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Principles of Training


The Army’s approach to PRT links directly to its seven principles of training (ADP 7-0). Leaders must understand how these Army training principles (see Table 1-1) and PRT relate to improving war-fighting capabilities.

 Table 1-1 Principles of Training


Physical readiness training is the commander’s program. Chapter 3, Leadership, discusses this principle of training in detail. Commanders are the primary training managers and trainers for their organization. Senior noncommissioned officers (NCOs) at every level of command are vital to helping commanders meet their training responsibilities. Senior NCOs are often the most experienced trainers in the unit; they are, therefore, essential to a successful PRT program. Leaders should emphasize the value of PRT by clearly explaining the objectives and benefits of the program. They must also use the time allotted for PRT effectively.

Each PRT session has specific tasks, conditions, and standards that support the physical requirements needed to accomplish the unit’s C- and D-METLs. As the unit’s primary training manager, commanders must do the following to optimize the effect of PRT:

  • Incorporate mission command in PRT.
  • Supervise the planning, preparation, execution, and assessment of PRT.
  • Align PRT with mission/METL (mission essential task list) requirements in support of full spectrum operations.
  • Train to standard according to this FM.
  • Assess individual and unit physical readiness according to this FM.
  • Provide resources required to execute PRT.
  • Incorporate safety and composite risk management (CRM).
  • Ensure training is realistic and performance-oriented.
  • Ensure training replicates the operational environment as closely as possible.


Noncommissioned officers serve as the primary trainers for enlisted Soldiers, crews, and small teams. Noncommissioned officers must conduct standards-based, performance-oriented, mission- and METL-focused PRT. To accomplish the PRT mission, NCOs—

  • Identify specific tasks that PRT enhances in support of the unit’s C- or D-METL.
    • Individual.
    • Crew.
    • Small team.
  • Prepare, rehearse, and execute PRT.
  • Evaluate PRT and conduct AARs to provide feedback to the commander.

Senior NCOs train junior NCOs and aid in developing junior officers, ensuring mastery of PRT drills, exercise activities, and assessments.

This FM discusses these tenets of training in—


All Army training is based on the principle “Train as you will fight;” therefore, the primary focus of PRT goes far beyond preparation for the APFT. Soldiers improve their physical readiness capabilities through PRT. For Soldiers to achieve the desired standard of physical readiness, every unit training program must include a well-conceived plan of PRT. Training must be both realistic and performance-oriented to ensure physical readiness to meet mission/METL requirements.

Train the Fundamentals First

Toughening phase training provides foundational fitness and fundamental motor skills, which lay the foundation for all other activities in the sustaining phase. Once Soldiers are able to perform all of the exercises, drills, and activities to standard in this FM, they should be prepared to perform most physical challenges and advanced PRT.


The eight tenets of train as you will fight, as they relate to PRT, are—

  • PRT must support full spectrum operations and promote quick transitions between missions.
  • PRT must support proficiency in combined arms operations and unified actions.
  • PRT focus is on training the fundamentals first.
  • PRT must be performance-oriented, conducted under realistic conditions, and mission focused.
  • PRT should incorporate challenging, complex, ambiguous, and uncomfortable situations.
  • PRT must incorporate safety and CRM.
  • PRT must be conducted under conditions that replicate the operational environment.
  • PRT must be conducted during deployments.


Army PRT should be tough, realistic, and physically challenging, yet safe in its execution. The objective is to develop Soldiers’ physical capabilities to perform their duty assignments and combat roles. Army PRT incorporates those types of training activities that directly support war-fighting tasks within full spectrum operations. Physical readiness training activities include such fundamental skills as climbing, crawling, jumping, landing, and sprinting, because all contribute to success in the more complex skills of obstacle negotiation, combatives, and military movement.

