Current Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) Will Stay
FORT EUSTIS, Va. (Aug. 26, 2012) -- The Army will retain the current three-event Army Physical Fitness Test, pending a study to determine the best
method to measure baseline Soldier physical readiness. Army Training and Doctrine Command found that implementing changes to how the Army
assesses physical fitness would be premature.
"We anticipate that the baseline Soldier physical readiness study, linked to Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills, may generate new information that affects
how we develop and test physical fitness," said TRADOC Command Sgt. Maj. Daniel A. Dailey.
WHAT WAS PROPOSED?
In 2011, TRADOC implemented a physical fitness training philosophy that Soldiers are better prepared if they train how they would fight. This
prompted the Army Physical Fitness School to reevaluate a Solder's physical capabilities.
A five-event Army Physical Readiness Test was developed and proposed to replace the current three-event APFT. The proposed test eliminated
sit-ups and included the following: 60-yard shuttle run, one-minute rower, standing long jump, one-minute push-up and 1.5-mile run.
More than 10,000 Soldiers worldwide participated in pilot testing of the APRT. After reviewing the data, TRADOC commissioned an independent panel
to validate the proposed five-event APRT.
WHY RETAIN THE THREE-EVENT APFT?
In separate reports, the panel of fitness experts from the Department of Physical Education at U.S. Military Academy, the U.S. Army Medical Research
and Development Command, and California State University-Fullerton recommended against moving forward with the proposed five-event APRT and
that TRADOC further study the issue.
The panel of subject matter experts agreed that the five-event Army Physical Readiness Test has "face validity" only, meaning that although it appears
to measure what it claims to measure, further study would be required to confirm. Additionally, experts agreed that TRADOC should consider other
events that may better predict baseline Soldier physical readiness. Soldier baseline physical readiness is the ability to meet the physical demands of
combat and duty position, and accomplish the mission while conducting unified land operations.
TRADOC has determined that baseline Soldier physical readiness would be most effectively measured if linked to Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills --
tasks and drills determined over the last decade of war to be critical while conducting unified land operations.
Given the independent study, and the logic of linking fitness to WTBD, TRADOC will initiate a comprehensive study of Soldier fitness requirements to
determine the best method to measure baseline Soldier physical readiness. The objective of the study is to select and recommend test events that
have a functional connection to WTBD, and accurately measure baseline fitness against valid performance standards. The study is expected to begin
in October 2012 and will include fitness experts from across the Army.
Decisions to change long-standing and proven systems of physical fitness are not made lightly, or prematurely, said the TRADOC command sergeant
"Emerging factors and changing combat environments demand a thorough understanding before changes are implemented, and thus the decision to
retain the current test," Dailey said. "Whatever the new test looks like, it must accurately evaluate fitness levels for all Soldiers to decisively win in
TRADOC is preparing to reestablish the master fitness trainer program. Targeting non-commissioned officers, this program, discontinued in 2001, will
eventually provide commanders at all levels certified fitness advisors. A pilot master fitness training course begins Aug. 27, 2012, to ensure that the
appropriate steps are taken to restore this previously successful physical fitness asset to all units.
"Bringing back MFTC will standardize unit physical training and increase unit readiness across the Army," Dailey said, referring to the doctrine in TC
3-22.20 Army Physical Readiness Training (Aug. 2010).
TC 3-22.20 focuses unit training on developing Soldier physical readiness required to perform WTBD. WTBD are the fundamental combat skills which
all Soldiers, regardless of rank, age, gender or military occupational specialty, must perform in order to fight and win on the battlefield. To strengthen
the emphasis on implementing physical readiness training doctrine Army wide, TRADOC will also transition TC 3-22.20 Physical Readiness Training to
Field Manual 7-22 Physical Readiness Training in fall 2012.
"It's time to break the culture of 'training to the test' and focus instead on preparing all Soldiers for the physical challenges of the current and future
operating environment. Executing physical training in accordance with the doctrine [TC 3-22.20] will also reduce injuries and improve Soldier
performance on the APFT," Dailey said.
"TRADOC recognizes that leaders will continue to assess unit physical training needs based on the mission and the OE and adjust training as
necessary, but the place to start is the TC."
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