Since the Carter administration, the Army has tested fitness with two minutes of pushups and situps and a 2-mile run. “That test measured endurance but failed to assess strength, power, speed, and agility, all of which are also critical on the battlefield,” says Michael McGurk, director of research and analysis directorate at the U.S. Army Center for Initial Military Training. His team spent years redesigning a new combat test. It’s 81 percent predictive of how a soldier will perform field tasks and also a great test of functional fitness. 1st Sgt Diamond Ott, 37, with the 1st Cavalry Division based at Fort Hood, is helping build stronger, more durable men and women. Take his fitness advice and see if you have what it takes to ace the proposed new combat test!
1st Sgt, Diamond Ott
About my name: My mom was a big fan of Neil Diamond.
Home is American Samoa, born and raised. My first sport was soccer.
When I joined the Army, we ran a lot and did the basics: pushups, situps, drills. The new fitness test is more well rounded.
I deployed to Afghanistan in 2012 and we had some downtime, so I started training more in the gym. I set a goal to bench press 315 pounds. I nailed it before the tour ended. That’s when my fitness journey started. I wanted to see what else I could push my body to do.
I was 155 pounds in 2012. Now I’m 180. My goals are to deadlift 520 pounds and bench 420. My current 2-mile run is under 15 minutes.
What soldiers ask most? “Help me lose fat.” I say, “Assess your diet. Eliminate the worst foods—soda, fried stuff, processed carbs. But take it slowly. Cut one thing every few weeks. Don’t be too strict. And keep training.”
In the military, it’s about more than just fitness. Of course you need functional strength to do the job, but it’s also the discipline, learning to be proficient, and preventing…
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