By Jonathan Chin / Staff writer
The armed forces will soon increase the basic physical fitness standards for all ranks and ages of service members, a report by the Ministry of National Defense-run Military News Agency said on Saturday.
As the commanding lieutenant general of a combined arms brigade must be physically fit to lead and fight alongside combat troops under their command, the fitness standard between the two must not be far apart, Army Deputy Chief of Staff Huang Hsien-jen (黃先任) said.
Building up the strength of senior officers is key to increasing their chances of surviving on the battlefield and, therefore, their ability to complete their combat missions, he said.
Photo: Tsun Chang-chin, Taipei Times
The new system is to utilize 13 elective test events emphasizing upper limb muscles, abdominal muscles, cardiovascular fitness and flexibility to complement the push-ups, sit-ups and 3km run employed in the current fitness test, he said.
These elective events include pull-ups for men, hanging bends for women, lifting dumbbells, planking, a five-minute fast walk, an 800m swim, out-and-back progression running, seated forward bends, back scratches and others.
The revised basic fitness test is to change physical training in boot camps for recruits and conscripts before they are assigned to further training according to their military occupational specialty, he said.
Physical fitness tests are to be divided into three age divisions: 19 to 29 years old, 30 to 44 years old and 45 to 59 years old.
This scheme is to replace the current system that has a separate standard for every five years of age after 19, while setting higher standards for older service members, Huang said.
The ministry is working with other government departments to incorporate crunches and out-and-back progression running to the nation’s physical education so that young people would be better prepared for military service, he said.
The addition of flexibility to fitness training is aimed at reducing long-term injuries, he said, adding that the US military adopted similar protocols after studies showed that they reduce sports-related injuries by 46 percent and wear-related lower-limb injuries by 54 percent.
The armed forces intend to integrate flexibility training gradually into the military curriculum and flexibility-related events will not be used as test standards toward scoring troops or units, he said.
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