Introduction - Command Functions

Commanders must evaluate the effectiveness of physical fitness training and ensure that it is focused on the unit’s missions. They can evaluate its effectiveness by participating in and observing training, relating their fitness programs to the unit’s missions, and analyzing individual and unit APFT
Leaders should regularly measure the physical fitness level of every soldier to evaluate his progress and determine the success of the unit’s program.
Commanders should assure that qualified leaders supervise and conduct fitness training and use their MFTs, for they have received comprehensive
training in this area.
Leaders can learn about fitness training in the following ways :
• Attend the four-week MFT course or one-week Exercise Leaders Course.
• Request a fitness workshop from the Army Physical Fitness School.
• Become familiar with the Army's fitness publications. Important examples include this manual, AR 350-15, and DA Pamphlets 350-15, 350-18, and 350-22.
Commanders must provide adequate facilities and funds to support a program which will improve each soldier’s level of physical fitness. They must also be sure that everyone participates, since all individuals, regardless of rank, age, or sex, benefit from regular exercise. In some instances, leaders will need to make special efforts to overcome recurring problems which interfere with regular training. Leaders must also make special efforts to provide the correct fitness training for soldiers who are physically substandard. “Positive profiling” (DA Form 3349) permits and encourages profiled soldiers to do as much as they can within the limits of their profiles. Those who have been away from the conditioning process because of leave, sickness, injury, or travel may also need special consideration.
Commanders must ensure that the time allotted for physical fitness training is used effectively.
Training times is wasted by the following:
• Unprepared or unorganized leaders.
• Assignment for a group which us too large for one leader.
• Insufficient training intensity: it will result in no improvement.
• Rates of progression that are too slow or too fast.
• Extreme formality that usually emphasizes form over substance. An example would be too many units runs at slow paces or "daily dozen" activities that look impressive but do not result in improvement.
• Inadequate facilities which cause long waiting periods between exercises during a workout and/or between workouts.
• Long rest periods which interfere with progress.
To foster a positive attitude, unit leaders and instructors must be knowledgeable, understanding, and fair, but demanding. They must recognize individual differences and motivate soldiers to put forth their best efforts. However, they must also emphasize training to standard. Attaining a high level of physical fitness cannot be done simply by going through the motions. Hard training is essential.
Commanders must ensure that leaders are familiar with approved techniques, directives, and publications and that they use them. The objective of every commander should be to incorporate the most effective methods of physical training into a balanced program. This program should result in the improved physical fitness of their soldiers and an enhanced ability to perform mission-related tasks.
MFTs can help commanders formulate sound programs that will attain their physical training goals, but commanders must know and apply the doctrine. However, since the responsibility for physical training is the commander’s, programs must be based on his own training objectives. These he must develop from his evaluation of the unit’s mission-essential task list (METL). Chapter 10 describes the development of the unit’s program.