The PFA is dead. Long live the PFA!

You can't be pushed to more than 100%. After 100% comes dead.
It's now increasingly accepted that the body has a 'central governor' system that stops that happening regardless of effort unless it's affected by internal factors such a heart condition or drugs or external ones such as hyper and hypothermia.

It's also increasingly accepted that this isn't just with aerobic exertion but with anerobic as well; 'hitting the wall' in marathons is an example of the former even with the best runners such as Jim Peters or, rather earlier, Dorando Pietri, while Eddie Hall is an example of the latter with his deadlift records.
 
It's also increasingly accepted that this isn't just with aerobic exertion but with anerobic as well; 'hitting the wall' in marathons is an example of the former even with the best runners such as Jim Peters or, rather earlier, Dorando Pietri, while Eddie Hall is an example of the latter with his deadlift records.
The wall occurs when you run out of stored glycogen and start metabolising only fat. The brain sees this as a warning and wants to shut down consumption. It’s got nothing to do with increasing acceptance of some new concept. It really doesn’t matter whether the body is excercising in an aerobic or an aerobic phase; it’s still consumes glycogen until the glycogen runs out.

The average male runner stores about 1800-2000 calories of glycogen and consumes about 100 calories a mile. So it hardly comes as a surprise that we hit the wall somewhere around 20 miles.

Elite runners aren’t immune to running out of glycogen. There’s only really two factors at play; how much they started the marathon with and how much the consume.
 
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The wall occurs when you run out of stored glycogen and start metabolising only fat. The brain sees this as a warning and wants to shut down consumption. It’s got nothing to do with increasing acceptance of some new concept. It really doesn’t matter whether the body is excercising in an aerobic or an aerobic phase; it’s still consumes glycogen until the glycogen runs out.

The average male runner stores about 1800-2000 calories of glycogen and consumes about 100 calories a mile. So it hardly comes as a surprise that we hit the wall somewhere around 20 miles.

Elite runners aren’t immune to running out of glycogen. There’s only really two factors at play; how much they started the marathon with and how much the consume.
@ Bob, you're so out of date it's laughable - except that as you were evidently equally out of date when serving, it's sad.

You've clearly read and quoted directly from the first article that comes to hand doing and, again as usual, missed out the "however"s and drawn your own very different conclusion from it that the article and the science don't support.

This isn't "some new concept". It was awarded the Noble prize in Physiology back in 1924 before being largely side-lined as sports science became better able to measure individual oxygen supply, lactic acid build up, isotonics, glycogen use, etc, all of which were grasped on and seen as key, until it was then revived in 1997 as the science became considerably clearer and it was seen that this couldn't just be pinned down to a single factor.

Since you're consequently only twenty years out of date, I suppose for you that's "new".

... and the suggestion that "it really doesn’t matter whether the body is excercising in an aerobic or an aerobic phase; it’s still consumes glycogen until the glycogen runs out" (I presume you meant 'aerobic or anerobic') is beyond absurd. Of course it "matters". When Eddie Hall made his record breaking deadlift it took a few seconds during which minimal glycogen would have been consumed but the result was exactly the same - he 'hit a wall' / his central governor kicked in with exactly the same results as a marathon runner hitting the wall. Nothing to do with "the glycogen runs out" at all.

I can't see much point going into a marathon 'wall' in detail here but it's about far more than just stored glycogen consumption and also involves a number of other factors, particularly the body's ability to convert energy / carbohydrates / glycogen (glycogen is just a type of carbohydrate) that are taken on during the race rather than just "how much they started the marathon with" (my bold).

You're decades out of date and out of touch, Bob. Those days went out decades ago when there was a strict limit of 5 water stations per marathon. Now it can be ten times that, with not just water but carbohydrate / energy drinks and athletes pre-positioning their own custom drinks (a mix-up of which caused issues for Mo Farah in his 2014 marathon debut).

It comes back to the same old issue that you obviously still don't get, Bob - it's about doing relevant training and testing, so that in a marathon runner's case they can convert carbs taken on better than a non-distance runner, and in the Army's case soldiers are trained and tested for their particular role, not just for general aerobic levels which on their own are meaningless.

