New Water-Based Training Keeps Marines Fit


Marine Corps Air Station New River, N.C. -- Many Marines are familiarizing themselves with the upcoming High Intensity Tactical Training program the Marine Corps starts in July. Fewer Marines have heard of the amphibious partner to the HITT program, the Aquatics Maximum Power Intense Training program.

“In 2011, a study showed that the Marine Corps had more than 5,000 Marines with muscle and skeletal problems not related to combat,” said Kari Hemund, aquatics program specialist with Headquarters Marine Corps. “We needed to combat this problem. The solution we found was the AMP-IT program.”   AMP-IT consists of a variety of scientifically proven, high-intensity exercises done in the water.

“The AMP-IT program raises people’s heart rates to 160 to 170 beats per minute,” said Dr. Mary Wykle, the physical education and aquatics specialist who designed the AMP-IT program and has been contracted to visit each Marine Corps installation to teach her program. “The exercises we do increase muscle strength, improve cardiovascular-respiratory function and especially increase muscle endurance. It is also great for weight loss.”   This alternative to land-based physical training is open to all Marines, regardless of duty status.  

“We wanted a way to get injured Marines strong and healthy again,” said Wykle. “Once a Marine is in the deep end, he is non weight-bearing, which is perfect for Marines with injuries.”

Though it was specifically designed as a reconditioning and recovery program, AMP-IT exercises can benefit any Marine.   “Water-based training can improve anyone’s physical training regime,” said Wykle. “We want to build back up injured Marines, but also keep the full-duty status Marines in top physical shape.”   According to Hemund, one of the advantages of water-based physical fitness is that the added water pressure on the heart and lungs forces them to work harder, increasing lung capacity and cardiovascular function. 

The AMP-IT creators came to Marine Corps Air Station New River to train 22 instructors, March 20. When the program begins this summer, these instructors will facilitate AMP-IT training throughout the air station.   “The HITT program is planning on taking place Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays,” said Wykle. “The AMP-IT program will go on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This will give Marines a chance to keep up their physical training, but cut down on the kind of injuries that happen with land-based training.”   To learn more about AMP-IT training near you, contact the air station aquatics office at 910-449-4307, or ask if your section has an AMP-IT trainer.

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