The PRT System incorporates the three components of training shown in Figure 2-2.
Figure 2-2. Components of PRT
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.