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NEWS | Aug. 11, 2017

Alpha Warrior arrives at Joint Base Charleston

By Senior Airman Thomas T. Charlton Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

Joint Base Charleston teamed with the Alpha Warrior organization to provide a new way for service members and civilians to maintain fitness at the Air Base Fitness and Sports Center here Aug. 5.

The new option is an Alpha Warrior Battle Rig, an obstacle course designed to test grip strength, core strength, endurance, agility and stamina. Brent Steffenson, Alpha Warrior pro-athlete, help facilitate a competition for those in attendance and explained how the rig highlights the four pillars of comprehensive Airmen fitness.

“The physical one is obvious, it’s a very physical activity,” said Steffenson. “You also have to be really smart with how you strategize your way through the course. It definitely benefits the mental side of things. The social component is awesome because we are all in this together; we’re going to have people going down. People are going to cheer whether you complete the course or fall so you kind of bond through this experience. When you finish this course, it’s definitely a spiritual experience as well.”

Steffenson and Rebekah Bonilla, another Alpha Warrior pro athlete, came here to introduce and demonstrate the rig so others could learn how to use it and incorporate it into their workouts. The rig tests multiple areas of your overall fitness and requires a variety of skillsets.

“We believe training on this rig will revolutionize fitness for Airmen,” said Bonilla. “It adds a new element of excitement, fun and functionality. It tests your grip and upper body strength, adaptability, stamina and so many other extremely valuable elements in building one’s fitness.”

A regional competition on the rig will take place Sept. 9, for those willing to train and participate. Joint Base Charleston is one of 15 bases given a full-size battle rig to host a regional qualifier. The top male and female from each of those 15 bases will gain entry to the national finals course in San Antonio, TX. The top 10 fastest male and female participants worldwide will also win a spot to compete.

“Other bases get a smaller rig we call a battle station so they can prepare to compete at one of the regional bases,” said Steffenson. “We’re very grateful for the hard work and sacrifice the military does to keep our country safe, so it’s awesome to be able to bring a little fun to you all.”

The rig provides a new way for individuals to test themselves and each other while allowing members to maintain and improve on their workouts. 1st Lt. Lainie Long, 628th Force Support Squadron fitness and sports officer in charge, explains this battle rig is a positive addition locally and for the military worldwide.

“The obstacle course is kind of the starting point to changing the way the Air Force sees fitness,” said Long. “We’re moving toward very cardio-centric and body weight functional-type fitness. The rig enhances and adds a bit of fun and uniqueness to our overall fitness.”

The rig itself is comprised of multiple obstacles such as the salmon ladder, where competitors throw a metal bar up onto a higher rung while hanging from the bar itself. Another obstacle are the devil steps, which is an inverted staircase that individuals have to climb upwards on one side and then down on the other. U.S. Coast Guard Fireman Jaimie Mechikoff, Aid to Navigation Teams Charleston fireman, experienced the rig and gave her opinion.

“It was harder than I expected but it was exciting to test myself and have the opportunity to do it in the first place,” said Mechikoff. “I’ll definitely be coming to the fitness center more often with my friends to keep on it. I’ve been wanting something new to put my energy and focus into and I think this is the perfect thing for me.”

The obstacle course will stay on the Globemaster Court and the other functional fitness equipment in there will remain as well.

“Our Globemaster Court is becoming a fully functional fitness room,” said Long. “We laid down a rubber conventional flooring, now the entire court is going to be functional fitness. You can have a total body workout, with or without the rig.”

Both Steffenson and Bonilla suggested those wanting to compete should look into doing outside activities as well as practicing on the rig itself to train their bodies for the regional qualifier.  

“The sport of obstacles is so diverse, you never know what’s going to be thrown at you,” said Steffenson. “I work out for about an hour in strength training five or six days a week. I also do about two to three hours of activity training about five days a week. It could be obstacles themselves, mountain biking for the cardio or rock climbing for the grip.”

This new exercise capability increases productivity for individual and group workout sessions, giving group physical training sessions a constructive way to conduct indoor exercises.

“I’m just really excited to be a part of something so noble,” said Bonilla. “I believe it’s going to revolutionize their fitness. It has been such an honor and joy.”