After using the same physical fitness test for more than 30 years, the U.S. Army is making radical changes that will better prepare its soldiers for action. Athletes take note.
The old test featured exercises focused on aerobic endurance. The new one emphasizes anaerobic conditioning to train the quick, powerful movements soldiers need on the battlefield. The Army believes that its soldiers are more likely to be accelerating and sprinting than jogging long distances.
Fortunately for athletes, this type of training is also perfect for the sports field. If you play football, basketball, volleyball or another sport, you can use the Army's tests to boost your performance, or just to see how you stack up in your own strength and conditioning.
Perhaps you’re thinking about joining the National Guard after school. Or maybe you're just trying to get into better shape for the upcoming season. Either way, check out the Army’s two new fitness tests, Physical Readiness and Combat Readiness. All stages of both tests are performed consecutively with no rest in between.
Physical Readiness Test
Replaces current Army Physical Fitness Test
- 60-Yard Shuttle Run – In this exercise, a soldier runs five yards, picks up a wooden block, runs back and puts the block on the starting line; he/she then repeats the run over 10-yard and 15-yard distances, for a total of 60 yards. This drill measures speed, agility, coordination and lower-body power
- One-Minute Rower – Replacing the two-minute Sit-Up test, this Sit-Up variation measures endurance, coordination and core strength. [Read step-by-step instructions for the Army One-Minute Rower.]
- Standing Long Jump – This quick test measures a soldier’s lower body power and muscle strength
- One-Minute Push-Up – Replacing the two-minute Push-Up test, this drill measures upper body endurance as well as core stability
- 1.5-Mile Run – The final installment of the Physical Readiness Test measures both endurance and aerobic capacity
Army Combat Readiness Test
Performed with uniform and weapon after Physical Readiness Test
- 400-Meter Run – This quick run measures endurance, speed and coordination
- Agility Course – An obstacle course that features hurdles, crawls and climbs to test upper and lower body endurance, agility, coordination and speed
- Casualty Drag – Soldier drags 180-pound sled to test total body strength and endurance in a combat scenario
- Balance Beam Ammo Can Carry – Soldier carries 30 pounds of ammunition over a balance beam to test agility and coordination
- Point-Aim-Move – Course simulates moving and shooting to test fitness in combat situations
- Ammo Can Shuttle Sprint – Soldier sprints with ammunition can to test endurance, speed and lower-body strength
- Agility Sprint – The final section of the course is a cone sprint that tests lower body anaerobic power, speed and coordination
Army Combat Readiness Test Set-Up
Perform better in the Army’s physical fitness test and in your sport by focusing on anaerobic workouts that simulate game (combat) conditions. You can start with these conditioning drills for better late-game performance.
Photo: U.S. Army