, and competitions on a basketball court, racquetball court, or turf field where intentional or inadvertent physical contact may occur
Eliminate the use of any room or area that cannot be monitored by a staff member
Rearrange Fitness Staff or Sales Staff offices, to help with social distancing and allow for immediate cleaning when their use is completed
Consider adjusting the operating scheduling of the facility (longer of shorter) to accommodate community members who have preexisting health conditions, along with controlling the flow of foot traffic in the facility
Staggered scheduling for Fitness Staff, so not all the staff members are in the facility at the same time
Allow Staff Member to work from home, on task and work assignments that do not require them to be in the facility
Scheduled workout sessions for specific participants, with a limit on the number of participants on the court, field or gym at a time
Once a group session is concluded, those participants will be required to leave the facility or field, so the next group can participate
Don’t allow friends or family members to wait in the facility during a session
Clients are to bring their own fitness or athletic equipment (balls, bands, clothes, etc.), to all fitness training sessions. The Staff will not be allowed give out equipment
Clients or members must bring their own water or snacks with them to all training sessions
Fitness Facility Rentals
Any group that wishes to rent or reserve any field or court in the facility must do so through a designated staff representative of the facility, do so 24 hours in advance, and supply a list of all participants who will be using the field or court
Inactive participants, reserves, or members serving in the capacity of a “coach”, “photographer”, or “referee” must maintain a distance of six feet or more from other persons at all times
Aforementioned persons must always wear a facial covering, mask, or shield while not participating
A designated staff member will determine what sports or activities will be permitted on any field or court in the facility, along with having direct and final input on any rules that are associated with predetermined sports or activities
Recreational and sporting activities with greater rates of contact, whether intentional or incidental, are prohibited
Participants are to follow self-screening measures prior to entering premises which include temperature and symptom checks. Those who have a body temperature of 100.4F or symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 are prohibited from entering the premises
Those who exhibit symptoms during play or while on premises, must vacate immediately and seek appropriate medical attention
Beverages with open containers and food and snacks, specifically gum, lozenges, and sunflower seeds are prohibited due to increased risk of transmission via saliva.
The sharing of beverages, including water and sports drinks, from the same container, is highly discouraged
Participants are strongly discouraged from high fiving, handshaking, fist bumping, hugging and sharing other forms of physical contact with one another. Additionally, participants are discouraged from touching their faces with their hands and fingers
Personal property is to be stored along the perimeter of the field or court, and more than six feet away from possessions belonging to other persons
I recognize that there are a lot of potential rules or restrictions on the list, along with other ones that could be included. However, because we all work at various locations, with different populations, with different requirements, my suggestion would be to apply as many of these as possible to your specific athletic, fitness, and wellness training situation.
Together, we can all make a positive impact on limiting the exposure of COVID-19. Then we can all get back to what it is we like to do – physically training and conditioning our clients, members and athletes… … and swinging for the fences …
Mark S. Cassidy, MS has been actively involved with the Fitness and Athletic Industry for over 25 years.
He has held professional positions with The Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, World Instructors Training Schools, Philadelphia 76ers, YMCA, Delaware Blue Coats, Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association, and American Heart Association. Mark has an Associate’s degree in Business from Delaware County Community College, a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology from Temple University, a Master’s degree in Organizational Development/Business Psychology from The Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, and certification through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He has professional experience as a Fitness Instructor, Strength Coach, Sports Coach-Counselor, Exercise Therapist, Sales Manager, College Professor, and Athletic Facility Director
The landscape of the fitness industry has changed dramatically over the past few months. A staple of most communities, fitness facilities have been ordered to close, trainers have been furloughed, and people have openly stated that they aren’t sure if they’ll feel “safe” in facilities when (and if) they reopen.
This, of course, comes at a time where the need to live a healthy life has never been more important. COVID-19 has really raised the focus on public health and, as trainers, we play an integral role in helping people! Consider the co-morbidities most often associated with complications from COVID-19: obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. These are all things that we help people with on a daily basis. We’ve been talking about the importance of battling these conditions for decades but, now that the spotlight is on them, people are taking notice and want to improve. It’s important to note that this includes potential new clients, as well as those who may have suffered from the dreaded “Quarantine 15” weight gain.
The issue facing trainers, however, is clear – how do we train our clients when they are hesitant to come to our facility or, even worse, our facilities are closed? The answer lies in improving and diversify our offerings. Trainers must be innovative and look for ways to help people outside the normal confines of a fitness facility. Both social distancing and outdoor activity are proven ways to minimize the spread of COVID-19, so seeking activities that accomplish both are essential to our success.
