Filed under: Physical fitness testing
The Army has several resources to help you train for the Physical Fitness Test (APFT) and to build and maintain your fitness levels throughout the year. HPRC has issued a series of documents to help you increase aerobic fitness as well as muscular strength and endurance. Under the Army PRT tab in our Physical Fitness Program Guides section you will find links to videos that demonstrate specific preparation, conditioning, and recovery drills found in TC 3-22.20, Army Physical Readiness Training, as well as other sources of information to guide you in developing and carrying through on your training commitment.
Army Physical Readiness Training, TC 3-22.20, is available in an app for your iPhone. The app includes exercise videos and workouts to help you succeed in increasing your cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength and endurance, and mobility—all of which are required to pass the Army Physical Fitness Test.
In this new era of military human performance optimization, soldiers can forget about doing sit-ups. For the first time in 30 years, the Army has updated its fitness testing to better prepare soldiers for the demands of combat. CNN Health online reports that the Army replacing its Physical Fitness Test with an Army Physical Readiness Test. Changes to the fitness test include reducing the run for soldiers from two miles to 1.5 miles and replacing traditional drills such as sit-ups with "rowers."
Saturday May 8, 2010: This was the first day in my new PFT/OCS workout journal.
Three-mile run: never finished
Sit-ups/2 min – 59
"Tough times don't last. Tough people do." – Gregory Peck.
This is the quote that I think about every day while I’m training for my upcoming ten weeks at OCS this summer. I have never been OUT of shape, but lately I have wondering how IN shape I truly am. So it got me thinking of what is the best way to train for this “hell” that I have heard of. I started with the traditional “practice makes perfect” strategy and started running every day, doing two minutes of sit-ups, and trying to do 20 correct pull-ups without failing. I have to admit it was very hard, and I was not seeing results as fast as I had expected. I am a martial arts instructor and can roll with a student for 20 minutes without gasping for air, but after 1.5 miles of jogging, I was contemplating sleeping on the sidewalk of the street! Now, everyone knows that a basic principle of getting healthy is discipline, but it starts with disciplining your mind before your body. I have a couple Marine buddies who have gone through OCS, and they gave me a whole bunch of advice. I combined most of the things I wrote down from then and have found some helpful tips for training for OCS:
- Switch up your training regimen—so that you do not overwork certain muscles in your body. (See the HPRC website for ideas from various military fitness programs.)
- Breakfast is ESSENTIAL!—It gives you the energy to start out your day with a bang.
- Know your limits—do not train to the point of pain. When you’ve had enough, call it quits and start again tomorrow.
- Consistency is the goal—train most days unless you are sick—or incredibly sore from the 1st day, like I was. Every day does not have to be intense. [HPRC specialist’s note: At least one or two days of rest each week is advisable when ramping up to this activity level. The goal is to get to OCS strong, fit, and ready, not broken before you get there.]
- Don’t give up—I imagine that the real thing will be 10x harder then what I am doing to prepare. It helps give me the sense that things are easy now.
Thanks to tips like these—and consistency—I managed to get a 297/300 on my PFT test in December, which allowed me to qualify for OCS training. My score was based off these results:
Three-mile run: 18:09
Sit-ups/2 min: 100
Nine seconds shorter on my run and I would have had a perfect score of 300! Yes, I was extremely happy about this—but also nervous because now I had one year to graduate, and I had to stay in this kind of shape?!
Saturday March 5, 2011:
Basically, for all those people out there who are trying to get in shape for boot camp, OCS, or even just a PFT test, take these tips into consideration. They have done amazing things for me, and I hope they work for you. Now I have more confidence in myself, more energy, and a better overlook on all this. Start preparing your mind today for what your body will be going through tomorrow.
 Physical Fitness Training (PFT)/Officer Candidate School (OCS)
The November 7 edition of Army Times.com is reporting that a new Army PT test is coming. According to the article, officials are putting the final touches on a new physical fitness test that will be proposed to Army leadership at year’s end.
Click on link below to access the article.
Failing a fitness test can get a Marine passed over for promotion, perhaps ending career hopes. According to this article from KVOA.com based in Tucson, AZ, there is growing pressure to hold marines to a higher standard for physical fitness and combat readiness. In response, the Marine Corps Semper Fit program is investing millions in new gyms with functional workout rooms, recreation programs, and nutrition classes.
Are PRTs still accurate assessments of physical fitness levels? The days of calisthenics and running several miles for exercise are gone. Comfort Zones and gyms on- or off-base are filled with exercise toys such as cable cross machines, Roman benches, kettlebells, and miles of cardiovascular equipment. Most military personnel are exercising with the latest technology, or at least with free weights. Shouldn’t PRTs utilize the most current knowledge of functional exercise and movement?
“Functional movement” is defined as real-world biomechanics of body movement. Sit-ups and push-ups are not functional; they show strength and/or flexibility, but not true overall fitness.
Gray Cook’s Functional Movement Screening (FMS), however, assesses the quality of seven functional movements to determine a persons’ symmetry, grading each movement (21 being a perfect score). FMS might be a better assessment in terms of a person’s total fitness level. Most studies using FMS have evaluated the prediction of injury rates based on the level of symmetry (for example: Military Joe shows rotary stability in the left shoulder but not in the right – the asymmetry of his shoulders most likely predicts injury when climbing walls in theater).
An unpublished study by COL Francis O’Connor, MD on injury prediction in Marine Corps Officer candidates (MC) found that those who scored 14 or higher (out of 21) had a lower injury rate. A study on NFL players also had similar findings.
Should the military re-evaluate its PRTs in terms of functional movement or should it stay with its current program? Contact us here at the HPRC if you have thoughts to share.