As sergeant of my unit’s S2 shot, I am responsible for developing the physical training program for all the Soldiers that I work with. I develop monthly plans and present them to the O3 Officer In Charge (OIC) for his approval. The OIC told me that he is a PT fanatic and expounded that PT could be done twice a day. He also brought up something that I have come to hate: CrossFit. Crossfitters invariably believe in constant progress. They believe that fitness is a linear, ever-rising thing, and that by merely being tough and grinding through workout after workout, a person can become super-fit.
This mentality goes against the training regimen of almost all world class athletes. Physical training must involve back off days, and slight variations in rep/set protocols as well as type of exercise in order to maximize results. Not only will people not see the best results from “maxing” every day, they will feel awful. Over training can make people miserable. The worst thing about over training is many people will not even realize just how bad they feel until they stop training and rest. Even then, they may not make the connection between their exercise and mood, sleep and appetite.
Fortunately the Army has caught on, though the word hasn’t made it yet to every ear. The new Army program, Physical Readiness Training (PRT), incorporates many aspects of periodization of exercise. Not only are Soldiers discouraged from going all out every day, but cardio and strength workouts are done on alternate days, a method scientifically proven to promote recovery.
I plan on fully incorporating the PRT model into my office’s training. But I expect some push-back from higher. Of course, I have the highest levels of the Army behind me as this as PRT has been mandated as the doctrine for Army physical training.