Are You Up To the Army’s New Fitness Training Test?

Posted by Beth Hartman

A lot of us think we’re in pretty good shape, especially if we like to keep ourselves active, watch the carbs we eat and exercise on a regular basis. But, if you’re in the right age group, which is between the ages of 18- to 35 and 35 is pushing it! You may want to see just how good of shape you really are in by taking the Army’s new physical fitness test. You can see how well you measure up against those young men and women that would like to be all that they can be by joining the army.

The main reason the army is changing up their fitness tests is to make it a more overall test of a recruit ability to perform so that they are ready for combat. The current one that had been modified in the 80’s does not measure how well a soldier will perform under fire. The service has spent more than a decade looking for a better way to not only measure combat readiness but also to train soldiers to that standard while reducing injuries.

Now, the army has a core fitness program that they feel addresses this obstacle to helping instill stamina, strength/ and agility training into a fitness program. They’ve created a 6-module exercise readiness test that consists of 6 fitness sets. They have called it the “Army Fitness Readiness Test”.

The way this was created is that When you reverse-engineer combat specific tasks, you end up needing to train five different domains of physical fitness, Lt. Col. David Feltwell, the principal doctrine developer for the Army ‘s physical readiness program. Those domains include muscular and cardiovascular endurance — which is measured by muscular strength, explosive strength and agility.

There were a lot of difference choices to represent all of those types of fitness.

“We then selected somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 field-expedient tests — everything from pullups and sit-ups to bench press and dead lift, to vertical jump to sumo squats — and we administered those to a large sample at Fort Riley [in Kansas] in 2014,” East said.

They narrowed those options down to six:

1. A two-mile run.

2. A 250-meter sprint/drag/carry. Soldier begins in the prone position, stands up and sprints 25 meters to the far line, returns to the start line, pulls sled backwards to the far line, returns backwards with sled to the start line, grasps two 30-pound kettlebells and runs 25 meters to the far line, returns with the kettlebells to the start line, drops kettlebells at start line, turns and sprints 25 meters to the far line, and returns to the start/finish line.

3. A maximum weight deadlift.

4. The leg tuck. Soldier grasps a climbing bar with alternating neutral grip in the dead hang position; flexes with elbows, hips, and waist to bring knees up, touching both elbows with knees; and returns to the dead hang position. Repeat.

5. Standing power throw. Soldier tosses a 10-pound medicine ball backward.

6. T-pushup. The soldier begins in the down position, pushes the body into up position, lowers body to the ground, extends arms out to the sides into the T position, and then returns to the starting position

“The sprint/drag/carry is actually pretty rough,” said Sgt. Thomas Masi, of B Company, 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. “I didn’t think it was going to be that bad.”

A 2017 Best Ranger Competition winner agreed that it was the most challenging event.
“I think the sprint, drag and carry — just because it’s an all-out event and incorporates a bunch of different muscle groups so it stresses you more than just an individual muscle group,

“When that test was developed, they were still under the guidance of zero equipment,” said East, the research physiologist at CIMT. “What we know is that we can’t assess muscular strength with no equipment. You have to pick something up and put it down.”

If in looking at this test you recognize the fact that it is pretty similar to a “HIIT” exercise program. (High-Intensity Interval Training) which has gained in popularity with fitness buffs over the past several years.

So, you don’t have to enlist to go through this grueling test. You can join a gym or fitness training group and see just how well you measure up against what the new army recruits are doing to get in the best possible shape to defend our country.

Keeping track of your results as you put yourself through the paces of a HIIT workout is important to make sure your performing at your maximum, and also that your rest periods are also being taking at the right time and right duration. In order to track these results properly using an Activity monitor with a heart rate function along with V02Max functionality can be beneficial to your end results. One such device is the Garmin Vivoactive 3 GPS Smart Activity Tracker  With help from Elevate™ Wrist-based heart rate technology², Vivoactive 3 lets you monitor key aspects of your fitness and stress to show how your body responds under various circumstances. For example, it’s able to estimate your VO2 max and fitness age, 2 indicators of physical fitness that can often improve over time with regular exercise. It also tracks your heart rate variability (HRV), which is used to calculate and track your stress level. Vivoactive 3 can make you aware when physical or emotional sources cause your stress level to rise so you can find a way to relieve the pressure.

So with using a fitness tracker like the Vívosmart, you can monitor your progress as you put yourself through your own PT training. Then you can prove it to yourself that you are really performing at your peak and being “All That You Can Be”!

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