Velocity Systems

Archive for the ‘Warrior Athlete’ Category

Soldier Center’s Small Unit Performance Analytics Event Advances Soldier Performance Research

Wednesday, October 26th, 2022

NATICK, Mass. – The U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Soldier Center, or DEVCOM SC, completed its fifth Small Unit Performance Analytics, or SUPRA, event at Fort Devens on September 12 – 23. The data collection, supported by infantry squads from the 10th Mountain Division, was part of DEVCOM SC’s ongoing Measuring and Advancing Soldier Tactical Readiness and Effectiveness, or MASTR-E, program. MASTR-E’s Small Unit Performance Analytics (SUPRA) research team planned and executed the event.

Led by DEVCOM Soldier Center, the MASTR-E program is a large-scale effort focused on measuring, predicting, and enhancing close combat performance with predictive performance algorithms, sensors, data-driven decision aids, and targeted interventions to maximize Soldier performance. DEVCOM Soldier Center is executing a collaborative development strategy with numerous military, academic, and industry partners on the effort. The goal of the MASTR-E program is to characterize and predict Soldier cognitive and physical performance under operationally relevant conditions, ultimately increasing warfighter capability.

SUPRA events play an important role in the overall MASTR-E program.

“SUPRA concentrates on true measures of collective performance,” said George Matook, program lead for MASTR-E. “The Army fights as units, not as individuals; while it’s important to understand individual performance as a part of that whole, quantifying unit performance is critical. SUPRA does that for MASTR-E.”

Data collected from participating squads in SUPRA events include communication data, physiological status monitoring, and marksmanship data — to name just a few areas of data collection. SUPRA events aim to increase understanding of how individual and squad performance influences overall Soldier effectiveness and lethality.

“The SUPRA research team collects over 100 GB of data and close to 500 different dependent measures for each squad that completes the testing,” said Meghan O’Donovan, a biomechanics research engineer in DEVCOM SC’s Soldier Effective Directorate who works on the MASTR-E effort. “Given the numbers of squads and Soldiers tested, this makes it one of the largest dismounted infantry, force-on-force data sets in existence.”

By adding data to the MASTR-E Soldier performance effort, this SUPRA event will broaden Soldier representation and enhance the science behind the effort.

“This SUPRA event adds more Soldier data into the analytical pool, strengthening the statistical relevance of the relationships and metrics we’re discovering,” said Matook. “We want to ensure the information is representative of the Army, not just a couple of squads we happened to sample.”

DEVCOM SC’s longtime expertise in multiple domains in Soldier technology research and development, as well as its innovative partnerships with academia and industry are also playing an important role in the SUPRA efforts specifically and in the MASTR-E effort overall.

“DEVCOM Soldier Center’s longtime expertise in multiple domains is necessary to properly execute MASTR-E,” said Matook. “By design, our studies are multi-disciplinary, encompassing work in physical, cognitive, socio-emotional, and health domains. While Soldier Center has experts in some of these areas, it was important to leverage the help of other Army and DoD assets to bring a best of breed team to the problem set. To bring together the right skillsets for SUPRA in particular, we assembled a team from Soldier Center, Aberdeen Test Center, Army Research Institute, Naval Health Research Center, and multiple industry partners.”

SUPRA events are an important part of the MASTR-E program’s effort to better understand and to increase Soldier readiness and performance.

“MASTR-E as a whole will benefit warfighters in many ways, from garrison, to training, and operations,” said Matook. “MASTR-E’s work measuring, predicting, and enhancing close combat performance will help the Army and its Soldiers see themselves better, to understand our true capability and readiness with the metrics that matter. Coupling this knowledge with Optimizing the Human Weapon System will give leaders an unprecedented situational understanding of their formations, enabling higher levels of readiness and increased probability of mission success.”

By Jane Benson, DEVCOM Soldier Center Public Affairs

US Marine Air Traffic Controller Achieves Guinness World Record At MCAS Iwakuni

Thursday, October 13th, 2022

IWAKUNI, Japan —

“Don’t let your accomplishments define you. If you let one define you, then you will become that very thing forever. Always keep climbing for more,” said U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Nahla Beard.

Beard has been stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan since 2019. Beard is of Iranian descent; her parents emigrated from Iran to the U.S. when they were in their 20’s to start a new life in California.

She is now an Air Traffic Control supervisor with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron who values physical fitness and is routinely setting new goals for herself and her fellow Marines.

