Europe’s training command paving way for new physical fitness standards
July 8, 2011
GRAFENWOEHR, Germany "From the noncommissioned officer attending the Warrior Leader Course (WLC) to the Soldiers at the unit, the Joint Multinational Training Command is training Soldiers on the U.S. Army’s new physical training model.
The JMTC’s 7th Army Non-commissioned Officer Academy (NCOA) began incorporating the new physical training manual, TC 3-22.20, into the WLC’s physical fitness training regimen. The WLC teaches Soldiers the basic leadership skills they need to become Army leaders.
“The best way to get them incorporated into the Army is through our young leaders,” said 1st Sgt. Dana Greenley, Deputy Commandant of the NCO Academy.
The graduates of WLC take what they have learned and experienced back to their respective units.
Staff Sgt. David Martin explains how he incorporates the new physical training in his unit. “You teach it in steps,” he says, all the while trying to develop the “soldier/athlete” required of soldiers deploying.
During his tenure as the U. S. Army Training and Doctrine Command’s (TRADOC’s) Deputy Commanding General for Initial military training, Lt. Gen. Mark P. Hertling, the commanding general of U.S. Army in Europe, was responsible for overseeing the testing and implementation of the new physical readiness training.
“Today's PT test does not adequately measure components of strength, endurance, or mobility. The events have a low correlation to the performance of warrior tasks and battle drills and are not strong predictors of successful physical performance on the battlefield or in full spectrum operations," said Hertling.
In Fiscal year 2011, the Army Physical Readiness Test (APRT) will replace the existing Physical Fitness Test, commonly referred to as the PT test, army-wide.
“The goal is to align the training and the tests with tasks that Soldiers have to perform on the battlefield so that the commander has a better tool to measure preparedness and can guide training for the unit” said Frank Palkoska, the director of the U.S. Army Physical Fitness School.
The current PT test includes a 2 mile run, 2 minutes of sit-ups and 2 minutes of push-ups.
The new test eliminates the sit-ups entirely, cuts the time for the push-ups in half, lowers the run distance to a mile and a half, and adds a 60-yard shuttle run, 1 minute seated rower, and a standing long jump.
Studies conducted by the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) found the current physical training’s high speed and repetition during the push-ups and sit-ups causes muscle injury, as well as injuries caused by overuse of hips, knees, ankles, and feet from the jarring and lengthy running. The new APRT addresses this by making the run distance shorter which, according to Hertling, makes you run faster to start off instead of pacing yourself. With the rowers and push-ups, there is no “rest” position; once you stop, you are done. Hertling found that after one minute of push-ups and sit-ups muscle strain kicks in, with anything beyond a minute creating overexertion, resulting in injury.
Greenley notes that there are many similarities between the older version of the training manual and the TC 3-22.20.
“I enjoyed it because it’s very similar-there’s a lot of the same exercises- but it’s more structured,” said recent WLC graduate Spc. Daniel Luksan.
According to Capt. Chad Jones, JMTCHeadquarters and Headquarters Company Commander, the transition will not be very difficult for units, specifically his own, if Soldiers are given enough time to prepare and given a date when the APRT will be officially implemented.
“If you do the PT every morning and you do the new prescribed exercises that go along with it I feel pretty confident everyone will be successful come test time,” said Jones.
The test may seem like it will be easier with the shortened distance, times, and eliminations, but soldiers should not be deceived.
“This test is much harder than it looks. I’ve done it and it certainly stresses different energy systems much more than you anticipate,” said Hertling.
For additional information, contact JMTC PAO at firstname.lastname@example.org or at the JMTC Public Affairs Office commercial phone number. If calling from outside of Germany, dial 0049-9641-83-7776. If calling from inside of Germany, dial 09641-83-7776.