One exciting option for trainers is to encourage Fitness Walking. An underrated exercise activity, fitness walking can yield a multitude of benefits for your clients – both new and established. It’s low-impact, provides both physical and mental benefits and, most importantly, can be done virtually anywhere by anyone! W.I.T.S. Fitness Walking course covers proper techniques, skills, and content used in designing, implementing, and evaluating individualized and group programs in fitness walking for a variety of clients and their fitness levels. You’ll learn about nuances such as gait deviation (which can play a huge role in stride rate/length and injury prevention) and how the principles of physical fitness directly relate to fitness walking. You’ll learn about specific flexibility exercises that can benefit walkers and even some basics about proper clothing and footwear! In short, this course will give you the necessary skills to add this style of training to your offerings so you can continue to be profitable during these trying times.
As mentioned earlier, this pandemic has forced us to be innovative and there are some really fun new concepts that have emerged that would pair nicely with fitness walking, such as virtual races. Obviously, given the times, the idea of getting large groups of people together for a 5K, 10K, half- or full-marathon, is one that should remain just that: an idea. Instead, the market for virtual races has exploded since February! There are races of almost any length and many of them have fun (or customizable) themes that award medals and gear much like their physical counterparts. Think about how fun it would be for a new client to have the pride of accomplishing a goal without the usual nerves or hesitation associated with a live event. It could just be what they need to make this a lifelong activity and you’re the perfect trainer to help them get started.
Swing by the W.I.T.S. store to check this course out, as well as our other sport-based CEC offerings. Check back in often as we are beginning to develop a new line of courses specific to the current needs of trainers.
Picture this: it’s been a great workout with a relatively new client. They’ve pushed themselves hard in each of their workouts but they’re not quite seeing the results they had hoped for. The client finishes their last set and you’re right in the middle of your concluding conversation when the question pops out: “what should I be eating?”
Sound familiar? This is a scene that plays out all across the personal training stratosphere fairly regularly. The vast majority of personal trainers are questioned about dietary advice at some point in their careers and, when we look at the data, it’s not all that surprising!
The obesity epidemic in the United States is well-documented. Over the past 20 years, the rate of obesity in adults has grown from 30.5% to 42.4% and, when you include the number of Americans who are overweight, that percentage grows to 71.6%! If you’re curious about the trends in your own state, here’s a link to the CDC’s Obesity Prevalence trends from 2011 through 2018. (more…)
It’s hard to imagine what life would be like without the various forms of social media that influence our lives each day. Do you have a social media presence? Is it for your personal use or strictly for your professional use? If you do, you’re part of an ever-growing population that is adopting the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other platforms. Over the past ten years, the use of social media has exploded. According to Forbes, there are now 5.2 billion individuals with cell phones on this planet and there are 3.8 billion social media users. That means that, in all likelihood, 2020 will be the final year where less than half of the Earth’s population will be using some form of social media. That’s a pretty shocking statistic!
Looking back at the first paragraph of this post, if you answered “yes” to the question posed, you’re already on your way! What matters most to you is whether or not you’re truly maximizing your presence by understanding the role of social media in the promotion of your brand or business.
If you answered “no” to the question posed in the opening paragraph, what is it that is holding your back from tapping into this massive pool of potential revenue? Most people who avoid social media cite a lack of tech savvy or fear of “misuse” as their primary reasons for not getting their brand or business online. Consider, though, the potential revenue you may be missing out on.
A large part of proper social media use is increasing your visibility. The more visible you become, the more likely you are to monetize your online presence. Did you know that, in 2020, companies are expected to spend nearly $43 billion on social media advertising and, by 2022, companies will invest $15 billion on influencer marketing? Influencers, by definition, are people who have built a reputation for their knowledge and expertise on a specific topic. These people, through their posts, have gathered such a following that brands and companies are willing to actually pay them for their exposure!
Social media newbies and veterans alike can benefit from the introductory concepts taught in this mini-course. For example, one of the most important things about using interactive social media is “likeability”. Do people who view your content find it to be worthwhile? Do they like viewing your content enough to follow you or give your post the cherished “like”? Whether you’re using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, or one of the many other platforms available, Finding Your Customers: Listen, Define, and Think to Increase Your Social Media Presence will give you the necessary tools to help you increase your social media presence and, more importantly, become more “likeable” online. You will learn how to listen online, how to target markets using different social media outlets, and develop more authentic online relationships that will increase business and sales.
