In an effort to fulfill increased fitness, the physical education department at Pilgrim High School turned to the National Guard last week.
The program, entitled Army Combative Circuit Training, had students rotating through 15 different fitness activities that mirror exercises completed by members of the National Guard.
“We do this type of training three times a week,” said Sgt. 1st Class Claude Hines.
Hines, the recruiting officer for Pilgrim, ran the all-day event along with Staff Sgt. Dennis Parent, 1st Sgt. Jodie Dove and Staff Sgt. Jonathan Fregeau. This was the second time this circuit training had been held at the school this year.
“We set our professional growth goal to increase the fitness climate in the department,” said Lisa Tamburini, physical education teacher.
To fulfill that goal, Tamburini and her fellow teachers included a fitness component at the beginning of each class, regardless of the day’s activity.
They also brought in special speakers or activities to promote fitness activities. This fall, they had the Army host an outdoor training exercise.
Tamburini explained Pilgrim’s physical education program has a relationship with the National Guard; they often provide the school with equipment such as footballs and basketballs and have hosted a rock wall program in previous years.
When the National Guard asked to bring the new fitness program to the school, the teachers agreed.
“The kids said they loved it,” said Tamburini on the first run of the program back in February. The school provided their positive feedback to the National Guard, and they offered to return to the school for a second time.
“It adds a different level,” said Tamburini about the program that has students spending one minute completing the exercise at each station, completing the rotation twice.
“It provides a different voice too,” said Oshon Campbell, another physical education teacher, explaining that listening to the National Guard instructors as opposed to a teacher makes a difference.
Tamburini added that the program brought together students from the 10th, 11th and 12th grades, which are normally separated by activity.
“It gives a nice variety,” she said. “They can work together in a different group, in a different setting.”
The 9th grade students were taking health class for the period but did take part in the first event back in February.
With the teachers looking on, Hines and his crew took control of the class, pushing them to do their best at the intense workout.
“It really hits all of the body parts,” said Hines of the program, which had students completing leg-lifts, sit-ups, tire flips and planks, just to name a few.
“It’s so different from [traditional] circuit training, but it’s also so much different from a regular workout,” said Dove.
This circuit training experience came to the National Guard from the Army. The Army’s combative training is based on mixed-martial arts moves and promotes muscle building and endurance.
Dove and Parent demonstrated a few of their MMA moves for students at the completion of the program. Their example mirrored the sit-up exercise performed during the training.
Students performed a sit-up with a weighted punching bag between their legs, punching their arm across their body to the opposite side of the bag as they came up. Dove and Parent demonstrated the MMA move, with Dove in the sit-up position and Parent acting as the punching bag.
“Those moves are based on what we do here,” said Hines, explaining that Parent and Dove were demonstrating what could happen in close combat.
While the students did not partake in any close combat, Tamburini explained that experiences like this in the classroom could encourage students to look for similar workout options available outside of school.
The National Guard instructors also explained that a similar circuit-like workout could be achieved through the use of the iPhone and iPad app Circuit Pro. The app provides a timer, which can be set to intervals of activity and rest as the user desires.