Should fitness be a "personal responsibility" for soldiers?

#1
Or more accurately, 'Should fitness training to the required standard be a "personal responsibility" for (edit: regular) soldiers?

This was being discussed in the A 2020 / recruiting thread, however apparently it's too off-topic so I thought it may be appropriate to discuss it here.

In brief, according to @bobthebuilder, "the vast majority of soldiers I served with trained hard in their own time and took personal responsibility for their fitness" and they had to do so in order to achieve the basic level fitness of fitness required for routine, basic and mundane military tasks, such as "decking down a bridge at night ".

Albeit that was a decade or more ago, to me that's an appalling indictment of a unit, then or now. Maybe ancient history and just a series of badly run units, but the point's exacerbated by a complete misunderstanding of Project Thor by @Commentator who's still serving:THOR is (hopefully) going to produce personal training programmes for every individual. From the new series of tests the results go into a spreadsheet which does all the maths for the PTI and creates a printable training programme specialised to the individual based on their performance on the various tests, their bodyweight and how much they need to improve. Gives them a good routine including exactly what weight they should be using for various exercises (squat, deadlift, bench press etc...) to improve their strength and other aspects of fitness (such as giving them sprint targets at different distances.

So sorry John, but THOR is doing exactly what you seem to not like - giving soldiers responsibility to work on their own phys.

From everything I've read and been told, Thor is anything but about "giving soldiers responsibility to work on their own phys". That's just an excuse to pass responsibility for fitness from the unit down to the individual soldier and a complete misinterpretation of Thor. Thor is about maintaining the same physical standards but doing so while minimising injuries and wastage by changing training programmes and improving remedial training. From Colonel Infantry (Combat 2017) and Soldier Magazine (May 2018 ):

In Combat 2017, Colonel Infantry* introduced the new approach to physical training. Project THOR (Training for Human Optimisation for Readiness) is a revolutionary new physical training programme to help the soldier athlete stay in optimal shape and avoid musculoskeletal injuries (MSKI). The intent of the THOR programme is to reduce musculoskeletal injuries and medical discharges without compromising the Army’s physical fitness standards. The Interim Health Report (2016) found that 60% of medical discharges are down to musculoskeletal injury, in addition to this the report identified MSKI mitigations that are estimated to reduce the risk by up to 20-30%. The new Physical Employment Standards (PES) will be critical to reach the full 30% mitigation. Due to the high rate of injury and loss of talent, it is clear there is a need for soldier’s bodies to be better conditioned in order to deal with the rigours of operations (Combat, 2017; Soldier Magazine, May 2018 .

Nothing, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, to do with "giving soldiers responsibility to work on their own phys" in place of the unit's responsibility, but the automated printouts are intended to do nothing more than supplement unit training if a soldier wants to - not, under any circumstances, to replace it and make it the soldier's responsibility.

In my (admittedly dated) experience, fitness training was simply a normal part of training, at least for inf units, like anything else - in the case of fitness training, a minimum of three times a week. The idea that soldiers would be expected to do training in their own time and be held responsible for it is as absurd to me as holding someone responsible for failing their ACMT (APWT in old money).

To me this is not just totally against all known best practice in any successful sports teams, where individuals don't take "personal responsibility" and "ownership" of their own fitness training, even though they're in a far better position to do so than the vast majority of soldiers, but they train together, collectively, under supervision, not only because it achieves better results but because it builds teamwork and team spirit - it goes totally against the whole ethos of building a team and teamwork which, in my apparently outdated world, is what the Army used to be and should be all about.

 
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#2
Fitness is an integral part of being a soldier, therefore the Army, as the employer should provide training for the "Workforce " in order to keep a BASIC level of fitness for every member it employs.

IF an individual wants to go above and beyond these levels in their iwn time, thats up to them.
 
#3
the automated printouts are intended to do nothing more than supplement unit training if a soldier wants to - not, under any circumstances, to replace it and make it the soldier's responsibility.


Correct, it was never put forward as something to replace the mandated 3 a week PT sessions. But as ever you've turned a perfectly logical idea into some kind of JG Crusade.

In my (admittedly dated) experience, fitness training was simply a normal part of training


Still is, as stated above.

I The idea that soldiers would be expected to do training in their own time and be held responsible for it is as absurd to me as holding someone responsible for failing their ACMT (APWT in old money).


Really? So soldiers were never expected to improve their personal PT in their own time? I'm not saying you're wrong, I just can't say I'd recognise that. If someone needs to get fitter, they have time to do it, PTIs to help tell them how, and equipment for them to use that they've been trained on.

