A new 'combat readiness test' that incorporates cross-training, elements of yoga, and the benefits of rest is part of an overhaul of physical fitness tests in the US Army.
Announced on March 1st, the new training will be phased in over the next six months at several bases. However, some seasoned veterans have said that the new regimen coddles soldiers, reports the CS Monitor.
"There have been all kinds of rumors about what this is and what it isn't. People have said, 'It's yoga-like, it's like Pilates' ... And frankly, it is all those things," said Gen. Mark Hertling, Deputy Commanding General for Initial Military Training at the US Army's Training and Doctrine Command, of the new fitness requirements.
"Lots of folks are saying, 'Ah, you're babying them. You've got to drive them hard, and work them until it hurts,'" he said.
Meanwhile, he argued that the strain accompanying such tough training leads to stress fractures and other injuries.
The result in practical terms is a new Army doctrine extolling the virtues of breaks on long marches - not typically a US military priority. Commanders are discovering, for example, that rest can be regenerative.
For the past 30 years, "We've only done push-ups, sit-ups, and a two-mile run. And frankly, none of those address the kinds of things soldiers are asked to do in combat," said Hertling.
To remedy that, the Army is adding shuttle runs and the long jump. It has also shortened the traditional two-mile run test to 1-1/2 miles, to give commanders a better sense of troops' ability to run shorter distances more quickly.
The new test also includes a series of drills such as navigating a balance beam while hauling two 30-pound canisters of ammunition and dragging a sled filled with 180-pounds worth of sandbags.