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Updates to Physical Fitness Section of Army Study Guide

While studying for my next board I realized that it has been a while sine any update on the physical training section of the guide. Here are some proposed changes and their references that I came upon while studying. Perhaps someone can glean information from this to update the official study guide?

Changes to the Physical Fitness portion of the study guide:
First of all FM 21-20 was replaced by TC 3-22.20, which has now been replaced by FM 7-22. I am using the OCT 2012 release as a reference. FM 7-22 can be found at
I have tried to model some questions that are close to the ones that the current version of the study guide offers. If anyone has anything to add/correct please do so.
1. When you take the APFT, what is the minimum number of points you must score in each event?

“In accordance with AR 350-1, all Soldiers must attain a score of at least 60 points on each event and an overall score of at least 180 points. Soldiers in BCT must attain 50 points in each event and an overall score of 150 points. The maximum score a Soldier can attain on the APFT is 300 points. The use of extended scale scoring IS NOT authorized.” – FM 7-22 (A-3)
2. What FM covers Physical Fitness Training?

FM 7-22 (Replaced TC 3-22.20, and prior to that FM 21-20)
3. What are the phases of physical conditioning?

The phases of physical conditioning are:

Initial Conditioning – “The purpose of the initial conditioning phase is to establish a safe starting point for people considering entering the Army. This includes those individuals enrolled in the Army’s Future Soldier Program and in the Reserve Officer Training Corps. This phase of training is conducted before enlistment or pre-commissioning.” FM 7-22 (2-3)

Toughening – “The purpose of the toughening phase is to develop foundational fitness and fundamental movement skills. A variety of training activities with precise standards of execution ensures that bones, muscles, and connective tissues gradually toughen, rather than break. In the toughening phase, Soldiers gradually become proficient at managing their own body weight. Toughening phase activities develop essential skills associated with critical Soldier tasks such as jumping, landing, climbing, lunging, bending, reaching, and lifting. Physical readiness improves through progression in these activities. The toughening phase occurs during IMT, basic combat training (BCT), one station unit training (OSUT) (red/white/blue phases), and Basic Officer Leader Course A (BOLC A). The toughening phase prepares Soldiers to move to the sustaining phase.” FM 7-22 (2-4)

Sustaining – “The purpose of the sustaining phase is to continue physical development and maintain a high level of physical readiness appropriate to duty position and the requirements of the unit’s C- or D-METL as it applies to ARFORGEN. See AR 350-1 to reference ARFORGEN. Sustaining phase activities are conducted in unit PRT throughout the Army. In this phase, activities become more demanding. Exercises, drills, and activities such as advanced calisthenics, military movement, kettlebell, and CLs are performed with increasing resistance. Endurance and mobility activities such as foot marching, speed running, and sustained running increase in intensity and duration. Activities that directly support unit mission and C- or D-METL, such as individual movement techniques, casualty carries, obstacle courses, and combatives are integrated into PRT sessions. –FM 7-22 (2-5)

Reconditioning – “The objective of reconditioning is to restore physical fitness levels that enable Soldiers to reenter the toughening or sustaining phase safely, and then progress to their previous levels of conditioning. See Chapter 6, Special Conditioning Programs, for more information on rehabilitation and reconditioning PRT. Soldiers may participate in reconditioning after rehabilitation and recovery from injury or illness, and then re-enter training in the toughening or sustaining phases.” FM 7-22 (2-6)

“Factors such as extended deployment, field training, block leave, and recovery from illness or injury can cause Soldiers to move from the toughening or sustaining phases to reconditioning. Once Soldiers meet the transition criteria for re-entry into unit training, they may do so. Units usually conduct either reconditioning and toughening or reconditioning and sustaining phases at the same time.” FM 7-22 (2-7)
What is a MFT? (I have found to reference to an MFT in FM 7-22 so I have replaced the question). Who is responsible for training?

