Military Monday: Push!
While we were at the Commissary over the weekend, C picked up a copy of the Army Times. Even though he reads it once in a while I was surprised by the gusto with which he seized it– until I saw the headline: New PT Test: No More Push-Ups?
Really, I couldn’t blame him. I hate push-ups more than just about any other exercise, except for… um. No, I hate push-ups the most.
This exercise was clearly designed by sadists
Apparently the Army is starting to question their usefulness too; at least for gauging the combat readiness of Soldiers. As I perused the article this morning, I was intrigued by the changes that they are contemplating. Right now a PT test consists of three “events”: push-ups, sit-ups, and running. While these are good exercises in and of themselves, I can see why someone might think that perhaps upper body strength is not the best indicator of how one might perform in combat.
So what are they thinking of switching to? A 5-event PT test that would include the running and push-ups (in a slightly different format) and add a shuttle run, rowers, and a standing long-jump. According to one of the designers of the new test, these events more accurately assess what a body might have to go through in a combat situation.
I think the new PT test is a great idea, for a couple of reasons. One, the new series of events has been carefully designed by people who understand sports physiology and the plan is aligned with American College of Sports Medicine and the Cooper Institute guidelines. This means that the new exercises are designed to reduce injuries from repetition and overuse (ask C how his knees feel after those 10 mile runs… I swear he has the joints of a man 3 times his age).
Two, PT tests factor pretty heavily into promotions in rank. Think about it… what kind of NCO or Officer might we have if suddenly there is a PT test meant to level the playing field (especially in terms of gender)? A few less lunks in the crowd might mean more guys coming home. I certainly don’t wish to paint all the COs in a negative light, but where the focus has traditionally been on physical prowess– meaning that if your PT scores aren’t high enough you don’t get promoted– the emphasis for good leadership hasn’t always been on brains, if you know what I mean.
The new guidelines, if they are accepted, wouldn’t go into effect until at least October. So for the next few weeks/months, at least, C will have to continue with the push-up/sit-up/run-me-into-the-ground PT. And I can guarantee that even if the guidelines do change, push-ups will still be the favorite punishment of any NCO (since that’s about all they can get away with these days).
But hey… I’m not complaining about my tickets to the gun show ^_~