Nfld. & Labrador

The Rooms recreates WW I drills for students with fitness challenge

As part the countdown to the centennial of the Battle of Beaumont-Hamel, the Remember Them at The Rooms campaign has created a special fitness campaign for schools.

Fitness Challenge recreates Royal Newfoundland Regiment's fitness drill

6 years ago
4:42
As part of the Remember Them at The Rooms campaign, the museum has created the 'First World War Physical Training Challenge' for schools to have a chance at winning $1000 towards fitness equipment. 4:42

As part the countdown to the centennial of the Battle of Beaumont-Hamel, the Remember Them at The Rooms campaign was launched Thursday in St. John's.

For the campaign, the museum has created the First World War Physical Training Challenge for schools to have a chance at winning $1000 towards fitness equipment.

The program, which is based on the Newfoundland Regiment's fitness drill during the First World War, will challenge schools to get their students moving to a set of exercises that are demonstrated in a "Call to Action" training challenge video.

Major Bennett said that many of the cadets in the fitness training video have gone through the physical education cadet program. (CBC)

Maj. Michael Bennett was involved in the making of the video. He told CBC's St. John's Morning Show that the video is part of an ongoing educational series mainly aimed at junior high and high school students.

"We put together a senior team of cadets to … produce an exercise video that can be utilized by physical education teachers in the schools," said Bennett. 

"The fitness challenge actually helped to recreate some of the actual fitness exercises that were done in the era of World War One."

We're not actually out bench pressing thousands and thousands of pounds.- Major Michael E. Bennett

Bennett said that getting students together and actually re-creating the physical drills is good team building and gives them a sense of what the soldiers endured physically.

"Instead of just simply learning about World War One or learning about history … you get to physically do stuff and understand what was physically involved so it actually changes the learning dynamic," said Bennett.

Meeting the training challenge

Bennett said the workout isn't much different than what you would do today in the military, but a large component of it is running and not just weightlifting.

"We're not actually out bench pressing thousands and thousands of pounds," said Bennett.

"We're just a little more advanced from a scientific perspective on how we would do much more of a warm up in the types of training that we do nowadays so it's very very similar."

Bennett also added that a big difference today is gender balance. The Canadian Forces now have a complete gender equity and pretty much all trades are open to women.

To enter the contest there is a list of things to do and schools are required to prove they met the training challenge.

A video of the students taking the challenge must be uploaded to the schools website, an email must be sent The Rooms or send a tweet to @TheRooms_NL with the hashtag #FWWtraining.

Each school that shares a video will be entered in the draw. The winner announced on June 1.

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