“Physical readiness training is the commander’s program… Commanders are the primary training managers and trainers for their organization. Senior noncommissioned officers (NCOs) at every level of command are vital to helping commanders meet their training responsibilities. Senior NCOs are often the most experienced trainers in the unit; they are, therefore, essential to a successful PRT program.” FM 7-22 (1-7)

“Noncommissioned officers serve as the primary trainers for enlisted Soldiers, crews, and small teams. Noncommissioned officers must conduct standards-based, performance-oriented, mission- and METL-focused PRT.” – FM 7-22 (1-9)

“Senior NCOs train junior NCOs and aid in developing junior officers, ensuring mastery of PRT drills, exercise activities, and assessments.” – FM 7-22 (1-10)

“The brigade surgeon should have medical oversight of the unit reconditioning program. Battalion medical officers are the liaisons between reconditioning program leaders (RPLs) and the brigade surgeon. The first local military treatment facility with rehabilitation services may provide a physical therapist and a physical therapy assistant as consultants to oversee the gym-based reconditioning program level I. The physical therapist can assist/coordinate training efforts with the RPL.” – FM 7-22 (6-21)

“The medical platoon leader is the RPL, and the medical platoon sergeant is the assistant RPL or assistant
reconditioning program leader (ARPL). If this is not possible, the RPL and the ARPL should be chosen based
on the following criteria:
Thorough understanding of the Army’s PRT program.
Ability to instruct all activities.
Understanding of regulations that govern profiling (AR 40-501, Standards of Medical Fitness).
Ability to adapt activities to profiled Soldiers.
Ability to effectively interact with medical personnel to ensure that Soldiers are fully capable of
returning to the unit PRT program.” – FM 7-22 (6-22)

“It is recommended that each company in the battalion should provide an NCO to assist the RPL on a daily basis. These NCOs should meet criteria mentioned above for the ARPL. In addition, training sessions should be provided on a quarterly basis by the physical therapist and/or physical therapy assistant to ensure proper supervision and optimal safety practices are observed. Trained NCOs will provide supervision and group instruction to Soldiers in the reconditioning program. To meet supervision requirements, at least two NCOs per company should be trained in the conduct and supervision of the reconditioning program.” – FM 7-22 (6-23)

What does FITT stand for? (FITT no longer applies in FM 7-22. Static stretching before exercise has been replaced.) Instead, the session elements of a PT session are now PAR, or:

Preparation – “The preparation drill (PD) is a dynamic warm-up consisting of ten exercises that appropriately prepare Soldiers for more intense PRT activities. Conduct the PD before all PRT activities.” FM7-22 (5-19)

Activities –“Activities address specific PRT goals in the areas of strength, endurance, and mobility. They take most of the training time (30 to 60 minutes). Conduct at least two strength and mobility days and two endurance and mobility days each week, with one endurance and mobility training session consisting of speed running. Follow the guidelines listed below:
Conduct strength and mobility training every other day.
Conduct endurance and mobility training (running) every other day. This also applies to foot marches more than 5 km in the toughening phase.
Avoid conducting foot marches and endurance and mobility training on the same or consecutive days.
Perform speed running once per week, preferably in the middle of the week. In the sustaining phase, speed running may be conducted twice per week for well-conditioned Soldiers.
A typical five-day training week will include two or three strength and mobility days that alternate with two or three endurance and mobility days.
Conduct the PD before the APFT. If required, Soldiers may perform push-ups in CD 1 on their knees. After the conclusion of the AFPT, the RD is conducted.
Schedule APFTs so Soldiers have advance notice. Preferably, the APFT should be scheduled on Monday to allow for recovery provided by the weekend. If the APFT is not conducted on a Monday, no strenuous PRT should be conducted on the day before the APFT. The conduct of the PD, 4C, HSD, and RD provide an active recovery day before the APFT (refer to Table 5-3, Session 2-5).” – FM 7-22 (5-20)

Recovery – “This includes walking (after running activities) and the performance of the RD at the end of all PRT sessions. Recovery gradually and safely tapers off activities to bring the body back to its pre-exercise state. The element of recovery carries over until the next exercise session is performed. Restoring adequate hydration and energy balance through proper nutrition and ensuring adequate sleep allows the body to refuel and rest. This results in a positive adaptation to the stress of training, improves Soldier resiliency, and optimizes gains in strength, endurance, and mobility while controlling injuries.” – FM 7-22 (5-21)

What is the objective of physical fitness training? (There is no longer physical fitness training in the PT sense; it is now, PRT or Physical Readiness Training although the term physical fitness is still referenced in AR 350-1 and of course, PRT is a way to achieve physical fitness. The term physical readiness is now used more pre-eminently) What is the objective of Physical Readiness Training?

