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Keeping Fit All the Way / How to Obtain and Maintain Health, Strength and Efficiency By Walter Camp Characters: 23514

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:03

Health, strength, and efficiency! Surely every man in this great Republic of ours wants to be healthy, strong, and efficient, but how is he to obtain and maintain this threefold blessing? It has been stated that scientific physical exercise, preferably taken in group association, will accomplish it. Now to consider some of the practical details involved.


The organization may be composed of any number from sixteen to one hundred men, and about the smallest unit that should be undertaken is that of sixteen men. On the other hand, when the number gets above one hundred (or preferably ninety-six, in order that it may be divided into four companies of twenty-four each) it is better to start a second group under a separate leader.

The first thing to do in the organization is to enroll at least one physician, who becomes the surgeon of the company. His name, together with that of the secretary of the unit, should be filed with the Senior Service Corps, of New Haven, Connecticut, or with the National Security League, of New York City, in order that any additional information or directions may be forwarded promptly.

The division of labor in the work should be from ten to fifteen minutes of the setting-up exercises, and from forty-five to fifty minutes of the outdoor work. It has been found upon scientific test that this is the best division, and the outdoor work should follow the setting-up exercises immediately, since the men are then in condition to benefit from the fact that they have opened up their chest cavity and are taking in more fresh air and oxygen.

The best way to start a unit is to get ten or a dozen leaders together at dinner or luncheon and organize; then pick out other men who are of importance in the community and add them to the charter number.

The editors of the local papers are usually very glad to lend their powerful assistance toward the project.

It is not necessary to have the outdoor work partake of the nature of military drill, but a certain amount of this, added after the second or third week, lends interest and also produces excellent results in muscular control.

In order to understand the various prescribed movements and exercises the following explanations should be carefully studied, of course, in connection with the illustrative photographs.


It is particularly necessary that the leader should thoroughly familiarize himself with the movements and positions, for many of the men will not take the trouble to study the manual by themselves, or they may be unable to spare time for anything but the actual drill. It is the leader's business to instruct, and the progress of his squad or company will be in direct proportion to his knowledge and capacity to inspire real interest in and enthusiasm for the work.

Each movement must be executed perfectly and exactly or the benefit therefrom will not be fully assured. Much depends upon the leader; a man should be selected who has the gift of leadership.


In giving the commands care should be taken to discriminate between the explanatory and executive parts of the order, making a decided pause between. For example, in "Forward March!" "Forward" is the explanatory or warning word; then, after a perceptible pause, the executive word "March!" should be given in a crisp, decisive tone of voice. The command "Attention!" is but one word, but it is the custom to divide it syllabically, thus, "Atten-shun!" All other commands taken from the military manuals have their proper warning and executive words; for example: "Count-Off!" "About-Face!" "Right-Face!" "Company-Halt!" "To the Rear-March!" "Double Time-March!" etc. The exceptions are the commands, "Rest!" "At Ease!" and "Fall Out!"

The orders for the exercise movements may be standardized by first giving the name of the movement, "Arms Cross," and then adding the words: "Ready-Cross!" to indicate the second or executive part of the command. For example: "Arms Cross. Ready-Cross!" the men taking the "cross" position at the last word. In this way the members of the squad are first warned as to just what they are expected to do; then, at the executive word, they all act together. The leader should see to it that the over-eager men do not anticipate the executive command.

The only purely military formation used in this manual is that of the squad. Nowadays, when military training is so universal, the meaning of the term is well known; there is sure to be some one in the company who can supply the necessary information about forming the squad and the simple movement of "Squads Right." To put it into untechnical language, it may be said that the squad consists of eight men, lined up four abreast in two ranks. The men should be arranged in order of height, the tallest being No. 1, front rank. No. 4 of the front rank acts as corporal of the squad.


"Squads Right" looks like a complicated maneuver when studied according to the diagrams in the manuals, but it is not particularly difficult in practice. Its use is to get the company out of the double line formation into a column of four men abreast, the usual marching formation. At the executive command, "March!" No. 1 front rank acts as the pivot, and makes a right-angled turn to the right, marking time in that position until the three other men in the front rank have executed a right-oblique movement and have come up on the new line. The rear-rank men follow suit, but Nos. 2 and 1 have to turn momentarily to the left in order to get behind the front-rank pivot men-to put it more simply, they follow No. 2 in single file.

It sounds confusing, but any old National Guardsman can explain the movement in very short order. So soon as "Squads Right" has been completed the whole column takes up the march without further word of command.


All steps and marchings executed from a halt (except Right or Left Step) begin with the left foot.

