Grass drills are exercise movements that feature rapid changes in body position. These are vigorous drills which, when properly done, exercise all the major muscle groups. Soldiers should respond to commands as fast as possible and do all movements at top speed. They continue to do multiple repetitions of each exercise until the next command is given. No cadence is counted.
Performing grass drills can improve CR endurance, help develop muscular endurance and strength, and speed up reaction time. Since these drills are extremely strenuous, they should last for short periods (30 to 45 seconds per exercise). The two drills described here each have four exercises. Leaders can develop additional drills locally.
The soldiers should do a warm-up before performing the drills and do a cool-down afterward. The instructor does all the activities so that he can gauge the intensity of the session. The commands for grass drills are given in rapid succession without the usual preparatory commands. To prevent confusion, commands are given sharply to distinguish them from comments or words of encouragement.
As soon as the soldiers are familiar with the drill, they do all the exercises as vigorously and rapidly as possible, and they do each exercise until the next command is given. Anything less than a top-speed performance decreases the effectiveness of the drills.
Once the drills start, soldiers do not have to resume the position of attention. The instructor uses the command “Up” to halt the drill for instructions or rest. At this command, soldiers assume a relaxed, standing position.
Grass drills can be done in a short time. For example, they may be used when only a few minutes are available for exercise or when combined with another activity. Sometimes, if time is limited, they are a good substitute for running.
Most movements are done in place. The extended-rectangular formation is best for a platoon- or company-sized unit. The circle formation is more suitable for squad- or section-sized groups.
When soldiers are starting an exercise program, a 10- to 15-minute workout may be appropriate. Progression is made by a gradual increase in the time devoted to the drills. As the fitness of the soldiers improves, the times should be gradually lengthened to 20 minutes. The second drill is harder than the first. Therefore, as soldiers progress in the first drill, the instructor should introduce the second. If he sees that the drill needs to be longer, he can repeat the exercises or combine the two drills.
After the warm-up, bring the soldiers to a position of ATTENTION. The drills begin with the command GO. Other basic commands are FRONT, BACK, and STOP. (See Figure 7-5 for the positions and actions associated with these commands.)
– ATTENTION: The position of attention is described in FM 22-5, Drill and Ceremonies.
– GO This involves running in place at top speed on the balls of the feet. The soldier raises his knees high, pumps his arms, and bends forward slightly at the waist.
– FRONT The soldier lies prone with elbows bent and palms directly under the shoulders as in the down position of the push up. The legs are straight and together with the head toward the instructor.
– BACK: The soldier lies flat on his back with his arms extended along his sides and his palms facing down ward. His legs are straight and together; his feet face the instructor.
– STOP The soldier assumes the stance of a football lineman with feet spread and staggered. His left arm is across his left thigh; his right arm is straight. His knuckles are on the ground; his head is up, and his back is roughly parallel to the ground.
To assume the FRONT or BACK position from the standing GO or STOP positions, the soldier changes positions vigorously and rapidly. (See Figure 7-5.)
To change from the FRONT to the BACK position (Figure 7-5), the soldier does the following:
– Takes several short steps to the right or left.
– Lifts his arm on the side toward which his feet move.
– Thrusts his legs vigorously to the front.
To change from the BACK to the FRONT position, the soldier sits up quickly. He places both hands on the ground to the right or left of his legs. He takes several short steps to the rear on the side opposite his hands. When his feet are opposite his hands, he thrusts his legs vigorously to the rear and lowers his body to the ground. (See Figure 7-5.)
GRASS DRILL ONE
Exercises for grass drill one are described below and shown in Figure 7-6.
From the FRONT position, push up and support the body on the hands (shoulder-width apart) and feet. Keep the back and legs generally in line and the knees straight. Bounce up and down in a series of short, simultaneous, upward springs from the hands, hips, and feet.
From the BACK position, flex the hips and knees. Place the palms directly on top of the head, and interlace the fingers. Bring the knee of one leg upward toward the chest. At the same time, curl the trunk and head upward while touching the opposite elbow to the elevated knee. Repeat with the other leg and elbow. Continue these movements as opposite legs and arms take turns.
From the position of ATTENTION, do half-knee bends with the feet in line and the hands at the sides. Make sure the knees do not bend to an angle less than 90 degrees.
Roll Left and Right
From the FRONT position, continue to roll in the direction commanded until another command is given. Then, return to the FRONT position.
GRASS DRILL TWO
Exercises for grass drill two are described below and shown in Figure 7-6.
From the FRONT position, extend the arms forward. Move the right arm and left leg up and down; then, move the left arm and right leg up and down. Continue in an alternating manner.
Bounce and Clap Hands
The procedure is almost the same as for the bouncing ball in grass drill one. However, while in the air, clap the hands. This action requires a more vigorous bounce or spring. The pushup may be substituted for this exercise.
From the BACK position, raise the legs until the heels are no higher than six inches off the ground. Spread the legs apart as far as possible, then put them back together. Keep the head off the ground. Throughout, place the hands under the upper part of the buttocks, and slightly bend the knees to ease pressure on the lower back. Open and close the legs as fast as possible. The curl-up may be substituted for this exercise.
From the STOP position, place both hands on the ground, tuck the head, and roll forward. Keep the head tucked while rolling.
From the position of ATTENTION, start running in place at the GO command by lifting the left foot first. Follow the instructor as he counts two repetitions of cadence. For example, “One, two, three, four; one, two, three, four.” The instructor then gives informal commands such as the following: “Follow me,” “Run on the toes and balls of your feet,” “Speed it up,” “Increase to a sprint, raise your knees high, lean forward at your waist, and pump your arms vigorously,” and “Slow it down.” To halt the exercise, the instructor counts two repetitions of cadence as the left foot strikes the ground: “One, two, three, four, one, two, three, HALT.”