Commanders face the continual challenge of training Soldiers with different physical capabilities. Training to the level of the least fit removes rigor from the program, while excessive rigor places less fit Soldiers at risk of injury. Most commanders recognize this dilemma and try to occupy a reasonable middle ground. This chapter guides commanders in the implementation of safe and challenging PRT. It should be applied according to Chapters 5 and 6.
The initial conditioning phase prepares future Soldiers to learn and adapt to Army PRT. Toughening phase activities develop foundational fitness and fundamental movement skills that prepare Soldiers to transition to the sustaining phase. Sustaining phase activities develop a higher level of physical readiness required by duty position and C- or D-METL. Reconditioning restores Soldiers’ physical fitness levels that enable them to safely re-enter the toughening or sustaining phase and progress to their previous level of conditioning. See Chapter 6 for more information on reconditioning. Types of PRT training include on-ground, off-ground, and combatives. Within these types of training are three fundamental components: strength, endurance, and mobility. Phased training follows the principles of precision, progression, and integration. Finally, Army PRT optimizes physical performance within an environment of injury control. Figure 2-1 shows the PRT System’s phases, types of training, components, principles, and reconditioning as they apply to ARFORGEN.
INITIAL CONDITIONING PHASE
The purpose of the initial conditioning phase is to establish a safe starting point for people considering entering the Army. This includes those individuals enrolled in the Army’s Future Soldier Program and in the Reserve Officer Training Corps. This phase of training is conducted before enlistment or pre-commissioning.
The purpose of the toughening phase is to develop foundational fitness and fundamental movement skills. A variety of training activities with precise standards of execution ensures that bones, muscles, and connective tissues gradually toughen, rather than break. In the toughening phase, Soldiers gradually become proficient at managing their own body weight. Toughening phase activities develop essential skills associated with critical Soldier tasks such as jumping, landing, climbing, lunging, bending, reaching, and lifting. Physical readiness improves through progression in these activities. The toughening phase occurs during IMT, basic combat training (BCT), one station unit training (OSUT) (red/white/blue phases), and Basic Officer Leader Course A (BOLC A). The toughening phase prepares Soldiers to move to the sustaining phase.
The purpose of the sustaining phase is to continue physical development and maintain a high level of physical readiness appropriate to duty position and the requirements of the unit’s C- or D-METL as it applies to ARFORGEN. See AR 350-1 to reference ARFORGEN. Sustaining phase activities are conducted in unit PRT throughout the Army. In this phase, activities become more demanding. Exercises, drills, and activities such as advanced calisthenics, military movement, kettlebell, and CLs are performed with increasing resistance. Endurance and mobility activities such as foot marching, speed running, and sustained running increase in intensity and duration. Activities that directly support unit mission and C- or D-METL, such as individual ovement techniques, casualty carries, obstacle courses, and combatives are integrated into PRT sessions.
The objective of reconditioning is to restore physical fitness levels that enable Soldiers to reenter the toughening or sustaining phase safely, and then progress to their previous levels of conditioning. See Chapter 6, Special Conditioning Programs, for more information on rehabilitation and reconditioning PRT. Soldiers may participate in reconditioning after rehabilitation and recovery from injury or illness, and then re-enter training in the toughening or sustaining phases.
Factors such as extended deployment, field training, block leave, and recovery from illness or injury can cause Soldiers to move from the toughening or sustaining phases to reconditioning. Once Soldiers meet the transition criteria for re-entry into unit training, they may do so. Units usually conduct either reconditioning and toughening or reconditioning and sustaining phases at the same time.