The Army plans to toughen its fitness tests for the first time in 30 years to make sure all soldiers have the strength, endurance and mobility for battle, adding exercises like running an obstacle course in full combat gear and dragging a body's weight.
Officials at Fort Jackson, a major Army training center, said Tuesday the new regimen would replace twice-a-year testing that focused on push-ups, sit-ups and a two-mile run. Trials are starting this month at eight bases and the plan could be adopted Army-wide after reviews later this year.
The shift follows other Army efforts to overhaul training, improve diets and help older soldiers keep fit.
Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, the head of Army training, said the fitness test had to be revamped because repetitive exercises like sit-ups don't translate into survival on the battlefield.
Unveiling the pilot to reporters, he said the service was also adopting lessons from Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans who had to learn in the field to carry anywhere from 40 to 70 pounds of weapons and body armor.