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Thursday, March 3, 2011

New Army Physical Fitness Test to Simulate Battlefield Activities

On February 28, 2011 the Official U.S. Army website reported that, after 30 years of using the same physical fitness test, the Army is developing a new physical fitness test battery to better simulate battlefield activities. The previous test was comprised of the following 3 tests done with a short rest in between:
  • As many pushups as possible in 2 minutes
  • As many situps as possible in 2 minutes
  • Running 2 miles a quickly as possible
Scoring was based on age and gender. See our web site for testing details and scoring charts.
The revised test has not been finalized, but trials are being held this month on 7 Army bases and at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. A review and approval process will take place before full implementation. The article states that there will be a general physical readiness test for all soldiers and a physical readiness test for those going into combat:

Army Physical Readiness Test
  • 60-yard shuttle run
  • one-minute rower (see diagram)
  • standing long-jump
  • one-minute push-up
  • 1.5 mile run
Army Physical Readiness Test
The examinee will be timed while performing the following obstacle-course sequence while wearing a combat uniform and helmet and carrying a rifle:
  • 400-meter run
  • Low hurdles
  • high crawl
  • Over and under
  • casualty drag
  • Balance beam while holding ammo cans
  • Point and move
  • 100 yard shuttle sprint while holding ammo cans
  • Agility sprint around cones
See the Army article for a diagram of the course. As with the current Army Physical Fitness Test, scoring charts will be developed that take age and gender into consideration.

The change in the fitness tests appears to be a good one because the new test more closely simulates battlefield physical demands. It might even be better if the Physical Readiness Test were performed while the examinees carried a combat load similar to those normally worn by soldiers. is very supportive of functional training that seeks to improve performance in sports, combat, or daily living. Function-based training programs emphasize improved physical performance rather than appearance. Workouts designed to “get big” generally train isolated muscle groups and do not prepare the body for strenuous whole-body physical demands.

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