To me this is not just totally against all known best practice in any successful sports teams, where individuals don't take "personal responsibility" and "ownership" of their own fitness training


You really think they don't train on their own on personal weaknesses as well as team training? Reckon/know you're straight up wrong there.

it builds teamwork and team spirit - it goes totally against the whole ethos of building a team and teamwork
If personal fitness replaced the mandated team fitness it would, but it hasn't, so it doesn't.

 
#4
... and I think it's worth repeating a post from @twentyfirstoffoot here, as it sums up much of my own abhorrence at what is simply a complete shunning of responsibility by the CoC, particularly COs and OCs who should be held responsible for levels of fitness and ensuring that time is made available in Army time, not the individual's, for what's an Army requirement:

I think it is a problem that has been around to some extent for years. Soldiers do, for many reasons, lose their fitness and failure at any mandatory physical test usually sees the soldier excluded from the 'pack'.

COs and OCs, desperate to maintain their self perceived top third status, will kick up an almighty fuss shouting 'personal responsibility' thus demonstrating their righteous indignation while quietly removing themselves from any responsibility. This of course will descend the CoC with increased energy and venom at every level.

The fact that Pte McTavish is working unacceptable hours while being employed on mind numbing unnecessary tasks, with his morale under the belly of a dachshund will not be considered. Combine with this, the Army wide view that any form of remedial PT must be seen as a punishment and be unpleasant old McT doesn't really stand a chance does he? But let's not forget it's all his (other genders are available) fault.

 
#5
Yep, 20FoF was spot on.

Any reason why any service person can't do their own Phys in the working day if they aren't tasked with other things?
 
#6
Or more accurately, 'Should fitness training to the required standard be a "personal responsibility" for soldiers?

This was being discussed in the A 2020 / recruiting thread, however apparently it's too off-topic so I thought it may be appropriate to discuss it here.

In brief, according to @bobthebuilder, "the vast majority of soldiers I served with trained hard in their own time and took personal responsibility for their fitness" and they had to do so in order to achieve the basic level fitness of fitness required for routine, basic and mundane military tasks, such as "decking down a bridge at night ".

Albeit that was a decade or more ago, to me that's an appalling indictment of a unit, then or now. Maybe ancient history and just a series of badly run units, but the point's exacerbated by a complete misunderstanding of Project Thor by @Commentator who's still serving:THOR is (hopefully) going to produce personal training programmes for every individual. From the new series of tests the results go into a spreadsheet which does all the maths for the PTI and creates a printable training programme specialised to the individual based on their performance on the various tests, their bodyweight and how much they need to improve. Gives them a good routine including exactly what weight they should be using for various exercises (squat, deadlift, bench press etc...) to improve their strength and other aspects of fitness (such as giving them sprint targets at different distances.

So sorry John, but THOR is doing exactly what you seem to not like - giving soldiers responsibility to work on their own phys.

From everything I've read and been told, Thor is anything but about "giving soldiers responsibility to work on their own phys". That's just an excuse to pass responsibility for fitness from the unit down to the individual soldier and a complete misinterpretation of Thor. Thor is about maintaining the same physical standards but doing so while minimising injuries and wastage by changing training programmes and improving remedial training. From Colonel Infantry (Combat 2017) and Soldier Magazine (May 2018):

In Combat 2017, Colonel Infantry* introduced the new approach to physical training. Project THOR (Training for Human Optimisation for Readiness) is a revolutionary new physical training programme to help the soldier athlete stay in optimal shape and avoid musculoskeletal injuries (MSKI). The intent of the THOR programme is to reduce musculoskeletal injuries and medical discharges without compromising the Army’s physical fitness standards. The Interim Health Report (2016) found that 60% of medical discharges are down to musculoskeletal injury, in addition to this the report identified MSKI mitigations that are estimated to reduce the risk by up to 20-30%. The new Physical Employment Standards (PES) will be critical to reach the full 30% mitigation. Due to the high rate of injury and loss of talent, it is clear there is a need for soldier’s bodies to be better conditioned in order to deal with the rigours of operations (Combat, 2017; Soldier Magazine, May 2018 .

Nothing, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, to do with "giving soldiers responsibility to work on their own phys" in place of the unit's responsibility, but the automated printouts are intended to do nothing more than supplement unit training if a soldier wants to - not, under any circumstances, to replace it and make it the soldier's responsibility.

In my (admittedly dated) experience, fitness training was simply a normal part of training, at least for inf units, like anything else - in the case of fitness training, a minimum of three times a week. The idea that soldiers would be expected to do training in their own time and be held responsible for it is as absurd to me as holding someone responsible for failing their ACMT (APWT in old money).

To me this is not just totally against all known best practice in any successful sports teams, where individuals don't take "personal responsibility" and "ownership" of their own fitness training, even though they're in a far better position to do so than the vast majority of soldiers, but they train together, collectively, under supervision, not only because it achieves better results but because it builds teamwork and team spirit - it goes totally against the whole ethos of building a team and teamwork which, in my apparently outdated world, is what the Army used to be and should be all about.