(sorry to keep banging on about this, @Ho2331, but training and testing soldiers' fitness levels is what this threads about and concentrating on aerobic levels doesn't do that. The Army and every validated recent study of every other Army see that, as do all posters here bar one, but while that one's entitled to his own pov he's not entitled to his own facts).
 
So if that goes to form, the ‘professional’ army will be wiped from the Field in the first couple of weeks and the war will be won by conscripts :)
Do you mean those in for the duration don't do proper soldiering, just focus on doing their bit and getting home in one piece? Bounders!
 
Well this has been a very long slog of a read through. I feel more educated about VO2 max now though.

I don't think it's particularly difficult to see why the standards have just changed, and despite the overall lowering, it makes sense. It addresses a few things, including, but not limited to:

Women in the infantry. There was no way things were going to remain as they were. Getting enough women to meet the old standards simply wasn't a realistic expectation, and in order to satisfy the criteria that women must meet the same standards as men, they have simply moved the standards for men to one which is achievable by both genders. Does this mean that an element of combat effectiveness has been sacrificed on the altar of equality? Well, yes, it does. But that is the current political climate. We'll let a run in with the Russian 3rd Shock Army decide if that was a good idea or not.

We're getting less fit. We are undeniably less 'naturally' fit than we once were, generationally. That 10:30 has gone from a hugely generous time, to one that many have to train specifically to maintain. Prior to joining a lot of people have to train pretty hard to reach that. Sad times, but that's the way things are. By lowering the standard, you can get more people in, and keep them in.

The old PFA didn't make a lot of sense. We do a job in the military, and that job should require X fitness standard. We've all seen it - blokes coming in at 10:32 and getting chest poked at the finish line, and a female rocks up at 12:30 and gets high fived. A day or two later, you're on your CFT, said female is getting literally dragged round it, constantly moved to the front, and the bloke is taken 'on risk' yet has no issue at all carrying weight over distance. They both do the same job. If 12:30 over 2.4km is acceptable for one person to do the job, then that's the standard. We can only go as fast as the slowest person. Obviously this completely skirts over the fact that you should be able to cover 2.4km much quicker than 10:32 as a bloke, but the point still stands. By having a set standard for everyone to achieve, you eliminate that problem. The job requires X standard. You need to meet that, male or female, in order to do it. I personally think that's a good thing, but certainly presents a leadership challenge to encourage guys and gals to exceed those as much as possible. I can see that the infantry's standard being lowered presents some issues, however.
 
@ Bob, you're so out of date it's laughable - except that as you were evidently equally out of date when serving, it's sad.

You've clearly read and quoted directly from the first article that comes to hand doing and, again as usual, missed out the "however"s and drawn your own very different conclusion from it that the article and the science don't support.

This isn't "some new concept". It was awarded the Noble prize in Physiology back in 1924 before being largely side-lined as sports science became better able to measure individual oxygen supply, lactic acid build up, isotonics, glycogen use, etc, all of which were grasped on and seen as key, until it was then revived in 1997 as the science became considerably clearer and it was seen that this couldn't just be pinned down to a single factor.

Since you're consequently only twenty years out of date, I suppose for you that's "new".

... and the suggestion that "it really doesn’t matter whether the body is excercising in an aerobic or an aerobic phase; it’s still consumes glycogen until the glycogen runs out" (I presume you meant 'aerobic or anerobic') is beyond absurd. Of course it "matters". When Eddie Hall made his record breaking deadlift it took a few seconds during which minimal glycogen would have been consumed but the result was exactly the same - he 'hit a wall' / his central governor kicked in with exactly the same results as a marathon runner hitting the wall. Nothing to do with "the glycogen runs out" at all.

