The test that the British Army uses to determine whether or not a soldier is at a satisfactory level of fitness to carry out his Job is the 4. 8 km (3 miles) Basic Fitness Test (B. F. T) staged in two parts. In light of the various specialist roles in the Army today, and with the integration of females within the service, the efficacy of the current Army Training Directive No. 7 (TAD 7) mandatory biannual BAT shall be critically discussed in this assignment. Background One day in the early sass’s the Colonel Commandant of the Army Physical Training
Corp. (APT) General Sir Cecil Blacker saw a group of soldiers in Alders, he was concerned that the majority looked overweight to the point of obesity, he immediately tasked the Army Personnel Research Centre (PAPER) based at Breakthrough to carry out an intense survey into physical fitness within the British Army. This survey was carried out from April 1972 until November 1974 and was broken down into two parts, these consisted of a recruits survey and a cross sectional survey, the results of all these tests concluded that 45% of those tested were classified as hectically fit, 16% classified as definitely unfit and 41% classified as obese. PAPER Report) Due to the above results TAD No. 7 was published and basic fitness testing in the Army was founded in the form of an efficiency test carried out annually. The fit to fight working party was established in 1975 following the emergency in Cyprus where there was a concern for the standard physical fitness within the Army. The BE Large numbers of soldiers were found to be overweight and the physic test for the under ass’s did nothing to motivate the soldiers to maintain hysterical fitness. Captain N J Springier 1977) It was in March 1976 that t BAT was formed consisting of seven different Bitts for military person 50 years of age. It was decided that for a unit to be classed as physically have a 90% pass rate of soldiers participating in this test. (Later change was also recommended that the BAT should be solely a test of endurance It was decided that because most military duties were performed in co then the BAT should also be carried out in combat boots.
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Due to Reese by PAPER the wearing of training shoes was introduced in March 1990 a mound that too much running in combat boots contributed to lower lime Following these changes it was found appropriate to change the timing these have since changed on numerous occasions over the years and a 15 min for 1. 5 miles (2. 4 km) followed immediately by a timed best India over 1. 5 miles. The pass standard today of male soldiers less than 30 y 10 minutes and 30 second and the female pass standard is 12 minutes seconds.
The BAT is a version of the Cooper 12 minute run test, where the distant measured after 12 minutes running, depending on the distance cover efferent levels of fitness it is much easier to run people over a fixed dies measure the time taken, which is why the Army has adopted this meet its soldiers. Main Theme The BAT of today is still, what it was recommended it should be back in solely of endurance. It is also said to be a good way to measure the ma amount of oxygen which can be extracted from the external environment breathed in) and transported to the working muscles (VIA Max) (The N Coaching Foundation).
However this is not necessarily the case as a nu factors affect the accuracy of this test. Experience has shown that the running surface plays an important pa individuals timed effort, a test carried out on a flat even surface will gig gratifying results than if the same test were conducted over undulating does not allow for good foot purchase on its surface. TAD 7 stipulates t should be carried out over flat ground affording a good running surface, this is not always the case as the terrain surrounding some units does not fit this criterion therefore the unit must utilities what is available.
The weather also affects the individual’s performance. All performances are influenced by temperature of the surroundings and air humidity. From investigations carried out by Peter G. J. M. Janssen into the influence of cooling during exertion on the pulse rate, his investigations showed that cooling of the body during exercise allowed for a greater exertion to be applied for a longer period of time, Convert these findings to a BAT conducted on some warm dry summers day, compared to some cool wet summers day and the results will vary greatly. Peter G. J. M. Janssen) Another contributing factor is the individual’s ability to Judge the pace he or she would be running at, if the individual sets of to quickly at the start of the best individual effort their body will within a short period of time develop so much lactic acid concentration that they will be forced to slow down to a pace that their body can cope with the amount of lactic acid being produced. The excessive amounts of lactic acid being produced will have a negative influence on the individual’s performance. Norman Brook) An individual who is experienced in Judging his running pace will have a distinct advantage over individuals less experienced than himself. The first part of the BAT is the 1. 5 mile run / walk to be completed as a squad in 15 minutes this is categorized as a warm up. Due to varying levels of fitness certain individuals may find the first part of the BAT too demanding thus making them fatigued and at a clear disadvantage prior to commencing the second part of the test.