Performance-Oriented Training

Performance-oriented training involves performing tasks physically. The focus is on results, not process. Soldiers and units need to be proficient in the WTBDs required to perform their missions during duty and wartime conditions; therefore, Army PRT must be performance-based, incorporating physically demanding exercises, drills, and activities that prepare Soldiers and units to accomplish the physical requirements associated with the successful accomplishment of WTBDs. The tasks, conditions, and standards of PRT activities derive from the mission analysis of the physical demands of WTBDs. Table 1-2 shows examples of physical requirements for the performance of WTBDs.

Table 1-2. Warrior tasks and battle drills, physical requirements for performance

Integrated Approach

The Army PRT System employs an integrated approach to physical conditioning by training the critical components of strength, endurance, and mobility. Table 1-3 and Table 1-4 show the correlation between WTBDs and PRT components and activities. Standards remain constant as Soldier physical performance levels increase, but conditions become more demanding. Soldiers and leaders execute the planned training, assess performance, and retrain until they meet Army PRT System standards under conditions that try to replicate wartime conditions. The end state requires leaders to integrate the relative physical performance capabilities of every Soldier to generate superior combat power. Critical to successful individual and unit performance is the ability to develop the physical potential of all Soldiers for maximum performance in the accomplishment of the WTBDs. The tenets of this principle of training are discussed in detail in—

 Table 1-3. Warrior tasks and battle drills to components matrix

 Table 1-4. Warrior tasks and battle drills to activities matrix


Training to standard using appropriate doctrine prepares Soldiers to fight and sustain in the fight during full spectrum operations; therefore to be most effective, standards and doctrine must be uniformly known, understood, replicable, and accepted. Doctrine represents a professional Army’s collective thinking about how it intends to fight, train, equip, and modernize. It is the condensed expression of the Army’s approach to warfighting. The tactics, techniques, procedures, organizations, support structures, equipment, and training must all derive from it. In accordance with ADP 7-0, Training Units and Developing Leaders, mastery, not just proficiency, should be the goal of all training. Leaders should continually challenge Soldiers and units by varying the conditions to make successful achievement of the standard more challenging. The tenets of standards-based training are—

  • Leaders know and enforce standards.
  • Leaders define success in the absence of standards.
  • Leaders train to standard, not time.

Physical readiness training doctrine applies Army-wide. It includes all Soldiers, functional branches, units, and operating agencies. Physical readiness training provides a foundation for combat readiness and must be an integral part of every Soldier’s life. Unit readiness begins with the physical fitness of Soldiers and the NCOs and officers who lead them. Physical readiness training must be conducted according to the Army Physical Fitness Training Program, as prescribed in AR 350-1, and conform to the Army doctrine prescribed in this FM. Army doctrine continues to evolve to reflect lessons learned in major periods of armed conflict.

Commanders train and develop Soldiers and leaders to adapt, preparing their subordinates to operate in positions of increased responsibility. Commanders intensify training experiences by varying training conditions. Activities must impose both physical and metabolic demands on the Soldier. For example, requiring the Soldier to surmount a ledge, climb stairs, sprint between covered and concealed positions, and evacuate casualties all challenge the Soldier to overcome an ever changing set of physical demands. To prepare Soldiers to meet the physical demands of their profession, a system of training must focus on the development of strength, endurance and mobility, plus the enhancement of the body’s metabolic pathways. Developing the ability of Soldiers to meet the changing physical demands that are placed upon them without undue fatigue or risk of injury is woven into the fabric of the PRT System. Standards are achieved through precise control of the following:

  • Prescribe appropriate intensity and duration to which Soldiers perform PRT.
  • Properly distribute external loads across the major joints of the body.
  • Integrate and balance the components of strength, endurance, and mobility.
  • Provide adequate rest, recovery, and nutrition.

Every PRT session emphasizes the performance-related factors for the successful accomplishment of WTBDs. The systematic stress of each Soldier’s metabolic system substantially influences their ability to perform physically at an optimum level. Competence in individual Soldier performance of all PRT activities instills confidence in the ability to perform. It also gives personnel the confidence that all Soldiers in the unit have similar physical capabilities and the mental and physical discipline needed to adapt to changing situations and physical conditions. Commanders at every echelon integrate training events in their training plans to develop and train imaginative, adaptive leaders, and units. Commanders should understand the fundamental doctrinal training principles described in this FM and apply them accurately. This ensures Soldiers are physically prepared to accomplish the unit mission/C- and/D-METLs.


