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Army PRT Phases

Commanders often grapple with the task of training soldiers of varying physical abilities. 

  • The aim is to strike a balance: avoiding mundane routines for the well-fit while not overburdening the less fit, thereby minimizing injury risk. 
  • This chapter provides a roadmap to commanders, enabling them to ensure rigorous yet safe Physical Readiness Training (PRT), in line with the guidelines laid out in Chapters 5 and 6.

PHASES (the Four PRT Phases)

Initial Conditioning Phase

  • Purpose: Serve as a foundation for potential Soldiers to grasp and adapt to Army PRT.
  • Audience: Encompasses individuals considering the Army, such as those in the Army’s Future Soldier Program and the Reserve Officer Training Corps.
  • Training Window: This phase is undertaken pre-enlistment or pre-commissioning.

Toughening Phase

  • Purpose: Focuses on establishing core fitness and essential movement techniques.
  • Training Details:
    • Activities maintain rigorous standards ensuring gradual toughening of bones, muscles, and connective tissues.
    • Soldiers hone skills in managing their own body weight.
    • Emphasizes key Soldier tasks like jumping, landing, climbing, lunging, bending, reaching, and lifting.
  • Training Window: Takes place during IMT, basic combat training (BCT), one station unit training (OSUT) (red/white/blue phases), and Basic Officer Leader Course A (BOLC A).
  • End Goal: Equip Soldiers to transition to the sustaining phase.

Sustaining Phase

  • Purpose: To escalate the levels of physical readiness in line with the demands of the duty position and C- or D-METL.


  • Purpose: To aid Soldiers in regaining their physical prowess, allowing them a smooth transition back into the toughening or sustaining phase.
  • Further Details: Comprehensive information on this can be found in Chapter 6.
PRT System & Phases
PRT System & Phases

Core Components of PRT Training

  • Types of Training:
    • On-ground
    • Off-ground
    • Combatives
  • Fundamental Elements:
    • Strength
    • Endurance
    • Mobility
  • Key Principles:
    • Precision
    • Progression
    • Integration

1. Training Types:

  • On-ground: These exercises focus on tasks performed on stable ground, emphasizing basic movements and physical skills.
  • Off-ground: This refers to activities conducted off the earth’s surface, which may include climbing, jumping, or any maneuver not grounded.
  • Combatives: This involves hand-to-hand combat training, teaching soldiers to defend themselves without weapons.

2. Fundamental Elements:

  • Strength: It’s not just about muscles but about enhancing a soldier’s ability to exert force and sustain muscular activity.
  • Endurance: This ensures soldiers can perform tasks over prolonged periods, building stamina.
  • Mobility: Beyond just moving, this component focuses on agility, flexibility, and balance, ensuring soldiers can move with ease in varied terrains and situations.

3. Key Principles:

  • Precision: This principle stresses the importance of accurate and careful movements to avoid injuries and achieve the desired outcome.
  • Progression: It emphasizes a gradual increase in intensity, ensuring that soldiers improve their skills and physical abilities without undue risk.
  • Integration: This is about harmonizing different training elements, ensuring soldiers are well-rounded and prepared in every aspect of physical readiness.



  • To provide a secure foundation for individuals contemplating a career in the Army.

Target Audience:

  • Future Soldiers: Those enrolled in the Army’s Future Soldier Program.
  • ROTC Cadets: Students in the Reserve Officer Training Corps.

Training Timing

  • Before making the formal commitment of enlistment or pre-commissioning.

Key Features:

  • Safety First: Ensures that the individual is introduced to the rigors of military life in a gradual and safe manner.
  • Building Stamina: The main goal is to provide a foundational level of fitness, equipping them with the basic physical requirements expected of a Soldier.



  • Focuses on bolstering foundational fitness and enhancing core movement skills, ensuring the Soldier’s body is conditioned to withstand the physical demands of military tasks.

Training Elements:

  • Diverse Activities: Incorporates a myriad of exercises with specific execution standards.
  • Strengthening the Core: Emphasis on fortifying bones, muscles, and connective tissues. The approach is incremental to ensure resilience over time.
  • Body Weight Mastery: Soldiers gradually build proficiency in handling their body weight, a crucial skill in many military operations.
  • Skill Development: Activities in this phase focus on crucial Soldier tasks, such as:
    • Jumping and landing.
    • Climbing.
    • Lunging.
    • Bending, reaching, and lifting.

Training Improvement

  • There’s a clear progression in activities ensuring continual physical readiness enhancement.

When & Where:

  • During IMT: Integral part of Initial Military Training.
  • Basic Combat Training (BCT): Fundamental phase for recruits.
  • One Station Unit Training (OSUT): Specifically, during its red, white, and blue phases.
  • Basic Officer Leader Course A (BOLC A): For officer candidates.
  • Outcome: Soldiers, upon completion, are well-prepared and conditioned to transition to the more intensive sustaining phase.



  • The sustaining phase is built on maintaining and progressing the physical capabilities of Soldiers. 
  • It is designed to ensure Soldiers are prepared for the dynamic demands they might encounter in their respective duty positions and the challenges inherent in the unit’s C- or D-METL.

Core Objectives:

  • Physical Development: Progressively challenging exercises are introduced to ensure that Soldiers continue to build on their physical prowess.
  • Maintain High Physical Readiness: Ensuring Soldiers are always at a state of readiness to meet any task head-on, especially those outlined in ARFORGEN. For a comprehensive understanding of ARFORGEN, refer to AR 350-1.

Advanced Physical Activities:

  • Advanced calisthenics.
  • Military movement.
  • Kettlebell exercises.
  • CLs with incremental resistance.

Endurance and Mobility Activities:

  • Increased foot marching.
  • Enhanced speed running.
  • Extended sustained running.

Specialized Training Activities:

  • Individual movement techniques.
  • Casualty carries.
  • Obstacle courses.
  • Combatives.

These specialized activities are specifically integrated into PRT sessions as they align closely with the unit’s mission and C- or D-METL.



  • The overarching goal of reconditioning is to rehabilitate Soldiers, facilitating their safe re-entry into either the toughening or sustaining phases of training. 
  • This ensures that Soldiers can regain and exceed their former levels of physical fitness.

When is Reconditioning Needed?:

  • Post Injury/Illness Rehabilitation: Following recovery, Soldiers may need to rebuild their physical stamina and strength.
  • Extended Deployment: Lengthy deployments might result in a reduction in regular training, leading to a decrease in physical readiness.
  • Other Causes: Field training, block leave, or any prolonged absence from regular PRT can warrant a phase of reconditioning.
  • The Reconditioning Process:
  • Assessment: Determine the current physical state of the Soldier.
  • Reconditioning Regime: Implement a structured training program tailored to the Soldier’s needs. For a detailed insight, reference Chapter 6, which focuses on Special Conditioning Programs.
  • Transition: Once Soldiers fulfill the criteria for transitioning back into unit training, they are reintegrated into either the toughening or sustaining phases.

Note: Units typically run simultaneous sessions of reconditioning alongside the toughening or sustaining phases to cater to all Soldiers’ needs.

Figure 2-1. PRT System
George N.