Army Unveils New Recruit Training Regime: 'Crawl, Walk, Run'
A revamped training plan -- the first new physical fitness program in three decades -- was introduced among Army recruits on July 1, after months of planning and test runs.
But lest recruits think they're getting off easy, Army leaders are quick to note that the regime isn't being toned down to suit a generation of softer newcomers.
"It's not soft. It's just different, and the physical training has become a lot more regimented and more battle-focused," Capt. Kyle Lippold, commander of G Battery, 1st Battalion, 79th Field Artillery, told the Army Times. "It's focused on training more people to achieve that initial basic training standard while mitigating injuries."
Most notably, troops are being trained in ways that reflect the realities of modern battle. That means more time shooting firearms, and an increased emphasis on "situational awareness" and risk assessment.
The Army is also embracing less strenuous physical activity like calisthenics and yoga, to improve core strength and keep troops agile, flexible and free of injury.
But the military's also got no choice but to accommodate out-of-shape recruits -- and a lot of them. An estimated 35 percent of American youth aren't fit to serve, because of physical problems or medical issues, according to Pentagon data released last year.
Enter slow and steady progression: recruits are being led through preparation drills and easier exercises, before they advance to more rigorous routines.
The new training plan also includes a focus on good nutrition -- another realm where, no surprise, American teens are largely lacking in finesse.