Units must be able to operate continuously while deployed. Physical readiness training provides a foundation for combat readiness and must be an integral part of every Soldier’s life. Soldiers and leaders are responsible for maintaining a high state of physical readiness to support training and operational missions. Units need to be capable of fighting for sustained periods. Soldiers should therefore become experts in the conduct and performance of PRT. This link between training and sustainment is vital to mission success. Once Soldiers and units train to the required level of proficiency, leaders structure individual and collective training plans to retrain critical tasks at the minimum frequency needed to sustain proficiency. Sustainment training is the key to maintaining unit proficiency despite personnel turbulence and operational deployments. Army units train to accomplish their missions by frequent sustainment training on critical tasks.


Multi-echelon training is the simultaneous training of more than one echelon on different tasks. It is the most effective and efficient way of sustaining proficiency on mission-essential tasks with limited time and resources. All multi-echelon training techniques have these distinct characteristics: 

  • They require detailed planning and coordination by commanders and leaders at each echelon.
  • They maintain battle focus by linking individual and collective battle tasks with unit METL tasks and within large-scale training event METL tasks.
  • They habitually train at least two echelons simultaneously on selected METL tasks and require maximum use of allocated resources and available time.

Concurrent training occurs when a leader conducts training within another type of training. It complements the execution of primary training objectives by allowing leaders to make the most efficient use of available time. Similarly, while Soldiers are waiting their turn on the firing line at a range, their leaders can train them on other tasks. Leaders look for ways to use all available training time. Concurrent training can occur during multi echelon training. In PRT, for example, concurrent training occurs when part of the unit is conducting climbing drills (CLs) while the others are performing conditioning drills (CDs). Upon completion, the groups will change in order to optimize the use of limited equipment.

Army Force Generation Model

Prior to the conduct of multi-echelon training, commanders assess their units’ proficiency levels to determine the appropriate tasks to be trained. The same is true for commanders in the execution of PRT. The commander plans PRT based on the assessed level of physical readiness of his Soldiers. An example is the ARFORGEN model that utilizes the reset, train/ready, and available phases. (Figure 1-1, Army PRT System and relationship to ARFORGEN.) The PRT System consists of three training phases: initial conditioning, toughening, and sustaining. These three phases align with Soldiers’ current career paths (future Soldier, initial military training [IMT], and unit PRT) within the operational, institutional, and self-development domains of the Army training system.

Figure 1-1. Army PRT System and relationship to ARFORGEN


In accordance with FM 7-0, the Army trains and educates its Soldiers to develop agile leaders and units to be successful in any operational environment. Training and developing leaders is an embedded component of every training event, especially in PRT. Noncommissioned officers are responsible for conducting standardsbased, performance-oriented, and realistic training. Senior NCOs train junior NCOs and assist in the development of junior officers in their mastery of PRT drills, exercises, activities, and assessments. Noncommissioned officers have an opportunity to lead everyday during PRT. Nothing is more important to the Army than building confident, competent, adaptive leaders for tomorrow. See ADP 7-0, for the tenets that underlie the development of agile and competent leaders and organizations.

Physical readiness is a mandatory training requirement that requires synchronization of the Army Physical Fitness Training Program strategy across the training domains of the Army Training System: the operational domain, the institutional domain, and the self-development domain. The objective of PRT is to prepare Soldiers to meet the physical demands related to mission and C- or D-METL. This occurs through an organized schedule of prescribed PRT drills and activities. These exercises, drills, and activities are methodically sequenced to adequately challenge all Soldiers through progressive conditioning of the entire body while controlling injuries. Commanders execute a vital role in PRT leader training and development in the operational and self-development domains. They plan training in detail, prepare for training thoroughly, execute training to standard and evaluate short-term training proficiency in terms of desired long-term results.

George N.