Army's Fitness Team Has World's Strongest Man in its Ranks

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Army Warrior Fitness Team member Sgt. 1st Class Anthony Fuhrman competing in the Official Strongman Games World Championships in December, 2018. (U.S. Army)
Army Warrior Fitness Team member Sgt. 1st Class Anthony Fuhrman competing in the Official Strongman Games World Championships in December, 2018. (U.S. Army)

FORT KNOX, Kentucky -- The U.S. Army's fledgling fitness team is not quite at full strength, but one of its sergeants is already known in athletic circles as the World's Strongest Man.

Sgt. 1st Class Anthony Fuhrman won the title, in his weight class, in December just before being selected for the service's new Warrior Fitness Team in February.

Fuhrman, an infantryman turned recruiter, placed first in the 105kg, or 231-pound, weight class at the six-event Official Strongman Games World Championships in Raleigh, North Carolina.

There was a deadlift ladder with four bars set up for 585 pounds, 675 pounds, 725 pounds and 765 pounds.

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"Whoever dead-lifted all of them the fastest won that event," Fuhrman said.

In the overhead press medley, he lifted a 315-pound log, 315-pound axle bar, 200-pound dumbbell and a 275-pound keg.

"The big thing out of it was I became kind of worldwide known as an international strongman," Fuhrman said. "It raised my stature in the sport."

Fuhrman, 31, is one of 15 Army athletes who will be based at Fort Knox and make up the Warrior Fitness Team, a new recruiting effort designed to attract individuals from the fitness world to consider service in the Army. The team was created as part of the Army's new recruiting strategy, which was launched last year after the service missed its recruiting goal by 6,500 soldiers.

The team, which is made up of male and female soldiers, will travel around the country, representing the Army at fitness competitions and health expositions. Currently, about half the team has arrived at Knox and is already training and competing in fitness competitions, said 1st Sgt. Glenn Grabs, who oversees the team.

"These guys train six-to-eight hours a day," Grabs said. "Each athlete has their own individual quirks that we need to work through and develop to make sure we are shoring up weaknesses."

Six of the team members recently competed in the 2019 Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus, Ohio, where they placed first out of 32 teams at the CrossFit Endeavor competition.

The team will also send two, four-member teams to compete in the Battle of the Barbells in Nashville later this month.

"We also have a lieutenant colonel and a captain who are going to be competing in the 2019 CrossFit games in Madison, Wisconsin. That's like the Super Bowl for CrossFit and functional fitness," Grabs said.

Capt. Rachel Schreiber tried out for the team after spending her first two years in the Army as an optometrist at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

"I have always been huge into CrossFit, so I was like this was definitely appealing to me," said the 26-year-old former long-distance runner from Pacific University in Oregon.

Schreiber just finished competing along with other teammates in the Granite Games last month in St. Paul, Minnesota.

"We did good; we took sixth place," she said. "We were in the elite division, and there were 38 teams in that division."

Schreiber has no recruiting experience but said she has found it easy to talk to fellow athletes about the Army.

"A lot of people just want to hear about the team, about the military in general," she said. "And it's just really easy to come up with a conversation because I kind of talk about being a doctor, the Army, fitness, and it all just kind of flows very simply."

Fuhrman said he already knows a lot of people in the sport from past competitions.

"A lot of them tend to be high school strength coaches that are plugged into the community," he said.

"I set up workouts with the football teams. I was in San Diego, and I knew one of the guys. And I worked out with 150 of his kids and just talked to them about my experience, my life ... and just spreading the message -- 'Hey look, this is what I did because of the Army.'"

The Warrior Fitness Team is not likely to grow beyond its 15 members, but Grabs said the Army may decide to expand the concept by setting up an at-large team that would compete in their off time with the support of the team.

"I could probably field an at-large team across the Army that are just competitive," he said, adding that the team could be as large as 50 members.

"There is a deep-seated passion for this as a sport," Grabs added. "They could be selected to ... actually wear our uniform and compete in … public in these competitions."

-- Matthew Cox can be reached at matthew.cox@military.com.

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