By Mark S. Cassidy, MS and Joe Giandonato, MS, CSCS
Weeks ago, our lives and our society as we operate have indelibly changed. In the months preceding widespread lockdowns, the insidious and highly transmissible pathogen COVID-19, stealthily coursed the globe. This virus has infected millions and contributed to an extremely high number of deaths worldwide.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has paralyzed a continuum of industries and businesses, our nation’s great military charges on. They have assisted in erecting temporary hospitals, bolstering our nation’s law enforcement and security functions, distributing rations to displaced and needy citizens, and joining healthcare professionals on the frontlines.
And for those who have recently enlisted or are contemplating enlistment, preparation cannot cease. Just because local gyms and athletic facilities have temporarily closed, that doesn’t mean one should abandon their physical preparedness. Each recruit, irrespective of their branch, will be called upon to complete a physical fitness test.
One can adequately prepare by incorporating a full-body resistance training regimen along with high-intensity cardiovascular activities that can be performed at home with minimal to no equipment. This will ensure increases in muscle strength, lean body mass, and cardiorespiratory fitness needed to meet the rigors of basic training.
Although there are some slight variations, all branches of the military have some form of physical fitness requirement for entrance into their respective community. The following is a list of these requirements for each branch (as of January 2020). The scoring for each test is determined by the particular branch; along with the order or substitutions of exercises.
50-meter sprint (3 x), 50-meter drag of a 90 lbs. sled, 50-meter carry of two 40 lbs. kettlebells
Hanging leg tucks for 2 minutes
2-mile timed run
Service Academy Fitness Assessment
The Service Academies of the Air Force (USAFA), Navy (USNA), Army (USMA), and the Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) use the Candidate Fitness Assessment (CFA)
Kneeling basketball throw for distance
Cadence pull-ups for repetitions
120 ft. shuttle-run for time
1-minute of crunches
1-minute of push-ups
Although there is no direct substitute for performing any of the actual testing exercises, performing a holistic resistance training program will help with the preparation of the actual test.
The resistance / full-body workout, will hit each major muscle group. The initial program will go for 30 days (4 weeks), with 5 workout days and 2 light/rest days per week. If you do not have access to free-weight equipment, you can substitute in something else while performing the movements. (Example: therapy bands, kettlebells, medicine balls, or even bricks, jugs of water or buckets of sand could work)
It is up to each individual to determine the amount of intensity, resistance or repetitions they can handle on each day. Keep in mind that the military is a physically and mentally demanding profession, so working until a point of fatigue (or failure) can be a good guideline. However, never use a workout intensity or resistance load that causes you to become injured.
Taking into consideration any nutritional / meal requirements, staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water and attempting to get seven to nine hours of sleep a day, is also important during your training.
If necessary, contact a certified Athletic Trainer, Strength Coach, Fitness Professional or Health Care Provider for additional guidance.
Monday: (10 – 15 minute warm-up and stretch should be done to start the program) (The rest time between sets can be 30 – 90 seconds) Dumbbell Shoulder Squat: 4-5 sets 10-12 repetitions Dumbbell Bench / Lat Rows: 3-4 sets 12-15 repetitions Dumbbell Lifts / Back Extensions 4-sets 8-10 repetitions Dumbbell Bench Press: 4-5 sets 10-12 repetitions Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 3-4 sets 12-15 repetitions
Cardio Work: 15 – 20 minute light jog / walk
Tuesday: (10 – 15 minute warm-up and stretch should be done to start the program) (The rest time between sets can be 30-90 seconds) Seated Knee Tucks: 4-5 sets 15-20 repetitions Wide Hand Push-Ups: 3-4 sets 10-12 repetitions Full Sit-Ups: 4-5 sets 15-20 repetitions Pull-Ups: 3-4 sets 10-12 repetitions Mountain Climbers: 4-5 sets 15-20 repetitions
Cardio Work: 10 – 15 Sprints for 40-50 yards
Wednesday: Active Rest Day 15 – 30 minutes of stretchers for the entire body 15 – 30 minutes of cardiovascular work by a light-brisk walk
Thursday: (10 – 15 minute warm-up and stretch should be done to start the program) (The rest time between sets can be 30-90 seconds) Barbell Bench Press: 4-5 sets 10-12 repetitions Barbell Dead Lifts: 3-4 sets 12-15 repetitions Barbell Up-Right Rows: 4-sets 8-10 repetitions Dumbbell Bicep Curls: 4-5 sets 10-12 repetitions Dumbbell Triceps Extensions: 3-4 sets 12-15 repetitions
