GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — To meet the demands of the new Soldier Readiness Test and Army Combat Readiness Test, Tower Barracks and Rose Barracks have transformed two fitness facilities into new functional fitness gyms.


The 5,000-square-foot Rose Barracks functional fitness facility opened its doors April 13 to all DOD ID cardholders 18 and olderThe new functional fitness gym, located at the Jesse L. Williams Fitness Center in Bldg. 323, is one of three functional fitness gyms in the U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria footprint. Towers Barracks and Hohenfels also proudly provide functional fitness training to Soldiers, civilians and family members.


Running two miles, doing push-ups and sit-ups is a simple way to test basic fitness levels. However, according to an Army Times article, experts have decided that the three events are not relevant to how a Soldier performs in the military’s most crucial environment: combat.


To support this, U.S. Army fitness centers are slowly transforming from machines to a functional fitness environment. 


“It was time to move the focus from machines to functional fitness,” said Serge Kearse, chief of the sports and fitness operation branch. “Standardized packages consisting of 3,000-, 5,000- & 10,000-square-feet facilities, equipped with rigs and free weights, for all the garrisons were generated to benefit Soldiers in everyday activities depending on their (military occupational specialty).”


Before the transformation, machines were primarily used to build different muscle groups. Functional fitness, however, combines free weight lifting with gymnastics, flexibility and endurance. It incorporates movements and training, supporting a Soldier’s physical activities and strengthening others to acquire maximum results for each MOS. Besides preparing a person for their job’s physical requirements, it also focuses on building overall strength. 


The fitness center also offers a variety of classes including indoor cycling and yoga to achieve maximum results. 


In order to prevent injuries during training, a 30-minute orientation covering rules, safety and emergency procedures is required before taking advantage of the training facility. In addition, an introduction training class is held once a month at Tower Barracks and Rose Barracks. 


The Tower Barracks Field House is also hosting this year’s 6th Annual Functional Fitness Challenge May 12. The competition is open to the entire military community. 


“The event is designed to challenge fitness levels, tested in four different disciplines, with the top five from each category competing in a final challenge for this year’s title,” Kearse said. 


The challenge consists of a variety of different exercises with repetitions, such as squats, power snatch and wall ball exercises. The competition differentiates between male and female, and RX and scaled. To become a proud owner of the 2018 Functional Fitness Challenge t-shirt, participants must register by May 9. However, on-site registration will be possible. 


For more information on the Functional Fitness Challenge, contact the Tower Barracks Fitness Center at DSN 475-9007, CIV 09641-83-9007.

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