The length of the full step in "Quick (or ordinary) time" is 30 inches, measured from heel to heel, and the cadence is at the rate of 120 steps to the minute.

The length of the full step in "Double Time" is 36 inches; the cadence is at the rate of 180 steps to the minute.


At the warning command, "Forward!" shift the weight of the body to the right leg, left knee straight. At the command, "March!" move the left foot forward 30 inches from the right; continue with the right and so on. The arms swing freely.


The arms are raised to a position horizontal with the waist-line, fingers clenched. The run is as natural as possible.


At the command, "March!" given as, the right foot strikes the ground, advance and plant the left foot, turn to the right-about on the balls of both feet, and immediately step off with the left foot.


At the command, "Halt!" given as either foot strikes the ground, plant the other foot as in marching; raise and place the first foot by the side of the other. If in "Double Time," drop the hands by the sides.


At the command, "March!" given as either foot strikes the ground, advance and plant the other foot; bring up the foot in the rear and continue the cadence by alternately raising each foot about two inches and planting it on line with the other.

Being at a halt, at the command, "March!" raise and plant the feet in position as prescribed above.


At the command, "March!" given as the right foot strikes the ground, advance and plant the left foot; plant the toe of the right foot near the heel of the left and step off with the left foot.

The change as the left foot strikes the ground is similarly executed.


Raise slightly the left heel and right toe; face to the right, turning on the right heel, assisted by a slight pressure on the ball of the left foot; place the left foot by the side of the right. "Left Face" is executed on the left heel in a corresponding manner.


Carry the toe of the right foot about half a foot-length to the rear and slightly to the left of the left heel (without changing the position of the left foot); face to the rear, turning to the right on the left heel and right toe; place the right heel by the side of the left. There is no left "About Face."


At this command all except the right files (the two men forming the extreme right end of the company as drawn up in two lines) execute "Eyes Right"; then, beginning on the right, the men in each rank count one, two, three, four-one, two, three, four, etc. As each man calls off his squad number he turns head and eyes to the front.



This is the regular military position. Heels together, the feet at an angle of forty-five degrees; hands at the sides, thumbs along seam of the trousers; neck back, chin in, chest out. (See Fig. 1.)


The movement calls for prompt control of the muscles; in fact, the expression is often used of "snapping into attention," meaning that the man comes into this position quickly and easily and with a distinct click of the heels. In the "Daily Dozen" referred to later in this book, this position is called "Hands."

Arms Cross (Ready-Cross!)

This movement is taken from the position of "Attention" by raising the arms from the sides and turning the palms down; it may be varied by turning the palms up. Holding the arms in this position, at the same time turning the hands and keeping the neck straight and the chest arched, will develop all the muscles over the shoulder. (See Fig. 2.)


On the "Cross" position the arms should be straight out horizontally from the body, with the elbows locked. At the same time, resistance should be placed against the head and neck coming forward at all. These should be held in exactly the same position as at "Attention." The tendency is either to let the arms bend a little or to let them drop below the horizontal, or even to hold them slightly above the level.

From this position "shoulder-grinding" may be practised. This is executed by keeping the arms extended, turning the whole arm in a circle in the shoulder socket, and forcing the shoulder-blades back and together as the arms go back. The circle made by the hands should be about twelve inches in diameter.

Arms Stretch (Ready-Stretch!)

In this exercise the arms are raised to a position straight up above the head, with the hands extended. The palms may be together or facing front. (See Fig. 3.)


Hips Firm!

(This order is given, "Hips-Firm!")

The hands are placed on the hips, with thumbs back and fingers forward. The chest should be arched, the shoulders and elbows kept well back, and the neck pushed hard against the collar. (See Fig. 4.)

Also the hips should be kept well back and the abdomen in. This gives the same poise as the "Attention" position, but it puts more work on the shoulder muscles and so gives greater opportunity for arching the chest. In the "Daily Dozen" this position is called simply, "Hips."


Neck Firm!

(This order is given, "Neck-Firm!")

Maintaining the same position as in "Hips Firm," the hands are quickly raised and put against the back of the head (the finger-tips slightly interlaced) just where it joins the neck, exerting some pressure; at the same time the head and neck are forced well back. (See Fig. 5.)


The elbows should not be allowed to come forward, but should be kept back and the chest should be arched. This gives extra work for the muscles o

f the neck, as well as for those of the arms and shoulders. In the "Daily Dozen" this is called simply, "Head." (See Fig. 6.)


Arms Reach (Ready-Reach!)

