Twice a semester, all Army ROTC cadets will take the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT). Part of getting ready for this test is regularly conducting physical training. Getting ready to excel in ROTC will require you to prepare yourself mentally as well as physically. One of those ways is with exercise, so when beginning your exercise program it is important not to tire too quickly—pace yourself and slowly increase your activity. This way you can avoid injury, achieve optimal benefits, and reach Army standards. For further tips on how to prepare your fitness program, please review the U.S. Army’s PT Guide.
Your standardized physical training program will always include the following elements: a warm-up, the activity—or the physical training part, and a cool-down. The warm-up should last approximately 10 to 15 minutes, and should occur just before the activities of your physical training session. A warm up will include stretches that loosen up each part of the body, to include the back, knees, legs, shoulders, hips, and neck. The warm up may also include exercises such as jumping jacks and running in place. After the warm-up, you are prepared for more vigorous conditioning activities.
The cool-down serves to gradually slow the heart rate and helps prevent pooling of the blood in the legs and feet. Some of the same exercises used in the warm-up are used in the cool-down. You should begin the cool-down by walking until your heart rate returns to less than 100 beats per minute and heavy sweating stops.
The cool-down should last approximately 10 to 15 minutes and should occur immediately after the activities of your standardized physical training session.
RUNNING, CYCLING, SWIMMING
Running, cycling, and swimming enable the body to better transport blood and oxygen to the working muscles—that improves the body’s cardiovascular capability and allows it to produce more energy. Running and cycling fit well into any physical training program because a good training effect can be reached, for example, with only three, 20 minute workouts per week for running, and twice that for cycling. However, the standard Army PT test involves only running and some people may need instruction to improve their running ability.