Sunday, December 3, 2017

New Army Physical Fitness Test Undergoing Assessment

The Soldier Readiness Test (SRT) is a new three-phase, seven-event test that Army Forces Command is developing to measure unit combat readiness that will replace the current three event Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT). The age-old old trifecta of run, pushups and sit-ups — as tested in the Army Physical Fitness Test — is on its way out as a measurement of combat readiness. It only measures aerobic endurance and one type of muscular endurance, experts say.

Meanwhile, factors like agility, explosive power and strength give a more complete picture of physical fitness. The Army also wants to reduce overuse injuries among soldiers, so it is working to create a PT program that looks more like the physically demanding tasks related to soldiers’ jobs. This way, soldiers are strong enough and aware enough of their movements to prevent costly injuries that keep them out of the fight.

FORSCOM has not made any decisions about how the SRT would be graded, but officials told Army Times earlier this year that it would likely be administered for a commander’s awareness, and not as a test of record with possible career repercussions, like the Army Physical Fitness Test. The Army Combat Readiness Test, however, is still in development by Army Training and Doctrine Command, and that test, if approved, would be individually graded like the APFT.

That six-event test starts with a two-mile run and then goes into five more activities that measure strength, muscular endurance and explosive power. Maj. Gen. Malcolm Frost, commander of the Center for Initial Military Training, told Army Times earlier this year that the Army Combat Readiness Test, if approved, could eventually replace the APFT altogether.

The SRT, on the other hand, would be a bonus. The SRT breaks new ground for Army fitness tests not only because it requires equipment, but because it has no gender or age standards. There also are four variations based on the type of brigade a soldier belongs to.

The multi-functional brigade version of the test includes:

  • Flipping a 225-pound tire six times, in a straight line, in 30 seconds.

  • An agility test where soldiers shuffled 40 meters in a T shape in 30 seconds.

  • Dragging a 240-pound dummy 15 meters.

  • Tossing a 40-pound sandbag over a 7-foot barrier 10 times.

  • A 1.5-mile run, with four obstacles at the .75-mile mark, to be completed in 18 minutes.

Again, there are different version pending based on the type of Brigade. For instance, An armored brigade soldier will have to carry two 45-pound water cans 200 meters. Infantry brigade soldiers have to carry seven 40-pound sandbags five meters, then stack them. Stryker soldiers have to do a step-up drill with a 40-pound sandbag, doing 30 repetitions onto a 16-inch platform. And multi-functional brigade soldiers have to lift 10 40-pound sandbags three feet onto the back of a vehicle, stack them, and stack them on the ground again.

Coupled with the sandbag toss, soldiers have just three minutes to handle the heavy stuff. Of the soldiers who spoke to Army Times after the test, there were mixed responses about whether the sandbag toss or the run was the most brutal.

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