If the first part of the test is to be part of the warm up then surly stretching of the muscles should be incorporated in this, No matter how physically fit we are everyone is prone to injury when not properly warmed up. Warm up is an important part of revelation of injury. You may not be an Olympic athlete but it is Just as important for each individual to spend time on getting the blood circulating through muscles and the stretch back into ligaments that you are about to stress to their limits. Neither should you expect your body to perform well when cold.
It is a vital part of self-help in preventing injury to spend at least 15-20 minutes warming up and stretching prior to commencing physical activity (Sports Injury Clinic) The BAT however is easy to control, experience has shown that only one person may intro the test and record the relevant times, the test provides the unit with a basic standard of fitness which soldiers must achieve, large numbers of soldiers may also be tested collectively in a short period of time and with very little expense to the unit, all these factors make the test very favorable with the British Army.
The British Army uses the BAT universally throughout the army irrespective of a particular unites operational role, one unit may be Airborne trained thus requiring a higher level of fitness as compared to a detachment of cooks working at a logistics nit, as we would expect there will be a wide ranging difference in their levels of fitness within these different trades.
A test which is more role specific could be introduced. The Royal Engineers have a variety of trades ranging from bridge building to demolition work, the majority of these trades require a great deal of upper body strength yet, they do not incorporate any tests for measuring this component of fitness within their training regimes.
A role specific test such as the lifting and carrying of shells a set distance would complement an individual from the Royal Artillery and would give a much better indication as to whether that individual was fit for his operational role, similar tests which are role specific could be introduced throughout the army, this test would have to be in conjunction with an endurance test.
The Multistage Fitness Test (MIST) allows you to monitor an individuals endurance fitness effectively. The test although easy to conduct produces reliable results based on established scientific research findings. Sports men and woman use the MIST to check their personnel endurance fitness (Rexes Hazarding) therefore there is no reason why the army could not commission this test to measure its soldier’s level of endurance fitness.
Large groups may be tested collectively and the equipment required is very simple: all you need is a cassette player and two markers placed 20 meters apart making the test very versatile in where it may be staged and alleviates problems which were common with the BAT such as the running surface, all Gymnasiums within the Army have suitable areas where sports are played which incorporate a great deal of running and turning on their surface, these surfaces would be ideal for conducting he MIST, this would also alleviate any inclement weather problems affecting individuals best effort times, the test would also be gender fair.
There are an ever growing number of females being recruited into the Army these days which call for a better understanding of their physical capabilities and a means to testing them effectively. Even though the best male endurance runners are faster than the best female runners, the best women run much faster than most men, (Norman Brook) it would be unfair to gauge the endurance capabilities of an elite female endurance athlete to that of a female soldier serving in the Army but a eatable level of fitness to carry out her operational role must be found.
There are a number of structural and physiological differences between the sexes which lead to performance variations in endurance events. A females VIA Max is substantially lower than her male counterparts, this is largely due to the females smaller physique and higher percentage of body fat, a pint of blood from a woman will not have the potential to carry as much oxygen as a pint of blood from a man. Research is required to establish what level a female soldier is required to achieve on the
MIST to enable her to carry out her specific role within the Army, again specific role tests for females are required as females are being introduced into more and more combatant roles within the Army. Summary The Basic Fitness Test is exactly as the name suggests, the minimum level of fitness required by the Army, although it measures endurance fitness it has been shown that a large number of contributing factors affect the accuracy of this test.
The introduction of the MIST would allow for a much more accurate and versatile means of measuring endurance fitness, used in conjunction with specific role tests his would undoubtedly ensure a much more role specifically fit Army which will enhance the effective performance of all units throughout the British Army.