With reference to the military occupational fitness requirements, provide a rational for fitness tests used by Army PTIs.
History has proven that fitness is of huge benefit to the Armed Forces. The Spartan and Roman armies stood out in history due to their physical conditioning in relation to war fighting. There soldiers where constantly being assessed to ensure combat effectiveness throughout the ranks ensuring their solidarity as an army.
“The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war.” (Whitfield, 2013)
There are 6 key physical fitness operational tests that are used by the British Army known as Operational Fitness Tests (OFTs). These tests are used to assess a soldier’s ...view middle of the document...
AFORM acts as a guideline to plan training for operations so that a soldier should be reaching their maximum physical potential, ready for deployment on operations. (DTrg(A), 2014).
Firstly this essay will explore why modern day infantry personnel are tested with specific fitness tests, relevant to their job role. OFT 6 will be the main focus in the essay. It will look into the criteria of the test and see wither it has any relevance to an infantry soldiers job role. The essay will look at the rationale behind commanders using this test and the part it has to play as an assessment before deploying on operations. Other parts of the test, such as Military Specific Tasks (MST) will be investigated to find out their suitability within the OFTs but mainly focusing on the relevance within OFT 6. The final area that will be covered is the time constraints of AFORM and whether it allows soldiers adhering to the physical programme, the ability to achieve optimal performance before operations, within the constraints of a Battalion organisation (DTrg(A), 2014).
Fitness testing is carried out throughout an infantry soldiers’ career. Each soldier is tested across different areas of fitness which are; Personal Fitness, Vocational Fitness and Operational Fitness.
Personal fitness is tested by each soldier completing a PFA twice within a training year (April to March). Vocational Fitness is tested by an 8 mile AFT which is tested once a year. Both of these tests have to be passed at different standards. The PFA is a scored, taking into account your age and sex. Whilst the AFT tests according to the different job roles and cap badge (DTrg(A), 2013).
Finally Operational Fitness is tested by conducting OFTs in readiness for operations. These tests do not have to be passed on an annual basis but are there to test a soldier’s ability to be deployed depending on their job role.
Out of the 6 OFTs the infantry mainly use OFT 6 as it is seen to have the most relation to a standard infantry role whilst deployed on operations. OFT 6 is an assessment which comprises of a 2 day weight bearing endurance event that finishes with 2 military specific tasks (MST). Day one comprises of a 3 hrs 30mins loaded march carrying 30kg over 20km. Day two comprises of 3 hrs loaded march carrying 20kg over 20km then 2 MSTs, directed by the Units Commanding Officer in collaboration with the Physical Training Instructor.
Reports of the weight that soldiers on operations were carrying was noted to be 60kg plus. From these reports Commanders debated that the AFT and training prior to deploying was in adequate and lacked specificity for the fitness performance needed for patrolling with the required kit. Therefore the pre-deployment training was re-assessed and altered in ways to suit current Ops. As stated by Fleck et al (1997) during the in season, training should turn from generalised to sport specific in order to recruit and utilise the correct and optimal amount of muscle...