By Alexandra Hemmerly-BrownMay 12, 2011
FORT BENNING, Ga. (Army News Service, May 12, 2011) -- The Army's new physical fitness test was administered to a group of Fort Benning, Ga., Soldiers this week as part of the service's pilot program.
The Army Physical Fitness School's goal is to test 15,000 to 20,000 Soldiers by September in order to establish standards for the new test, officials said.
The Army Physical Readiness Test has been administered so far to groups of Soldiers at Fort Jackson, S.C.; Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.; and Fort Sill, Okla.
About 30 National Guard Soldiers took the APRT Tuesday at Fort Benning. The test has also been administered to basic trainees at Benning, said Frank Palkoska, director of the U.S. Army Physical Fitness School.
Testing for Fort Stewart, Ga.; Fort Bragg, N.C.; and Fort Bliss, Texas is planned for July.
The new APRT includes five events: a 60-yard shuttle run, one minute of the rower (a modified crunch), the standing long jump, one minute of push-ups and a 1.5-mile run.
Master Sgt. Robert Hoskins, chief training manager at the APFS, said the current Army Physical Fitness Test, developed in the 1980s, is outdated.
"Science has changed since then," Hoskins said. "Science has matured, and we now know that there are better ways to give a commander an indication of a Soldier's physical abilities."
Hoskins noted that one of the ways the new test is more effective is not giving a rest period during the push-up or rower events. He said letting Soldiers rest doesn't give a true appraisal of their muscular fitness, and that muscle failure is usually achieved in about one minute of continuous exercise.
"I think the test works," Hoskins said. "You have to believe in it, and you have to try it."
Hoskins explained that the events in the new test were selected by a board of sergeants major, doctors, and scientists and that from a medical standpoint these five exercises provide a more comprehensive report of a Soldier's overall fitness.
However, Hoskins said it's possible that all five events might not make the test's final cut -- that will be decided from the data collected during this pilot period.
Sgt. Michael Mateo, a support Soldier for the National Guard's Warrior Training Center at Benning, said he didn't think the new test was very hard, but it was harder than the current APFT.
"I think with more practice, it would be fairly easy to get a good score," Mateo said.
And practice is exactly what Hoskins wants Soldiers to do.
"If you actually do the new Physical Readiness Training, the training will drive the test," Hoskins said.