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Army Implements First Combat-Specific Fitness Test

Courtney Cameron

Over the past 10 years, the Army has been working to develop a more effective model of the traditional Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT).

This month, brigades based in Washington, Texas, New York, Georgia, Kentucky and North Carolina began pilot testing of the Soldier Readiness Test (SRT), developed by Army Forces Command (FORSCOM).

The SRT is a gender-neutral skills assessment designed to mimic abilities that are critical for survival on the battlefield, including explosive strength, muscular strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular endurance and agility.

Six events comprise the test that must be completed in less than 23 minutes while clad in full body armor. The events include 220-pound tire flips, a 240-pound dummy drag, a sand bag stack, a sand bag toss, a 1.5-mile run over rough terrain and an agility test.

The SRT is graded on a pass/fail basis.

Col. Mike Kirkpatrick, director of leader development at FORSCOM, told Army Times that the current APFT “provides a snapshot in time of an individual soldier’s health, and really doesn’t effectively correlate to the unit-specific tasks and battle drills that soldiers are required to execute.”

The new SRT events are inspired by a number of vastly different health and fitness models — from those of the Research Institute of Environmental Medicine and Army Special Operations Command to drills used by professional basketball teams.

“At the end of this,” he said, “our goal is to transform the Army’s physical training culture to one that’s a more holistic approach to functional fitness, while reducing musculoskeletal injuries.”

Kirkpatrick believes this approach will result in soldiers that are better prepared for the realities of war, and decrease the number of soldiers that are unable to deploy due to injury.

Initial testing of the SRT concluded on July 21. Project coordinators have from now until December of this year to analyze the results and brief FORSCOM leadership.

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