Developing the Program - A Sample Program

The following sample program shows a commander’s thought processes as he develops a 12-week fitness training program for his unit.
Captain Frank Jones’s company has just returned from the field where it completed an ARTEP. Several injuries occurred including a broken foot, resulting
from a dropped container, and three low back strains. After evaluating his unit during this ARTEP, CPT Jones concluded that its level of physical fitness was inadequate. He thought this contributed to the injuries and poor performance. The soldiers’ flexibility was poor, and there was an apparent lack of prior emphasis on, and training in, good lifting techniques. This, combined with poor flexibility in the low back and hamstrings, may have contributed to the
unacceptably high number of low back strains. Captain Jones decided to ask the battalion’s MFT to help him develop a good unit program for the company. They went through the following steps.

First, they analyzed the recently completed ARTEP and reviewed the ARTEP manual to find the most physically demanding, mission-oriented tasks the unit performs. The analysis showed that, typically, the company does a tactical road march and then occupies a position. It establishes a perimeter, improves its positions, and selects and prepares alternate positions. One of the most demanding missions while in position requires soldiers to move by hand, for 15 to 30 minutes, equipment weighing up to 95 pounds. If his unit received artillery fire, it would need to be able to move to alternate positions as quickly as possible. This requires much lifting, digging, loading, unloading, and moving of heavy equipment. All of these tasks require good muscular endurance and strength and a reasonable level of cardiorespiratory endurance.

Next, CPT Jones reviewed his battalion commander’s physical training guidance. It showed that the commander was aware that the unit’s tasks require muscular endurance and strength and cardiorespiratory fitness. The guidance and objectives issued are as follows:
a. Units will do PT five days a week (0600-0700) when in garrison. In the field, organized PT will beat the commander’s discretion.
Captain Jones determined that the major PT emphasis should be to improve muscular endurance and strength. He based this on his unit’s mission, training schedule, available resources, and on his commander’s guidance and objectives. With this information and the MIT’s recommendations, CPT Jones
developed the following fitness objectives.
• Improve the unit’s overall level of muscular endurance and strength.
• Improve the unit’s overall level of flexibility.
• Improve the unit’s average APFT score. Each soldier will score at least 80 points on the push-up and sit-up events and 70 points on the 2-mile run.
• Improve the unit’s road marching capability so that 100 percent of the unit can complete a 12-mile road march with a 35-pound load in at least 3.5 hours.
• Decrease the number of profiles.
• Reduce tobacco use.

The next step CPT Jones accomplished was to assess his unit.
The MFT studied the results of the unit’s latest APFT and came up with the following information:
• The average push-up score was 68 points.
• The average sit-up score was 72 points.
• The average number of points scored on the 2-mile run was 74.
• There were six failures, two on the 2-mile run and four on the pushup.
The MFT also recommended that the unit be assessed in the following areas: road march performance, strength, flexibility, substance abuse, and profiled soldiers.
Following the MFT’s recommendations, subordinate leaders made the following assessments/determinations:
• Eighty-eight percent of the company finished the 12-mile road march with a 35-pound load in under 3 hours 30 minutes.
• A formation toe-touch test revealed that over half the company could not touch their toes while their knees were extended.
• Thirty percent of the unit uses tobacco.
• Two soldiers are in the overweight program.
• Eight percent of the unit is now on temporary profile, most from back problems.

The next step CPT Jones accomplished was to determine the training requirements.
Training requirements are determined by analyzing the training results and the data obtained from the unit assessment. The next step is to compare this data to the standards identified in the training objectives. When performance is less than the established standard, the problem must be addressed and corrected.
Captain Jones established the following training requirements.
Units will do flexibility exercises during the warm-up and cool-down phase of every PT session. During the cool-down, emphasis on will be placed on developing flexibility in the low back, hamstrings, and hip extensor muscle groups.
Each soldier will do 8 to 12 repetitions of bent-leg, sandbag dead-lifts at least two times a week to develop strength. The section leader will supervise lifts.
Each soldier will do heavy resistance/weight training for all the muscle groups of the body two to three times a week.
Each soldier will perform timed sets of push-ups and sit-ups.
Each soldier will train at least 20 to 30 minutes at THR two to three times a week.
Road marches will be conducted at least once every other week.
Tobacco cessation classes will be established to reduce the number of tobacco users.

Once all training requirements are identified, the next step is to use them to design fitness tasks which relate to the fitness objectives. In developing
the fitness tasks, CPT Jones must address collective, individual, and leader tasks as well as resources required.
Fitness tasks provide the framework for accomplishing the training requirements. By accurately listing the fitness tasks that must be done and the resources required to do them, the subsequent step of developing a training schedule is greatly facilitated.
The collective tasks for the unit are to perform the following: develop muscular endurance and strength, improve CR endurance, and improve flexibility.
The individual tasks all soldiers must perform during the week are as follows. For developing strength and muscular endurance, they must perform appropriate strength circuit exercises, PREs, sandbag circuits, to include performing bent-leg dead lifts exercises, and training for push-up/sit-up improvement. To improve cardiorespiratory endurance, they must do ability-group runs, interval training, road marching, and they must calculate their THR and monitor THR when appropriate. To improve their flexibility, they must do stretching exercises during their daily warm-up and cool-down.
The leader’s tasks are to organize and supervise all strength- and muscle endurance-training sessions and CR training sessions so as to best meet all
related fitness objectives. Similarly, the leader must organize and supervise all warm-up and cool-down sessions to best meet the fitness objectives for
the development and maintenance of flexibility.
To provide specific examples of leaders tasks in the area of training for strength and muscle endurance, the leader will ensure the following:
• Each strength- and/or muscle endurance-training session works all the major muscle groups of the body.
• High priority is given to training those muscles and muscle groups used in mission-essential tasks.
• Areas where weaknesses exist, with respect to strength/muscle endurance, are targeted in all work-outs.
• Problem areas related to APFT performance are addressed in appropriate workouts.
• The duration of each strength training session is 20-40 minutes.
• Soldiers train to muscle failure.
• All the principles of exercise, to include regularity, overload, recovery, progression, specificity, balance are used.
In a similar manner, the leader would ensure that the guidelines and principles outlined in this and earlier chapters are used to organize training sessions for improving CR endurance and flexibility.
The resources needed for the one-week period are as follows: a strength room, a gym, a PT field, a running track and/or running trails, and sandbags.