“Physical readiness is the ability to meet the physical demands of any combat or duty position, accomplish the mission, and continue to fight and win.
Physical readiness training provides the physical component that contributes to tactical and technical competence, and forms the physical foundation for all training. Commanders and supervisors must establish PRT programs consistent with the requirements in AR 350-1, with their unit missions, and with this field manual (FM). Soldiers must meet the physical fitness standards set forth in AR 350-1 and in the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) provided in Appendix A.” FM 7-22 (1-3)

What are the three periods of a normal daily exercise routine?

PAR, Preparation, Activities, Recovery. See question above for more information or FM 7-22 (5-18 to 5-21)

What are the seven basic principles of exercise? (The FM 21-20 principles have been replaced and the question can now be rephrased in two ways that elicit different responses.)

What are the seven basic principles of Training?

“1 Commanders and Other Leaders are Responsible for Training
2 Noncommissioned Officers Train Individuals, Crews, and Small Teams
3 Train as You Will Fight
4 Train to Standard
5 Train to Sustain
6 Conduct Multiechelon and Concurrent Training
7 Train to Develop Agile Leaders and Organizations” – FM 7-22 (1-6)

What are the principles of Army PRT?

“The conduct of Army PRT follows the principles of precision, progression, and integration. These principles ensure that Soldiers perform all PRT sessions, activities, drills, and exercises correctly, within the appropriate intensity and duration for optimal conditioning and injury control.” FM 7-22 (2-8)

Precision – “Precision is the strict adherence to optimal execution standards for PRT activities. Precision is based on the premise that the quality of the movement or form is just as important as the weight lifted, repetitions performed or speed of running. It is important not only for improving physical skills and abilities, but to decrease the likelihood of injury due to the development of faulty movement patterns. Adhering to precise execution standards in the conduct of all PRT activities ensures the development of body management and fundamental movement skills.” – FM 7-22 (2-9)

Progression – “Progression is the systematic increase in the intensity, duration, volume, and difficulty of PRT activities. The proper progression of PRT activities allows the body to positively adapt to the stresses of training. When progression is violated by too rapid an increase in intensity, duration, volume or difficulty the Soldier is unable to adapt to the demands of training. The Soldier is then unable to recover, which leads to overtraining or the possibility of injury. Phased training ensures appropriate progression.” FM 7-22 (2-10)

Integration – “Integration uses multiple training activities to achieve balance and appropriate recovery between activities in the PRT program. Because most WTBDs require a blend of strength, endurance, and mobility, PRT activities are designed to challenge all three components in an integrated manner. The principle of integration is evident when WTBDs and their component movements are incorporated in PRT. For example, CDs and CLs develop the strength, mobility, and physical skills needed to negotiate obstacles. Military movement drills (MMDs) improve running form and movement under direct or indirect fire. The guerrilla drill (GD) develops the strength and skill associated with casualty evacuation and combatives. The drills, exercises, and activities in this FM integrate essential Soldier tasks, making PRT a critical link in the chain of overall Soldier physical readiness.” FM 7-22 (2-11)

What are the three components of Physical Readiness Training?

“Strength is the ability to overcome resistance. Strength runs a continuum between two subcomponents: absolute muscular strength (the capacity of a muscle/muscle group to exert a force against a maximal resistance) and muscular endurance (the capacity of a muscle/muscle group to exert a force repeatedly or to hold a fixed or static contraction over a period time). Soldiers need strength to foot march under load; enter and clear a building or trench line; repeatedly load heavy rounds; lift equipment; transport a wounded Soldier to the casualty collection point; and most of all, to be able to withstand the rigors of continuous operations while under load. A well-designed, strength-training program improves performance and appearance and controls injuries. The Army’s approach to strength training is performance-oriented. The goal is to attain the muscular strength required to perform functional movements against resistance. Calisthenics are the foundation of Army strength training and body management. They develop the fundamental movement skills needed for Soldiers to manipulate their own body weight and exert force against external resistance. Strength is further developed through the performance of advanced calisthenics, resistance training, CL, and the GD.” FM 7-22 (2-13)
“This is the ability to sustain activity. The component of endurance, like strength, also runs a continuum between the ability to sustain high-intensity activity of short duration (anaerobic), and low-intensity activity of long duration (aerobic).” – FM 7-22 (2-14)
“A properly planned and executed endurance training program balances anaerobic and aerobic training. Analysis of the mission and C- or D-METL for nearly all units shows a significant need for anaerobic endurance. Anaerobic training has a crossover value in improvement of aerobic capability. However, aerobic training alone does little to improve anaerobic capacity. To enhance effectiveness and survivability, Soldiers must train to perform activities of high intensity and short duration efficiently. Endurance programs based solely on sustained running, while likely to improve aerobic endurance, fail to prepare units for the type of anaerobic endurance they will need for the conduct of full spectrum operations.
Examples of anaerobic training are speed running, individual movement techniques, and negotiation
of obstacles.
Examples of aerobic training are foot marching, sustained running, cycling, and swimming.” FM 7-22 (2-15)
“This is the functional application of strength and endurance. It is movement proficiency. Strength with mobility allows a Soldier to squat and lift an injured Soldier. Without sufficient mobility, a strong Soldier may have difficulty executing the same casualty transport technique. Endurance without mobility may be acceptable to a distance runner, but for Soldiers performing individual movement techniques, both components are essential for optimal performance.” FM 7-22 (2-16)

