Ready, set, go: Army introduces new fitness tests
March 2, 2011
- Fort Jackson is one of eight installations to participate in the pilot program for two new fitness tests.
- The Army Physical Readiness test, which is proposed to replace the Army Physical Fitness Test, will go from three to five events.
- The Army Combat Readiness Test tests Soldiers in situations they are likely to encounter in combat situations.
- Hertling: "It's one thing to be fit ... it's quite another thing to be ready for the things you're being asked to do."
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- After more than 30 years of performing push-ups, sit-ups and a 2-mile run, Soldiers may soon see a change in the way the Army measures physical readiness.
Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, TRADOC's deputy commanding general for Initial Military Training, introduced the proposed Army Physical Readiness Test and the Army Combat Readiness Test at the Drill Sergeant School Tuesday.
If approved by the chief of staff of the Army, the APRT will replace the current Army Physical Fitness Test. The APRT is a five-event test that aims to assess all aspects of physical fitness, including mobility, coordination and strength.
Hertling said that although the current "PT test" provides commanders with a snapshot of a Soldier's fitness, it does not accurately portray a Soldier's readiness for the physical challenges of combat.
"It's one thing to be fit and have anaerobic and muscular fitness," Hertling said. "It's quite another thing to be ready for the things you're being asked to do. And in our case, it's being asked to be a tactical athlete or a Soldier."
The new test will start with a 60-yard shuttle run, during which Soldiers run for 5 yards, pick up a wooden block, run back to the starting line, place the block behind the line and then repeat the same procedure by running 10 and 15 yards, respectively. Other events include one minute of push-ups and one minute of performing a rower, a total body exercise that replaces the sit-up.
Both timed events will be performed without resting to provide an accurate muscular endurance assessment. The current 2-mile run will be replaced by a 1.5-mile run. Soldiers will also have to perform a standing long jump.
Frank Palkoska, director of the Army Physical Fitness School, said that the APRT is linked to the new physical readiness training circular published last August.
"It's focused on warrior tasks and battle drills," Palkoska said. "And, basically, if you're conducting the training to standard, the assessment will be the easiest training day you have."
The second test introduced, the Army Combat Readiness Test, will be performed in the Army Combat Uniform. Soldiers will run 400 meters carrying their weapons before entering a course that includes individual movement techniques, an ammo can shuttle sprint, a casualty drag and an agility sprint.
Palkoska and his staff will conduct a pilot of the new tests on eight installations, including Fort Jackson. The pilot is tentatively scheduled to run through July and will include between 7,000 and 10,000 male and female Soldiers of different age groups, military occupational specialties and Army components who will take both of the proposed tests. The results will be analyzed to create a scoring scale for the new tests. The pilot will also determine how often each test will be administered.
Hertling said a firm timeline has not been established, but he hopes to see the APRT and ACRT implemented in early 2012.
"It will require a culture change," he said. "We've got a lot of folks who believe that if you score 290 or above on the APFT you are in great shape and prepared for any combat mission. We're here to tell you, 'That's not the case.'"