I believe that Physs is pretty much already the personal responsibility of AR soldiers, not having time to fit it in on drill nights as well as all other mandatory/interest training.
 
#7
Correct, it was never put forward as something to replace the mandated 3 a week PT sessions. But as ever you've turned a perfectly logical idea into some kind of JG Crusade.
I suggest you re-read your and @Bob's posts - that may not have been your intention, but it was exactly what was posted by both of you.

The idea that it was nothing more than supplementary to an adequate fitness programme done in Army time, only if soldiers want to, to go beyond the minimum required level of fitness, is contradicted very clearly by both of you in what you wrote (posts #'s 185, 205, and 221 of his and #'s 192, 214, and 222 of yours couldn't be clearer). having written as you did, it's a little late to change tack now.
Really? So soldiers were never expected to improve their personal PT in their own time?
Never in any unit I served in. Literally NEVER. Some did, if they wanted to, but it was never, never "expected" - nor was it needed.

Similarly, nor were they ever "expected" to improve their shooting by joining a local shooting club, or their first aid skills by going on a StJohn's Ambulance course in their leave or their own time.

I'm not suggesting that you're fabricating it when you say you 'don't recognise that' anymore than I'm saying Bob was, but what I'm suggesting is that this is totally wrong. It simply shouldn't happen in the Regular Army and something's gone very badly wrong if soldiers are expected to train for a military requirement in their own time.
 
#8
Fitness is an integral part of being a soldier, therefore the Army, as the employer should provide training for the "Workforce " in order to keep a BASIC level of fitness for every member it employs.
That's not how the police see it, apparently. A compulsory fitness test is now one of the ToS, but without any job training facilities or training time being offered.

I'm not sure how rigidly the pass/fail requirements are enforced. I've not heard of anyone getting kicked out yet.
 
#9
I believe that Physs is pretty much already the personal responsibility of AR soldiers, not having time to fit it in on drill nights as well as all other mandatory/interest training.
Agreed, @Tappet, but I'm talking about Regular Army here, not Reserves - that's a whole different area of discussion and I'm sure you could start a separate thread on that if you want to.

Edit: Ditto for the police, @Provost. I'd suggest the levels and time required are rather different, and you don't have the recruiting and retention problem the Regular Army does. Expecting people to give up their own time when that time 's often limited and there's no such thing as OT isn't exactly an incentive to either join or stay.
2nd edit: and it's not just about being kicked out, @Provost - it's about being able to physically do your job without someone else having to do it for you.
 
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#10
Agreed, @Tappet, but I'm talking about Regular Army here, not Reserves - that's a whole different area of discussion and I'm sure you could start a separate thread on that if you want to.
Thanks, but I don’t. Couldn’t see a Regular focus in the original post - but the reserves experience may be able to teach some lessons if appropriately analysed (and if data has ever been recorded).
 
#11
Expecting people to give up their own time when that time 's often limited and there's no such thing as OT isn't exactly an incentive to either join or stay.
This is 2018. O/T in the police is a happy memory for the old and bold only. I expect that, other than on exercise or when deployed, your average squaddie can confidently expect a shorter working week than a copper.
 
#12
Any reason why any service person can't do their own Phys in the working day if they aren't tasked with other things?
Plenty.

First, and most obviously, facilities. If they want to use the gym, what about other tps using it at the same time for properly programmed and run collective PT?

Second, if they're going to go running on their own or do circuits in the open (assuming weather permits), again on their own, do you seriously think most soldiers could be relied to do so? Some certainly could, but the problem cases who need supervision are inevitably the same ones who couldn't be relied on.

... similarly ...
Commentator said:
it's all grounded on the Values and Standards with a good dose of mission command and treating them like grown ups.
Personal Discipline
Respect for Others (not letting the team down)
Courage to tackle your own weak points
Total Professionalism by taking pride in your work as a professional soldier in whatever form
Great in theory and cloud-cuckoo land, but unfortunately that isn't reality and you need look no further than some posting here.

One LE officer here with some 35 years service couldn't / wouldn't accept that ""cross country / mixed terrain" are not "the same f*cking thing by the way" as "off tarmac / metalled road", even though the changes were introduced (in his time) in order to control the amount of time spent marching / jogging / speed marching etc, etc, on a surface (tarmac / metalled road) which is most likely to cause lower limb stress / impact injuries, not just during the test but in training for it.

Another DE officer (admittedly TA, but still presumably rather more knowledgeable than most pte soldiers), despite serving for 30 years, advised a potential recruit with possible Achilles tendon issues to "go for a walk and do some stretching when you get back" - the worst possible advice under the circumstances.