I can't see much point going into a marathon 'wall' in detail here but it's about far more than just stored glycogen consumption and also involves a number of other factors, particularly the body's ability to convert energy / carbohydrates / glycogen (glycogen is just a type of carbohydrate) that are taken on during the race rather than just "how much they started the marathon with" (my bold).
John I’m happy to agree that my synopsis was simplistic, but the basic science is fact. Glycogen isn’t just another carbohydrate; it is the only carbohydrate that the body uses as an energy store. When the body runs out of glycogen it starts burning adipose fat which requires different enzymes and more energy. Fact, and it’s not decades out of date.
Sure, 100kCal / mile formula in particular is over simplistic and illustrative only, but it does show the core issue.

If you can find Benjamin Rapoport’s paper Metabolic Factors Limiting Performance in Marathon Runners in open source read it. It gives a good, understandable summary of the physiologically of the wall and makes it quite clear (from large sample measurement) that it occurs when the body runs out of glycogen and starts burning adipose fat.

When that occurs varies with individual physiology; the glycogen density in the liver and muscles at the start, muscle mass distribution (ie where in the body is glycogen stored - ideally in the legs of a marathoner), how fast is is burnt and how much fuel does the runner take on during the race. But the wall categorically occurs when glycogen runs out.

Significant in the when is how fast is glycogen burnt which is a function of running speed. And running speed refers to excercise intensity as a fraction of maximum aerobic capacity. Which highlights why aerobic capacity is important for endurance.

I’m quite happy to continue arguing a counter argument with you. As I said before, the nub of this is about whether you believe aerobic fitness is the core of all endurance fitness. (Happy to exclude pure power activities like weight lifting and sprinting). I’m convinced by the aerobic base proponents partly from my own experience of using the Maffetone approach and partly from reading.

Since you keep bleating about relevant tests, answer this one. Why does the England cricket team isolate and measure aerobic fitness using a mix of VO2Max measurements (occasional lab test, regular multi-stage fitness test and routine tracking with wearables). Why don’t they concoct some relevant test that assesses aerobic fitness by some synthetic bowling, batting or fielding simulation?
 
I’m quite happy to continue arguing a counter argument with you.
I'm not, @ Bob - it's a waste of time when you can't grasp what the argument's about.
Why does the England cricket team isolate and measure aerobic fitness using a mix of VO2Max measurements (occasional lab test, regular multi-stage fitness test and routine tracking with wearables
Because VO2 Max is the best general measure of aerobic fitness. Nobody's dispuring that, FFS, and nobody other than in your fevered imagination ever has.

What you seem somehow unable to grasp, though, is that aerobic fitness is only ONE aspect of the physical / fitness requirements for a top cricketer and it's no more a reflection of their fitness to play cricket than it is a soldier's ability to do their job.

I just don't know how to get this through to you as you're the only one here who didn't / doesn't see this for themselves when serving.

Maybe you were in a different Army to everyone else, where your aerobic ability was all that mattered and your ability to lift, load, bash, carry, run, tab, etc didn't matter.
Why don’t they concoct some relevant test that assesses aerobic fitness by some synthetic bowling, batting or fielding simulation?
Because, as has been said countless times by many here and as I've just pointed out, yet again, VO2Max is the best measure of aerobic fitness - but aerobic fitness isn't all that needs measuring, for cricketers or soldiers.

If you don't get this by now, Bob, it's pointless repeating it.

As I said before, the nub of this is about whether you believe aerobic fitness is the core of all endurance fitness.
FFS. For the last time, Bob, that's not the "nub" at all. Nobody's disputing that "aerobic fitness is the core of all endurance fitness ".

NOBODY. Nobody ever has. What's being disputed, by you, is whether aerobic fitness is the core of MILITARY fitness. M-I-L-I-T-A-R-Y. You obviously think it is. Nobody else, past or present, agrees with you. N-O-B-O-D-Y. Given that, there's little point in continuing this.
 
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We'll let a run in with the Russian 3rd Shock Army decide if that was a good idea or not.
A few people in flip-flops may give you at least one answer rather sooner.
. By lowering the standard, you can get more people in, and keep them in.
Equally, you could alienate those who can actually do the job but don't see why they should have to carry those who can't.
We do a job in the military, and that job should require X fitness standard
Actually the general concensus is that we do lots of different jobs in the military so those jobs require different fitness standards.
We can only go as fast as the slowest person.
Unless you leave your slowest person behind - as inf units routinely did on Herrick and have always done in order to get the job done.
The job requires X standard.
As everyone agrees - the burning question, though, is whether the standard required is the standard being set.
 
