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#1 Posted : Monday, March 19, 2012 10:36:43 AM(UTC)

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By Lance M. Bacon - Staff writer
Posted : Sunday Mar 18, 2012 10:35:08 EDT

More than 10,000 tests were conducted, mountains of data were compiled, and a few dialogues even devolved into debates — and now your new fitness test is ready for final approval.

The plan retains the same five events first considered more than a year ago, but each had significant changes and challenges along the way. The recommendation will be presented this month to Gen. Robert Cone, head of Training and Doctrine Command, and includes:

• Two-mile run. The initial plan was to cut the run to a mile and a half, which is considered the best measure of cardiovascular fitness. But the rank and file sounded off and said the extra half-mile measures the heart.

Maj. Gen. Richard Longo, who as deputy commanding general of Initial Military Training was responsible for designing the new test, said leaders may toughen the scoring scale to ensure better fitness.

• Pushups for one minute. This event was nearly replaced with dead-hang pullups, which are a better measure of functional upper body strength. Pullups were included in more than 1,000 pilot tests conducted at Fort Bliss, Texas. The scoring discrepancy between men and women was so great that different events would have been required to keep it fair. For example, Marines test men with dead-hangs and women with a flex-arm hang.

Army officials are adamant that the new test remain gender-neutral. That means identical events with different scoring standards for men and women.

“If we did the pullups, it would disadvantage the female soldiers, and I’m just not comfortable with that,” Longo said.

• Rower for one minute. Officials looked hard at doubling the rower from one to two minutes. Evaluations showed that the shorter version had a steep bell curve with little variation. But the Fort Bliss evaluation showed the two-minute rower brought little change to the results.

• 60-yard shuttle run. The big change is that this event will be pass/fail, for now. The same is true for the fifth and final event.

• Standing long jump. Soldiers have been less than enthusiastic about this event and the shuttle run. Officials opted for the pass/fail scoring to allow sufficient time for both events to settle into the ranks.

But the Army may apply a scoring scale in the future, Longo said.

Sergeant Major of the Army Raymond Chandler has questioned whether the new shuttle run and long jump should remain as part of the new fitness test. The long jump is a “great measurement of leg strength but not necessarily what we want to measure,” Chandler said during a January visit to Fort Jackson, S.C.

He said the shuttle run is far more difficult for older soldiers, who may not be as agile as they once were.

Leaders’ input considered
Chandler, not willing to accept the status quo of an overweight Army, also said he wanted to up the run to four miles with a 36-minute limit and add a 12-mile ruck march, to be done in four hours or less.

Longo said he welcomes any guidance from senior leaders, “especially someone as informed as Sgt. Maj. Chandler,” but added that many commanders and leaders have expressed concern about the test’s length.

In addition, a four-mile run and 12-mile ruck march are tools commanders can already use to assess fitness.

“And we certainly can discuss whether those two should be included in the test,” Longo said.

When it starts
Longo reiterated the Army’s commitment to allow adequate time for the force to transition to the new test. The long-standing plan has anticipated a decision by Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno by April. The chief could sit on the proposal or make his own changes.

But the new test was not designed in a vacuum. Sources tell Army Times that Odierno has full confidence in his TRADOC commander, and will likely follow his recommendation. If so, soldiers will likely see full implementation as early as Oct. 1.

In the meantime, officials are trying to find money to resurrect the master fitness training course. The plan is to send soldiers to the course or send mobile training teams to the soldiers to ensure every commander has one or two master fitness trainers who can develop a fitness program appropriate for the unit and mission, Longo said.

These master fitness trainers will also get the physical training doctrine fully anchored throughout the force and prepare troops for the new test.
" Welcome to Loserville. Population: You. " - Deadpool
#2 Posted : Tuesday, May 28, 2013 4:01:30 AM(UTC)

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Whatever happened to 82, 92, 11:54?
#3 Posted : Tuesday, June 04, 2013 6:28:28 AM(UTC)

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I will believe it when I see it. The Army has been considering changing the APFT for at least 25 years that I am aware of.
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