What are the 8 Qualitative Performance Factors?

“Performing movements with correct posture and precision improves physical readiness while controlling injuries. Qualitative performance factors for improved mobility include:
Agility is the ability to stop, start, change direction, and efficiently change body position. Performing the GD, the shuttle run (SR), and negotiating obstacles all improve agility.
Balance is the ability to maintain equilibrium. The drills in this FM are designed to challenge and improve balance. Balance is an essential component of movement. External forces such as gravity and momentum act upon the body at any given time. Sensing these forces and responding appropriately leads to quality movements.
Coordination is the ability to perform multiple tasks. Driving military vehicles and operating various machinery and weaponry requires coordination. Coordination of arm, leg, and trunk movement is essential in climbing and individual movement techniques.
Flexibility is the range of movement at a joint and its surrounding muscles. Flexibility is essential to performing
quality movements safely. Regular, progressive, and precise performance of calisthenics and resistance exercises promote flexibility. Spending time on slow, sustained stretching exercises during the recovery drill (RD) may also help to improve flexibility.
Posture is any position in which the body resides. Posture constantly changes as the body shifts to adapt to forces of gravity and momentum. Good posture is important to military bearing and optimal body function. Proper carriage of the body while standing, sitting, lifting, marching, and running is essential to movement quality and performance.
Stability is the ability to maintain or restore equilibrium when acted on by forces trying to displace it. Stability depends on structural strength and body management. It is developed through regular precise performance of
PRT drills. Quality movements through a full range of motion, such as lifting a heavy load from the ground to an overhead position, require stability to ensure optimal performance without injury.
Speed is rate of movement. Many Soldier tasks require speed. Speed improves through better technique and conditioning. Lengthening stride (technique) and increasing pace (conditioning) improve running speed.
Power is the product of strength and speed. Throwing, jumping, striking, and moving explosively from a starting position require both speed and strength. Power is generated in the trunk (hips and torso). Developing trunk strength, stability, and mobility is important to increasing power. Soldiers, as tactical athletes, are power performers.” - FM 7-22 (2-17)

What are the three types of PRT?

“On-ground training includes activities in which Soldiers maintain contact with the ground. Activities such as marching, speed running, sustained running, calisthenics, and resistance training create a foundation for physical fitness and movement skills.” – FM 7-22 (2-19)
“Off-ground training includes activities that take place off the ground briefly (jumping and landing) or while suspended above ground for longer periods (climbing bar and negotiation of high obstacles). Examples of jumping and landing exercises are high jumper, power jump, and verticals. Negotiation of high obstacles (reverse climb and cargo net) and exercises using the climbing pod (pull-up and leg tuck) require manipulation of the body and specific movement skills while suspended above ground.” – FM 7-22 (2-20)
2-21. “This includes techniques that deter or defeat opponents using projectile (weapons), striking and/or close range (grappling). (See FM 3-25.150.)” – FM 7-22 (2-21)

How many scorers should be supplied for the APFT?

“The following personnel are recommended for administration of the APFT:
OIC and/or NCOIC.
Event supervisor.
One event scorer for every eight Soldiers being tested.
Timer and back-up timer.
Required support personnel.” – FM 7-22 (A-34)

Name the physical fitness formations.

Extended rectangular formation, extended rectangular formation covered. FM 7-22 (7-6, 7-14)

(There is no mention of the circular formation from FM 21-20 in FM 7-22)

What is overtraining?