A few people in flip-flops may give you at least one answer rather sooner.
Absolutely!

Equally, you could alienate those who can actually do the job but don't see why they should have to carry those who can't.
You could indeed, especially in teeth arms. The Army, however, has routinely shown it doesn't give a flying f*** about that, as demonstrated by loss of the most knowledgeable members of units left right and centre.

Actually the general concensus is that we do lots of different jobs in the military so those jobs require different fitness standards.
That was my poor wording there, I'm totally in agreement with different standards for different jobs.

Unless you leave your slowest person behind - as inf units routinely did on Herrick and have always done in order to get the job done.
Well that's a pretty sad state of affairs. Sure to be a lot worse now!

As everyone agrees - the burning question, though, is whether the standard required is the standard being set.
Most likely not, for many roles that need to be carried. Is it fit for purpose for a cyber operator? Probably, yeah. But 11 mins over 2km for an infantry soldier is quite a decrease in standard.

What do you think the tests and standards should be? If it was your train set, how would you test people in today's military?
 

Caecilius

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Most likely not, for many roles that need to be carried. Is it fit for purpose for a cyber operator? Probably, yeah. But 11 mins over 2km for an infantry soldier is quite a decrease in standard.
I reckon you could actually pass that running backwards. I'm not near a running track until next week but I plan to test my theory when I am. Wait out!
 
Well that's a pretty sad state of affairs.
Probably the only major point we disagree over, although I don't see the issue with maintaining a standard of fitness that you've spent over six months reaching, regardless of the standard you started with or that of the general population - those changes just mean that it takes longer and needs more work to reach the same standard as before, they don't make it any more unachievable.

I see leaving your slowest / your liabilities out as just units being pragmatic and setting their own OFTs; you always need someone to stay behind, in various roles, and theirs could always turn out to be the more challenging role - it happens.
What do you think the tests and standards should be? If it was your train set, how would you test people in today's military?
I actually think the type of tests have been reasonably well thought out, at least for inf / lt cav. I can't, though, see the relevance of most for cav, particularly CR2, any more than I can see why the lone special to arm test for cav is to be applied to all cav including lt cav, where it's totally irrelevant, but not to armd inf where it's evidently as relevant as it is for a CR2 crew.

That seems to indicate that they haven't been thought through at all and nobody's looking at the big picture.

Where the whole exercise really falls down, though, is where the bar's been set which is just absurdly low - gender and age neutral doesn't mean a DCC / inf standard which has to be achievable by a fifty year old woman, which is where the bar seems to have been set..
 
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I reckon you could actually pass that running backwards. I'm not near a running track until next week but I plan to test my theory when I am. Wait out!
2:12 per 400m, up from 1:45. It's a 13:12 PFA basically, so the standard is the female standard. Christ, that makes it sound a lot worse... that's 11.5kph or so!
 
We're getting less fit. We are undeniably less 'naturally' fit than we once were, generationally. That 10:30 has gone from a hugely generous time, to one that many have to train specifically to maintain. Prior to joining a lot of people have to train pretty hard to reach that. Sad times, but that's the way things are. By lowering the standard, you can get more people in, and keep them in.
We are less naturally fit because we no longer have to train so much, granted more people are fat/unhealthy before they join but the army does little to resolve the matter. I've always had to run in my own time to be fit always pass a PFT, I was good at sprinting, tabbing and the assault course, 1.5 mile is a pain in the arse for me, but I still pass because I use my own time to go running.
There is a young bloke in my sqn who was 23 stone (The ******* fat ****) when he first applied to join the army, (he was turned down the first time) he now is close to a sub 9 min PFT mark and looking at attempting his PTI course, why? Because he got of his fat arse, something that is becoming rarer.
When I was in 6 regt we got people on remedial to eventually get in the Regt Cross country team, through a combination of using pace makers, ability groups and an increase in enjoyable PT in quiet time, what the army policy appears to be is just make things easier thus more people will pass the tests while being unfit.
 
