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An assault course (also called trim trail) is a special sort of trail that combines running and exercising. It was more popular in the 1970s than it is now.[original research?] It is heavily used in military training. The prime use is to evaluate progress and weaknesses within the team involved.[original research?]
Assault courses are used in military training to increase fitness, to demonstrate techniques that can be used for crossing very rough terrain, and to increase teamwork and self-confidence.[original research?]
Often military assault courses will be standardised, and will have, for example (in the UK), a six foot and a ten foot wall, a climbing net, some type of bar to climb over, and a high rope or net that must be crossed (these being or representing the most likely difficult terrain that a soldier will come across). The standardisation means that every course will be to the same quality, though it also means that there will be certain parts that may be familiar if practised.[original research?]
However, they have different purposes. For example, they can be short (less than a minute) with a range on the end (e.g. Junior Leaders, Folkestone), or long (five minutes) as at Thetford.[original research?] This is partially because of space restraints and training objectives. The short one can be run as an individual course and a warmup for the range. The long Thetford course is more of an exercise in endurance and teamwork.
The term "trim trail" has more recently been applied to a series of wooden exercise stations, scattered in parkland or other locations beside a jogging or walking trail, which can be used to develop balance, strength and coordination.[original research?] They are suitable for both adults and children, and the individual stations have been scientifically designed to provide a range of exercise.[original research?] Most have simple instructions attached to them, and the stations include balance beams, sit-up bars, chin-up bars, parallel bars, and more challenging stations such as pole climbs and ladder walks.[original research?] Bristol City Council have now installed trim trails in six parks, ranging in complexity from Withywood Park, which has a single station, to Victoria Park, which has nine. Funding for the trim trail at Hollingworth Lake, in Greater Manchester, which was the idea of the Friends of Hollingworth Lake and opened in August 2010, was provided by the Big Lottery Community Spaces fund.
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