A Strength-Based Approach to the Army Physical Fitness Test A Strength-Based Approach to the Army Physical Fitness Test

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Thread: A Strength-Based Approach to the Army Physical Fitness Test

  1. #1
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    Default A Strength-Based Approach to the Army Physical Fitness Test

    by Lt. Col. Ryan Whittemore

    “When I received word that I had been selected to lead the Army Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) program at the University of Rhode Island (URI), I knew I would finally have my chance to make an impact. I could finally put my money where my mouth is, and train future Army officers using the strength-based approach of which I had been a proponent. ”

    Article

  2. #2
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    I have found with any program if you do not believe in it, the results will be marginal at best. Which would explain why some cadets had marginal improvements. I have said for a long time that the Army is a bunch of untrained runners, running a lot, in a box. The problem however stems deeper than just improper programming and useless training. Many times there just simply is no plan because the leader simply does not know what to do. And whats the "easiest" thing to program? "We are going for a run today".

    I am the company medic for an infantry company. Physical fitness is a huge part of our job. I see every injury sustained by troops before they go to the next level of care, if needed. I see roughly 2 people a day while non-deployed with 90% of those injuries being over use. While deployed I see roughly 2 people A MONTH! Due to the nature of the beast while deployed, soldiers essentially do what they want for their programming. Their routines involve weights. Not running. Unless there is a problem with them not being able to perform their job nothing is said. They do the dumb stuff out of fitness magazine. But they believe in it so fervently the results, if you can call them that, come regardless.

    Until the military gets actual trainers dispersed at the Strategic leadership level that can teach leaders how to train troops, and those leaders provide troops with purpose, direction, and motivation regarding PT this redundant problem will remain.

    Great article!

  3. #3
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    I found the part about the need for people to leave the gym "crushed" interesting. I hadn't thought of that before, and I like the solution he devised. I bet that a lot of dissatisfaction with a SS-style program might be from gym rats who feel like it's not "hard" enough, hard being measured as aerobic exhaustion. So, adding the 5 minute anaerobic conditioning at the end of the first two sessions seems ingenious.

  4. #4
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    This is outstanding. I've been pushing this as much as possible at whatever level I can, and it always works. Good work, LTC Whittemore.

  5. #5
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    Great article. I love your approach to nearly forbidding the Army Ten Miler. Sometimes over-coaching is necessary to get the desired effect.

    As the medic says above soldiers will lift weights when left to their own devices. You also stated that it was not a well-controlled experiment and I assume that some cadets were likely running on their own because they doubted the efficacy of your training program. That coupled with your statement that Soldiers will follow the emphasis of their leaders (physical readiness and fitness) made me think about the importance of supervising barbell training over running. Our normal running habits in the Army are largely ineffective, and most young men lift weights in an ineffective way. At least now your Cadets are doing something right now that their lifting is being properly taught and supervised!

  6. #6
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    Great work! I have done this repeatedly for groups of 10-20 soldiers. We have turned to a bunch of prowler work and even less running for conditioning. Guys will gain 20 pounds and go from a 13:00 two mile to a 13:30 two mile while being twice as strong. The slow runners will always get faster. The best part is, most begin enjoying training and not dreading PT.

    The best part was how you put a stop to the 10 miler. I'll bet some people shit when you told them that.

  7. #7
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    Do you think the army saved money overall, despite the equipment order, because now you're not funding that 10K run?

  8. #8
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    Really enjoyed this article. Any information on what the lift improvements looked like?

  9. #9
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    Excellent article sir. I won't hold my breath on "them" getting the idea anytime soon, but this is a good step in the right direction.

  10. #10
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    This article might be one of the more important ones at this site. I say this because it has actual numbers and is an actual report of something that happened. It's pretty well irrefutable.

    Even though it's based on the military I already know a friend I'm sending it to. She's the type who just wants to be fit and have a "good workout". She wants to do an obstacle course challenge like tough mudder but no matter what I tell her she feels like she can't drop the 5-10k runs she does every other day.
    I think this article is perfect for people like her who feel they can't stay fit without slow, long distance running.

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