“I wasn’t always into physical fitness,” said Beard. “ Just basic levels that were required of me, but during my second year in the military I hurt my back pretty badly which took almost nine months to recover from. When I felt like I was back at a hundred percent, I really started getting into fitness so I would avoid getting injured again.”

She started by putting more effort into aerobic physical training sessions that furthered her cardiovascular ability, with an emphasis on stretching afterward, which she says is something that some service members neglect from time to time.

“It’s not all about running and doing max pull-ups” Beard said. “In my experience, people don’t really take the time to have PTs that are dedicated to mobility and stretching.”

When Beard was a corporal, she led her shop in a PT program where they worked on their mobility and stretching. In a few weeks’ time, her Marines improved in their physical capabilities drastically and became significantly more proficient in their annual physical fitness evaluations.

She continues to focus on her agility and aerobic drills in order to improve her abilities and her resilience to injury, driven by a desire to never be in a physical slump for a long period of time again.

Her motivation to stay free from injury eventually culminated in a desire to push herself to the apex of her abilities. Beard was getting stronger, faster, and more efficient with her movements, and she began to develop a strong proclivity for a specific exercise that is one of the cornerstones of cardiovascular fitness: burpees. “I got into high intensity tactical training for a really long time and participated in the HITT competition they had on base,” Beard said. “That was really fun. It built my stamina to the point where I was able to do a lot of burpees and then that’s when I looked up the world record out of curiosity.”

For a time, Beard volunteered as a Physical Fitness Test Regulations for H&HS when the unit was running low on CPTRs. Over time, she decided to get certified, and now she conducts her own PFTs and CFTs with the H&HS operations office, or S-3.

Beard would later attempt the Guiness World Record for most chest-to-ground burpees in one minute for the female category. With three months of rigorous training to make sure her form was flawless, Beard would have to give all she had — and more — in order to break the record.

With the rules for a chest-to-ground burpee being different from a regular burpee, Beard wanted to make sure she did exactly what the rules dictated for the Guiness world record.

“During my three months of training I did a lot of burpees while timing myself and kept trying to break my last record. I then set it up according to the rules they had and tried to do it within the time limit.”

 U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Nahla Beard

In order for her to perform the correct technique for the burpees, she had to make sure her arms were extended out by her sides when her chest was on the ground, and when she jumped up in the air and landed, her feet and hands had to be the correct distance from tape markings on the ground.

On August 14 2021, Beard decided to put her body to the test and attempt to break the world record.

“It was a really cool day because a bunch of the command on base showed up with friends and family,” Beard said. “I ended up attempting five times on the same day because I wasn’t sure if I did it.”

Beard was uncompromising in her approach, deciding to do it multiple times to ensure that success would be hers that day and that all the hard work she put into herself would pay off and be symbolized in the coveted world record plaque.

“It was super nerve-wracking,” claimed Beard. The on-going coronavirus pandemic meant that she was not able to compete for the world record with a Guiness judge in person and instead had to record herself and submit her attempt virtually. “They had more delays than usual because it was the time of covid. They kept on emailing me asking for more evidence to help verify it more. When they gave me their final email my heart dropped for a bit when I saw the word “congratulations.”

She was elated by the good news. She achieved something that she could not have even dreamed of accomplishing just a couple of years ago. But with world record plaque in hand, it was all too real.

When asked if she would be attempting to break other Guinness world records, she did not keep it out of the question.

“Right now, I’m focusing more on powerlifting,” Beard said. “I’m trying to get my numbers up for that. A year ago I was in the 500 pound club and just last week I made it to the 700 pound club.”

Beard is now working on getting her bachelor’s degree in nutrition to further her education with fitness and perhaps make a career out of it.

Beard continues to inspire others with her initiative and physical prowess, showing others to never have a single incident define who you are for the rest of your life. Despite her early injuries, she built herself up stronger and more capable than before and achieved something that relatively few have ever accomplished.

Cpl Mitchell Austin, Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan

TRX Reacquired By SEAL Founder In Bankruptcy

Tuesday, August 30th, 2022

RANDY HETRICK, FOUNDER AND FORMER CEO, PARTNERS WITH PRIVATE EQUITY VETERAN, JACK DALY, TO ACQUIRE TRX®

Navy SEAL-Turned-Entrepreneur and Developer of Suspension Training®, Poised to Revitalize Innovative Global Fitness Brand

DELRAY BEACH, Fla., Aug. 29, 2022 / — TRX® (“the Company”) today announced that the Founder and Former CEO, Randy Hetrick, and partner, Jack Daly, acquired the iconic, global fitness brand, TRX. Hetrick founded TRX after inventing the Suspension Trainer® as a SEAL Team Squadron Commander and will now lead the Company as Chairman with Daly, who will serve as the Chief Executive Officer.