2:12 per 400m, up from 1:45. It's a 13:12 PFA basically, so the standard is the female standard. Christ, that makes it sound a lot worse... that's 11.5kph or so!
Its actually much easier than the female standard because as well as the pace being slightly slower the distance is also nearly 17% shorter.
 
We are less naturally fit because we no longer have to train so much, granted more people are fat/unhealthy before they join but the army does little to resolve the matter. I've always had to run in my own time to be fit always pass a PFT, I was good at sprinting, tabbing and the assault course, 1.5 mile is a pain in the arse for me, but I still pass because I use my own time to go running.
There is a young bloke in my sqn who was 23 stone (The ******* fat ****) when he first applied to join the army, (he was turned down the first time) he now is close to a sub 9 min PFT mark and looking at attempting his PTI course, why? Because he got of his fat arse, something that is becoming rarer.
When I was in 6 regt we got people on remedial to eventually get in the Regt Cross country team, through a combination of using pace makers, ability groups and an increase in enjoyable PT in quiet time, what the army policy appears to be is just make things easier thus more people will pass the tests while being unfit.
As I previously suggested, the standard of the general population or those on joining should make absolutely no difference at all to the standard that can be achieved and maintained beyond it taking longer and needing more work initially to get there. This really is the flimsiest and most pathetic of excuses:

I don't see the issue with maintaining a standard of fitness that you've spent over six months reaching, regardless of the standard you started with or that of the general population - those changes just mean that it takes longer and needs more work to reach the same standard as before, they don't make it any more unachievable.
 
2:12 per 400m, up from 1:45. It's a 13:12 PFA basically, so the standard is the female standard. Christ, that makes it sound a lot worse... that's 11.5kph or so!
Has the run time of 11 min for 2km actually be confrimed. On the notice detailing PFA changes there's no mention of the actual run time required.
 

Caecilius

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
2:12 per 400m, up from 1:45. It's a 13:12 PFA basically, so the standard is the female standard. Christ, that makes it sound a lot worse... that's 11.5kph or so!
Oh, so we've dropped the male standard to match the female standard and then made it shorter as well? What a shock.

We all knew a drop in standards was coming in the name of equality; I don't think many people expected it to come that fast though.
 
Has the run time of 11 min for 2km actually be confrimed. On the notice detailing PFA changes there's no mention of the actual run time required.
Not a clue mate, I'm going off of the time stated earlier in the thread.
 
The thing is @JOHNG, in all the vitriol that you have thrown at me, you haven’t addressed my original point which was about management and measurement of change.

THOR and the new tests are change programs. Fundamental changes in both the way that the Army conducts fitness training and the way it assesses the success of that training.

You cannot measure the affect of a change program with a binary pass / fail indicator. At best you end up overshooting and oscillating either side of the indicator. At worst undershoot and end up lowering the pass level. And you have no means of knowing whether the program is actually successful because you don’t know there the test level is right (and vice versa).

So the way you measure change is to isolate relevant parameters that you can measure objectively and preferably baseline against external best practice. Use standard indicators that are easy to measure and easily comparable with aligned programs.

You can argue it anyway you want, but aerobic fitness is a key parameter of fitness. The definitive measure of aerobic fitness is VO2Max and it is easy to measure using cheap equipment (the stuff you posted about 100% accurate tests is bollocks; there is no statistically significant difference between VO2Max estimated using a chest strap and measured in a lab).

The problem with “relevant tests” is that they don’t isolate definitive parameters. To illustrate why, reflect that you can’t measure VO2Max weightlifting. So if you come up with a relevant test that involves moving a weight multiple times, you have no idea what you are actually measuring. Which is why the England cricket team isolate fitness parameter and measure them properly (and I made it quite clear that they measure VO2Max as one single parameter).

It’s all gone quiet on the science of the wall. You’ve ignored my comment on your 100% measurement accuracy post, you reversed your position when I pointed out that the papers you posted contradicted your argument. And you appear to have no knowledge of change managent it measurement. So carry on....
 
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