Cardio Work: 15 – 20 minute light jog / walk
Friday: (10 – 15 minute warm-up and stretch should be done to start the program) (The rest time between sets can be 30-90 seconds) Full Sit-Ups: 4-5 sets 15-20 repetitions Narrow Hand Push-Ups: 3-4 sets 10-12 repetitions Standing Oblique Twists: 4-5 sets 15-20 repetitions Lying Supine Back Extensions: 3-4 sets 10-12 repetitions Mountain Climbers: 4-5 sets 15-20 repetitions
Cardio Work: 10 – 15 Sprints for 40-50 yards
Saturday: (10 – 15 minute warm-up and stretch should be done to start the program) (The rest time between sets can be 60 – 120 seconds) Jumping Jacks: 4-5 sets 15-20 repetitions Walking Forward Lunges: 3-4 sets 10-12 repetitions Jump Squats: 4-5 sets 8-10 repetitions Side Steps: 3-4 sets 10-12 repetitions Depth Jumps: 4-5 sets 8-10 repetitions
Cardio Work: 15 – 20 minute light jog / walk
Sunday: Active Rest 30 – 60 minutes of Stretching / Yoga / Meditation
In the event that you would not have access to the type of resistance exercise equipment necessary to perform the movement or for some reason you found the exercise too difficult, below is a list of substitution exercises that you can utilize in any of the program’s daily workouts:
Narrow Stance Body Weight Squats: 4-5 sets 12-15 repetitions Single Leg Body Weight Squats: 4-5 sets 5-8 repetitions on each leg Stationary Lateral Lunges: 3-4 sets 5-8 repetitions on each leg Single Leg Standing Calf Raise: 3-4 sets 10-12 repetitions on each leg Clapping Hands Push-Ups: 3-4 sets 8-10 repetitions Non-Symmetrical Hand Placement Push-Ups: 3-4 sets 8-10 repetitions Single Arm Push-Ups: 3-4 sets 5-8 repetitions on each arm Side Plank: 3-4 sets hold 30-45 seconds on each side Bicycle Abs / Knee to Elbow: 3-4 sets 10-12 repetitions on each side Superman: 3-4 sets 10-12 repetitions Chair Dips: 4-5 sets 10-12 repetitions
It will be best to begin training 3 to 4 months in advance of the actual fitness testing date. This will allow time for a certified Athletic Trainer, Strength Coach or Fitness Professional to make recommendations on when to change intensity, time and exercise variations, to help the probability of your success.
To find out when a particular branch of the military is scheduling fitness tests, contact your local recruiting office for specific details.
Thank you in advance for your service to our country!
Mark S. Cassidy, MS has been an educational instructor with the W.I.T.S. organization since 2000. He has held professional positions with The Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Philadelphia 76ers, YMCA, Delaware Blue Coats, Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association, and American Heart Association. Mark has an Associate’s degree in Business from Delaware County Community College, a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology from Temple University and a Master’s degree in Organizational Development/Business Psychology from The Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. He has professional experience as a Fitness Instructor, Strength Coach, Sports Coach-Counselor, Exercise Therapist, Sales Manager, College Professor, and Athletic Facility Director.
Joe Giandonato, MS, CSCS is an educational instructor with the World Instructor Training Schools, fitness and recreation specialist at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, and an adjunct faculty member at Eastern University and Chestnut Hill College where he teaches exercise science electives. Previously, Giandonato served as the Manager of Health Promotion and Wellness at Drexel University, Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at Germantown Academy, and Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at Saint Joseph’s University.
CPH & Associates is committed to supporting our clients during the Covid-19 pandemic. We understand that many of you have had to alter the way you practice in order to face this unprecedented challenge.
As you shift to providing training sessions via online platforms, we are pleased to assure you that your professional liability policy covers online/video services, per the terms and conditions of the policy.There is no additional “rider” or endorsement that you need to add to your policy to be covered for these services. We encourage you to confirm that you are providing services legally within the scope of your state’s laws.
It is important to ensure you are protected while you continue to see clients during this time. Injury and mishaps can still occur, especially with the limitations of online/video training and the lack of hands-on instruction. A policy with CPH provides peace of mind while you and your clients adapt to unfamiliar methods of working together.
Questions about your policy? Please call us at 800-875-1911 or send us an email at email@example.com.
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