“It’s gratifying to be back at the helm of TRX at a time when the world is emerging from COVID and the Company needs inspired, innovative leadership,” said TRX Chairman, Hetrick. “TRX remains one of the fitness industry’s most recognizable and influential global brands, and under a new, experienced management team – powered by passion and renewed vision – our brand will build on its position as the most trusted name in fitness. I couldn’t be happier to be back and to have the opportunity to bring several of my best longtime teammates back with me.”

Hetrick founded TRX in 2004 after a career as a Navy SEAL and earning an MBA from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. Core to the brand’s rapid rise and global success was the TRX Suspension Trainer® – a comprehensive functional fitness solution developed by Hetrick during his SEAL years as a means of maintaining peak fitness while deployed in remote locations without access to traditional gym equipment. Suspension Training® quickly became a cornerstone to the broader functional fitness movement, with the iconic “yellow and black straps” becoming a requisite tool for personal trainers, health clubs and elite athletic training facilities globally. The Company expanded its offering to a wide range of functional fitness tools, but also importantly became a go-to source for education and trainer-certification through its vast digital library of functional training programs for fitness professionals and consumers.

Hetrick led TRX for more than 15 years before selling a controlling interest in the Company and moved on to found the new outdoor mobile fitness venture, OutFit®.

Excited by the opportunity to reacquire and revitalize the brand, Hetrick turned to friend and private equity veteran, Jack Daly and his firm, JFXD Capital. Daly, a former Partner, and Investment Committee Member of both Goldman Sachs’ Merchant Banking Division and TPG Capital, has a 25-year track record of investing in and building large companies through control transactions. Daly is also a fitness enthusiast and serves as the Treasurer of the Navy SEAL Foundation, where he has served as member of the Board of Directors for over nine years.

“It’s a rare opportunity to acquire a brand that remains as well respected and revered as an innovator within its industry as TRX – the ability to leverage the incredible brand equity of TRX is what makes this such a compelling and worthwhile venture,” said TRX CEO, Daly. “Everyone loves a comeback story. Powered by Randy’s knowledge of the brand, the industry, and his personal passion for this brand, coupled with new world-class management, there’s little doubt about the success that lies ahead for TRX.”

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobsen served as legal counsel and KPMG served as financial advisor to JFXD Capital. Levene, Neale, Bender, Yoo & Golubchik L.L.P. served as legal counsel and Kroll Securities served as Chief Restructuring Officer and Financial Advisor to TRX. Special thanks to Louise Stolt-Nielsen Holten, Leon Capital, Doug Greeff, Rick Cusick, Quincy Carroll, Brandon Bean, and Anil Shetty. 

Secretary Approves Implementation of Revised Army Combat Fitness Test

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2022

WASHINGTON – Secretary of the Army Christine E. Wormuth issued an Army Directive today outlining a time-phased implementation of a revised ACFT as the Army’s general physical fitness test.

Changes made to the ACFT incorporate feedback from Soldiers and independent analysis of test performance.

Among the key changes announced by the Army are new age-and-gender-performance normed scoring scales; the replacement of the leg tuck with the plank for the core-strength assessment; and the addition of the 2.5-mile walk as an alternate aerobic event.

“The ACFT is an essential part of maintaining the readiness of the Army as we transform into the Army of 2030,” Wormuth said.

“The revisions to the ACFT are based on data and analysis, including an independent assessment required by Congress. We will continue to assess our implementation of the test to ensure it is fair and achieves our goal of strengthening the Army’s fitness culture.”

A common concern identified by the Army’s independent analysis and the RAND study was that a gender-neutral test might not accurately measure all Soldiers’ general physical fitness levels. One example was using the leg tuck as the assessment of core strength.

RAND concluded that Soldiers might have the core strength that is not accurately measured if they lack the upper body strength required to perform a leg tuck. Now, the plank will be the sole exercise to assess core strength, using recognized standards from sister services as a baseline, and modifying the scales based on Army requirements.

The revised ACFT will utilize scoring scales that are age and gender normed, similar to the APFT. The Army designed the new scoring scales from nearly 630,000 ACFT performance scores, historical performance rates from the APFT, and scoring scales used by other military services.

The Army will continue to assess performance data and has established an ACFT governance body to provide oversight of the full implementation of the new test. This structure will assess ACFT scores, pass rates, injuries and environmental considerations, and report those findings along with any recommended changes to Army Senior Leaders. The first comprehensive assessment will be in April 2023.

