The United States
Army Physical Fitness School at Fort Benning, GA began reshaping Army-wide
physical readiness training doctrine a few years ago. The USAPFS website
reflects the spirit of the emerging doctrine. Numerous articles
such as this one have
appeared concerning changes in Army PT doctrine. Here's
another. One more.
Our nation has a long and shameful tradition of being physically
unprepared to defend itself at the beginning of its wars. It has cost many
of our best and brightest. COL Mike Krause
wrote about it almost ten years ago.
If you want to compare yourself and/or your unit to World
War II soldiers, take the PT
test the Army used in 1946. Its combat oriented. Your scores
will be of no value unless you maintain the standard. Today's pushups
would not count. Follow the directions carefully. Here's some
info about an Army
unit that shared its experience with the test.
Army physical readiness training drifted off course after the Viet Nam
War. Progression, variety and precision were sacrificed. The spikes
in Army physical training quality are reflected in doctrine that emerged out of
WW II and the Korean War, but the standard for Army physical training is still
rooted in the efforts of LTC Herman J.
Koehler, Master of the Sword at West
Point from 1885-1923.
Fort Benning developed an off-duty
education fitness leadership degree program in 1994. Soldiers and
civilians, studying in their leisure time, ignited interest in past doctrine and
put forgotten methods to the test. This was clearly an illustration of
education's power to bring about reform.
The USAPFS uses inversion boots. Teaching methods were developed by U.S. Army
As you look deeper into the origins of physical readiness
training in the United States, the history of the British
Physical Training Corp will provide valuable insights. In many ways,
our problems resemble theirs, but they have a much longer tradition to study.
Here is an article on extension
that came out of Fort Benning.
This is an article for military
personnel concerning supplements (PDF).
The SAFE Test is worth a try. Take