It’s about time the military upgraded their fitness test. They’ve been following outdated standards since the 70’s and 80s. Soldiers need to be better prepared on the battlefield rather than holding the record for the most sit-ups. It doesn’t make sense to be testing for sit-ups when sit-ups have nothing to do with dragging a 200-pound soldier 20-40m.
Testing should be comparable to the training and combat lifestyle of a soldier. The new tests include different ways to assess a soldier’s strength, agility, coordination, and speed. However, one of the most important things is that recruits are no longer scored based on age or gender, and standards are now the same for everyone.
Recruits need to complete the six tests in two hours.
- Maximum Deadlift for three reps. The passing weight is 140 pounds.
- Standing Power Throw. The passing distance is throwing a 10-pound medicine ball overhead and backward for 10 feet.
- Hand Release Pushups. The passing number of pushups is 10. But you need to complete as many as you can in 2 minutes. The hand release pushup is done by slowing lowering down to the ground. Once your chest is on the ground, pull your hands off the ground and then pull them down and do a pushup.
- Sprint-Drag Carry. The test consists of five 50-meter shuttles: sprint, sled drag, lateral shuffle, medicine ball or kettlebell suitcase carry, and the final is a sprint again. The test needs to be completed in 3 minutes.
- Hanging Leg Tucks or Plank. The passing score for Hanging Leg Tucks is 20. Hanging from a pull-up bar, you have to bring your knees up to your chest. If you choose the plank, you need to hold it for 2minutes and 9 seconds.
- 2-mile run. 21minutes or less is the passing time ran on an outdoor flat track.
I like the additions they made to the Army Fitness Test. It is much better. I would like to see them add a Pull-up test, medicine ball rotation throw, and many other functional soldier movements.
According to Army statistics, they spend about $577 million a year treating injuries, especially musculoskeletal ones. And, more than half of their soldiers experienced an injury in 2019. In addition, another statistic shown by the Army showed that about 17% of Army soldiers are obese. So, it makes sense to revamp the fitness program to better prepare soldiers and reduce the risks of injury. They should also include functional movement assessments and corrections. This can also help mitigate musculoskeletal costs and educate soldiers on how to move better.
I respect Democratic senators Kristen Gillibrand and Richard Blumenthal for standing up for women saying that the fitness test was too hard for females. But, truthfully, in combat, hard doesn’t matter. If needed, soldiers need to pull a 200 lbs. person or sprint on a whim.
It’s not about the test being too hard for a woman; it’s about preparation for the test for any gender. So, male or female, whoever decides to enter the military, needs to prepare for the test and combat life. Soldiers are not of men and women; they are genderless warriors.