Unlike the APFT, which went largely unchanged for 40 years, Army leaders believe the ACFT must be adaptable.

“Since 2018 we’ve said this test would evolve, and it has,” said Sgt. Maj. of the Army Michael Grinston.

Grinston noted the governance structure will continue to advance the ACFT to maximize the physical fitness of the force.

The six-event ACFT now provides commanders and Soldiers an accurate assessment of a Soldier’s physical fitness level and sustains the Army’s efforts to maintain a physically fit force capable of a wide range of missions.

Implementing the ACFT

Beginning April 1, units will start diagnostic testing under the new structure. Record testing begins for Regular Army and Active Guard Reserve Soldiers on October 1, 2022, to allow Soldiers six-months to train. Also on October 1, a passing ACFT score will be used for retention, graduation of initial military training, professional military education, and evaluation reports for Regular Army and Active Guard Reserve Soldiers. Implementation of separation actions may begin in April 2023 for Regular Army and Active Guard Reserve Soldiers.

The Army also approved similar, but longer, timelines for Army Reserve and Army National Guard Soldiers, with April 2023 marking the start point for most personnel policies, and the implementation of separation actions beginning in April 2024.

“During this transition, we want to make sure all Soldiers have the proper time to succeed,” Grinston explained. “Put the test on the calendar and make sure your Soldiers have a solid training plan.”

Grinston said while Regular Army Soldiers can be flagged beginning October 1, 2022 for failing the ACFT, no Regular Army Soldier will be separated solely for ACFT failure until April 2023.

The policy also directed a change to extend retesting periods from 90 days under the APFT to 180 days for Regular Army and Active Guard Reserve Soldiers, and 240 days for Reserve Soldiers for the ACFT. Grinston noted that the extended reconditioning timelines will guarantee that Soldiers who are willing to put in the time and training are provided an opportunity to pass the test.

Chain Teach throughout the Force

To help inform the force of all the policies and procedures of the test, the Sergeant Major of the Army is initiating a chain teach throughout the force – and personally gave Army Command, Army Service Component Command, and direct reporting unit command sergeants major a class on changes to the ACFT.

“They will turn around and give that class to the NCOs who report to them as well as the [command sergeants major] for their subordinate units,” Grinston said.

The chain teach will continue throughout the Army to ensure all noncommissioned officers and Soldiers are directly informed of the policy.

“This is an opportunity for leaders to get engaged and understand their Soldiers’ questions and concerns about the test,” Grinston said. “Know where they are struggling and develop a plan to help them succeed. Leaders need to address more than just physical training and focus on the Soldier’s overall fitness.”

To ensure Soldiers throughout the Total Army have comparable training opportunities, the Army procured and distributed more than 40,000 sets of equipment, 60% of which were designated for Soldiers in the Army Reserve and National Guard.

Grinston encouraged Leaders to use their equipment for physical readiness training, including on drill weekends for the Reserve Component, to help Soldiers familiarize themselves with the events before testing.

There are also a number of resources available on the ACFT website to help Soldiers train, including workout program examples and videos of exercises – many of which require no equipment.

Holistic Approach

Army leaders expect units to incorporate principles of all the Holistic Health and Fitness (H2F) System domains into their training. In addition to the physical domain, Leaders should include proper nutrition, sleep, and spiritual and mental fitness to improve overall Soldier readiness. Unit master fitness trainers are the subject-matter experts and are trained to advise in all domains of fitness.

“H2F is an incredible system that looks at training in ways the Army has never done before,” said Brig. Gen. John Kline, commanding general of the Center for Initial Military Training – the Army’s lead proponent for the H2F system.

“Incorporating things like mindfulness training, proper nutrition counseling, and better sleep techniques are proven methods to improve mental and physical readiness,” Kline said.

“If you really want to improve your ACFT score,” Grinston agreed, “start with those other four domains of fitness.”

For the full details on the implementation of the ACFT, visit www.army.mil/acft.

By SFC Will Reinier

Natick Holds Optimizing the Human Weapon System Study

Saturday, October 23rd, 2021

The US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Soldier Center’s Optimizing the Human Weapon System (OHWS) recently participated in a sensor-based study relating physiological status to health stressors with 560 Soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division.

Leveraging the CCDC SC’s Measuring and Advancing Soldier Tactical Readiness and Effectiveness Program they took physiological data from commercially available sensors to monitor Soldier health and develop algorithms for detection of presymptomatic or asymptomatic signatures of infection and illness.