While maintaining an erect position, the arms are stretched out forward parallel to each other, the shoulders being kept back and the chest not cramped. If the shoulders are allowed to come forward the exercise is valueless. (See Fig. 7.)


Arms Bend (Ready-Bend!)

In this position the arms are bent at the elbows, with the hands partially clenched, and brought up about to the point of the shoulders. The shoulders are held back firmly and the neck is pressed against the collar, while the chest is arched (See Fig. 8). From this position the following movements are made with the hands clenched: Arms Cross (Ready-Cross)![1]


A good exercise in rhythmic time may be developed by going through the following round of movements: "Arms Bend, Arms Cross, Arms Bend, Arms Stretch, Arms Bend, Arms Reach, Arms Bend, Arms Down."

Body Prone (Ready-Bend!)

Assuming the position of "Neck Firm," press the hands against the back of the neck and bend body at the waist forward, at the same time keeping the head in line with the spinal column and the eyes up; then back again to the erect position. (See Fig. 6a, Chapter XI.)

This gives excellent exercise for the muscles of the neck, and, if performed slowly, some exercise for the back.

Assuming the same position of "Neck Firm," bend the body slightly at the waist. This exercise should not be carried to an extreme, especially in the case of men who have reached middle age. In the "Daily Dozen" this is called "Grasp."

Balancing (Ready-Balance!)

Assume the position of "Attention," then, standing on the right foot and keeping the knees straight, advance the left foot forward about two feet from the ground. Hold this position while balancing on the right foot, then back to "Attention" again. (See Fig. 9.)


Make the same motion, standing on the left foot. Now standing on the right foot, advance the left foot and, instead of bringing it to the ground, swing it back and extend it at the same height to the rear, still balancing on the other foot. Hold this position for a moment. After some practice this movement can be executed by standing on one foot and putting the other leg first forward and then back for several times.

This exercise gives control over the muscles of the leg and balancing powers, and increases the ability to adjust the muscles so as to maintain the equilibrium.

Stride Position (Ready-Stride!)

This position calls for the separation of the feet sideways about a foot and a half apart (Fig. 10). Now assume the "Arms Cross" attitude, and then, turning the body at the hips, bring first the right hand down to touch the floor, at the same time bending the right knee and keeping the left knee straight. Come back to the regular position again.


Now bend the left knee, put down the left hand and touch the ground, turning the body at the hips. (See Fig. 11.)


In both of these movements keep the other arm extended backward. This produces a graceful exercise which is excellent work for the muscles of the body and shoulders. In the "Daily Dozen" this is called "The Weave."

Assuming the "Stride Position," advance the right foot about a foot; then, with the arms in "Cross" position once more, bend the forward knee and touch the ground with the hand, at the same time keeping the other arm extended backward.

Reverse this.

This movement is also excellent for the muscles of the body and back.

Wall Balance (Ready-Bend!)

Stand sideways to the wall about two feet and a half away; now extend both arms in the "Cross" position, and then lift the foot that is farthest away from the wall and lean over until the extended fingers of the other hand touch the wall; push back into original position. Move out a little farther from the wall and repeat. Do this until the distance is as far as can comfortably be recovered by pushing the hand against the wall.

Reverse this exercise, so as to do it with the other arm.

This is an excellent workout for the shoulder muscles as well as for the forearms, and gives some exercise to the body.

Stepping (Ready-Step!)

Standing erect at "Attention," step to the right with the right foot about six inches, merely touching the toe to the ground, and bring the foot back to the "Attention" position.

The object of this movement is to give control of the muscles of the leg in addition to the balancing of the body. Care should be taken to keep the body absolutely motionless while the exercise is in progress. The toe is only touched to the ground and the foot is brought immediately back into position.

This movement has a quieting effect after more violent exercising. It can be done either sideways, forward, or back.

Running in Place (Mark Time-March!)

Beginning with "Marking Time!" Now raise the feet alternately from the ground, a little higher each time, until the knees come up practically to a level with the waist. Then perform this same motion on the toes and shift into a run while still holding the same position-that is, while going up and down on the toes. Men who have considerable weight around the waist-line should place their hands on the abdomen when performing this exercise.

Body-turning (Ready-Cross! Ready-Turn!)

This movement consists in turning the body at the hips while keeping the feet and legs in the original position. It may be done from almost any of the positions already outlined, and is moderate work for the muscles of the waist. Do it first with the arms in "Cross" position, turning to the right as far as possible; then back to the "Front," or original, position; then to the left as far as possible, and back to the "Front," or original, position, taking pains that the turning is executed above the hips while the legs and feet hold their original position. A more pronounced method is given in the "Daily Dozen" in "Wave" and "Weave."

