APFT OR UNIT PRT GOAL FAILURE
When Soldiers fail to meet APFT standards or unit goals, leaders should consider many factors that may contribute to these failures, including:
- Time in training.
- Regular PRT participation.
- Prolonged deployment.
- Recovery from injury, illness or medical condition (physical profile).
TIME IN TRAINING
The Soldier who is fresh out of IMT may have a level of physical performance below the minimum threshold of his gaining unit. He may be a borderline APFT performer or borderline overweight. Regardless of the situation, he will not be accustomed to the demands placed on the lower extremities during a normal duty day. These Soldiers will face new conditions relating to physical performance such as acclimatization to altitude, temperature, and humidity. It can take up to four weeks to adapt to these unfamiliar conditions. Although Soldiers leave IMT prepared for the transition to the sustaining phase, they may detrain due to leave, transit, and in-processing at their new duty assignments. The same holds true for Soldiers reassigned to different units throughout the Army.
Many factors may influence regular participation in PRT sessions. The most common factors include OPTEMPO and related mission requirements. Leaders must anticipate and plan for these, and must make PRT as important as any other programmed training. In accordance with AR 350-1, Soldiers are required to participate in collective or individual PRT activities at least three times per week. Optimal participation in PRT may be achieved through conducting training sessions anytime during the duty day; not necessarily only in the early morning. Leaders must understand this and make it known. Soldiers should only be excused from regular unit PRT when they have performed exhaustive duties with little or no rest, or have a temporary or permanent physical profile according to AR 40-501, Standards of Medical Fitness.
All Soldiers must understand that it is their personal responsibility to achieve and sustain a high level of physical readiness. Many Soldiers are assigned to duty positions that restrict participation in collective unit PRT programs. Commanders must therefore develop leadership environments that encourage and motivate Soldiers to accept individual responsibility for their own physical readiness. Leaders and individual Soldiers need to use the PRT system outlined in this FM to help achieve and sustain high levels of physical readiness.
It is well documented that detraining may occur during prolonged deployments. Significant losses in strength, endurance, and mobility occur after a period of 14 days when little or no PRT is conducted. Every effort should be made by leaders to conduct PRT activities as often as mission requirements allow during deployment. Chapter 5, Planning Considerations, provides sample schedules of PRT activities that may be conducted during deployment when both time and space are limited. During post-deployment, when fitness levels may have declined, special considerations must be taken to ensure Soldiers meet or exceed their predeployment physical readiness levels. Adequate rest and recovery are especially important to successfully bring Soldiers back to a high level of readiness. Leaders must recognize the amount of time that is required to condition these Soldiers. Furthermore, Soldiers need at least 90 days post-deployment to retrain and prepare for the APFT or unit physical readiness goal.
RECOVERY FROM INJURY, ILLNESS, OR MEDICAL CONDITION
Soldiers recovering from injury, illness, or other medical conditions must train within the limits of their medical profiles (DA Form 3349 [Physical Profile]) and be afforded a minimum train-up period of twice the length of the profile. Prescribed train-up periods must not exceed 90 days before APFT administration or other unit physical readiness goal requirements according to AR 350-1.