Are You World War II Fit?

by Chris on May 1, 2010

I read an interesting article recently in the NSCA’s Tactical Strength and Conditioning Report. The article, from the April 2010 report was titled simply: “Are you fit the fight in World War II?”

To give you the short version, basically the article looks at the differences between the U.S. Army’s Physical Readiness Training doctrine from 1946 and modern physical fitness tests, or PFTs. I’ve personally taken a couple of different PFTs, for both the U.S. Army and the U.S. Marine Corps, and I can tell you they aren’t particularly easy. The Army’s current test consists of max pushups and situps within two minutes and a 2-mile run. The USMC’s test is max pullups, crunches and a 3-mile run. Neither is easy.

The 1946 PFT is a little different, with one of the biggest differences being that it has more events. There are two variations given in the TSAC article, one for outdoors and one indoors.

Outdoors – Pullups, Squat Jumps, Pushups, Sit-ups, 300 Yard Run

Indoors – Pullups, Squat Jumps, Pushups, Situps, Indoor Shuttle Run OR 60-Second Squat Thrusts

For the indoors version, should you not be able to perform the shuttle run, you can do the 60-second squat thrusts instead. The pushups, squat jumps, pullups and situps are max tests.

As with everything, the devil’s in the details with the 1946 test.

Pullups must be done from a dead hang, with no kipping. You must pull yourself all the way up until your chin is higher than the bar and return to a dead hang on each rep. If you fail to do so, the rep doesn’t count.

With the Pushups you must lower yourself all the way down until your chest touches the floor or the flat hand of the judge (if you have one). If you use a judge, their hand must be placed flat on the ground under your chest.

Situps are performed with straight legs and with an alternating twist. What that means is someone holds down your ankles, you keep your legs straight, sit up and rotate so that your elbow touches the opposite side knee, alternating directions you twist each rep.

For Squat Jumps, you begin with your hands laced behind your head. The feet are 4 to 6 inches apart with the heel of the left foot on a line with the toes of the right foot. Spring upwards, landing with your feet reversed.

The other tests are fairly self-explanatory, but feel free to comment if you need additional instruction. You can also get more information about the test here. You can check your score using the scoring table provided here.

Give it a shot and let me know how you do. Make sure you stay strict on the form. Good luck!

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