Physical training test receives major upgrades

| March 10, 2011 | 0 Comments
Luis Hernandez (front) and Danica Foster (back), both instructors at the U.S. Army Physical Fitness School at Fort Jackson, S.C., perform the third event in the APRT, the one-minute rower.

Luis Hernandez (front) and Danica Foster (back), both instructors at the U.S. Army Physical Fitness School at Fort Jackson, S.C., perform the third event in the APRT, the one-minute rower.

Story and Photo by
Rob McIlvaine
Army News Service

Eight posts to pilot two new tests for strength, endurance and mobility

FORT JACKSON, S.C. — For the first time since 1980, the Army’s physical fitness test is being overhauled.

It will be replaced by both the Army Physical Readiness Test and the Army Combat Readiness Test.

Over the next few months, the two tests will be conducted at eight installations as part of a pilot program, where standards will also be developed. The new tests could go Armywide in October, said Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, deputy commanding general, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, Initial Military Training, at Fort Monroe, Va.

“Today’s PT test does not adequately measure components of strength, endurance or mobility,” Hertling said.

Hertling and Frank Palkoska, director of the Army’s Physical Fitness School, began discussing the need for better physical fitness tests while together at West Point’s Department of Physical Education, in the early 1980s. But it was the progression of sports science that led to development of the new APRT and ACRT.

“We needed to come up with a program for the incoming young Soldiers who were not as focused on health, fitness and nutrition,” Hertling said.

The two tests align with the new Army Physical Readiness Training program, outlined in Training Circular 3-22.20, which began Armywide implementation in August.

The new training involves anaerobic exercise.

Anaerobic exercise leads to greater performance in short duration, high-intensity activities; athletes use it to promote strength, speed and power. Bodybuilders use it to build muscle mass.

Aerobic exercise includes lower intensity activities performed for longer periods of time.

The Army, said Hertling, has been on an ebb and flow of physical fitness training for the last 60 to 70 years.

“Our fitness regimen and fitness testing is very different to what we do after we’ve experienced combat,” Hertling explained. “But right after Vietnam, some of the fitness mavens, like Ken Cooper, sold the military on aerobic training. But this isn’t necessarily the way we do things in combat.”

One of the initial concerns on changing the test, Hertling said, was anticipated comments such as “Why are we changing? It’s been good enough for 30 years.”

“In fact, just the opposite is happening. Soldiers enjoy a challenge, and many have come up to me and said, ‘Thank you for fighting for these changes,’” Hertling said.

The old test required completion of three events: two minutes of push-ups, two minutes of sit-ups and a two-mile run.

The new APRT has five events:

  • A 60-yard shuttle run measures lower body muscular strength and anaerobic power, assessing speed, agility and coordination.
  • A one-minute rower (variation of a sit-up) measures total body muscular endurance and assesses total body coordination.
  • A standing long jump measures lower body muscular strength and assesses lower body power.
  • A one-minute push-up measures upper body muscular endurance and assesses trunk stability.
  • A 1.5-mile run measures lower body muscular endurance and aerobic capacity and assesses speed stability.

The new ACRT has five events:

  • A 400-meter run assesses upper body muscular endurance and anaerobic power, coordination, speed and stability.
  • Individual movement techniques assess upper and lower body muscular endurance, agility, balance, coordination, speed and stability.
  • Shuttle sprints assess total body muscular strength and endurance, agility, coordination, speed, stability and power.
  • A casualty drag assesses total body muscular strength and endurance, agility, coordination, speed, stability and power.
  • An agility sprint assesses lower body anaerobic power, speed and power.

The proposed pilot test sites are Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.; Fort Benning, Ga.; Fort Sill, Okla.; Fort Jackson, S.C.; Fort Bliss, Texas; West Point, N.Y.; Fort Bragg, N.C.; and Fort Lewis, Wash.

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Category: Army News Service, Fitness, News

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