CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait (Army News Service, Jan. 24, 2011) -- The Army launched a new physical fitness program in 2003 for basic-training units at Fort Bliss, Texas, and that program is now rolling out across the Army to better prepare Soldiers for combat.

While newer Soldiers are unlikely to notice any changes, because many of the drills have been present in training for the past few years, the more seasoned Third Army Soldiers at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, noticed the new emphasis on the full-body workout, as they began their session before reveille on Jan. 13.

"Trainees did this PT program, but then the Army slowly filtered it out to all the bigger units," said Master Sgt. Jerry Mike, a Third Army Special Troops Battalion operations noncommissioned officer-in-charge.

Mike advises other NCOs to take the time to implement and learn the new Army PRT.

"This is not something you're going to learn in one day. This is going to take at least a week or two for you to get into the swing of things," he said.

The Army is implementing the plan to both limit injuries and increase readiness, Mike said, as he gave an example of one of the drills.

"During the 300-yard shuttle run, Soldiers must run to one end of the field and touch the ground with their left hand, then come back and touch the ground with their right hand. In combat, if you tell a Soldier to run toward a building 300 yards away, get ammo and come back, that Soldier knows it will be easy because they've done this in the PT program. It's muscle memory," Mike said.

Soldiers will also find the new program is designed to improve their PT scores, he said.

"There's a lot of stuff in the program that helps you with your running. You've got a lot of sprinting. It's been proven that sprinting helps with running longer routes, such as the two-mile and four-mile runs. You're also going to see a lot of core exercises. All the new fitness magazines focus on the core and that's what the Army has turned toward," Mike said.

Third Army Soldiers shared what motivates them to do their best with the new program.

"It's the start of a new year, we we're throwing all the old stuff out and starting a new set of exercises," said Master Sgt. Donna Swan, a Third Army logistics noncommissioned officer, who also expressed how vigorous the new program can be.

"I think you work more of your muscles. When you perform the exercise, you really feel it," Swan said.

Army leaders who also want to implement the program can refer to Army Training Circular TC 3-22.20 for more information.