Sensors included the Oura ring for sleep and recovery data, Polar Grit X watch to quantify physical exertion and Smartabase athletic management software.

Purple Orange Media Event

Wednesday, August 18th, 2021

The evening before Outdoor Retailer Summer Market kicked off, PR company Purple Orange held a private media event at a local venue for the various brands the represent*.

It was very well attended and I didn’t get to speak with every company there because the lines were too long. So instead, I’m going to mention just a few brands and products.

Sea to Summit

Sea to Summit makes some great lightweight camping gear with welcome news that we’ll start to see more subdued colors as they begin to push into the hunting market. Their Stretch-Loc TPU straps are 12mm wide come in multiple lengths from 300mm to 750mm. The straps function like a belt with a bit of inherent stretch so you can crank down a bit for a snug fit. They are offered in Grey, Black and Yellow.

BioLite

The big new from BioLite is that they are introducing the Basecharge 600 and 1500. They incorporate ISB ports and DC sockets. The Basecharge can be recharged via shore power or solar panel.?

SomeWear Labs

SomeWear Pabs was the most interesting conversation I had at this event and it’s not just because they had heard of SSD. The company which specializes in satellite data services via this puck which connects your end user device to the web. It weighs just 4 oz and has been approved for DoD use with ATAK.

Gnarly Sports Nutrition

Fuel2O is like a powdered version of the gummies so many endurance athletes use so that the nutrients can be drunk while rehydrating. You’ll also get dextrose and sucrose (100 cal per 12 oz) as well as HMB (280 mg).

*Purple Orange represents the following companies:
Peak Design
Sea to Summit
Jack Wolfskin
Somewear Labs
Swiftwick Socks
NATHAN

Ibex Wear
Gnarly Nutrition
BioLite
Oru Kayak
Climate Neutral
VanSmith

USMC PFT Update for Calendar Year 2022

Friday, August 6th, 2021

In 2020, the Marine Corps adopted the plank as an alternative to crunches for the annual Physical Fitness Test (PFT) as a means to measure core stability, strength, and endurance while reducing risk of injury. For PFTs conducted in 2022, Marines will still have the option to conduct the plank or the crunch just as in 2021, with slight scoring adjustments. The plank will be mandatory in 2023, replacing the crunches as an authorized PFT exercise.

For decades, the Marine Corps has used sit-ups and crunches to both improve and assess abdominal endurance. However, research has shown that sit-ups and crunches with the feet restrained require significant hip flexor activation. This has been linked to an increased risk of injury, including lower back pain due to increased lumbar lordosis.

The plank presents numerous advantages as an abdominal exercise. The plank’s isometric hold requires constant muscle activation, activates almost twice as many muscles as the crunch, and has been proven to be most reliable in measuring the true endurance required for daily activity function. With increased core strength, Marines are less likely to experience injury or fatigue during functional tasks like hiking, lifting and low crawling.

The new time for the maximum score will 3:45, reduced from 4:20. The time for the minimum score has also been adjusted, increasing from 1:03 to 1:10.

For more information and resources, including a four-week core strength training plan, visit www.fitness.marines.mil and reference MARADMIN 404/21 at www.marines.mil/News/Messages/Messages-Display/Article/2719680/forthcoming-changes-to-the-physical-fitness-test.

Direct link to the Plank Progression Program: www.fitness.marines.mil/Portals/211/Cache/Plank%20Progression_Wk1-Wk4

UK Veteran Establishes Talisman Triathlon To Raise Awareness of Physical Resilience, Mental Health and Suicide

Thursday, August 5th, 2021

Former Royal Marines Commando and current RAF Physical Training Instructor Frankie Tinsley is setting out to do something extraordinary; establish the “Talisman Triathlon” which is the 1st Great British Triathlon. It is achieved by cycling Lands End to John O’Groats, linking swimming the longest lakes and climbing the highest peaks in Wales, England and Scotland in 14 days.

Tinsley’s motivation is two mates from the RAF, Andrew Shepherd from Ballachulish – Scotland who took his own life in 2016 and Andrew Morris, originally from Falmouth – Cornwall, who took his own life in 2017.

As Tinsley undertakes this amazing feat, he will be supporting the charity CALM in the movement against suicide

You can follow his progress on INSTAGRAM – @talismantriathlon or Twitter – TalismanTri

To donate, go here.

Tinsley is supported in his effort by CALM, HUUB, Ribble and ThruDark.