Heel-raising (Ready-Rise!)

Standing on both feet at "Attention," raise the heels, and hold the position for a moment; then drop the heels again. Repeat this.

Now, standing in "Stride Position," go up onto the toes again. Drop the heels and repeat.

This is an excellent exercise for the muscles of the calf.


No. 1. Attention! (or "Hands!")

Hips: Same position, but hands on hips, elbows back.

Neck (or "Head"): Same position, but hands on back of neck, elbows back.

Cross: Same position, but arms extended full length out from body, palms down.

Grind: Maintaining the "Cross" position, turn palms up, and then make ten circles with hands, the diameter of the circle to be one foot (Fig. 12). In doing this keep the arms horizontally out from the body, and on the backward sweep try to make the shoulder-blades almost meet at the back. (See Fig. 4, Chapter XI.) Rest ten seconds. Deep breathing with hands on hips.


No. 2. Attention!

Stretch: Lift arms straight up above head, palms out.

Reach: Bring arms down, extending them straight out in front. Palms in, but keep shoulders back.

Fling: Bend elbows out and bring hands in to chest, palms down. Then to "Cross," back to "Fling" again, and so on ten times. (See Fig. 13.)



Wave: Assume "Reach" position. Now bend the arms sharply at wrists and just let the fingers interlock. Bring the inside of elbow close to head, keeping head up. Then, by turning the body at the hips and keeping the back straight, cause the hands to make a complete circle of the diameter of a foot (Fig. 14). Do this five times, and then reverse for five times. (See Fig. 12, Chapter XIII.) Rest ten seconds. Then deep breathing, lifting arms on inhalations and crossing them on exhalations.

No. 3. Attention!

Stride: Separate the feet by taking a step to right, bringing the feet about eighteen inches apart.

WEAVE-Common fault of not keeping shoulders and arms in line.

Weave: Turn the body at the hips while keeping the arms horizontally extended and bending the right knee slightly. Bring the right hand down to the ground midway between the feet and let the left arm go up, keeping its horizontal position from the body, the spine doing the turning. Hold this position five seconds; then up to "Cross" position and turn the body the reverse way, bending left knee and bringing left hand to ground. Hold five seconds, then up. Repeat five times for each hand. (See Fig. 14, Chapter XIII.)


Curl: From "Cross" position, clench the fists and bring arms in slowly to the side and up into the armpits, at the same time bending the body and head backward (Fig. 15). The fists should be clenched and the wrists bent, bring the hands in toward the chest, the elbows out, and inhaling. (See Fig. 9, Chapter XII.)

Forward: From the above position, gradually bring the body up to an erect position, extending the hands to a "Reach" position, and slowly bend the body forward at the hips, exhaling at the same time, and letting the hands go back past the hips and as high behind the back as possible, keeping the head up and the eyes looking directly forward, not down. Go down about to the level of the wrist, then back to "Cross" position again, and repeat this backward and forward movement five times.

No. 4. Attention! (Cross-Crawl!) Assume the "Cross" position.

Crawl: While still keeping the neck back, the chin, and the chest arched, slowly lift the right hand and arm until it points directly upward, then curl in right arm over the head, at the same time dropping the left shoulder and sliding the left hand and arm down along the side of the left leg until the fingers reach directly to the knee, or as far as comfortable. Now come back from this position. (See Figs. 7 and 8, Chapter XII.) "Cross" once more and raise the other arm in similar fashion. Repeat this five times on each side.

No. 5. Attention! (Cross-Crouch!)

Crouch: Assume the "Cross" position of the arms and "Stride" stand, feet about eighteen inches apart. Now, keeping the head up and the neck back and back straight, bend the knees and come down slowly, not too far (Fig. 16), until fully accustomed to it, and up again. Repeat this five times. (See Fig. 10, Chapter XII.)


No. 6. Attention!

Heel-raising: Lift the heels from the floor, maintain the position on the toes for a second, then back onto the heels once more. Repeat some ten times, then take the "Stride" stand and repeat ten times in this position.

No. 7. Attention!


Wing-work: Raise the arms to the "Cross." Then lift arms straight over head, inhaling; then, bending body forward and keeping the neck straight, swing the arms backward at the shoulder, exhaling, and come forward until the body is about level with the waist; then up again (Fig. 17). Picture the arms as looking like a bird's wings. Repeat this five times in each direction. (See Figs. 15, 15a, Chapter XIII.) Final deep breathing, with arm lifting as before.



This is the same movement as in the ordinary "Cross" position, except that the hands are kept clenched.

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