Marines, Community Services employees and Semper Fit instructors train aboard Marine Corps Air Station New River, N.C., on March 20. The service is rolling out the aquatic version of the High Intensity Tactical Training program this summer. (Cpl. Martin Egnash / Marine Corps)
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The Corps has begun rolling out a new aquatic version of its High Intensity Tactical Training program — and you won't confuse it with a water aerobics class at the neighborhood pool.
Aquatic Maximum Power Intensity Training, or AMP-IT, workouts are as strenuous, if not more so, than anything Marines are doing on land, said Kari Hemund, the aquatics program specialist with Headquarters Marine Corps.
Hemund and her team with Semper Fit are in the process of traveling to bases and air stations across the service to get people trained on the aquatics program by the end of the summer.
AMP-IT classes typically run about an hour. Much of it is held in the deep end of the pool with suspension belts keeping the water at chest level. Then you run — in the water. Later, you'll head to the shallow end, where you'll squat, submerged from the shoulders down. That's when the strength training begins, using resistance fins as well as medicine or water polo balls. Hemund said Marines usually realize within about seven minutes that the workout is no joke.
Hemund said studies showed that more than 5,000 Marines had non-combat-related skeletal problems. “That told us we were breaking our own,” she said.
AMP-IT is non-weight-bearing, so there's no undue pressure on joints, she said. The difference can be felt afterward, too. Marines will find they're tired but not sore, she added.
As Semper Fit instructors teach Marines how to incorporate AMP-IT into their unit PT, they suggest alternating water workout days with HITT, the combat-specific strength and conditioning curriculum. “They're still going to get the land-based training, because we don't want to take them off the land,” Hemund said.
They'll remain two stand-alone programs, but they can complement one another, she said. They're suggesting HITT on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays during unit PT, and AMP-IT on Tuesdays and Thursdays. That also provides variety so Marines get less bored with their workouts, she said.
The combination of the workout and the water pressure could mean more calories burned in less time, which can translate into weight loss. Suspension in the water also takes pressure off injuries, which means Marines can still do the workout if they're on light duty assignment, she said. The pool also keeps Marines contained during unit PT so they can motivate one another, she said.
By traveling across the service and teaching AMP-IT to unit commanders and platoon sergeants, Hemund said the program will become self-sustaining, meaning Marines won't need outside instructors to run the class. “As missions change and budgets change … our Marines need to have the skills and knowledge base to do different things on their own,” she said. They plan to add AMP-IT instructional videos to the Corps' fitness website so Marines can learn it on their own, she said.