“Overtraining occurs when training involves excessive frequency, intensity and/or duration of training that may result in extreme fatigue, illness or injury. This may occur within a short period of time (days) or cumulatively (weeks/months) over the length of the training cycle and beyond. Overtraining often results from a lack of adequate recovery, rest or in some cases, a lack of nutrient intake. Thus, too much training, too little recovery, and/or poor nutrient intake (fueling) may elicit both the physical and psychological symptoms associated with overtraining syndrome. Refer to Table 5-1 for the symptoms associated with overtraining syndrome.” – FM 7-22 (5-8)

What is overreaching?

The term “overreaching” refers to the earliest phase of overtraining. Overreaching consists of extreme
muscle soreness that occurs as a result of excessive training with inadequate rest/recovery between hard training
sessions. This process of overreaching occurs quickly after several consecutive days of hard training.
Overreaching has both positive and negative results. When planned as part of the periodized training program, overreaching allows for the suppression of performance while developing tolerance. For highly conditioned
Soldiers, overreaching is a planned component of their training for peak performance. Their higher fitness
levels allows for a tolerance to this more intense training with proper rest/recovery and nutrient intake. Shortterm
overreaching followed by an appropriate tapering period can elicit significant strength and power gains.
Muscle soreness and general fatigue are normal outcomes following a series of intense workouts; however, if
these outcomes are never completely resolved and performance continues to decline, these may be the first
indicators of overtraining syndrome. Commanders and PRT leaders need to recognize these symptoms,
especially in IMT and need to adjust training and recovery for these Soldiers. Performance indicators and
physiological symptoms of overtraining are listed in Table 5-1. Continued overreaching will lead to overtraining and elicit negative results. In many instances, Soldiers
that experience a degradation of performance (a loss of strength or speed) feel the need to train even harder.
Contrary to their belief, pushing harder not only decreases the chance of improved performance, but increases
the risk of injury. Recovery, rest, and proper nutrient intake will elicit more improvement than training harder.
When the volume and intensity of exercise exceeds Soldiers’ capacity to recover, they cease making progress
and may even lose strength and endurance. Overtraining is a common problem in both resistance training and
running activities. Improvements in strength and endurance occur only during the rest period following hard
training. This process, referred to as supercompensation, takes 12 to 24 hours for the body to completely
rebuild. If sufficient rest is not available, then complete recovery cannot occur. Overreaching as a training
practice is not appropriate, nor is it recommended for Soldiers in IMT, especially for those who have low fitness
levels, high foot time, and high training OPTEMPO. Overreaching may lead to overtraining syndrome and
overuse injuries when hard training continues beyond a reasonable period of time. FM 7-22 (5-10)

What are some causes of Overtraining and Overuse injuries?

“Safe progression for performance improvement is complex, involving many variables that impact success
(entry fitness level, ramp of progression, total volume of activity, rest/recovery, and nutrient intake). Many of
these variables can be controlled following the principles of precision, progression, and integration, as well as,
monitoring Soldiers in training and making training adjustments as required. Common mistakes to compensate
for low performance and rate of improvement are the conduct of multiple training sessions, high intensity
“smoke sessions,” and/or excessive corrective action using exercise. All of these are detrimental to performance
improvement and lead to overuse injury.” FM 7-22 (5-12)

What guidelines should be adhered to when employing exercise as corrective action?

“When exercise is used for corrective action, it is often performed incorrectly, promoting overtraining
syndrome, and overuse injuries. Often corrective action mimics “smoke sessions,” punishing Soldiers with little
or no corrective value. Consideration must be given to the number of times per day exercises are used for
corrective action for individual Soldiers and groups of Soldiers to avoid the cumulative effect and limit the
potential for overtraining syndrome. The following guidelines should be followed when employing exercise as
corrective action.
Only the following exercises should be selected for performance of corrective action.
Squat bender.
Prone row.
Leg tuck and twist.
Supine bicycle.
8-count push-up.
Only one of the above exercises may be selected for each corrective action.
The number of repetitions should not exceed FIVE for any one of the exercises listed above.” FM 7-22 (5-15)
Posts: 1 | Registered: 25 November 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post

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Great post!! Very useful information whether if prepping for boards or just touching up on the new PRT facts... Thanks for posting!!
Posts: 2 | Registered: 18 February 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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