Dec 31, 2010

Hands on learning: A note about CrossFit

This is part of an ongoing blog where I shadowed the 19th BLETP cadets through their defensive tactics training, as well as some other programs. You can start at the beginning here, or read the feature article that appeared in The Maine Edge here.

VASSALBORO – For much of the 18 weeks that the cadets trained at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy they would participate in PT (physical training) every day, except Friday. Now, the regimen they use is known as CrossFit, which is, according to the website, “delivers a fitness that is, by design, broad, general, and inclusive. Our specialty is not specializing. Combat, survival, many sports and life reward this kind of fitness and, on average, punish the specialist.”

Each day the cadets would participate in a different routine. They aren’t long, drawn out workout – some as short as 17 minutes – but don’t let that fool you. These are intense, rugged workouts.
I was invited to participate in one of the drills, known as “Linda” and also known as “Three Bars of Death.” It was a weight lifting exercise that involves a deadlift of one and half your body weight, a bench press of your body weight and a clean press of three-quarters your body weight – and they took it a little easy on me (I adjusted downward on a the weights). You first do 10 of each, then 9 and so on down to 1. Hardcore.

One of the other workouts I was able to witness (I couldn’t participate due to my schedule – seriously) was called “Fight Gone Bad.” This consisted of one minute of wall balls (The cadets do a squat and when they rise they toss a medicine ball into the air and catch it); a minute of sumo deadlift high pulls (lifting weights) a minute of box jumps (jumping up onto a box at least two feet tall); a minute of push presses (lifting less weights, but higher); and a minute of Burpees (the cadets drop, do a push-up, jump up into a jumping jack and repeat). They do this three times with one minute breaks in between.
Warden Bruce Loring of the Maine Warden Service and a Cadre at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy explained that the exercise was designed by CrossFit personnel after a mixed martial arts fighter went to them with a challenge to create an exercise that made him feel as exhausted as he did after fighting in the ring.

“It’s workouts like this that teach them to push through,” said Loring. “It’s not over. You’re still in it.”
This was the second time the cadets had gone through this particular workout. This allowed them to see how they had improved over the last one.

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