03 March 2011

Big, Really BIG, Changes to APFT

The US Army is changing - no, overhauling - the old Army Physical Fitness Test.

For the first time in more than 20 years, the Army is gearing up to change its fitness test for every Soldier. Gone is the simple pushup, sit up, and run routine, and in its place comes a battery of sprints, jumps and rows.
And the service is also introducing a grueling series of slalom runs, balance beam walks, casualty drags, and ammo carries it calls the Army Combat Readiness Test -- a totally new evaluation that simulates the kind of body crush Joes experience on deployment.
"The key difference is between ‘readiness' and fitness," said Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, the Army's deputy commanding general for initial training. "It's one thing to be fit … it's quite another thing to be ready for the things we are being asked to do. And in our case, it's becoming a ‘tactical athlete.' "

What are those specific changes? Hold onto your hat...

Army officials are also looking into how to grade the new tests, with a simple "excellent," "good" or "poor" potentially replacing a pass-fail or a point score.
The Army hopes to have both tests in place servicewide by the fall.
The new assessments are intended to essentially force a Soldier into actually staying fit rather than just getting in shape for the test day. Now with a timed minute of "rowers" (a hybrid crunch that uses a combination of arm and leg motion), best of three standing long jumps, and a 60-yard combination of wind sprints, Soldiers will have to demonstrate they're ready for the long haul.

"The current [test] is a snapshot in time of the physical readiness of a Soldier," said Frank Palkoska, the Army's top fitness instructor. "The same is true for this new test but … if you're training to the [Army] standard, then the assessment will be the easiest training day you have."
As if that wasn't enough, the new Combat Readiness Test takes the stress up a level, forcing Soldiers through a barrage of obstacles that show commanders whether the trooper can perform in the heat of battle. It isn't exactly the "O Course," but it's close.
Soldiers will be required to hurdle over gates, negotiate barricades, drag a casualty, balance with weighted ammo cans, maneuver through a simulated shooting course, do 100 yards of wind sprints and weave through a slalom course.
And it's all timed.

By: Brant

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