Why does the Army Need a New Fitness Test?

Why A New Physical Tests and Standards?
When the 3-event Army Physical Fitness Test was developed in the midst of the Cold War, it was a commonly held believe among senior Army leaders that ground combat was no longer a force imperative. As a result rigorous physical training and assessment was replaces with more general fitness training and assessment. The 3-event test was developed to ensure a high level of health-
related fitness and appropriate body mass. The lessons learned over the past 15 years have not only reinforce the need for ground combat power, but also renewed our focus on the strength and power requirements of the individual Soldier.

Over the past four year the Army has conducted two major physical fitness assessment studies; HQDA EXORD 091:13 – Physical Demands Study (PDS) and HQDA EXORD 041-13 – Baseline Soldier Physical Readiness Requirements Study (BSPRRS) From 2012-15 the U.S. Army Research Institute for Environmental Medicine (USARIEM) conducted a major Army- wide fitness prediction study call the Physical Demands Study. As part of their analysis they identified five (5) domains of combat physical fitness: muscular strength, muscular endurance, cardiorespiratory endurance, explosive power, and speed/agility.

These five domains were independently confirmed in the BSPRRS conducted by the United States Army Center for Initial Military Training. Clearly the five domains of combat physical fitness were not assessed by the APFT. The second objective of the BSPRRS study was to determine common field-expedient physical fitness test events that predicted a Soldier’s success on the high physical demand Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills. These six (6) test events were validate by the performance of almost 1,000 Soldiers relative to their performance on a WTBD simulation test. In April, 2017 these events were approved by the CG/TRADOC and in July, 2017 the Chief of Staff, Army approved this battery of test events as the Army Combat Readiness Test (ACRT).

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