T Nation

Air Force Bases - Weightlifting


Does anyone have any experience with weight training in the Air Force? I know there must be a gym at the bases, but are they any good?
I am particularly interested in olympic style lifting, and wonder if there are any clubs in the AF.

I will be at Goodfellow AFB, TX during tech school, and hopefully Beale AFB, CA for my job.


Depends on the base you are at. The gyms are pretty good but, obviously, the smaller the base the smaller the gym. I spent over 20 years in the Air Force and have seen some really first rate gyms. Then again I've seen some dumps too. Good luck!


I'll echo what zube had to say. And as far as the OLY lifting, I haven't seen any AF gyms set uo for it specifically.



This may be interesting... from the "Sizzle and Burn" article by Chris Shugart (the anual NSCA seminal in LV)

Implement Training at the U.S. Air Force Academy ? Allen Hedrick

This was the first of several presentations this year that had about the same theme: strongman-style training and/or strongman equipment rules. Here are some highlights:

? Hedrick, head strength and conditioning coach at the Air Force Academy, first emphasized that this wasn't strongman training, but rather using strongman implements for athletic training. The movement patterns you see in strongman competitions don't always carry over well to athletic training, he noted. He used lifting stones to an elevated platform as an example.

? Although the speaker said that barbells and dumbbells still make up the bulk of his athletes' programs, he noted that he's willing to sacrifice the ability to demonstrate strength with a barbell (1RMs) for functional strength on the field and more wins.

? Train movements, not muscle groups.

? The password was "water-filled." Hedrick is big on training with kegs filled to various levels with water, sand, and even antifreeze (less rust and denser). These are welded shut to create unstable implements for field strength. He emphasized that this isn't the ever popular yet much lampooned "unstable surface" training, but rather "unstable implement" training.

? Coach Hedrick has rows and rows of kegs for his athletes which were donated by Coors. They range from 20 to 300 pounds each.

? The liquid filled implements provide "active resistance" as opposed to the static resistance of traditional equipment.

? Along with kegs, he has water-filled strongman "logs" of all sizes and some very cool loadable tractor tires for flipping. He also has some mini-logs that his athletes use as water-filled dumbbells.

? Since he started using the unstable implements, Hedrick says his teams are more injury-free than ever.

? Coach Hedrick is now experimenting with adding chains to Olympic-style lifts.

In short, this was some of the most innovative and interesting stuff I've seen regarding real functional strength as opposed to that "headstands on a Swiss ball" stuff. I've done a little keg training and found it to be challenging and effective.


Any base you go to will have a gym. Only ones i've been to are Altus, OK and the Academy. Altus was nice, but mostly machines. The Academy's got pretty much what ever you'll need, and lots of fellow lifters.


Here at F.E. Warren we have 2 gyms a 24 hour with an indoor track and all the weights and racks we need, also the base built a brand new 7 million dollar gym with 2 basketball courts full lockerooms with steam and showers raquet ball courts, and racks and lots of bars and weights.

There is also a juice bar and a deadlift/oly platform which most people put a bench on and do curls but its there!! There is also a 3rd gym on base with a boxing area and wrestling mats.


"Here at F.E. Warren we have 2 gyms a 24 hour with an indoor track and all the weights and racks we need, also the base built a brand new 7 million dollar gym with 2 basketball courts full lockerooms with steam and showers raquet ball courts, and racks and lots of bars and weights.

There is also a juice bar and a deadlift/oly platform which most people put a bench on and do curls but its there!!"

This is just about word for word what we have here at kadena. But we have a lot of pull up bars and martial arts areas. The gym staff here at kadena is pretty cool, so they wont mind you doing jerks and cleans and snatches. As far as an OL club you should start it yourself, because it will look good on your EPR:) and it will give you a support group.
Good luck


Air Force bases tend to have some badass gyms, often way better than the average Army gym. I have yet to see a military post lacking the basic lifting facility(minus deployment FOB's and even then we brought our own weightsets...and eventually built-up weight rooms)


Goodfellow has a shithole gym, Dyess up the road has a brand new nice gym. Beale isn't all the great, but there is a sport specific gym down the road, that would be exactly what you are looking for.




nice. thanks


Ahh Goodfellow. Fire or Intell?? As I remember, goodfellow has a shitty everything, but maybe they've changed things since I was there. For the most part I don't find most AF gyms to be T-Nation friendly, meaning there's a shitload of machines, plenty of smith machines, and usually a lack of power racks and good free-weight equip. That and you usually have to deal with the people who frequent the gyms, who I would also refer to as Non T-Nation friendly. But just like everything else about a base, it is what you make of it. Good luck at Goodfellow, hope you enjoy Beale!


thanks. yeh my job will be imagery interpreter. I will only be there for 6 months, so it won't be forever.

my biggest concern is losing my great form that I have now, in basic training. (I have highly specialized in bike sprinting)
I leave in 10 weeks.


AHHHHHHHHHH Lackland AFB. Pretty much the only leg work you will get is marching and lunges during PT. You will run and do the confidence course and all that. Oh and learn how to fold your undies and t-shirts into neat little squares. I was in the 220th. Here is some helpful hints, do not volunteer to be the chow runner but volunteer for KP, you get to eat more on those days. Have they told you about being recycled??


I heard about the recycling.

Think they will let me do some bodyweight jump squats? :wink:
maintain 'some' explosiveness. I might have to sneak around and do them when no one is looking.


I'll tell you to prepare to lose some conditioning while you're at basic. You can also get any ideas of weight training out of your head now. The pt you will do is pretty limited and consists mostly of calisthenics and running.

In regards to facilities on base, I second what everyone else has been saying. It will depend on where you're stationed, but the Air Force is all about fitness right now. Our gym has basketball and racquetball courts; tons of treadmills, elipticals, and bikes for cardio. The weight room is pretty large.

Unfortunately they removed a couple of our squat racks in favor of some nice new cable machines, but hey at least we still have one. We also have an oly platform that rarely ever gets used and plenty of benches and dumbbells. We also have a few other extras: climbing rope, heavy bag, etc. Overall, it's a very solid gym. It doesn't hurt that it's all free, either. Hope that helps.


If you are quick at finishing your assigned detail then you may have some time before TAPS and then lights out to go into the day room and hit up some different cals. But I suggest concentrate on what is required of you and then when you hit tech. school to regain your strength.


No. I was a TI and I can say this, while you are in Basic Training forget about weight lifting and for that matter 6-7 meals a day and supplements and anything else connected with bodybuilding. It is not going to happen, not now not ever.

Focus on completing Basic without having your butt chewed off everyday (you WILL get yelled at no matter how well you do) Good Luck