Army Regulation 350-15 specifies that vigorous physical fitness training will be conducted 3 to 5 times per week. For optimal results, commanders must strive to conduct 5 days of physical training per week. Ideally, at least three exercise sessions for CR fitness, muscle endurance, muscle strength, and flexibility should be performed each week to improve fitness levels. Thus, for example, to obtain maximum gains in muscular strength, soldiers should have at least three strength-training sessions per week. Three physical activity periods a week, however, with only one session each of cardiorespiratory, strength, and flexibility training will not improve any of these three components.
With some planning, a training program for the average soldier can be developed which provides fairly equal emphasis on all the components of physical fitness. The following training program serves as an example.
In the first week, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday are devoted to CR fitness, and Tuesday and Thursday are devoted to muscle endurance and strength. During the second week, the
Factors for a successful training program are Frequency, Intensity, Time, and Type; "FITT".
training days are flip-flopped: muscle endurance and strength are trained on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and CR fitness is trained on Tuesday and Thursday. Stretching exercises are done in every training session to enhance flexibility. By training continuously in this manner, equal emphasis can be given to developing muscular endurance and strength and to CR fitness while training five days per week.
If the unit's mission requires it, some muscular and some CR training can be done during each daily training session as long as a "hard day/recovery day" approach is used. For example, if a unit has a hard run on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, it may also choose to run on Tuesday and Thursday. However, on Tuesday and Thursday the intensity and/or distance/time should be reduced to allow recovery. Depending on the time available for each session and the way training sessions are conducted, all components of fitness can be developed using a three-day-per-week schedule. However, a five-day-per-week program is much better than three per week. (See Training Program in Chapter 10.)
Numerous other approaches can be taken when tailoring a fitness program to meet a unit's mission as long as the principles of exercise are not violated. Such programs, when coupled with good nutrition, will help keep soldiers fit to win.
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