You can't get much more basic than avoiding running on roads in boots and avoiding exacerbating tendon issues, but if officers with that sort of experience can't realise that straightaway then what chance do pte soldiers have when left to their own devices (or, at best, with an automated print out based on very limited data)?
 
#13
Its the responsibility at every level, by dent of their job soldiers are required to be physically fitting, getting off your fat arse is a personal responsibility. But commanders also have a responsibility, they need to ensure that time and adequate facilities are available, good communication and infirmation and the ability to rehabilitate, rest and recover as applicable.
 
#14
That's not how the police see it, apparently. A compulsory fitness test is now one of the ToS, but without any job training facilities or training time being offered.

I'm not sure how rigidly the pass/fail requirements are enforced. I've not heard of anyone getting kicked out yet.
Au contraire mon ami. This wage thief was sacked after she repeatedly failed fitness tests.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4997256/Overweight-officer-quit-bleep-test-loses-case.html
 

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#15
Fitness comes with the job, morning PT etc. It also comes with personal pride.

Every Saturday afternoon, I'd go for a personal CFT on the double around Windsor Great Park.

Was it out of need? No. Was it out of job requirement? No.

It was because it was an excellent way to pull some frankly stunning fanny.

:D
 
#16
Commentator said:
What an awful attitude to have.
Why if someone gets injured does someone have to "carry the can"?
... Genuinely, that made me sick reading that.
Someone has to "carry the can" because the Army spends an enormous amount of time, money and effort training its soldiers, and if someone gets injured because they've been told to do PT taken by someone who's untrained and unqualified (doesn't matter if they're an offr or NCO) and that training is wrong, which very often it will be, then the injuries are totally unnecessary.

Many moons ago I was involved in (OK, ran, along with the MO but with no APTC involvement as it was a deliberately 'blind' study) a study which compared injury and MD rates in recruit trg between recruits who were trained strictly according to the CMS(R), with no additional PT by anyone, and recruits who were given extra PT by the Pl staff to 'help' them improve - two different trg coys, two intakes, four pls each intake. By the end of trg there was no difference in physical fitness between any of the pls, as confirmed by the independent APTC staff (who were unaware of the test); injuries were between two and three times higher in the pls where the pl staff had been allowed to continue to 'help' with extra PT, and MDs were some 30 to 50% higher. As a result of that study similar studies were carried out in units, with similar results, and consequently AGAIs were changed so that those who were unqualified were barred from taking PT (just as those who are unqualified are barred from running ranges, taking AT, etc) and AFAIK that ban still stands.

Under absolutely no circumstances should "JNCOs ... organise low level PT for the section. Set up a circuit, do a 20 minute AMRAP, etc", nor should JNCOs "take their blokes to the gym where they all just do some PT together" - unless they're PTIs they're simply not qualified or trained to do so. If the 'blokes' can't find their own way to the gym when they want to then something's badly wrong, and as soon as any untrained JNCO tells someone to do PT they either don't want to do or don't know how to do properly it's inviting disaster.

Exactly the same thing applies to a well-motivated but untrained and unqualified junior officer who's "working on having a stock of A5 laminated cards in the gym hall that anyone can pick up and do the circuit or exercises on it, some designed to focus on PFA (arguably, the "get fit" stick for encouragement) others specifically for strength or speed or others" unless they're a trained and qualified Fitness Officer. It's not only not their responsibility but that of the unit RAPTC rep or Unit Fitness Officer, but it's inviting the same disaster.

PTIs and Fitness Officers are trained for the job, just as range supervisors and range officers are. It doesn't come with the rank and never has, whatever you and @elovabloke and others may think. The ignorance displayed by some posting on ARRSE who think they know all about it because they've been on the receiving end of PT although they're totally untrained and unqualified speaks for itself.
 
#17
If a soldier can't meet the fitness standards, then surely they're going to want to do what they can to get to the required standard? They might get remedial PT, and advice on what to work on, and how to do it, but the buck stops with the soldier himself (or herself).
 
#19
If a soldier can't meet the fitness standards, then surely they're going to want to do what they can to get to the required standard? They might get remedial PT, and advice on what to work on, and how to do it, but the buck stops with the soldier himself (or herself).
So that applies to his (or her) ACMT too? ... and if not, why not?

So doesn't the CoC have any responsibility for ensuring he (or she) meet the standard by at least giving them the right and sufficient collective trg, in the Army's time? So that any remedial PT, advice, etc only chips in after the unit's done it's bit?
 
#20
That's not how the police see it, apparently. A compulsory fitness test is now one of the ToS, but without any job training facilities or training time being offered.

I'm not sure how rigidly the pass/fail requirements are enforced. I've not heard of anyone getting kicked out yet.
What exactly are the police fitness tests.
 

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