Aussie Circuit Keeps Soldiers in Shape

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By Spc. Lee Elder, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

Staff Sgt. Ashley Campbell gives Sgt. 1st Class Lisa Mathews some tips while performing on a circuit set up by Australian Soldiers at Kirkush Military Training Base
KIRKUSH, Iraq Staff Sgt. Ashley Campbell (right) gives Sgt. 1st Class Lisa Mathews some tips while performing on a circuit set up by Australian Soldiers at Kirkush Military Training Base. Both are Army Reserve Soldiers from Huntsville, Ala., who work with the Coalition Military Assistance Transition Team here.

KIRKUSH, Iraq – Coalition Forces Soldiers are joining forces here not only to keep the peace in Iraq, but to stay in shape as well.

Members of the U.S. Armed Forces are now doing nighttime circuit training hosted by members of the Australian Army Training Team Iraq. The training consists of six different circuits each featuring a guided exercise using free weights and barbells.

“It’s part of our regular PT program on this base,” said Australian Army Sgt. Wayne Skinner. “We try a lot of different ways to stay in shape.”

Skinner leads tonight’s session along with Warrant Officer 2 Barry Conroy. The burly noncommissioned officer from Townsville, Queensland, quickly knocks out his exercise repetitions while watching the time on his stop watch. He also checks the other stations to see if participants need any help.

Australian Army Warrant Officer 2 Barry Conroy pushes upwards on his weights while performing on a circuit set up
KIRKUSH, Iraq Australian Army Warrant Officer 2 Barry Conroy (right) pushes upwards on his weights while performing on a circuit set up by Australian Soldiers at Kirkush Military Training Base. He is assisted by Warrant Officer 1 Grant Boyce. Conroy, who hails from Townsville, Queensland, Australia, is a member of Australian Army Training Team Iraq. Boyce hails from Nagomville, Victoria, Australia.

“We’re all part of the same team,” Skinner said. “It’s about having fun and staying in shape.”

Participants are paired with a partner who has equal stamina and strength. After some stretching, Skinner leads the dozen-strong on a jog around the basketball courts that lay alongside the base’s gymnasium.

Then, they take their stations. Skinner blows the whistle and it’s two minutes of lifting weights, curling barbells or pushing free weights skyward while Australian rockers AC/DC are heard in the background.

After two minutes, partners change places. Besides working as a spotter with the weights, the non-lifting partner cheers on his or her partner as he or she tries to get as many repetitions in within the allotted time.

Among those joining their Australian allies this evening are Army Reserve Soldiers, Sgt. 1st Class Lisa Mathews and Staff Sgt. Ashley Campbell. Both hail from Huntsville, Ala., and are here with the Coalition Military Assistance Training Team.

“It wasn’t so bad working in pairs,” Mathews said. “I got a better workout.”

The time varied as the pairs finished each station. The two-minute time went to 90 seconds and then to 60 seconds.

“I still got a good workout as the time dropped,” Mathews said. “It made me work harder each repetition.”

Staff Sgts. Travis Kramer and Ashley Campbell stretch out after performing on a circuit set up by Australian Soldiers
KIRKUSH, Iraq Staff Sgts. Travis Kramer (left) and Ashley Campbell stretch out after performing on a circuit set up by Australian Soldiers at Kirkush Military Training Base. Both are Army Reserve Soldiers who work with the Coalition Military Assistance Transition Team here.

Campbell, a student at Calhoun Community College who works here as an ammunition supply sergeant, also enjoyed the circuit training. She said the Australians’ enthusiasm and relaxed nature made the workouts fun along with being worthwhile.

“I like it because it was good weight training,” Campbell said. “I started out with less repetitions and built it up gradually.”

Australian Warrant Officer 1 Buster Beatty is among those who began the program here. A native of Wodgonga, Victoria, he has done circuit training for many years. He said he has patterned the training here on his past workouts.

“The only difference here is that you can’t go for a beer afterwards,” Beatty said with a smile.

Staff Sgt. Ashley Campbell lifts a weight over her head while performing on a circuit
KIRKUSH, Iraq Staff Sgt. Ashley Campbell lifts a weight over her head while performing on a circuit set up by Australian Soldiers at Kirkush Military Training Base. She is an Army Reserve Soldier from Huntsville, Ala., who works with the Coalition Military Assistance Transition Team here
Australian Army Sgt. Mathew Piper curls a weight
KIRKUSH, Iraq Australian Army Sgt. Mathew Piper curls a weight while performing on a circuit set up by Australian Soldiers at Kirkush Military Training Base. Piper, who hails from Narra, New South Wales, Australia, is a member of Australian Army Training Team Iraq.
Australian Army Warrant Officer 2 Barry Conroy curls a weight
KIRKUSH, Iraq Australian Army Warrant Officer 2 Barry Conroy curls a weight while performing on a circuit set up by Australian Soldiers at Kirkush Military Training Base. Conroy, who hails from Townsville, Queensland, Australia, is a member of Australian Army Training Team Iraq.

Specialist Lee Elder is a photographer and writer with the 133d Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, based in Iraq.