New Physical Fitness Test and are barefoot shoes authorized?
The current Army Physical Fitness Test(APFT) consists of 3 events. 2 minutes of push ups, 2 minutes of sit ups, and a 2 mile run. You want to do as many as you can in the time span. As an example, here are the passing requirements for me (23 y/o Female)
To some of you who are in good shape, you’re thinking “I could do that.” But I’ll be the first to tell you that unless your body is used to brick workouts, it can be a little tough. But how practical is the PT test in combat situations? How are those events going to help you? I promise you that in the midst of the action I personally, would not be running 2 miles across an open desert. Sprinting to cover under an object is more realistic. Sit ups? Meh. Maybe you’re laying down under cover somewhere and need to be able to keep sitting up to look or do something. Push ups, yeah I guess. Pushing yourself up off the ground, especially with all your gear on, can be tricky.
The new proposed Army Physical Readiness Test (APRT) test will consist of 5 events.
1 minute of the rower
1 minute of push ups. The only change here is you can’t stop, you have to move continuously.
60 yard shuttle run
Standing long jump
1.5 mile run
First things first, the rower. Similar to the sit up but I think the Army may have thought this one through a bit better. Most experts agree that sit ups can be harmful to your spine. Between the “thump” hitting the ground and since our current policy is having your fingers interlocked behind your head, you tend to pull on your neck which makes things worse. So the rower may be a better option.
The one minute of push ups, I have no real issues with this one. Most people do all their required push ups in the first minute anyway.
60 yard shuttle run. This I think is a good idea. I even mentioned above that I think a sprint is more realistic in a combat situation.
Standing long jump makes me cringe. First off, I’ve already torn my MCL and had surgery once. I know a few people with knee problems(from wearing heavy gear, running in boots, jumping out of planes, etc.) that will have issues with this. I also think this one is going to be hard to grade fairly. I’m 5’3″ short and stalky, someone my height but lighter and/or with longer legs could probably jump farther. So I’m curious to see how they’re going to grade this.
1.5 mile run. WHY? This just seems excessive to me. I realize they want a way to measure our cardiovascular endurance but I think the 40 yard shuttle run should do that just fine.
Overall: I’m intrigued but not thrilled. Especially because they’re proposing changing the grading scale as well. Currently, you go up in age groups every 5 years 17-21 22-27 28-32 etc. So as you get older, your requirements are lessened a bit to keep up with the aging process. The new scale will go by decades. 17-20, 20-30, 30-40. The people most upset with this? The 30-40 range. Most people look forward to the 36 mark as that’s when most have a decline in fitness. The fact that they now have to wait until 40 has some old timers up in arms. Like I already mentioned, not sure how they’re going to grade some of the events. Grading things like this are tricky. The long jump will have to be done by height, I’m guessing. The rower, I’m guessing they’ll count repititions like they did sit ups. Shuttle run, time, which I’m not thrilled about because I can run a half marathon but sprinting may kill me. 1.5 mile run I’m curious to see if they loosen the time limits a bit since they’ve added so many events. Give us a longer time allotment to achieve the 1.5 miles.
The new APRT is supposed to be being tested at a few basic training sites right now and the final review will go in front of the top dogs this fall. So we should know by the new fiscal year(Oct.) However, they have published the new manual that is a guide to conducting physical training. Instead of FM 21-20, we now have TC 3-22.20. The new TC lays out informal PT, no more standing in formation. No more doing exercises in cadence since I guess they finally realized that push ups with my short arms don’t go at the same pace as a guy who’s 6 foot tall with super long arms. They also offer exercise ideas that focus on building and strengthing your core, which is a completely foreign idea before now.
Another recent issue with physical fitness in the military has been the recent desire for some Soldiers to wear barefoot or minimalist shoes. Some active duty posts, like Fort Bragg, NC have gyms solely dedicated to cross fit. Lots of CF people wear their barefoot or minimalist shoes. There’s also people like myself, who only have to show up in uniform once a month but are used to running their barefoot shoes. While there’s no policy against the wear of barefoot shoes(as long as you are within the reg of AR 670-1) they are not allowed to be worn for an actual APFT. Why?
Leaders say that they believe barefoot shoes may give some Soldiers an unfair advantage. This, doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. I don’t see it as an unfair advantage because in theory, everyone could take their shoes off completely and compete barefoot. I would even argue that someone who wears a stability shoe may have an unfair advantage because it helps them more with their stride and to not over pronate than someone who runs barefoot and hasn’t built up all their muscles quite yet. Or someone who wears a shoe with a thick sole has an unfair advantage over someone who wears a barefoot shoe if they have to run in gravel or something that could be more painful to a barefoot runner. I guess I just don’t see where the “unfair advantage” is. So, moral of the story: yes you can wear barefoot shoes with your Army PT uniform, as long as your commander allows it. Remember, commanders have veto rights and can deem something “inappropriate” if they so choose. Although you can wear them for PT, they can NOT be worn for the APFT……yet.
Any questions for me?
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