ArmyTimes Link: http://www.armytimes.com/news/2011/04/army-test-takers-offer-advice-opinions-on-new-prt-040211w/
Two weeks later, more than a dozen drill sergeants took the Army Physical Readiness Test before administering it to 137 basic-training soldiers.
Despite the vast differences in ages, body sizes, years of service and gender, all participants gave similar advice to an Army that awaits the change: Get ready. And you can do that by following two simple rules, they said.
• First: Give attention to form. The five-event physical fitness test marks the first change to the test in more than 30 years. Knowing the rules and right form for each event will enhance your scores. The wrong form will hinder your success.
For example, don’t take your good push-up scores for granted. The days of free-styling push-ups with wide arms or closed hands are over. Now, the index finger has to be aligned with outside of the shoulder. And it is harder than it sounds.
Sgt. First Class Jason Waller found out the hard way. The 18-year veteran saw his number of push-ups cut by half because of the restricted position and inability to rest.
“New soldiers don’t have as much of an issue with the form, because that is how they are taught to do push-ups,” he said. “But for soldiers who have been in awhile, there will be some breaking of old habits.”
This was clear for Staff Sgt. Danica Foster, a drill sergeant at the physical fitness school who demonstrated the events March 1. The observer quickly put her efforts to an end when Foster paused halfway through the push-ups to get a better position, much to her dismay.
Pfc. Joseph Kalsic said 20 percent of his push-ups didn’t count because his hands were too far apart.
“It’s all in the form,” he said.
In the rower event, about 10 percent of reps were not counted because they were not done properly. Participants had trouble keeping their feet together.
“I always maxed out on sit-ups, but only scored in the low 30s on the rower,” said Staff Sgt. Abner Baker, a drill sergeant. “I don’t know how many I did that didn’t count. You definitely need to learn to do them right.”
One thing that leads to a breakdown of form is the abdominal burn that results, said Staff Sgt. Luis Hernandez, a drill sergeant at the physical fitness school.
“When you’re doing a sit-up, you’re using abs and part of your legs,” he said. “With the rower, it is all abs — and you can feel it.”
And even something as simple as placing a wooden block behind the starting line, a requirement of the 60-yard shuttle run, can prove catastrophic.
“I saw soldiers running hard, but they would drop the block too soon,” said Pvt. Jeremy Tilley. “The drill sergeants kept telling them, but people kept doing it and it cost them a lot of time.”
Parts 2 and 3 will be posted this week.