September 05, 2008
The work of a military fighter pilot is often described as long periods of mind-numbing boredom interspersed with short periods of stark terror....One of the ever-present threats is the effects of operating in a high G-force environment. The most dangerous of these is the pooling of blood in the lower extremities, which can cause G-induced loss of consciousness (G-LOC). G-LOC has claimed numerous pilots' lives. To counter the effects of blood pooling and to minimize the risk of G-LOC, the military uses anti-G garments (G-suits) and teaches pilots a G-straining maneuver that artificially increases blood pressure and maintains a sufficient blood (and hence oxygen) supply to the pilot's brain.
Given the requirements for full-body muscle recruitment (particularly in the midline and lower extremities), the stated time duration of the contractions and breath control, and the requirement of both accuracy and coordination, the G-straining maneuver practically screams out:
"YOU NEED INTERVAL TRAINING OF FUNCTIONAL MOVEMENTS IN THE GLYCOLITIC METABOLIC PATHWAY!"
But this is not how pilots are encouraged to train, and it is not how they are evaluated on their physical ability to sustain high Gs.
Fighter pilot Major Jeremy Gordon assesses both the current Fighter Aircrew Conditioning Test and the recommended fitness program for fighter pilots. They are currently based on non-functional isolation movements, and in his estimation, fall far short of their potential. A new model is proposed.