Developing the Program - Training Schedule

The next step was to develop a fitness training schedule. It lists the daily activities and their intensity and duration.

Conducting and evaluating training is the final phase of the training process. This phase includes the evaluation of performance, assessment of capabilities, and feedback portions of the training management cycle. These portions of the cycle must be simultaneous and continuous. To be effective,
the evaluation process must address why weaknesses exist, and it must identify corrective actions to be taken. Evaluations should address the following:
• Assessment of proficiency in mission-essential tasks.
• Status of training goals and objectives.
• Status of training in critical individual and collective tasks.
• Shortfalls in training.
• Recommendations for next training cycle (key in on correcting weaknesses).
• Results of educational programs.

Using the Principles of Exercise
As CPT Jones developed his program, he made sure he used the seven principles of exercise. He justified his program as follows:
• Balance. This program is balanced because all the fitness components are addressed. The emphasis is on building muscular endurance and strength in the skeletal muscular system because of the many lifting tasks the unit must do. The program also trains cardiorespiratory endurance and flexibility, and warmup and cool-down periods are included in every workout.
• Specificity. The unit’s fitness goals are met. The sandbag lifting and weight training programs help develop muscular endurance and strength. The movements should, when possible, stress muscle groups used in their job-related lifting tasks. Developmental stretching should help reduce work-related back injuries. The different types of training in running will help ensure that soldiers reach a satisfactory level of CR fitness and help each soldier score at least 70 points on the APFT’s 2-mile run. Soldiers do push-ups and sit-ups at least two or three times a week to improve the unit’s performance in these events. The competitive fitness activities will help foster teamwork and cohesion, both of which are essential to each section’s functions.
• Overload. Soldiers reach overload in the weight circuit by doing each exercise with an 8- to 12-RM lift for a set time and/or until they reach temporary muscle failure. For the cardiorespiratory workout, THR is calculated initially using 70 percent of the HRR. They do push-ups and sit-ups in multiple, timed sets with short recovery periods to ensure that muscle failure is reached. They also do PREs to muscle failure.
• Progression. To help soldiers reach adequate overload as they improve, the program is made gradually more difficult. Soldiers progress in their CR workout by increasing the time they spend at THR up to 30 to 45 minutes per session and by maintaining THR. They progress on the weight training circuit individually. When a soldier can do an exercise for a set time without reaching muscle failure, the weight is increased so that the soldier reaches muscle failure between the 8th and 12th repetition again. Progression in push-ups and sit-ups involves slowly increasing the duration of the work intervals.
• Variety. There are many different activities for variety. For strength and muscular endurance training the soldiers use weight circuits, sandbag circuits, and Pres. Ability group runs, intervals, Par courses, Fartlek running, and guerrilla drills are all used for CR training. Varied stretching techniques, including static, partner-assisted, and contract-relax, are used for developmental stretching.
• Regularity. Each component of fitness is worked regularly. Soldiers will spend at least two to three days a week working each of the major fitness components. They will also do push-ups and sit-ups regularly to help reach their peak performance on the APFT.
• Recovery. The muscular and cardiorespiratory systems are stressed in alternate workouts. This allows one system to recover on the day the other is working hard.

CPT Jones’s step-by-step process of developing a sound PT program for his unit is an example of what each commander should do in developing his own unit program. Good physical training takes no more time to plan and execute than does poor training. When commanders use a systematic approach to develop training, the planning process bears sound results and the training will succeed.